2020 a year in film

The weather has been very bad in Singapore recently so I did not shoot anything since the first of Jan. Good opportunity for my usual reflective post on 2020. The COVID has of course reduced the photo opportunities this year, no travels since February, less local events. Anyway, I still managed to spend some time on my hobby : burn some film.

Camera #1 : Chau Long Market Hanoi one year ago

Below is a breakdown of my 52 roll in film types:

Row LabelsCount of Film No
Fuji Across8
Ilford HP5 Plus6
Rollei Retro 80s6
Kodak TRI X5
Ilford Delta 4004
Cinestill 800T3
Shanghai GP32
Ultrafine Xtreme 4002
Kodak TMY 4002
Polypan 502
Ilford hp52
Kodak Portra 4002
Kodak Ultramax1
Kodak Colorplus1
Ilford Delta 32001
Kodak Pro Image1
Kentmere 400 pan1
Fuji Neopan 4001
Ilford Pan F1
Rollei Superpan 2001
Film brandRolls
Ilford14
Kodak12
Fuji9
Rollei7
Cinestill3
Shanghai2
Ultrafine2
Polypan2
Kentmere1
Grand Total52

I mostly shot black and white again. Mostly because I converted to Caffenol in the middle of the year, and have now processed around 20 rolls using this method. I lost 4 rolls more of less in the process, but I have a good standard procedure now. I also bought a roll of HP5+. Both steps make me shot black and white film for a lot cheaper.

Camera #2 LeicaIIIc Arab Street Singapore

Ilford in getting to the top of the list this year, surpassing the usual Kodak. I think Kodak is very close only because of the color films. In term of black and white, Fuji is this year in front of Kodak. I bought some expired Acros 100 which gives super good results in Caffenol.

Below is the breakdown of cameras I used:

CamerasRolls
Leica M618
Leica IIIc10
Hasselblad 500CM7
Leica M46
Agfa Isolette III4
Nikon F34
Nikon F1
Heineken1
Minolta Himatic 7s1

No surprise the 3 Leica bodies and the Hasselblad are still trusting the top of the list. The M6 is really a picture making machine, actually I just had the joints redone and the crank fixed.

Camera #3 Hasselbad 500CM

I did not buy any new cameras this year still I made some nice additions to my kit. I bought a new Sekonic 308-X meter as the old one died, a friend offered me a Keks EM01 light meter, which fits on the cold shoe o fthe M4 or IIIc, a very nice add on.

Camera #4: Leica M4

I tried to fix the rangefinder of the Isolette III and managed to shot a few rolls with it, making it climb to the fifth rank.

Camera #5: Agfa Isolette III

Actually I bought a second body for parts which has a few issues, so I may play to fix it or send it for service.

Curiously I digged the Nikon F3 from the Nikon box (I have a Leica box, a Nikon box and a various box). I gad very pleasant results mostly with the 50mm F1.4AIS.

Camera #6: Nikon F3

Lugging a SLR around is not longer a pleasure and this guy is so beaten up that I am a bit ashamed to carry it in the streets, but amazing results this year.

Camera #6 : Nikon F Photomnic

I only shot one roll with the Nikon F, with the 50mmF1.4 Non AI, on Polypan 50. My two photomnic meters are no longer metering or I can t be bothered to buy new batteries to use them. Using the Sekonic is just as good.

Finally two rolls with the Minolta 7S, great performer, still flimsy and the underwater Heineken Camera whose housing is leaving his last days.

Also the nice discovery of the year is the Whampoa Color photo lab which does a great job for processing and scanning color films.

The first shot of the last roll of the week (Kodak Portra 160 slightly expired shot with Leica IIIc and Elmar 50F3.5)

2020 a year in film

At the end of the year I feel expired

I am just trying to make a catchy title for this roll of Fuji Neopan 400 that expired in May 2014 and that I processed in Caffenol Delta. I very rarely shoot film that is so expired, that roll was entrusted to me by young fellow film photographer Brian Teo a few weeks back.

I shot the roll with the Leica IIIc and mostly the Elmar 50mm F3.5, but a couple of shots were also done with the Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mmF4. I processed the film with my Caffenol Delta recipe adjusted for 500 ml.

The recipe consist of 500 ML of water to use :

  • 16 g of Arm and Hammer washing soda
  • 10 g of pure Vitamin C
  • 20 g of Nescafe Classic

At my average 28 Degree Celsius I process for 4’40”, 20 seconds inversion and then 3 inversions every minute.

I fixed with my first mix of Ilford Rapid Fixer for 11 minutes, this is my 18th film fixed with this batch, I’ll mix some new one next week. I don’t use a stop bath and use Ilford method for rinsing the developer and the fixer.

The result is quite grainy, which I blame on the age of the film. The film was also very clean, not much dust cloning was required. I think this is going to be my last roll processed in Caffenol this year, but I still hope to shoot a bit more before Friday.

The shot really shows my usual subjects when walking around Singapore : mostly passing strangers. I have added a couple more themes this time:

I stumble across a couple of weddings, actually only two shots turned out ok, but I met two other couples these last weeks.

I also made a short trip to Coney Island on the north shore. This popular leisure spot is also a good photo opportunity.

More random stranger below

Finally a bit of news

Santa was here
Lliang Court mall is dressed to go down
Robinsons shops are closing.

I hope everybody will have a great end of the year. See you in 2021, until then keep om shooting

At the end of the year I feel expired

Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

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We roll models

So what happened since last post and the “Caffenol rebirth” ; well nothing much happened in town nor to myself, so I shot half a roll of Fuji Across, mostly Saturday

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Lonely dinner

Last Sunday I pour my Caffenol in a bottle of green glass (Perrier) and kept in just in case.

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Gelato

So tonight I was restless and I decide to give Caffenol another try.

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Buddha Tooth Relic Temple

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Time for a nap

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or catching up with th enews

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Chinatown is her catwalk

As I did not finish my roll, I opened the Leica M4 in the dark, fiddle a bit with the film and managed to cut a 1 cm lead for the rest of the roll and unload the 22 first shots from the camera. I then loaded it in the Paterson tank and proceed as last week.

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The lovely newly weds from China

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That way

Massive Development chart give me again 6’44 @ 28 deg, for 100 ISO Accross, the Tri-x was overcooked last week, but that was 400ISO, so I though that I should give it a try, but actually I emptied the tank at 6’14.

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Time for a trim

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Double ciggie break

The film is still dense, but can be seen through in normal light. Probably some of this is due to the coffee coloration (I can see if is brownish), so for the next 12 shost I will cut the time down by maybe another 30 or 45 seconds.

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Social distancing

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Orchard back-light

I kept the Caffenol again, I read you can keep for 6 or 8 weeks. Without being so extreme, if I can use one batch for my monthly shooting this changes the economics of it totally, at 2$ a roll this is a no brainer. Plus it is amazing to have all the products ready and go through the motion in about 45 minutes.

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My new fav model

Ok so now I’ve been through this roll what is the conclusion. It looks quite good for what it is, no reticulation, reasonable grain, the contrast is quite good.

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Walking in the sunshine

This was also measured using my new Keks EM01 ligh meter.

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A COVID hero back from work

Caffenol Rebirth : perseverare humanum est

The last pre lock down roll is back

I collected yesterday my first roll in a long time. It was probably finished the first week of the lock-down in Singapore which was on 5th of April.

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This is an expired roll of Fuji Across shot with the Leica M6 and probably a mix of Summaron 35 and Summicron 28.

The roll is so so , maybe the roll is too expired maybe sitting on my drawer for 3 month was not a good idea, maybe I just mucked up the metering. Well there is a couple of fun shots. I put them as a slide show just to try.

 

The last pre lock down roll is back

Kodak Ultramax 400 – Oh no I did it again (Took the M4 and VC 21 on the road again)

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SMU

We are entering the rainy season in Singapore now, and film rolls are not easy to finish. So the roll of Kodak Ultramax 400 I loaded in the Leica M4 took a little time to finish. Particularly with a F4 lens and less light, not all opportunities are good,

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At the crossroad

I very rarely shot the Ultramax before, it is a quite cheap film you can still buy in supermarkets in France. My friend Felix, gave me a roll last time I met him, and he get a quantity of them for the same reason.

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Peninsula shopping center

The Leica M4 has no meter so I used my new Sekonic handheld light meter. All in it is doing quite a good job.

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Coleman street

The Ultramax end up being quite a different beast compare to the Portra 400. The grain is more accentuated, the colors get a bit more pink / green hue, the film I got from the lab was a bit more curly, but I am not sure it affected the scanning (with Epson v800).

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Tiong Bahru

The 21mm gave good results again, thanks to the viewfinder again I think. The vertical shots of cross roads gave what I called “dynamic” in my last post; I think they would benefit in being shot a bit lower, like wait level…

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The party is over

… but OK hand metering, range-finding (or pre-focusing or hyper focusing) and view finding are already a lot of actions for a single shot.

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Bincho

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A choir

With the 21mm the subject is often too far as above, unless you come really close to unsuspected subject …

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Fun for everybody

… for everybody’s fun.

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Carlsberg for free

Or willing models as above.

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The Instax team

Or you meet the Fuji Instax team (I did not enter the discussion about Fuji vs Kodak with them).

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Fancy fair

I also had the opportunity to take a few shots at night in a fancy fair and I must say the result is quite pleasant. A bit Saturated, but it looks the film reacted well to artificial light.

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Fancy fair

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Indonesian model

Interesting story here, aspirant photographer and aspiring make up artists from Indonesia using their friend as a model.

 

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SMU : Looping the loop

A  few weeks after the first shot back  at the SMU (Singapore Management University).

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The culprit! 

In case you directly jumped here: all shots on Kodak Ultramax 400 (not expired), with Voigtlander 21mm F4, VC viewfinder 21-25mm on Leica M4.

Kodak Ultramax 400 – Oh no I did it again (Took the M4 and VC 21 on the road again)

BACK TO THE MONKEY GOD TEMPLE – With a roll of slides

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The Sedan chair porter

This is a follow up of my last port about the Monkey God temple birthday  in Tiong Bahru. These pictures were taken with a roll of Provia 400F given to me by KC Eng. It is expired since 2008, but I did not check at the time and shot it at 400 with Leica M6 and Summicron 50.

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The Lion dance

Ths shots were processed at Analog Lab and scanned at home ; they turned out quite okay. Maybe the overcast weather did not allow for a more reach color palette.

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Dragon Dance

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Dragon Dancer

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Dragon Dancer

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The musicians

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The musicians

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The lantern bearers

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The lantern bearers

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The lantern bearers

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The lantern bearers

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The lantern bearers

 

 

 

 

BACK TO THE MONKEY GOD TEMPLE – With a roll of slides

2018 – The year I still shot one roll of film a week.

La mort subite
Camera n.1: Leica M6 with Rollei Vario

Happy  new year everybody, happy film shooting to all the film photogs. If I looks around me in Singapore it looks like more and more people are shooting film. I see young kids buying film at the shop and carrying around some analog point and shoots, SLRs or rangefinders. I met fellow film shooters in Japan, Laos and Thailand this year and at the big dismay of my family I (nearly) always go and talk to them, and take their picture sometime.

In my own opinion 2018 has been less exciting that 2017 in term of the film industry : Cinestill is now part of the landscape, Kodak Ektachrome is said to be available but I have not tried it yet, Film Ferania is still nowhere near the shelves. The only new film I tried is the Rollei variochrome positive film, which is quite gimmicky.

Camera N.2 : Leica IIIC with Kodak TMAX 100

 

Below is a breakdown of my film rolls:

Film Rolls
Ultrafine 400 17
Cinestill 50D 3
Rollei Retro 80s 3
Bergger Pancro400 3
Kodak Tmax 400 2
Rollei CR 200 2
Polypan PF50 2
Cinestill 800 2
Fuji Reala 800 2
Kodak Gold 200 2
Rollei Superpan 200 2
Kodak Colorplus 2
Kodak Portra 400 2
Kodak Ektar 100 1
Rollei Vario 1
Kodak Tmax 100 1
Kentmere 400 1
Ilford hp5 1
Kodak Portra 160 1
Kodak TMZ 3200 1
Agfa APX 400 1
Grand Total 52

And by Brand

Brand Rolls
Ultrafine 17
Kodak 12
Rollei 8
Cinestill 5
Bergger 3
Fuji 2
Polypan 2
Agfa 1
Ilford 1
Kentmere 1
Grand Total 52

A tough one
Camera n.3: Leica M4 with Kentmere 400

The first thing to notice is that I shot a bit less that last year (I did 63 rolls then), I think I also shot less digital, I spend some time in a couple other projects. But still I am holding the one roll per week rate.

I shot 17 rolls of Ultrafine that I hand-rolled myself : this is a first for me. This is a quite good film : I told the lab it is Kentmere 400 and had no problem. I liked the experience of hand rolling shorter rolls, but as I don’t process myself there is a balance to reach between the cost of processing and not having to throw away the last shots of a roll (or shoot meaningless pics with them).

Kodak is a mix bag of black and white and the cheap color films like Colorplus and Gold 200. I tried the new TMZ 3200 once again this year and I think a good performer.  I am a Kodak fanboy.

An angel on the wall
Camera N.4 : Hasselblad 500CM with Cinestill 50D

 

On the disappointment side are the Bergger Panchro and the Rollei Superpan, they lack contrast and have too much grain to my taste (or maybe I lack the skills to make them shine). I cannot make them out of my fridge fast enough, so I will still have some to shoot this year. I finally finished my two years expired Fuji reala 800, both shot with the Leica IIIc, I don’t really like this film (but it was so cheap) and also I have problem measuring for 800 Iso in daylight, so results were not great.

Finally the Rollei Vario ( you can read the full review here ) : it is very gimmicky so one roll is enough. I think if you are a pro and shoot a wedding, you can have a nice couple of pictures with a very different look, but apart from this the tint makes its usage very limited.

#15

Camera N.5 : Agfa Isolette with Bergger Panchro 400

Now let’s look at the gear.

Camera Rolls
Leica M6 21
Leica IIIc 11
Leica M4 10
Hasselblad 500CM 4
Agfa Isolette III 2
EOS 1N 2
Kodak Autographic Jr 1
Minolta Himatic 7s 1
Grand Total 52

Once again Leica’s are on top of the ladder, I am still investing in my Leica Kit, so the M system is set to shine for a while. My travel kit now is the M262, the M6 and 3 or 4 lenses in the shoulder bag.

The Leica IIIc paired with the 35mm F3.5 Summaron is my walk around camera, as a consequence the M4 lags a bit behind.

Chinese new year 2018
Camera N.6 : Canon EOS 1N Kodak Portra 160

I only shot 7 rolls of medium format, the Hasselblad has a problem now and only takes 11 shots per roll, and stays at home during holidays; the Agfa still cannot focus but I like taking it out a couple of times a year (exactly two times)

I kept on my decluttering habit this year, so I got rid of my broken Olympus Mju1, the EOS 1N, the Kiev and some Nikon Zoom lenses.

 

Artist at work
Camera N.7 : Minolta Hi matic with Ultrafine Xtreme 400

 

Finally my v500 scanner died in the first week on 2018, so I upgraded to an Epson v800. Frankly the difference is not that visible but it is a lot faster and the Silverfast software is quite better than the Epson one, although I must say I still have some work to master it.

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Camera N. 8 : Kodak Autographic Jr 6×9 with Rollei retro 80s.

 

If you are curious you can check the past reviews : 2015, 2016, 2017.

Happy shooting in 2019 !

2018 – The year I still shot one roll of film a week.

Eve of Vesak Day in Brigh Hill temple – Singapore

For Buddhists Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. This is my very first time at Bright hill temple ; it is a huge compound in the center of Singapore.

Bright Hill temple also known as Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, is famous for the “3 Steps 1 Bow ceremony” on the eve of Vesak Day.

Above are monks who are opening the procession. The ceremony starts at 5pm and takes 2 and half hours to complete ending with the monks back in the main hall blessing the devotees with water.

Monks are followed by lay people who will queue all evening and a big part of the night. One people I know said he will go at 3am.

Below people queuing at the start of the procession

 

The main halls are also the occasion to pray and give offerings; mostly candles.

During the day itself, ritual is generally the bathing of the Buddha.

Most shots done with Leica M262 and Summicron 28mm, close ups with Elmarit 90mmF2.8.

Some film shots (with black border) done with Leica M6 on Fuji Xtra 800ISO with same lenses.

How to get there: Bright Hill is quite central  (like in the middle of the island) but may take some time to reach. You can get a bus there (check gothere.sg) which will take close to one hour from CDB or take a cab (more of less 15 SGD).

Devotees and temple staff are quite photo friendly, so as long as you are decently dressed and don’t go in the middle of ceremony you feel welcome to shoot. There is actually a small crowd of photographers.

Eve of Vesak Day in Brigh Hill temple – Singapore

Chiang Saen – Thailand

So I finally shot the roll of Velvia 50 that has been sitting in the fridge for nearly two years. As around 20 SGD from the shop plus 13 for processing, this does not come cheap so I was waiting for an occasion to put it at good use. It made the trip to Chamonix last year but flew back to the fridge due to terrible weather in french alps.

I finally used it during the recent trip in Sunny Thailand. I used a Leica M6 classic and most of the pictures here are done with the Summicron 28mm. The film was shot at box speed.

Scanning the slides does probably not give them justice, I think that slides are better projected or printed in Cibachrome (who remembers this?) Here they look like nice digital shots, what they are at the end of the day. Scanned on the Epson v500, they look very close to what I can get out of the M262.

For people my age (50+), shooting travel on slides, reminds or the time where our dad or uncle keen on photography was bringing tons or slides from exotics places he visited and embark us for then boring evenings or projections (including oddly synched soundtracks)

Nowadays I the slides are shoot are mostly Rollei; they are more affordable. Both Rollei and Fuji have color casts one scanned, Fuji in the pink , Rollei on the yellow. On this set of late afternoon pictures in Chiang Saen, the cast is quite pleasant and I did not try to correct it too much.

The meter of the M6 (with new batteries) is doing a good job as only one slide of the roll was badly exposed. Counter-intuitively, slides who are notorious for being picky with exposure are better shot under exposed, the opposite to print film which likes to be a little over.

Chiang Sen, is situated in the most northern part f Thailand inside the Golden Triangle notorious for opium trafficking and more. Situated 1 hour from Chiang Rai and 5 hours drive from Chiang Mai, it is  nice city along the mekong where the 3 countries (Laos, Myanmar and Thailand) meet.

I read once that in the 21st Century, slides are the only serious reason to still shoot film. This may not be totally true, but it is probably the type of film which competes the best with commonplace high end digital image.

Chiang Saen – Thailand

Fuji Superia 800 galore

One of the members of the Lugs (Leica user group Singapore) and prominent film shooter has ordered a bulk of Fuji Superia 800 and offered to share them. So even if I’m not a Fuji guy myself I picked up the occasion and snapped 12 rolls of 24 shots a 5 SGD a piece.

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We met last week with his gang at Brawn & Brains café and had a nice meet up session, discussing gear, film and shooting stories.

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I brought along the Leica M6 with the Summaron 35mmF2.8, the fool proof combo I bought last year. A couple of nice camera were on the table, some Olympus, Minolta, Nikon and Leica of course.

Heading back home I met junior at the skate park and had him pause.

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The 24 shots were quickly finished in the afternoon, my dad use to favor them over 36 as you could finish them quicker, but also that in a time where you had to pay for the prints  doing extra useless shots was not an obvious choice.

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One friend said yesterday that he dreaded two things in Singapore, the haze and the formula one. Well we may skip the haze this year but formula one is upon us.

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I must say I am quire disappointed wit this shot. Not only did the big baboon insisted to be next to miss formula one, but the light is poor and the color is so so, making me remind that I don’t like Fuji colors.

I must say the colors for these indoor shots are quite nice, and those of the skate park are ok as well (a bit less nice). The pictures are quite grainy, is it the film or an effect of the exposure I do not know. Well I have 11 rolls left so I can load them in many different cameras over the coming weeks and see what I get.

 

 

Fuji Superia 800 galore