Japan Camera Hunter – JCH 400 FILM

During my trip to Melbourne where I discover the FilmNeverDie  shop, I bought a couple of rolls of their SHIROKURO but also one roll of JCH StreetPan 400 film (why only one?)! I am always looking forward to try new or uncommon films, this is part of the magic of chemistry of film photography, to make me expected something new and exciting that does not depend on my technical skills (if I have any) to happen on the roll.

You can find the announcement of the film and read more about it there.

streetpan-400iso

This does not look to be  a re-branded film as the negs have the mention JCH.

This is not a technical review, I am by noway an expert, I understand that pan chromatic does not mean much other than a reproduction similar to human eye. Not sure what this means for black and white. This film is supposed to have a higher sensibility to red and a low grain.

I loaded the roll in the newly repaired Leica IIIc, and the following shots are done during Chinese new year in Singapore using a Summitar 50mmf2 lens. The Summitar is a bit back focusing so this is probably not a proper set-up to judge the quality of the film, but I have a soft spot for the IIIc.

Exposure is measured with a handheld Sekonic 308s lighmeter.

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Peanut stall

This picture is shot under a red tent and gives for interesting palette of grey, probably due to the sensitivity to red.

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There’s a cow behind the bins

For those who wonder, this was processed by the usual lab used by Ruby photo, no idea what chemical they use.

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Cookie stall
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Fellow film shooter, using a Canon 7s and Summar 50mm (but I saw he has more tricks in his bag)

The grain is actually quite controlled, and the sharpness, if you keep in mind this is shot with a vintage soft lens, is quite good. I am not a big fan of high grain film like the TriX (although I use it a lot), and always preferred the soft TMAX100 or Fuji Acros

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Kueh shop

Actually the contrast is quite smooth, unlike the Rollei Retro 400s I used recently, so for higher contrast scenes it gives  nice gradation of grey.

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The ladies selling newspaper on Keong Saik Road
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Happy fellows
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Night shot in Chinatown, a Bakua shop
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Preparing for Chinese new year

Even this night shot with back-light could be salvaged and give a nice rendering.

All in all this is quite a satisfying experience, if I manage to get more rolls they’l deserve to be shot with a better camera like the M6 or the “never-fail” EOS 1N.

JCH has sold all his stock, so only retailers will have some rolls now, until more are produced. I don’t think anybody has some in Singapore but you can find a list of suppliers on the JCH web-site.

 

 

Japan Camera Hunter – JCH 400 FILM

FilmNeverDie.com – Shirokuro 400 film

Give me a hand – Wide Open, a bit OOF, quite smooth

One of the pleasures of shooting film is trying different films when you come across some. When I was last in Melbourne, I stumbled by complete chance upon the shop / gallery of FilmNeverDie.com.

Thai Smile – very grainy probably under exposed

These are die shard film fans, with a collection of vintage cams on display, a fridge well stocked with various emulsions but I was also told by Gary, who looks to be the guy in charge, that they will soon launch their own film. Soon being very soon, Gary sold me two rolls and here are the results of the first one. I also bough a JapanCameraHunter JCH StreetPan roll, that will be for another day.

Sungei Road Golden hour

 

Apart from the label saying C41 and the indication “made in Belgium” the label of the lab and myself were not able to decipher what film it is. I am not aware of C41 films made by Agfa, the only Belgium factory, so this is news for me. But I am just an amateur so who knows.

Stacking up – Sungei Road

The film turns out quite grainy and the negatives show low contrast (I mean there are no white areas, the lighter areas being 30% grey), the scans are looking quite ok though and maybe the exposition was not so great. I used the Nikon F with one of my prisms that does not meter and an old Goosen meter. I will shot my second film more carefully.

Standard Ti Shaw
Trishaw handle bar close up. Grainy but quite pleasing

The result is quite interesting and will probably appeal to the crowd of street photographers that  like grain and “gritty” look.

IAmCeno2 mural on Funan destruction site. Nice rendering to my taste

shirokuro

Shirokuro 400 – Black and White chromogenic film c-41 process 35mm 27 exposure film

FilmneverDie.com: 2/640 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD, 3000

FilmNeverDie.com – Shirokuro 400 film

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

A roll of Rollei RPX 25

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I had high hopes for my holidays in the alps, so I brought some slides and low speed B&W film, but alas, the weather was, how can I put it politely, not so great.

And over the week I did not took out the film body.

When I hit the french riviera I was still quiet excited, but I could not really convince myself that this was the time for shooting this last roll of Velvia.

Not your average glass

Anyway so I loaded the M6 with a roll of Rollei 25, I used a mix of 50 Summiilux V2, the 35 Summaron 2.8 and the newly acquired Summicron 28mm.

Needless to say I still find the M6 is a joy to use with any of these lenses.

In my ignorance, I though that a low speed film would be better used in bright daylight on a great sunny day. Actually this is a  very contrasty film and in bright light you end up with very high contrasts. You may like it or not, I am so so.

The Fig Tree

In subdued light like on the next picture taken on the beach on a cloudy day, the grays are nicer.

On a practical point of view, the film is very flat when coming back from the lab so it’s fairly easy to scan.

The Fig Tree

There is a very thorough review of this film (and many more) here:

http://photo-analogue.blogspot.sg/2014/03/rollei-rpx-25.html

Clearly it is a bit childish to play with these “special” films and bring them to a commercial lab. It looks like their “specialness” need to be handled with care when processing the film, and the character can be managed one way or the other.

Note that I did not use any filters for these pictures

A roll of Rollei RPX 25

GOING DIGITAL WITH THE OLYMPUS E-PL2 – 2

This is a small follow up of my last post where I related the purchase of the E-PL2. Since the I took the camera out a few times and actually for something “obsolete” is is not so bad.

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The Kite Cemetery

The 4 shots in this post have been taken with the Canon Serenar 135mm F4. This is a quit ebay piece of kit I got from the web from 80 USD. It is likely to have been built between 1948 and 1952, and mine has a scaler in feet, which means it is an export version.

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Posing for fame

On the E-PL2, thanks to the crop factor of 2, this becomes a 270mm lens, by far my longest lens.

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Selfie time

Despite my short sight focusing with reading glasses and the zoom feature is possible. I wonder is the EVF (Electronic view finder would help).

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Mini-me

I still think that looking at full size there is some noise reduction happening and I prefer not to have it. But it may also just be the lens which is not that sharp and a bit hazy.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All shots taken in “auto” mode, the lens is best used at F5.6 or F8, ISO200, speed 1/640 and above

 

GOING DIGITAL WITH THE OLYMPUS E-PL2 – 2

First try of Cinestill 800T

My sson Noé in Shanghart gallery, lightened by Tungsten bulb

Cinestill  produces a tungsten film (the 800T) based on motion picture cinema film; they pre-process and package the film so it can be used in 35mm cameras and processed in any C41 capable lab.  Cinestill also had a daylight film and planed to offer a 120 format film, but if I believe their web site (http://cinestillfilm.com/) all products are sold out at the moment and the kick-starter project for the 120 format did not get off the ground.

“Lock Road” sign in Gilmore Barracks , overcast daylight

You can however still buy some film in some online re-sellers or in brick and mortar shops. I have 5 in my house in France waiting for me that I ordered from Firstcall Photographic Ltd in the UK and I bought this one in the Lomo shop in Chinatown in Singapore. This is quite a costly film, Lomo sold it around 16 SGD and Firstcall 13 (so around 8 EUR or 10 USD). Processing is standard price so around 8 SGD here. All in all this is quite expensive for casual shooting.

Lavender Food Square, probably accounts as daylight (dimmed)

Picking the camera to try a new or special film is a bit tricky, I do not want to blame the gear for missing shots or bad exposure, so I decided to remove the dust from the F4s. Unfortunately it appeared (once all loaded) that the auto-focus was not working any more. Well we have a say in France that for every bad thing there is a good one coming. So with no AF working I was allowed to pick up a manual lens; that was the small and sturdy 50mm F1.4 AIS. But I must admit it feels silly to carry such a big beast of a camera with no AF.

My friend Oliver aka the Walrus, artificial light but I cannot say it’s tungsten

After google-ing a bit I decided to overexpose the film a bit and shot it at 640 ISO and processed at 800. This is a Tungsten film, for those who do not know it is to be shot in scenes lightened by tungsten bulbs. Daylight shots should be done with a 85B color filter; I have done none of this and tried to manage the white balance in Lightroom, but I think I’ll get the proper filter next time (quite inexpensive).

My friend Fei, artificial light but I cannot say it’s tungsten
Many Heineken bottles, artificial light but I cannot say it’s tungsten
“Fat leo’s” team; artificial light but I cannot say it’s tungsten

Camera:Nikon F4s
Lens:Nikkor 50mmF1.4 AIS
Film:Cinestill 800T

First try of Cinestill 800T

Leica M240 – A rented friend for a lonely week end (Day four, Monday)

So this is (was) Monday and time to bring back the camera to the shop. I woke up early and decided to walk there armed with the old Summitar 50mmF2.0 and the Voigtlander 21mmF4.0 Color Skopar.

First stop is at the Hong San See Temple on Mohammed Sultan Road.  The M240 shows no mercy for the WWII area screw mount lens : it is obvious the lens back focus; as I said yesterday no point using it if not with live view. The back focusing problem is visible even on the location, so no bad surprise when going back home.

Yes on the close and wide open shots the lens shows some “character”…

A bit frustrated I follow my journey along the Singapore river and put on the Color Skopar.


It is almost midday, the sky is cloudy as usual, so the light is not great. The colorful Alkaf bridge looks very dull on the above. Including the fact that the pictures are coming out with a wide purple band on the right side, even with the leica 21mm profile selected, this is really a no go.


The above is a bit better, but also required a bit of tweaking in Lightroom to remove the purple fringing on the right side.

 

CONCLUSION

So time for conclusion, I have played with the M9 and the M240 this summer, used some new and old lenses and…

1- I won’t rush to buy it: I think this is the most fair assessment I can do: I can probably afford to go to the shop and get a M240 + an Elmarit 28mmF2.8 but my test did not convince me that I really need to do it now.

2 – No mercy : the M240 has no mercy for lesser lenses : you may be lucky with a gem of an old lens, but clearly for me all these old ltm lens I have are useless. No point getting such an expensive kit to produce such below par shots. The weather in Luxembourg and Singapore is quite different but the 28mm Summicron results were far superior to the Elmarit.

3 – Back to film : Do not be mistaken, I really enjoyed the experience, going through the 800 to 900 shots of the week end was a bit painful, I could have done some things better and I may try again next year. Meanwhile I think that I would be more tempted to get a newer Leica film camera and a nice lens like a Summicron 35mm and wait before going digital. But meanwhile the meanwhile, I’ll go back to “junk” gear and Nikon digital. On a side note, I have been shooting recently with the D700 and 1980’s manual lenses again and unlike the Leica I am amazed by the results.

 

Leica M240 – A rented friend for a lonely week end (Day four, Monday)