Yes this is a about Caffenol again: after a few rolls ranging from total failure to barely acceptable, I finally got two rolls who turned out pretty good yesterday. I must say that I finally received the pure vitamin C powder so this brew is more deterministic that the others. I also stick to reducing the ingredients by 1/4th as I use a .75L bottle to store it. I used the times derived from past experiences and the Massiv Dev Charts site. So for this Rollei 80s I used the mix at room temps ( about 28/29 Degrees) and 5’25” from when I started pouring to the time I poured out.
The result is pretty good, contrast is fine, there is little dust on the negatives and scanning goes without problem.
I ll keep doing this a few time before maybe trying to cool the mix a little in order to have more leeway in playing with the dev time.
All shots with Agfa Isolette III on Rollei Retro 80s. Oh it is noticeable on some shots that markings from the film backing paper can be seen, but this roll (I have 2 more) are 2 years expired are spent the last few years in the humid climate of Singapore so it may explain why.
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
Last Sunday I pour my Caffenol in a bottle of green glass (Perrier) and kept in just in case.
So tonight I was restless and I decide to give Caffenol another try.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was also measured using my new Keks EM01 ligh meter.
The soft lock down was extended two weeks ago until 1st of June, so all in all that will be 8 week of lock-down.
Conditions are a bit more strict, but all in all I cannot complain. I can work from home, we have plenty of hardware here so we don’t fight over PCs, and we can within reason go out if we wear a mask.
We are allowed to go out for shopping in the neighborhood or for exercise, which is flexible enough and can be used without abuse. We generally walk an hour at the end of the afternoon, go for our food shopping and go home.
The photographic practice is a collateral victim of the lock-down, I am quite busy with work, so I have no leisure to (re) invent a “shoot at home” activity, and while going out, there is not so much happening and we always roam the same aeras.
I have stopped shooting film after the first week : I do not process at home so there is no incentive until the labs open again. I am carrying the Leica M262 Body (Coming to its 4th birthday soon) and some vintage lenses : the Summaron 35mmF3.5 ltm on the first two shots and the Summitar 50mmF2 for the others.
The Summitar is back focusing a bit, but its quite easy to adjust after a couple of shots. Wide open it gets this “swirly” Bokeh, which is funny.
The colors for both lenses are quite nice, but unfortunately the weather is also pretty nasty, it generally rains lightly when I can go out.
What to shoot to show the emptiness and halted activities? Not much really. Although activity is very quiet and the traffic is noticeably smaller, it is rare to be able to picture a usually busy street that is empty.
But surely there are a lot of signs like the public areas where seats are blocked as above.
Or below, bar areas who are wrapped away.
Empty parking places in the city center are definitely a sign that something is going on.
Hairdressers which were ordered to close two week ago, will now reopen before the rest of the businesses.
Finally when reaching the river on the way back home today, there was a very nice light on the buildings of the city center.
This is one of the last rolls of 2019, finished on the 31st December morning.
It is a Kodak Portra 400, shot with the Sumaron 35mm F3.5 lens on the Leica IIIc.
As usual I shot the roll over two weeks, I was lucky on the first day to stumble upon a ceremony at Hong San See temple around the corner, where deities coming from China to be worshiped here were sent back home by the lion head lorry. A few moments later I went to Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple in Chinatown for a the temple consecration ceremony after its renovation.
December is a wet month in Singapore, umbrellas are out (and colorful).
Pre-Christmas the Orchard road shopping area was busy.
At the “wings” watering hole in Clark quay I finally managed a decent picture of girls in uniform. I just printed it for them, to give away next time I walk by. This was shot wide open at 1/60 or 1/30.
The newly opened Funan mall with its climbing wall is just around the famous Peninsula shopping center with its many cameras shop and my fav lab.
I like the Portra for many reasons, I think it is very good for shots as above with muted colors.
Christmas is also an opportunity to visit churches for office or to watch the Christmas cribs.
Finally on the 31st of Dec, I carried the M4 along, to finish the roll. This was to Chinatown again with a group of photographers. Weather was just great.
I must say I also love the Portra for its saturated colors.
All shots, Leica IIIC, with the Summaron 35mmF3.5 LTM lens and assorted 35mm Viewfinder. Kodak Portra 400
Scanned at home with Epson v800
Dropped for processing at Ruby Photo (not sure who does the actual processing)
I realized when doing the math at the end of the year that in 2018 I did not shoot much medium format film. I must say that my only working condition camera is the Hasselblad 500 CM which is not so easy to grad around for my casual shots.
One of the consequences is that my film box contains now mostly 120 film, some starting to be expired for more than two years. Not that I think that the are going to be wasted, but it is never a good sign.
So I have now decided to bring the Hassie along for casual shooting. There will probably be less people in the coming rolls as it is not greatly suited for “street” shots, but probably more city views from a local tourist.
Hong Lim park
I think this is my last roll of the Cinestill 50D, part of the Kickstarter package. I quite like this film in the end as per my last post, it s quite punchy, is easy to scan. And slow speed is fine in good weather and daylight. I am not sure I ever shot many films with the Hassie at night or dusk.
One thing the lead of the film is gooey so when you remove the lead you will often end up with some parts of the back that take up the film being sticky, and some goo ending up on the roll as in the first Hong Lim shot.
Beginning of the year and excitement to try the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 that I am bulk loading, I am taking the odd camera from the treasure box.
A couple of weeks back it was the turn of the 1970’s Minolta Himatic 7s. Actually the 7s was released in 1966 same year as me. The Himatic is a rangefinder camera with a sharp, fast 45mm F1.8 lens, and in-camera metering.
Ok I don’t quite like the the Himatic too much : it is heavy feels clunky compare to the German rangefinders; it is not that fast to operate, and also the metering died on mide during a bike tour.
I also the viewfinder to be not that bright and having too many signs inside; there are just three visible sides of the frame, so I always wonder how to frame the fourth.
BUT when I got the roll from the shop I must say that I am impressed by the result, the lens is fast and sharp and the 45mm give a bit of air to the shots.
This is my 3rd roll of the Ultrafine Xtreme 400 bulk and I quite like it. I am new to handrolling, the picture below is the last of the roll, so the first from the bulk that I attached to the canister and I think it was exposed to light. Pitty I like this shot.
I think I like the film, it is now 3 rolls I shot this year and 2 last years, it is on the contrasty side but nothing too extreme, so it makes a good replacement for TRI-X or TMY 400. The shot below is quite smooth as I like it. Actually tones quality reminds me of a proper wet paper print.
Mmm also I fell the Epson v800 gives immediately better results that the v500, but this may be just because I paid so much for it.
There will be no declugging for the Minolta, it belonged to one grand uncle, so that’s a keeper even if it goes out of the box only once a year.
So this was the first day of the holidays; after the long-haul flight from Singapore to Nice and a night or rest, here I am driving up 2 hours from Cannes to Allos in the Parc of Mercantour in the southern french alps, a couple of boys day’s out with my son and my dad.
I had a couple of ideas of things to shoot on the way, including a stop at the railway station in Thorame Haute a stop on the “Train des pignes” that link Nice to Dignes-Les-Bains.
To our amusement, when we stepped out of the car a vintage steam train was parked along the station. It appeared it had to make a stop to let the regular train pass by as there is only one track in this area.
The people attending the train were very nice, happy to have a chat and camera friendly, hell they had 2 hours to kill
This train is kept by a non profit association it travels from May to October on Sundays.
Last week I went out with fellow members of the “Lets shoot film SG” group, in the area of Arab Street in Singapore. The intent was to shoot the crowd : this has became a very popular spot now and there are many opportunities for candid shots.
I loaded the Agfa Isolette III with my second roll (on 3) or Pancro 400, to see how it fares with a slightly better camera. I must say this was not some precision work, the uncoupled rangefinder is not working so the distances are guestimated and I preset the exposition most of the time. I put the original yellow filter (probably 1/2 stop) in front of the Apotar 80mmF4.5 lens as well as the aluminium hood for good order.
The film was processed at the same lab as the first one, I was not told the film need pushing this time, so maybe they worked out how to process it “normally”, go figure!
The results : as the first film, this one came fairly flat from the lab and was easy to scan. A bit of tweaking in Lightroom, et voila!
Is it the conjunction of the small aperture used and / or the yellow filter? The results surely have more contrast that my first roll but still shows pretty smooth tones, and no hard contrasts. Highlights were easily recuperated, underlining the claim to large latitude.
Something keep on surprising me ( as I also just scanned my first roll in 35mm format) it is that this film manage to be quite grainy and still preserves an impressive amount of details even in under or over exposed shots (no shown here) or areas.
I will shot the last 120 roll with the Hassie; maybe I’ll try to do some portraits to see if in a more controlled environment something else is revealed.
The French company Bergger released earlier this year the Pancro400 film in 120 roll film & 35mm. Without getting too much in the technical details that you can find here, this is a film with high speed, fine grain and wide exposure latitude (from ISO 100 to 1600). As per Wikipedia, a panchromatic emulsion produces a realistic reproduction of a scene as it appears to the human eye, which is what most modern films are tending to (except the ones labelled as orthochromatic films) so nothing special to expect. Some of my friends think the film will have a tendency to highlight skins and darken greens / blues.
Recently during my last fridge replenishing order, I bought 3 rolls of this film in both 120 and 35mm.
I shot the first roll with the Dacora Digna, a 1950’s German 6×6 camera with a collapsible 80mm lens, a fixed speed of roughly 1/50 seconds and a choice of aperture of f8 or f11. This is not a perfect camera for testing a new film but the Hassie was 10000 KM away.
The film was processed at my usual lab; when I collected I was told it was pushed; the only explanation I had was that the guy from the lab knows the film need to be pushed. The result is ok-ish anyway, but the negative did not look too contrasty; I expected it to be overexposed a bit by sunny sixteen rule.
On a practical note the markings on the back of the film are very faint so it is difficult to read the frame number though the red window when you advance the film.
The pictures were taken during a walk to the Lac d’Allos one of biggest high altitude (2230m ) lakes in Europe.
Roll number two is at the lab at the moment, street shots from yesterday walk with the more reliable Agfa Isolette III, the last roll I’ll definitely keep for the Hassie.
The end of 2016 was fast approaching and looking at the treasure chest (and my spreadsheet of films shots during the year), I looked at camera who had not went to the field.
The Kiev IV is one of them, and I felt the next trip to Dakota was a good opportunity to take it for a spin. I loaded a roll of Tri-X and pocketed (so to speak) the body, the 50F2 and the 35F2.8.
My Kiev now has a new skin (no more mummy look), and no more light leaks (fingers crossed). So it does not look to shabby anymore and is quite a usable device.
The light-meter on mine is dead, or maybe is it too complicated to use. I find the speed control very difficult to use, and difficult to read with my poor eyesight at close range. The rangefinder with its lighting window below the shutter is not great as I always have a tendency to obscure it with a finger or the other.
I always like the images that the Kiev produces, my two lenses are very sharp, the rangefinder when not blocked, is very accurate. The speeds on my copy are quite on as well. But this fellow stays in the cupboard (actually a giant Tupperware) because of its not so friendly controls (speed change, shutter button, lens change, winding, loading of film). I think it even compares negatively to the Leica III.
This says I love the pics, I may get rid of my set this year, it may be a cheap entry level rangefinder for someone else, who knows.
About Dakota Crescent estate, you can read more on other posts, around mid-December the place is quite empty now.
This is a roll shot with the Kiev IV Camera, Jupiter 35 or 50 lens on Kodak TRI-X.