Tag Archives: film

Photo Notebook Show Down

For anyone who shoots a large volume of film and doesn’t always process it right away or sends it off to get processed. It can be difficult to retain a lot of the details in your head. So when I began to send film away to the awesome folks at Old School Photolab and The Darkroom. I needed something to record the date, camera, location, lens, film, and any other details that I may need for when I posted the images. I started carrying around a simple notebook and pen to record all this in. It worked! When I started shooting large format, I would also record the exposure information. I would then transfer the information into a spreadsheet, with additional information such as processing and where I stored the negatives. But there weren’t any dedicated notebooks on the market specifically for film photography. But in 2016 two dedicated photo notebooks entered the market and it’s those notebooks I’m going to talk about today.


(L-R): TWSBI Diamond 580 (for scale)k, The Galaxy Handbook, The Photomemo Book, and my normal notebook.

Galaxy Photographer’s Planer and Handbook (GPP&H)
The Galaxy notebook was a highly anticipated notebook from the folks at Galaxy who brought us a high speed direct positive photographic paper. The journal is based on one used by photographer George Murray Levick during the Terra Nova Expedition. The GPP&H is a beautiful journal, well made, leatherette cover, ribbon bookmark, and an elastic to hold it closed. The paper is heavy weight and holds ink well without any feathering (what happens when the ink spreads into other fibers of the paper). The paper texture is smooth making it easy to write on. Inside the book, you’ll find a wealth of information for almost everything related to photography. Exposure information, the Sunny-16 Rule, Online Resources, there’s even a pile of film and paper developer formulas. There’s also a calendar and plenty of space for your photography logs; this is where the book fails. While this keeps the book fairly thick, it isn’t too bad to carry around in your camera bag or even a pocket.


The large format log sheet, lots of space for all the gritty details of shooting LF. Most of which I don’t use.

The simple fact is that the GPP&H tries too hard. Is it a planner, Handbook, or journal? Well, it attempts to be all three and loses out because of that. The book contains a full history of the journal and its design, a pile of key dates, calendar, exposure logs, location scouting, and blank note space. It’s all well and good, but seriously it’s a bit overloaded when all I want in such a book is to record the film I’ve shot. The first of these logs is the Ansel Adams’ designed “Exposure Record” I can’t make heads or tails of these sheets. I know they have something to do with the zone system, but not knowing much about that system, beyond how I apply it (Shadows in Zone IV, thanks, Mat!). Next up is the Large Format records, these are my favourite part of the book. I pretty much have everything here that I usually would record and then some, the only thing missing is a spot to record any camera movements. The roll film section just asks too much information that I simply do not record such as lens and exposure data. So these sections just are a waste of space, to be honest. Also, the notebook states that it’s for all types of roll film yet there are only 12 spots per page, which means you’ll have to take over several pages per roll and heaven forbid you’re shooting half-frame on a 36 exposure roll. The area for darkroom prints is pretty handy, and I’ll probably give that some love when I get back into the darkroom printing. The location scouting section is well laid out also giving you plenty of space to make notes on spots you come across in your travels, and I’ll certainly use it to keep notes for future shoots and walks.


The Roll film log sheets, you only get twelve shots per page, and I just wrote a single roll on each line./em>

Despite some added bulk, the GPP&H isn’t a bad notebook; it just tries too hard. And with the calendar element to it, you loose out because once the year ends, two whole sections of the journal can no longer see use. And while I probably won’t be using it on a regular basis as one that comes with me on trips, it will have a spot on my shelf for various other uses like the formulas and journalling locations and darkroom prints.


A comparison of thickness between the two

Shot Film Co. PhotoMemo (SFPM)
If the GPP&H is the Moleskine, then the SFPM is the Field Notes of the Photography Notebook world. The SFPM does not try to be anything other than a practical book that does one thing and one thing only, record notes on roll film. But don’t let the small thin size scare you off, I don’t call it similar to Field Notes for nothing. This one is tough, having used several Field Notes books in the past this thing can take a beating. Inside you’ll find smooth paper, that is nominally thick and can hold pen ink well, and I’m talking fountain pen here. There is a small amount of feathering and some bleed through but nothing to cause me alarm.


A close up of the ink on the page, you can start to see some of the feathering from the ink

While the SFPM doesn’t try to be anything more than a book to record roll film notes, It does suffer the same problem as the GPP&H on the log pages; there’s way too much space for what I record, so I end up only using the top sections and recording some additional notes below. Which makes me feel bad that I’m wasting such a great notebook. But if you do record everything about every frame you shoot than there’s plenty of space for around 35 exposures per record. Honestly, if you don’t like drawing up your notes in a simple notebook, the SFPM is the book I would personally recommend, especially if you take a pile of notes on each roll. While smaller than the GPP&H you certainly have more space to record details in the PhotoMemo.


While the SFPM book gives you more room, I still only use the top section.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’ll be using either notebook in any substantial capacity in the field. I’ve come to realize that I only record the necessary information when I’m in the field and my simple reporter style notebook is enough for me plus I can always fill in the gaps when I go to enter the data into the Excel spreadsheet. But if you’re the type who likes a dedicated notebook you can pick up both items online, The Galaxy Photographer’s Planer and Handbook from B&H and the PhotoMemo directly from Shoot Film Co. And to close I would like to give big thanks to Shoot Film Co. who graciously donated their PhotoMemo book to me for this review.

Film Review – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400

So I’ve managed to shoot through my brick of JCH Streetpan 400 film and feel I’m good to begin writing an in-depth review of the film. I’m going to start off with saying that this is a fantastic film! Well worth the time and effort that Bellamy has put into researching, marketing, and tweaking to suit his amazing photography and now has taken the bold step in bringing it to the rest of us. You will have probably heard a lot of negative press related to this film, even recently someone put a comment on one of my Streetpan images to a video review of the film that stated that it was an old Agfa stock that Bellamy found a core roll of and just spooled and repacked. Well, I just can’t believe that, because the film edges are branded, and there’s a current expiry date on them, and from all my interactions with Bellamy, he’s not to type to pull the wool over the eyes of thousands. I’m glad I went ahead and invested in this film early. These days we hear too much about film stocks cut, but 2016 has been a great year for film, Rollei, Kodak, and Ilford all holding steady with their commitments to maintain traditional stocks, and the continued promise of Ferrania pulling out a new E-6 film. Streetpan, it was a bonus, an excellent bonus!

Product Highlights

  • Type: B&W Panchromatic up to 750nm
  • Base: Polyester (0.10 mm)
  • Film Speed: ASA-400
  • Formats Available: 35mm

So now that we’ve gotten the dirt taken care of let’s dig in. I decided to approach this review a little differently that my other reviews have been because it’s a film, not a camera it changes depending on how you develop it. Using my trusty Nikon F5 to make sure the film was being exposed with the same meter with every roll I set about using the developers I had access to and the times listed on the box.

Kodak HC-110
My first experience with Streetpan 400 was under cloudy conditions and developed in HC-110 Dil. B. I was hooked right off the bat with this combo. The contrast is dead on, the extended red sensitivity shows up by cutting through the haze that was 5000% humidity. For a 400 speed film paired with HC-110, the grain looks like something from a 100 or 200-speed film even when scanned. What makes this combo shine is the contrast, not too harsh, not too soft. You have blacks and white complete with mid tones across the spectrum.

TFSM - Summer '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Summer '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Summer '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

Kodak Xtol
Now I’m a big fan of Xtol as a developer, but in this case, it wasn’t that good of a chemical to use with Streetpan. It made the images look soft, and not in a good way. The shots I took were on a dull day that was humid, but my lens was often working in the f/5.6 to f/8 range, and since it’s the same 105mm f/2D it should be sharp. But the edges appear soft. I actually had a bit of a scare when I first pulled the film out of the tank, I thought that I had over developed it, but once I got it in the scanner I realized I hadn’t. Development was again spot on with little adjustment needed in Photoshop with the levels/curves. The tone was excellent, with great blacks and whites with stable mid-tones. There was also no real difference in grain, it wasn’t any finer, compared to HC-110. Xtol would not be my first choice however for this film.

Reflection
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 17:00 @ 20C

The Brush Past
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 17:00 @ 20C

An Entertaining Conversation
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 17:00 @ 20C

Ilford Perceptol
Now these are the results from Streetpan that I have come to expect from the film. Clean, fine grain, sharp and the contrast point is dead on. The only trouble was that the negatives were a bit dark and needed some heavy adjustments in Photoshop to pull up the images. So I would say that either an additional 30 seconds in the developer or a slight pull to say ASA-320 would be enough to produce a cleaner negative. But overall Perceptol is another winner for developing this film to give the best results.

TFSM - Fall '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Fall '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Fall '16
Nikon F5 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 10:00 @ 20C

Ilford Ilfosol 3
Ilfosol 3 was one of the first developers outside of D-76 that I worked with so it remains a bit of a soft spot for me. And for Streetpan it does a fine job, despite me shooting the film in less-than-ideal conditions. The grain is acceptable but noticeable more than other developers, and the film shows off the tonality that it can produce. While Ilfosol 3 wouldn’t be my first choice for developing the film if it’s all you got, you’ll create some fantastic images! As for the time, I might opt to bump it up 30 seconds, but I’d have to test it out under better conditions.

Bending Light
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+3) 5:00 @ 20C

Halfsmoke?
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+3) 5:00 @ 20C

Ending the Day
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Ilford Ilfosol 3 (1+3) 5:00 @ 20C

Rodinal
If you had to pick two developers to use with this film, HC-110 would be the first. And in a very close second would be Rodinal. Usually, you would avoid using a sharp developer with a 400-speed film in 35mm. But in this case, the film itself is designed to produce a fine grain even with a sharp developer and the negatives look good! Right out of the tank I could see to fantastic tonality and stunning contrast that I saw with HC-110. And yes the grain is a little more noticeable but nothing that would take away from the quality of the images.

Deco
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Yellow-15) – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Heather
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Yellow-15) – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

Everywhere
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Yellow-15) – Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400 @ ASA-400 – Blazinal (1+25) 10:30 @ 20C

The Final Word
Streetpan is certainly a film I’ll be working with again. There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, I will have already ordered another brick of 10 rolls of the film from the JCH site. For use on my honeymoon in April in New York City and at a wedding I’m photographing in April. Despite all the praise I have heaped on Street Pan, there is one thing I have noticed with it. It likes light; it doesn’t need direct light, I would avoid shooting in it harsh light, but it wants gray days, soft even light or open shadow. But it does suffer in low light; I had a tough time pulling out good images when I was shooting it just after dusk or in darkened interiors. As for the developers, I do highly recommend using either Rodinal or HC-110 to develop this film as I got the best results from those with good tone, not overly contrasty and it shows off the sharp fine-grained nature of the film stock. It’s a good stock, and a welcome addition to my choice of shooting media.

Big thanks to Bellamy, the Japan Camera Hunter himself, for taking the plunge and bringing Street Pan to us hungry film photographers, he took a leap of faith, and the results are stunning. You can pickup the film directly from his shop and now you can buy single rolls, three and five packs, or a full brick of ten. I recommend the ten. If you’re in Toronto you can pick up the film from Downtown Camera, currently the only Canadian Supplier of the film!

52:500c – 52 Weeks, 52 Photos

Over the course of last year, I ran through another fifty-two roll project. While I didn’t post the images here to this blog, I did post them over on 52rolls.net. This year I made a point to stick to certain rules and methods that I have used in past projects of this type and settled on the following.

  1. I could only use a Hasselblad 500 series camera
  2. I could only use the Rollei RPX line of film (RPX 25, 100, and 400)
  3. I could use any lens in the Hasselblad V system

I also made a point each week I would pick my favourite photo from that week, in mind to but them together in a book (which is happening). But without further delay, here’s my picks for 52 photos from 52 weeks!

Week 01 – Welcome to the Hangover
52:500c - Week 01 - Welcome to the Hangover

Week 02 – Winter’s Fort
52:500c - Week 02 - Winter's Fort

Week 03 – In the Darkness Bind Them
52:500c - Week 03 - In the Darkness Bind Them

Week 04 – A Fort for a City
52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City

Week 05 – Ghosts
52:500c - Week 05 - Ghosts

Week 06 – Organized Chaos
52:500c - Week 06 - Organized Chaos

Week 07 – A View to a Lake
52:500c - Week 07 - A View to a Lake

Week 08 – Fort Town
52:500c - Week 08 - Fort Town

Week 09 – Throwing Rocks
52:500c - Week 09 - Throwing Rocks

Week 10 – Capital National
52:500c - Week 10 - Capital National

Of course, this project I was euphoric with, I mean by the half-way point I had worked through some failures, accepted the losses and posted the photos anyways. Now I had toyed around with the idea of making a book with my first 52-Roll Project, not so much in the second, the third would have also made a good book. But this fourth one grabbed onto me, so I started collecting up my favourites from each week.

Week 11 – Jewel in the Crown
52:500c - Week 11 - Jewel in the Crown

Week 12 – A House Divided
52:500c - Week 12 - A House Divided

Week 13 – A Lovely Downtown
52:500c - Week 13 - Lovely Downtown

Week 14 – Just Won’t Quit
52:500c - Week 14 - Just Won't Quit

Week 15 – A Fort Named George
52:500c - Week 15 - A Fort Named George

The design of the book will be pure, middle gray for the background with white text in a sans-serif font and simply titled “52: A Year on Film” each image presented with a small write up on it. The write-ups will be new, not taken from any blog post or Flickr description, as the book is a reflection on the image, what it means now, not then.

Week 16 – In the Neighborhood
52:500c - Week 16 - In The Neighborhood

Week 17 – No Place I’d Rather Be
52:500c - Week 17 - No Place I'd Rather Be

Week 18 – Longwoods
52:500c - Week 18 - Longwoods

Week 19 – The Gully
52:500c - Week 19 - The Gully

Week 20 – Welcome to the Jungle
52:500c - Week 20 - Welcome to the Jungle

What goes into picking your favourite photos, thankfully some weeks I had only seven picks from the roll, others I had the full twelve. I usually trust my gut when it comes to this; I wait for a single photo just to jump out and grab me. Ones that I’m on point with exposure and composition, an image that speaks to my soul and shows the theme or subject I had photographed for the week.

Week 21 – Welcome to the Roc
52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc

Week 22 – A Farmer’s Life
52:500c - Week 22 - A Farmer's Life

Week 23 – Battlefield House
52:500c - Week 23 - Battlefield House

Week 24 – The City that Works
52:500c - Week 24 - The City that Works

Week 25 – The Old Kirk
52:500c - Week 25 - The Old Kirk

Week 26 – Close to Home
52:500c - Week 26 - Close to Home

Week 27 – Ships of Summer
52:500c - Week 27 - The Ships of Summer

Week 28 – Cruisin’
52:500c - Week 28 - Cruisin'

Week 29 – Lovely Saturday Drive
52:500c - Week 29 - Lovely Saturday Drive

Week 30 – Contest of Fortification
52:500c - Week 30 - Contest of Fortification

The big task will be to go back through my negatives and to rescan each one, then going through and editing each image again in Photoshop but using the same technique and style for each. You might have noted the jarring sepia tone on “A House Divided” Yeah, that wouldn’t look good in a book that I’m aiming to keep a consistent look. It also will allow for some of the old negatives that had a nasty curl to be scanned better.

Week 31 – Vieux-Québec
52:500c - Week 31 - Vieux-Québec

Week 32 – Lakeshore Evenings
52:500c - Week 32 - Lakeshore Evenings

Week 33 – Transit
52:500c - Week 33 - Transit

Week 34 – Wednesday Night Blues
52:500c - Week 34 - Wednesday Night Blues

Week 35 – Muskoka
52:500c - Week 35 - Muskoka

Week 36 – Castle
52:500c - Week 36 - Castle

Week 37 – Shaken, Not Stirred
52:500c - Week 37 - Shaken, Not Stirred

Week 38 – Saturday Morning Coffee
52:500c - Week 38 - Saturday Morning Coffee

Week 39 – Black Creek
52:500c - Week 39 - Black Creek

Week 40 – Grand Old House
52:500c - Week 40 - Grand Old House

The project also gave me a deep appreciation for the Rollei RPX line of films, a fantastic stock that’s new in the film community. And I do plan on continuing to shoot the RPX 25 as my new choice for slow films, RPX 100 and RPX 400 are decent films, but I’ll stick with FP4+ and Tri-X.

Week 41 – Battle Ground
52:500c - Week 41 - Battle Ground

Week 42 – Royal City
52:500c - Week 42 - Royal City

Week 43 – Make No Little Plans
52:500c - Week 43 - Make No Little Plans

Week 44 – Disillusionment
52:500c - Week 44 - Disillusionment

Week 45 – High Flight
52:500c - Week 45 - High Flight

Week 46 – Distant Voices
52:500c - Week 46 - Distant Voices

Week 47 – Finding Nemo
52:500c - Week 47 - Finding Nemo

Week 48 – Steel City Blues
52:500c - Week 48 - Steel City Blues

Week 49 – Upon Avon
52:500c - Week 49 - Upon Avon

Week 50 – Burlington Races
52:500c - Week 50 - Burlington Races

Week 51 – Once More with Feeling
52:500c - Week 51 - Once More With Feeling

Week 52 – All’s Quiet
52:500c - Week 52 - All's Quiet

Film Review – RPX 400

The final film in the RPX line is their fast film, RPX 400. RPX 400 is not my favourite film of the trio; I’m not saying it’s a bad film, it’s just not my favourite. As the name says this is an ASA-400 film but has a substantial exposure latitude going down to 100 and up to 3200 but I would recommend that you stick to the 200 to 800 range for the best performance.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic B&W Negative Film
  • Base: Triacetate
  • Film Speed: ASA-400, with a Latitude between ASA-100 and ASA-3200
  • Formats Available: 35mm/120

52:500c - Week 33 - Transit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-1600 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. A 5:30 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 32 - Lakeshore Evenings
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 9:00 @ 20C

The Good
There are two solid points on this film. The first is how easy it is to handle, many films of this time suffer from a centre line curl once it’s been processed and hung to dry. While some films this is very noticeable (I’m looking at you Tri-X) other are not as bad (HP5), this film despite the base materials stays flat making it easy to scan. The second point is that it has pleasing fine grain for a fast film. I only started to see heavy grain when shot at ASA-1600, and that’s in HC-110 Dilution A. The best developer I’ve found for this film is Pyrocat-HD at ASA-320 the fine grain nature of the film shines and the contrast point is dead on. I’ll probably even try this film out in Rodinal in one of the later weeks of the project!

52:500c - Week 28 - Cruisin'
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 23 - Battlefield House
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 7:00 @ 20C

The Bad
The biggest problem I have with this film is contrast! Unless you develop it in a high-contrast developer like Rodinal, HC-110, or Pyrocat-HD, it becomes a muddy mess. It’s all a mess of greys. The developers include the specialised RPX-D and Xtol (diluted, not stock). This is also not a sharp film, it’s pretty soft around the edges in most developers, even HC-110 I find the film a touch too soft for my taste. Of course in Pyrocat-HD the film is sharp and probably will give similar results in Rodinal. And finally it comes down to the RPX-D developer, while it was designed for the film I really found that it didn’t do much over using something more normal like Xtol or HC-110.

52:500c - Week 14 - Just Won't Quit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Disagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-800 – Rollei RPX-D (1+7) 13:00 @ 22C

52:500c - Week 08 - Fort Town
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-400 – Rollei RPX-D (1+11) 11:00 @ 20C

The Lowdown
Let me state again this isn’t a bad film, it just isn’t a favourite of mine. And that’s because it reminds me of HP5 (in 35mm) along with Delta 400 and TMax 400, these all aren’t bad films, it’s just I don’t like how they render contrast and it’s the same with RPX 400. But like anything, it’s all about freedom of choice, and if you like RPX 400, go for it, I am not one to stop you, this is just my view on the film.

Film Review – Rollei RPX 100

Next in line is the middle-ground for the RPX line, RPX 100. And frankly, this is another winner in my book. Beautiful tones, fine grain structure and a tremendous latitude! The film is seriously the Portra 400 of the RPX line. I may even go as far to say this film is just a little better than my two favourite mid-speed films, Kodak TMax 100 and Ilford FP4+.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic B&W Negative Film
  • Base: Polyester (PE)
  • Film Speed: ASA-100, with a Latitude between ASA-25 and ASA-800
  • Formats Available: 35mm/120

52:500c - Week 15 - A Fort Named George
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 (Red) – Rollei RPX 100 – Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 27 - The Ships of Summer
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 100 @ 100 – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

The Good
If you’re looking for a solid middle of the road film with plenty of room on either side of the box speed, this is certainly one to try. I have not experimented with the range beyond box speed only because it looks just beautiful right at ASA-100. While I was worried about this film at first when I shot it back in October of last year, I felt that it lacked the contrast where I wanted it. But after playing around with other developers, I found that it could be done at a good contrast point. This film sings in almost any developer that you soup it in, especially the specifically designed RPX-D developer. In fact, I find this film a close cousin of Kodak TMax 100 and often behaves in the same way, in fact when I went to use FA-1027 I used the TMax 100 times with great results. I have also noticed that it does respond well to contrast filters especially with either Orange or Red filters to darken the sky on bright days with beautiful clouds. And finally there’s the grain, it’s a good structure and even in sharp developers like Rodinal, it doesn’t make the grain look terrible.

52:500c - Week 31 - Vieux-Québec
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 9:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 19 - The Gully
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-50 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

The Bad
The one thing I don’t like about the film is that in certain developers you can get a lack of contrast, mostly in Xtol cut 1+1, but I mean that’s just a personal preference. As I mentioned before the film is fine grain, which is true but you have to keep that agitation light. I’ve found that in HC-110 if I’m a little rough on the tank, you will get a bit of an uptick in grain.

52:500c - Week 22 - A Farmer's Life
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 17:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 26 - Close to Home
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 – FA-1027 (1+14) 9:30 @ 20C

The Lowdown
If you’re balking at the price increase on Kodak TMax films then this might be a good alternative and it readily available both in Canada and the United States and offers similar times so even with the limited ones specifically for RPX100 you can experiment and begin to use the TMax times. Just remember if you’re a little unsure give a clip test first. I wish that Rollei would begin to produce this film in 4×5 as well, but hey, you can’t be too picky these days.

Film Review – Rollei RPX 25

When I first learned about the RPX line of film I was pretty excited, these days we often get news of discontinuation of films more than the addition of a new film stock. I was also excited when I learned that these would be the modern reincarnation of the legendary Agfa APX films and what a return to the photographic stage. Now these films are produced by Agfa but marketed under the Rollei Name. So with my on going 52-Roll project just past the halfway mark I figured now would be a time to give them a bit of a review! So to kick it off I’m going to review the slowest of the three flavours, RPX 25 and so far my favourite of the lot.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic B&W Negative Film
  • Base: Polyester (PE)
  • Film Speed: ASA-25, with a Latitude between ASA-12 and ASA-50
  • Formats Available: 35mm/120/4×5

The Good
I’m not going to lie; I love slower films these days, and the RPX25 doesn’t fail. The film delivers on its promise of being a fine grained film and sharp. I mean razor sharp. I’ve had excellent results developing this film in Rodinal and HC-110. It really likes Rodinal at 1+50 dilution and delivers super sharp negatives and fine grain which is something coming from a sharp developer. In HC-110 the high contrast nature of the film really shines but still provides a sharp image with a bit of an uptick in the visible (but beautiful) grain and you still have some great mid-tones. A huge plus for the RPX 25 is that it’s available in both roll film and sheet film, that’s right an ASA-25 sheet film. Something that hasn’t been seen natively in a long time.

52:500c - Week 10 - Capital National
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 (Yellow) – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 17 - No Place I'd Rather Be
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

The Bad
There are a couple of points against this film, which aren’t really all that bad, they’re more minor annoyances. The first is developing times, often if you’re getting into highly-dilute developers, even 1:1 you’re looking at 10+ minutes but the results speak for themselves. And these are just the results using medium format, I haven’t had a chance to shoot this film in 4×5 but I’m sure the results will be even better. Another thing that might be of an issue with some folks is that if you’re developing for under ten minutes you will want to use a chemical stop bath. And continuing on the theme of developers there are a limited number of times available for this film stock. But it is still the new kid on the block, so it is just a matter of time.

52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 29 - Lovely Saturday Drive
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 (Yellow) – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

The Lowdown
If you’re a fan of slow films, this is not one to overlook, or if you’re in the old school and loved APX 25 then this film is certainly a real winner for you. A future classic for sure. Ideal for landscape and architecture work as you do want to use a tripod to get the full experience with it. Although even on a sunny day you can hand-hold it. And being available in the three top sizes for photography it certainly is an excellent product that I plan on using in the future. And plan on expanding that list of developing times.

Kodak Day – Developer Review – D-23

Sometimes simple is the best way to go about things, and what could be easier than Kodak D-23. So with today being George Eastman’s birthday I figured I’d dig into this wonderful developer that is new to me and give some of my first thoughts on this developer. Now for those who have been in the photography field for some time you probably are wondering why I’m reviewing a developer that hasn’t been commercially available for many years now. While I can’t pinpoint when D-23 was released, all I know is that Ansel Adams used the stuff.

Miners Falls
Miner’s Falls — Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ – D-23 (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

Munsing Falls
Munising Falls — Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ – D-23 (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

Kodak D-23 is a semi-compensating developer, which makes it a favourite of those who use Adam’s Zone System to determine their exposure settings. The two chemicals that drive D-23 is Metol and Sodium Sulfite, both of which you can purchase in bulk from Photographer’s Formulary, or you just buy their “Developer 23” Kit. The kit was actually how I first started using this developer. I have used D-76 in the past and while I can see why D-76 is still around as it has a better shelf life, I much prefer D-23 after using it. I find that it produces the same grain and sharpness as D-76 but has way better contrast in my negatives.

Project:1812 - The Forts of Prairie Du Chien
The Old Prairie du Chien Museum — Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – D-23 (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Project:1812 - The Battle of Tippecanoe
The Prophetstown Historic Marker — Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-100 – D-23 (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

As you can see with these images, the lighting conditions were pretty severe with lots of shadows and highlights especially when I was in Prairie du Chien thankfully my head was right in the game that day, and I was nailing my exposure (thanks to filters and my trusty Pentax Spotmeter V). The addition of D-23 into the mix was the secret weapon and brought these images to life in my opinion. I think I prefer to work with D-23 in stock dilution you can dilute it 1:1 which does help tame the contrast on films like Pan F, but I wasn’t 100% happy with the images the diluted developer produced.

In the Shade
A Quiet Spot — Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ – D-23 (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

Bicycle Races are Coming to Town
Old School Bike — Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ – D-23 (1+1) 8:30 @ 20C

As I mentioned at the start Kodak doesn’t make D-23 anymore; it is super easy to make at home. For 1 liter of chemistry, you need 7.5g of Metol and 100g of Sodium Sulfite, I placed an order yesterday for a pound of Sodium Sulfite and 100g of Metol, so I’m laughing for the near future and can start to explore what this developer can do with films beyond Ilford stock. But the one thing that I will be using D-23 for in the future is to work as a historical developer with a WW2 combat photographer impression.

Developer Review – Rollei RPX-D

Along with their wonderful line up of RPX films, the folks over at Rollei have also got some developers specifically for their film. Similar to Kodak’s TMax Developer for their TMax line of films. So as part of my ongoing 52-Roll project I’ve been using the RPX line of films exclusively. So when I saw the RPX-D developer I figured to give it a shot to see if it gives something more to this film that I wasn’t seeing with my usual chemistry. Before I start I was a little disappointed with the developer, specifically because it seems to be a two trick horse, only having times for the RPX 100 and RPX 400 films, and really was more suited for the RPX 400 films and pushing it beyond the ASA-400 box speed.

RPX 100 – I really do like this film, and the RPX-D developer did a good job with it. The contrast was right on point and the film scans were nice and sharp. There was a decrease on the grain when I scanned it as well. But really it wasn’t anything more or less than what I could get out of Xtol or Blazinal with the film.

52:500c - Week 15 - A Fort Named George
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 100 @ 100 – Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 (Yellow Filter) – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 – Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 03 - In the Darkness Bind Them
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

RPX 400 – So the one big issue I have with this film is that it just lacks contrast, sort of like why I’m not a fan of Ilford’s Delta 400. So I was hoping that the RPX-D would bring out a bit more in the film to a point where I preferred it, and you know what, it really did! Both at ASA-400 and ASA-800. However it really didn’t tone down the grain on the film like it claimed and actually softened the film I feel.

52:500c - Week 14 - Just Won't Quit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Disagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-800 – Rollei RPX-D (1+7) 13:00 @ 22C

52:500c - Week 08 - Fort Town
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 – Rollei RPX-D (1+11) 11:00 @ 20C

So my final say on this developer is really don’t worry about it. It really doesn’t add anything to the film that you can’t get with your standard developers like Xtol, HC-110, and Blazinal. In fact I’d go as far to say I actually prefer the film in my standard chemicals. But in the end it is all about personal preference. But in the end stick to what you know, and I know that I probably won’t go for any other specific Rollei developers for the rest of the project.

Why Shoot Expired?

This past Tuesday, the Ides of March, is also Expired Film Day. So I figured I would do a post about shooting expired film along with tips/tricks that I’ve come across with shooting old/expired film stocks. While I do a majority of my shooting with fresh film stock there is a certain level of fun and intrigue when shooting with expired film stock.

1. You can Shoot Film that is no longer available fresh.
There are plenty of film stocks out there that is new that you can often make behave like well loved film stock in the past but it just never will be the same. These days you can’t go out and pick up a fresh roll of Plus-X or Panatomic-X not to mention tonnes of other film stocks that have been discontinued and are only available in expired stocks. But if you’re lucky you can pick up only slightly expired.

Opened
Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Kodak Panatomic-X (FX) @ ASA-32 – Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

Taking Shelter
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Verichrome Pan (VP) @ ASA-125 – Kodak Xtol (1+2) 8:30 @ 20C

Expired Film Day!
Nikon FM2n – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Kodak Plus-X (PX) @ ASA-64 – Blazinal (1+100) 10:00 @ 20C

2. You know Instagram/Hipstamic…where do you think they got the idea from?
All that strange colour shifting, gritty, odd looks that you get with your favourite application those old rolls of colour films you have laying around that may have been stored in a dodgy area, you’re going to love some of the stranger shifts that you can get with older film stocks like Fuji Velvia, Kodak Ektachrome, and more!

Band Saw
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 75mm 1:2.8 – Fuji Velvia (RVP)

Overlook
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Ektachrome E100VS

SUPER8
Nikon F2 Photomic – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – FPP Retrochrome 320 @ ASA-320 (Eastman Ektachrome 2253) – Unicolor Rapid E-6 Kit

3. It’s Cheap!
Many folks out there are looking to save several dollars these days well short dated film could be your answer! Seriously, if you frequent camera sales (the big ones with lots of vendors) you can usually find the film bins filled with the 1-2$ rolls of 120/35mm that you can pick through to find some deals. Nothing like walking out with twenty rolls for that bill in your wallet. And often it’s the best deal you can get at these shows. Not to mention FPP Retrochrome is cheap fun slide film and of course massive film lots from Ebay!

Sarah at the Garden
Anniversary Speed Graphic – Kodak Ektar f:7.7 203mm – Polaroid Type 79

Sunday Morning Stroll
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Kodak Ektar 25 (PHR)

For Rent
Nikon F4 – AF DC-Nikkor 105mm 1:2D – Ilford Pan F (Expired: 1978)

Of course there are some pitfalls and things to look out for when buying expired film and some ideas when shooting the stock once you get it.

1. Storage – Usually try to purchase film that have either been frozen or refrigerated, most Ebay auctions will give you some idea of how it was stored, and vendors at shows are usually up front. I’ve shot some dodgy Kodachrome and some frozen stock and the difference is night and day.

Poorly Stored:
Kent Street
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 – Kodak Kodachrome 64

Properly Stored:
king/parliment
Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 T* – Kodak Kodachrome 64 (KR)

2. Processing – This is mostly important for Slide and Colour Negative films, before we got to our C-41 and E-6 processes today there were several older methods. Today most labs cannot process these older stocks so you’re on your own or sending them off to Film Rescue International, The Darkroom, or Blue Moon Camera and Machine to get done up in B&W chemistry, just be sure to reach out to them first (and the folks that run these companies know their shit) before just sending off random rolls. And while we’re on the topic, I would personally avoid Kodachrome, while you can process it in B&W chemistry it’s really mess and not worth the effort.

3. Pulling the Film – Pulling film is shooting it at a slower speed, the guideline is usually 1 stop per decade. This means that if you have a roll of Kodak High Definition Film that expired in 1994 and has a box speed (the film speed printed on the box) of ASA-400, you’ll want to shoot the film at ASA-100 so two stops. A stop is halving the speed of the film (ASA-400/2 = ASA-200/2 = ASA-100). Of course there are some films that can handle their full box speeds even expired. I’ve shot Plus-X, Panatomic-X, Verichrome Pan, FP4, Pan F all at box speeds with some rolls having expired in the 1960s and the results were fantastic! Of course if you change the film speeds you’ll need to adjust your developing times.

And that’s about it! Now go out there are scour ebay and your aunt’s house for some tasty film treats to run through your cameras. Of course you can also purchase some great stocks from the Film Photography Project Store!

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 14 – We See the Light

ccr-logo-leaf

Sometimes you just can’t trust a camera’s meter or you want to do something creative with how you meter your photos. And then there are times your camera just doesn’t have a trusty built in meter. So you have to do things old school and that’s use an external meter. Something that lives in almost every photographer’s bag.

To give a quick review there are two types of meters based on how they measure light. The first is incident metering that measures the amount of light falling on the subject and then there’s reflective meters that measure the amount of light reflected off the subject.

Meters Featured on Today’s Show…

Pentax Spotmeter V – This is Alex’s go-to meter when shooting medium and large format black & white as well as some colour negative film like Portra 400. It is a pretty simple 1 degree spotmeter that gives an EV reading which you then dial-in with the calculator on the side of the meter, giving you a full range of apertures and shutter speeds. The only thing he wishes it could do is go lower than ASA-6.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 14 - We See the Light

Make: Pentax
Model: Spotmeter V
Type: 1° Reflective Spot Meter
Photocell: Silicon Photo Diode
Scales: ASA-6 to ASA-6400, EV 1 to 19, 4′ to 1/4000″, f/1 to f/128

Jubilee Presbyterian Church
Intrepid – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Adox CHS 100 II – Blazinal (1+25) 5:00 @ 20C

Flatiron
Intrepid – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Kodak Plus-X (PXE) @ ASA-64 – Blazinal (1+100) 10:00 @ 20C

Weston Master I Model 715 – This World War II era meter is still going strong and next to John’s iPhone is his meter of choice. Of course you need to use a calculator to figure out the Weston Scale for film speeds which was one developed by the company as film speeds in the 1930s and 40s weren’t as accurate as they are today.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 14 - We See the Light

Make: Weston
Model: Master I Type 715
Type: Reflective meter
Photocell: Selenium
Scales: ASA-6 to ASA-820, 100″ to 1/1200″, f/1.5 to f/32

Capturing the View
Pentax Spotmatic SP1000 – Carl Zeiss Jenna 50mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ – Rodinal

Gossen Luna Pro SBC – The non-flash version of the legendary Gossen Lunasix F or Luna Pro F (for those in the US). Well loved and respected by both photographers and cinematographers this meter will not steer you wrong according to Mike. SBC stands for Silicon Blue Cell, after the CdS cell that reads the light. Plus it takes a readily available 9v battery.

Cameras for the Scott Kelby Photowalk

Make: Gossen
Model: Luna Pro SBC
Type: 30° Reflective or 180° Incident meter
Photocell: Silicon Blue Cell
Scales: ASA-0.8 to ASA-100,000, EV -8 to EV +24, 8hrs to 1/8000″, f/0.7 to f/128

Ricoh Mirai 35-135 Slr ZOOM
Calumet CC400 4×5 Monorail – Schneider-Kreuznach Symmar 210mm 1:5,6 – Kodak Tri-X Pan (TXP) @ ASA-12 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. M 60:00

Collapse To Ruin
Zenza Bronica SQ-Ai – Zenzanon 65mm ƒ/4 – Kodak TMAX400 – Ilford Ilfosol-3 1+14

Sekonic L-398a Studio Deluxe III – This is a wonderful entry level meter with the option for incident and reflective metering, though Donna prefers to meter for reflective light rather than incident. And since it’s a selenium based meter no need to worry about batteries.

Classic Camera Revival - Episode 14 - We See the Light

Make: Sekonic
Model: L-398a Studio Deluxe III
Type: Incident/Reflective
Photocell: Selenium
Scales: ASA-6 to ASA-1200, EV 4 to EV 17, 60′ to 1/8000″, f/0.7 to f/128

Rollei RPX Films: Rollei’s RPX film are in Alex’s words the spiritually successors to the legendary Agfa APX films. Like the APX line they are available in three flavours: ASA-25, ASA-100, and ASA-400 and have really hit the film world. The film is avalible in 35mm and 120 formats but we’d really like to see it in 4×5 maybe? While there are many detractors there are still plenty of fans of the film itself! And the best part is that it’s now very easily accessible here in Canada through our friends at Argentix, Burlington Camera, and Downtown Camera!

Samples from RPX 25
52:500c - Week 02 - Winter's Fort
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

Front of old Dodge Pickup
Olympus Pen F – SMC Pentax M 50mm 1:1.4 – Rollei RPX 25 – Rodinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

Hobson United
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Rollei RPX 25 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:00 @ 20C

Samples from RPX 100
52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 – Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

Birds Eye View
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 – 35mm 1:3.5 – Rollei RPX 100 – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

Mill Pond - Diacord L
Rochoflex Diacord L – Rikenon 80mm 1:3.5 – Rollei RPX 100 – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 8:00 @ 20C

Samples from RPX 400

52:500c - Week 06 - Organized Chaos
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-800 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 14:30 @ 20C

TFSM Fall '15  - The Distillery District
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C

In A Mirror, Darkly
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm 1:2.8G – Rollei RPX 400 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

We’re having a meet ‘n greet! That’s right this is your chance to network, drool, and photograph with the hosts of Classic Camera Revival and the fans and listeners in downtown Hamilton on the 7th of May, 2016! The best part is that it’s also the same weekend as Doors Open Hamilton so there will be plenty to shoot. If you plan on coming please RSVP either on our Facebook Event or by Email. And we hope to see you there!

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix…check out Burlington Camera, Downtown Camera, Film Plus, Belle Arte Camera and Camtech, if you’re in the GTA region of Ontario, if you’re on the West Coast (British Columbia) check out Beau Photo Supply. Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival or even Twitter @ccamerarevival