Shot with the Yashica Mat 124G on Lomography Color 400.
Each and every film emulsion is unique, exhibiting characteristics that make them easily distinguishable. Kodak Portra is no exception. One of the characteristics that keeps Portra shooters coming back for more are the bright soft muted tones. Below is an image that displays just that. The image was captured mid day on my Yashica Mat 124G TLR at f8 & 1/250 of a second.
Each and every time I load and shoot a roll of Kodak Ektar film I am blown away by 3 things. First is the incredible colors that Ektar produces. Second is the ability to produce amazing detail with incredible latitude. Third is the grain, Kodak claims that Ektar is the worlds finest grain film and I have to agree. The images that I am sharing below are from this years Father’s Day car show in Qualicum Beach British Columbia. The only downside to Ektar in the price. In Canada we pay almost $11 dollars per roll (often plus shipping). If you gave me the choice between Ektar and Portra, i’d Have to choose Ektar. I would love to hear below what your favourite C-41 color film is.
The most enticing thing for me when it comes to thrift stores is the hunt for the unknown. It’s kind of like panning for gold I guess. Below is my latest treasure. This morning I loaded a roll of Kodak Portra 400 in my new Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 and drove down to one of my favourite spots in Nanaimo, Departure Bay Beach. Stay tuned in the weeks to come the results.
Nestled amongst a pile of thrift store treasures was an unopened 5 pack of expired Kodak Ultramax 400 film. Snatching up expired film, wether stored well or not is something I can never pass up. I asked thee older gentleman attending the shop how much he would like for the film and he very quickly said “how about a dollar”. How can you say no to a dollar for 5 rolls of film. Even if the film didn’t work the amount of fun that could be had just wandering and shooting would be worth it. As I do whenever I get film, expired or fresh, I quickly transfer it into my dedicated film fridge at home. This is where the Ultramax 400 sat for almost 9 months before I loaded it into my favourite walk around shooter, the Pentax ME.
Expired film is one of those things that people equate with lo-fi, lo-contrast, lo-quality, Lo-mography kind of images. However my experience with expired film stocks has been for the most part pretty favourable. I have no idea how long these rolls of Ultramax were laying on the thrift store junk heap or even if the previous owners had ever refrigerated them (doubtful) but I didn’t care, I decided to shoot it at box speed anyway. The expiration in 2002 which should have told me to shoot it 1 stop slower at ISO 200, but something in me said shoot it at box speed. What did I have to lose, it was only a buck. I shot the below images between 2 locations not far from my home in Nanaimo British Columbia. The first 8 images were shot in a quaint little hippie town called Coombs, known for their goats on the roof market place. The final two images were shot in a beautiful little beach town called Parksville during the world sand castle championships that are held here each year. I think the results really speak for themselves. Kodak colour negative films are almost impossible to over expose and this film renders colours in such a way that bring you back but not too far back, if you know what I mean. For a consumer grade film the grain seemed to be decently fine and although sharpened in Lightroom everything turned out fairly crisp. Over all I get kind of an Ektar vibe from this film and I love Ektar. Will I shoot Ultramax again. Definitely! To be fair, it’s not a pro film but When I compare it to some of its peers like Fuji Superia or Kodak Gold the Ultramax wins by a landslide. If you’ve made it this far in the article leave a comment and let me know what you think of Ultramax and also what your favourite consumer film to shoot is.
The journey of learning analog photography can sometimes be a frustrating one. You see the work that others can create using the same film stock and you wonder how their final results are so amazing. One of these days I am going to bite the bullet and get my 35mm film professionally scanned so that I can see if the results are that much more superior to what I am experiencing with my Epson V600. Below are a few frames from our last holiday to Disneyland's magic kingdom. I shot these images on Kodaks consumer grade Gold 200 film with the Pentax PC35AF-M point and shoot.
The journey of shooting film after many years of shooting digital sometimes feels like you're starting all over again. Such was the last roll of Tri-X I shot on a very simple point and shoot that I nabbed from the local Mission thrift store. I spotted this camera still in its factory box and noticed right away that it had an f2.8 aperture. This usually means one thing, it was in it's day more of a prosumer than consumer type of camera. I was making a work trip to one of the northern most places I had ever visited and as always I tend to bring a camera with me. One of the great things about a point and shoot 35mm camera is that you can go about your day and not really pay that much attention at all to the settings. This is important to me when I travel for work because I don't have to necessarily commit to anything I can just shoot casually.
The Pentax PC35AF is actually a pretty versatile little camera. It has pretty sharp 35mm f2.8 lens that is concealed behind an 80's style sliding door for protection with a spring loaded release that feels nothing short of snappy. The PC35 sports a selectable ISO range between 100 and a 1000 with an additional switch that pushes an additional 1.5 stops of light should you be in a backlit type situation. What is specifically great about this 80's shooter is that it has a pretty great zone auto focus system to boot.
Over all I quite like this camera. It's not as small and compact as some of the cult cameras people are paying crazy amounts of dollars for but for a $5 thrift store find I was more than pleased. In fact the tiny bit of extra bulk makes this camera much more enjoyable for me to hand hold. Below are selection of images I shot. The film I used was Tri-X 400 pushed to 1000 (Because that's the max the Pentax will go). I then developed it in Ilfosol 3 for 11.5 min with a dilution of 1-9. Check out the grainy goodness below.
Shooting medium format film (120) is an incredible experience. Seeing the detail that is revealed from the larger negative is even better. Below is my first ever roll shot and developed with my new Yashica Mat and I will be giving a quick review of my experience with this classic TLR and Kodak's legendary emulsion. First of all here are a few thoughts that I have about the Yashica TLR. Composition within a 6x6 square frame takes some getting used to and requiresconsiderable thought when making it happen, not to mention the challenge of using the disorienting waist level view finder. The mechanics of this camera are incredible and the build quality is some of the best I have ever held. I have yet to see or handle a Rolleiflex but If is is better than the Yashica it must be amazing. As far as the optics go the lens stops down to a respectable 3.5 and is incredibly sharp as you can see by the images below. What more can be said other than it is a fun yet challenging camera to operate. There are many reviews of the Tri-X 400 film on the internet so I will just give my first impressions. The three Observations that I see with this film in 120 format is that it seems to be sharp and full of detail. The dynamic range of this black and white film also is truly amazing. I am always impressed at how a well exposed negative can outshine a digital file in the highlights almost all of the time. During this journey of shooting film I have been trying to discover the pro's and con's of both analog and digital image making. I thought initially that I would end up landing 100% in the film camp as I fell in love with the nostalgia of the cameras and the wonder of waiting to see your image, but now I can honestly say that there is definitely a place for all types of image making in my world.
Here are a few Instax shots I took this last weekend on a photo walk with my youngest daughter. I love the way that instant film gives you the opportunity to create something analog and see it well, in an instant. One of my favorite images in this set I like to call "how do you turn this thing off". That one makes me smile for sure.