Sunday, February 19, 2012

Got film, comrade?

Earlier this year, I received a small package from my Flickr contact, Larry Dressler. Larry's into trying out all sorts of odd b&w films, and he had sent me a few rolls of Kodak Varicath microfilm to try out. Also in the package was a roll of Svema film. It was Svema 65, which expired the year I graduated from High School -- 1975! I figured that I might as well give it a try, seeing as how I have shot so many rolls of other long-expired films. Larry suggested shooting it at an ISO rating of 25, which made sense seeing as how old it was. I decided that the best choice of a camera to shoot it with than my Soviet-era Fed 5 rangefinder!

Heroes of the Revolution. Well, one of them is. That is a small pin honoring Yuri Gagarin next to the film box.

If you have never seen a roll of 35mm Svema film before, it's a best to make sure that you DO NOT open the box in daylight and most importantly, do not open the foil package unless you are in the darkroom or using a changing bag. The film is not in a canister! You need to load the film into a 35mm cassette to use it. Either the Svema folks were incredibly "green" in making you reuse 35mm cassettes, or they were incredibly cheap.


Check out the expiration date!

I shot some of the film at Toledo at the Toledo Art Museum, and about a month later finished it up at Parker Mill park off Geddes Road. After looking up some information on the web, I decided to develop the Svema film in Rodinal at 1:25 for 6.5 minutes.

Results

The film's information on the rebate developed normally, and there is a lot of base fog. Shooting at an ISO of 30 was actually way off. I should have tried shooting at an ISO of about 10! The film's sensitivity was way down, and the negatives that I scanned were mostly quite faint. Some time exposures that I guesstimated were actually pretty good (probably 8 seconds at f/11). The shots from Toledo were quite faint, but scanning them in worked pretty well. Without further ado, here are some samples...

It was fun trying a film that had withstood the latter part of the cold war, Perestroika, and the fall of the USSR. The Svema factory was located in the Ukraine, but it became a victim of opening up to the West. Kodak and Fuji films became available and the factory closed by the turn of the century.

3 comments:

Jim said...

Wow, how inconvenient to have to load the film into a cartridge! How did people come by cartridges in the first place?

s.c said...

Nice story and great to see that just such an old film still can deliver negatives.

Steve G said...

great pictures and a very good post thought your images were fanmtastic