Friday, February 23, 2018

Ferrania's P30 Film - A One Roll Review

I love shooting b&w film.  There are so many choices out there, and the various emulsions, whether old or new are worth exploring if you want to try them (and today, Kodak Alaris announced Tmax P3200 will be reintroduced!).

I was one of the early Film Ferrania Kickstarter backers, and while I do hope they are able to bring their color E-6 film into production, I am far more likely to be shooting b&w film. Last year, Ferrania brought back an old emulsion, which they called P30 Alpha, and touted it as a traditional b&w film with high silver content, with an ISO of 80.  I didn't get any of the earlier rolls, but what I did see online piqued my curiosity.  So this year, when they let backers know that the P30 film was available for $5/roll, I jumped and purchased five, which arrived quite quickly.  Even with the $8 shipping, I think it is a bargain for five 36-exposure rolls.

I brought one roll in my bag when I went to Toronto a few weeks ago, and shot it with my Minolta XG-M, one of my favorite and most reliable Minolta SLRs.  Most of it was shot while I was in the Distillery District with Bill Smith and Nancy Bueler -- my Toronto photo friends that took their time to show me around town. 

After I returned home, it was the first roll I developed, as I was curious to see if the hype about this film was valid.  I shot the film at ISO 80, and developed it in D-76 straight, for 7 minutes, as directed in the instructions.  As soon as I took the film off the reel and hung it to dry, I was pleased with what I was seeing.   It had been a snowy overcast day, and there was a lot of contrast in the scenes.  I scanned in the negatives on my Epson V700 scanner at 2400 dpi, and my initial response is WOW! I think this film has great tonal response, great mid-tones, very fine grain, and I am very pleased with the results.  I have yet to make traditional prints from the negatives, but the scans needed very little tweaking.   The film lies flat in the negative holder without any cupping like we see in Kodak's Tri-X. 

Here are some sample images from the roll.  I was not disappointed in any of them.  I am blown away when I look at the detail in the first image.  The Ferrania P30 film is a keeper, and I hope that they keep producing it. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Halina 35 - Plastic Fantastic

Over the past 18 years, I have used my share of "toy cameras."   Usually, I expect the results to be typical for cameras deserving of that classification.   A few months ago, I was given a Halina 35 camera.  If you do any searches, you'll see all sorts of Halina-branded cameras, most of which were manufactured in Hong Kong by Haking Co.  I have previously owned a Halina TLR, which was similar to one of the Ricohflex models. It was charming, but not exactly in the league with a Ricohflex.  The Halina 35 appeared in the early 1980s as a premium camera, often under other names, and with slight cosmetic changes.  Don't confuse this with the metal-bodied Halina 35mm cameras.  The model that I have is typical of a simple "optical lens" premium camera with few controls.  It looks better than it ought to, and I figured that I would test it with a roll of Kodak Vision 100T film from the Film Photography Podcast.   The shutter speed is about 1/100th sec, and with aperture control for sunny to cloudy and flash, I figured that would work out okay.  I shot the roll back in late summer-early fall, and it wasn't until last week that I finally processed the film at home with a home-brew ECN-2 kit that I got from August Kelm. 

The Halina 35 is a simple camera, and I certainly expected my images to look like something from a Time  camera -- soft, and lacking in contrast.  However, after looking at the scans from the negatives, I am fairly impressed with the results.  I did have a few frames with double exposures, and I am not sure if it was my fault or the camera.  I'll try a roll of b&w and see if the problem is with the camera.

Here are some of the best images from the camera that I shot on the Kodak Vision 100T film.

light-pole flyers

bricks with words

new hotel downtown

old Muskegon train station

old Muskegon train station

farm stuff

Not too bad for a "crappy camera."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

On The Road, and In The Bag

Some film to develop!
Now that I am retired, it seems that I have been traveling more often, and while they are short trips, they have been by car, which means that I can pack whatever I want.  It used to be that I would pack many cameras, and then decide which ones to use while I was on the road.  No more of that.  It's easy to over-pack camera gear. I made the mistake in 2003 of having way too many cameras on a trip to New Mexico.   It's one thing to bring some equipment that I didn't use because the conditions were wrong, such as a Lomo Sprocket Rocket and overcast rainy days.  So, what I am doing now is deciding in advance what my goals are and assembling gear around that.

Last week I went to Toronto for 3 nights, and had arranged to meet up with Bill Smith and Nancy Beuler, both locals that are doing film photography, and who I have been friends with on FB and Flickr.  Of course, it's winter, so I was not going to be bringing any cameras that are fiddly to use. I decided to make it a Minolta event, and brought a Maxxum 5 (lightweight and AF), and a Minolta XG-M (aperture-priority manual), and a Minolta Hi-Matic G (point and shoot).  I brought a Maxxum QTsi as a backup, and a Yashica A TLR.  I also brought a tiny Canon Powershot SD1400, because nothing like having a tiny digi on hand anyway.

It turns out that we had snowy and cold conditions on the first day, and cold and sunny on the second day.  We took street cars, walked a lot, and also took the subway.  I wasn't agonizing over which cameras to use, and while the Yashica A only took 3 photos, I am glad that I brought it.  I had a lot of fun, and while the conditions were not always the best, I think I came away with some good photographs.  I'll post them after I develop the film. Toronto is a very accessible city, and has great public transportation.  The streetcars are an efficient way to get about town, as is the very nice subway.  I know that I'll return when it is warmer, as there are many places to see and night photography awaits.

I am going to Pittsburgh next weekend, and I am bringing just one camera bag with my Nikon F3HP and a couple of lenses, and my Olympus Trip35.  They are  well-tested cameras that I can depend on to give me great results.  At the last minute I may throw in a Holga.