Sunday, February 10, 2019

Street Candy ATM 400 - One Roll Review

There has certainly been an explosion of boutique-branded 35mm films of late.  Some of them are new emulsions, such as the Ferrania P30 and the Bergger Pancro 400 b&w films. Others, such as Kosmo Foto Mono 100, Lomography’s Berlin Kino and Lady Grey films are merely repackaged and relabeled films from the OFM (Original Film Manufacturer) that are standard well-known film stocks.  On the other hand, we have the JCH Street Pan, and now the Street Candy ATM 400 films that are non-standard emulsions from OFMs that were designed for other purposes but have found their way into our 35mm still cameras due to the enthusiasm and diligence of the people that brought them to market.  Add to that list the new films from the Film Photography Project under the Derev Pan label.  Mike Raso gave me a roll of the Street Candy ATM film to test, and finally, after over a month of delay, I have finished the roll and developed it.  Of course, you can buy this film at the FPP Store!

What is it?  
Vincent Moschetti  introduced this film  in 2018, and the original use for it was in surveillance cameras in ATM machines.  Because of that, the OFM produced the emulsion on a thin polyester base so that more film could be loaded into a reel  for the ATM cameras. I did not test this earlier version of Street Candy, but I suspect that it was similar in handling to some of the thin base films from Svema.  The Street Candy ATM 400 that I tested is on a thicker polyester base, and is easy to handle.  Vincent makes the case that the Street Candy ATM 400 gives a "gritty" look to street scenes, and yet delivers a good range of tonality.  The data sheet for the film gives some standard processing times, and he recommends that the developers and times for Ilford’s HP-5+ can be applied to the Street Candy ATM 400 film.  So, as to the identity of the OFM, maybe it’s Ilford?  In any case, it’s good to see an emulsion that does not require me to test for the best developer/time combination to get usable results or require some strange developer that I don’t normally use.    I love the 80s-look of the branding, and Street Candy implies some slightly illicit activity.

My results
I originally loaded the roll into my Nikon FA when I was in NJ for the FPP recording sessions.  I shot about a dozen frames in NJ, and about a month later I took the FA out to shoot, and when I went to take some photos I realized that the batteries had died.  I shot a couple of frames using the manual 1/250 sec and came home.  I decided not to trust the FA in cold weather, so I rewound the roll and loaded it into my very trust-worthy Nikon FM.  Therefore, the remainder of the roll was shot yesterday in downtown Ann Arbor.

I developed the Street Candy ATM 400 in D76 1:1 at 20C for 11 minutes.  Standard agitation, and a water rinse to stop, and then 8 minutes in fixer, followed by a 1 minute water rinse, archival wash, another 1 minute rinse, then a final soak in distilled water with Photoflo to avoid spots from the Ann Arbor water.  I hung the film to dry overnight and scanned it this morning.

The film has a slight cupping to it, and does not lie perfectly flat like I would have expected.  Once I cut the film into strips to fit the scanner holder, the remaining film still hanging curled up like a spring.  That too, was unexpected.  So, perhaps I am wrong about the backing being polyester. The film scanned fine, and I did not have to tweak the scans to achieve a proper "look".  I am presenting the scans here without any post-processing other than to remove dust spots and stray cat hairs (!!!!).

I find the overall results to be quite satisfactory, and the film’s grain is not detrimental to the images, and is in fact, very nice. I shot the film under a variety of conditions,  and I certainly find it to be better for me than the results that I got with JCH Street Pan.  It’s a bit different of a look than I get with my go-to film Ultrafine Xtreme 400, but not too punchy.  If you are looking to try something different, I think you’ll like Street Candy ATM 400.  For me, I’ll stick with a film that I already know and love, and that would be either Ilford HP-5+ or Ultrafine Xtreme 400.   The slight cupping and spiraling of the film after it dried was unexpected, and is a minus for me.  I like my film to lie perfectly flat, and that's what I get from my favorite films.  Still, after all is said and done, the Street Candy ATM 400 is worth a try, and you may like the look that it gives to your images.

1 comment:

Junkstorecameras said...

Thanks for this review. I'm looking for something new to try (newer than 1996, ha!) and this might be it!