I have a terrible habit of buying four or five rolls of a film I’d like to try, shooting one roll, and then buying four or five rolls of another film I’d like to try. I’ve repeated this pattern enough times that I have probably 50 rolls stockpiled in the fridge. So I put a moratorium on buying more film until I shoot what I have.

The last time I shot Eastman Double-X 5222 I used my Nikon F2 and a 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens. This movie film gave me blacks so deep I could have fallen into them, and textures so rich and realistic I expected to feel them if I touched the screen. So when I decided to shoot another roll I chose an entirely different kind of camera: my point-and-shoot Olympus Stylus. I wanted to see if the film behaved differently.

I didn’t get the same rich blacks this time, but I did get the same realistic textures.

Around the Corner

I was at church for a meeting, so I made some quick photos. Once again these images invite me to touch the screen to feel the rough brick.

West Park Christian Church

I brought the Stylus inside to shoot a couple rooms, which were set up for our day care to resume the next morning.

First Steps Day Care

I love the moodiness created by the window light and the corner shadows.

First Steps Day Care

The church is in an old city neighborhood with alleys. Ours is concrete and was probably poured 100 years ago.

Concrete Alley

On the way home I passed this run-down building, which I bet began life as a grocery store. I am impressed with how well the clouds rendered, especially since I didn’t use a yellow or orange filter.

Used Tires

I took the Stylus along on a too-brief visit to South Bend, my home town. I was there on business, but I made a few minutes for a coffee at the Chocolate Cafe downtown.

South Bend Chocolate Cafe

I miss South Bend. I’d love to run a little bookstore in the State Theater building. Too bad this shop owner thought of it first.

Idle Hours

A storm rolled in quickly as I walked a couple blocks of Michigan Street. In reading the light the Stylus misguidedly decided it needed to fire the flash, serving only to create flares off every reflective surface. If I didn’t need to explicitly turn off the flash every time I power up the Stylus, I’d shoot it a lot more often.

Michigan Street

Still, I’m not getting rid of my little Stylus anytime soon. It fits into my jeans pocket and packs a great lens. And it liked the Double-X just fine.


16 responses to “Eastman Double-X 5222 in the Olympus Stylus”

  1. dan james Avatar

    Jim, I relate to that habit, I probably have at least 200 rolls of film in the freezer – and I’ve hardly shot any in the last six months! Probably time to defrost and sell a few batches…

    Great results with the little Olympus. It remains the best AF film compact I’ve used – small enough to pocket (unlike most “compacts”), great handling, excellent close focus, very decent results. Yours seems to like that Kodak film very much.

    If you ever come across one, try an Olympus LT-1. Same innards and lens as the Stylus/Mju-1 but with a fancy leather outer and a flap that folds up over the lens. Sounds impractical but it actually works very well in practice, and I love the extra tactile grip of that leather coating.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh my goodness I’m not in that bad of shape! I probably have 50 rolls. Mostly 35mm.

      Moving has slowed the rate of photo-making way down. I’ve had the same roll of film in the Spotmatic for six weeks now. That’s unheard of in my world. The film is some expired Konica Chrome 200, something I’ve never shot before.

      I have a few more rolls of this Double-X in the fridge. I like it all right. I think I like the Ferrania P30 a little better though.

      Ooooooo the Oly LT-1. Yeah, I’ve drooled over one of those a time or two.

      1. dan james Avatar

        Your Mju-1 post inspired me to finish a post on the LT-1 I’ve had in draft for ages!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Woot! I look forward to it.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    You know, “back in the day”, Kodak Super Double XX sheet films captured a very, very long scale and was a pretty beautiful film, especially when developed in HC-110 or DK-50a. We always wished that we could get it in 120, but the reps always told us it was considered too grainy. I mean this film was so long scale, that it was used a lot for making color separations for dye transfer printing. I don’t know how this film compares today to what it once was, but it’s good to remember a lot of Kodak film responded far differently to various developers.

    I never liked Plus-X, and it was, it my considered opinion, barely usable in D-76, but it was horrible in HC-110, and not recommended. I seem to remember Super Double XX not being all that hot in D-76 either. You said you weren’t getting the blacks you wanted, but maybe a developer change?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I have heard that Double X is best in D76. Or at least that’s how I remember it. Actually, it’s best in D96 but that’s a motion-picture developer not easily acquired, and D76 is similar enough and easy to get. But I don’t know what the processor used. I sent this roll to Old School Photo Lab and I’m pretty sure that’s where I sent the last roll, too, but there’s a chance it could have been Dwayne’s. I’d have to go dig through my negatives to be sure.

      I looked it up and Old School uses Clayton F76+ developer.

      I happen to adore Plus-X. I recently shot my last roll of it, as a matter of fact; photos forthcoming. Old School Photo Lab processed it and the images came out beautifully. I should ask them what developer they use. One lab I use, Willow, offers two different b/w developers: D76 (I think) and T-Max. It’s nice to be able to choose.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        We needed a medium speed film for fashion when I managed a big department store studio, and we finally decided on Agfapan 100. Everyone loved it, it was like old Tri-X, with less grain and speed. Long gone now, but it was pretty nice! Plus-X seemed very flat to us. Plus-X did make the best reversal black and withe slides, tho. You used to be able to buy a kit to process it reversal for slides, an dit looked way better that it did as a negative film. Go figger!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Wow, Plus-X as reversal! I never knew that was possible!

  3. tbm3fan Avatar

    LOL, you want some film? Have probably close to 300 rolls of 35mm and 120 in the fridge and freezer. Ask my wife!

    Kodachrome, I got it. Too bad I can’t use it. Plus-X, got it. Ektachrome, got it. Verichrome Pan, got it. Agfa 100 & 400 APX, got it. Elite chrome, got it. Then there is all the film that is still currently made from Kodak, Agfa, Ilford and some Fuji.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Holy cow, 300 rolls! We have a fridge in our garage; I could probably get away with that. But I feel like it’s wasteful enough to have 50 rolls squirreled away!

      I miss Verichrome Pan! I’ve bought some expired stock from the FPP and from eBay and every time I shoot it I love it.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        Verichrome Pan was IT, the total bomb. I used it exclusively for medium speed 120 in my studio, and then all the places I managed until we couldn’t get it any more! The rumor was Kodak pulled it once, and then got a nasty note from Avedon and Victor Skrebneski (Chicago’s Avedon), because they used it exclusively, so they never pulled it again until the mid 90’s! I’m not sure about the Avedon part, but I know (friends of friends) about the Skrebenski part. It was beautiful, and the base was very, very clear, it didn’t seem to have the grayish tone of Plus-X that affected the prints. This was also true of Agfapan 100. Kodak should bring that back tomorrow!

        Original Ilford FP-4 was a close second (super clear base), but we used to run into problems with the emulsion having tiny tears and dings in it (I see some of that in the eastern-euro black and white films today). When they came out with FP-4 “plus”, the tears and dings disappeared, but the base was very grey, and it seemed to take some “:sparkle” out of the prints.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          VP is one film I’ll probably keep buying as expired stock because it is so right for the many 620 cameras I come across. Here’s a shot of expired VP I shot in a Brownie box:


  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I’m a big fan and down to my last few rolls of Plus-X. If TBM3FAN wants to part with some…I’m a buyer. Love the stuff!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeah, I could be tempted too.

  5. Maureen Sudlow Avatar

    great shots – just wondered how you upload these…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I upload them to Flickr. Then to insert them into a blog post, I go to the photo on Flickr I want use. I click the curved arrow icon in the photo area and choose Embed from the window that appears. In the drop-down in that window I choose “Large 1024” and then select the text in the box that begins with a data-flickr-embed and press Ctrl-C. Then in my post I go to HTML view and paste that text where I want it to go.

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