Film Photography

Another go with Kodak ColorPlus

Jesus Saves

So many film-photography bloggers I follow get such nice results from ColorPlus, Kodak’s low-priced ISO 200 color film, that I couldn’t reconcile the meh results I got from my first roll. I shot it in my Olympus Trip 35; see some of the images here.

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So I tried again, thanks to the largesse of Analogue Wonderland, who sent me another roll in exchange for this review and this mention. Get your ColorPlus from them here. I put this roll into my black Olympus OM-1 and mounted a 50mm f/1.8 Olympus F.Zuiko lens.

Then I took this camera to work, in Downtown Indianapolis, and brought it out at lunch or after hours to make some images around the center of the city. I work around the corner from the City-County Building, the seat of the combined government of Indianapolis and Marion County.

City-County Building

You’ll find the old City Hall a couple blocks away. It’s currently vacant. The orange seats are for people waiting on a bus. They came out of one of the stadiums we used to have here that was demolished to make way for bigger and better stadiums.

Bleacher seats at City Hall

I looked specifically for colorful subjects among the beiges and grays of Downtown’s buildings. ColorPlus looks mighty good to me in these images, far better than what I got from it in the Trip 35. It’s a mystery to me, as the Trip usually does lovely work. But I discovered long ago that some lenses love certain films and not others.

Bank of Indianapolis

It was a bit of a risk to shoot ISO 200 film past dusk, but I managed to hold the camera steady enough for the long exposure. These evening colors look mighty pleasing to me!

Downtown at night

I made this shot while sitting outside at a restaurant with my brother. I liked the juxtaposition of all the lines. Keen eyes will spot Kurt Vonnegut painted onto the side of a building.

Hedge Row

Lesson learned: it’s not fair to pan a film based on one roll shot. These colors are lovely.

Green car at Qdoba

Kodak ColorPlus is a good consumer-grade color film, rendering realistic tones through my F.Zuiko lens. If you’d like to try ColorPlus, order it from Analogue Wonderland here.

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Film Photography

Shooting Film Washi S

Federal Courthouse

Let me say right off that I’m frustrated with myself. These photographs don’t capture the best that Film Washi S can do. It wasn’t until after I shot most of the roll that I read over at EMULSIVE that you’re supposed to shoot this film in dull, diffuse lighting. I shot every single frame in blistering, blazing summer sunshine.

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And so I’m considerably embarrassed to admit that this post is sponsored by Analogue Wonderland, who sent me a roll of this film to try in exchange for this mention. My humblest apologies to the very good people at Analogue Wonderland that I bungled this so badly. Click here to buy some Film Washi S of your own from them. But don’t be a doofus like me — shoot it in the right light.

Firestone

Not that the roll was a total bust. With a little light Photoshoppery I was able to get usable images from almost every frame. The contrast is mighty high, is all. In full sun, you get your black, you get your white, but you get very little in between. On a few photographs it was mighty appealing. But not on the one below. It shows the film at its contrastiest.

City Market

Film Washi S is actually sound recording film — bright purple! — spooled into 35mm cartridges. On a film print of a movie, the soundtrack is imprinted optically onto the film, and is then transferred to the final movie print.

Apartments

I loaded the Film Washi S into my Pentax ME and mounted my 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A lens. That light little SLR and that widish lens are a great kit for making photographs in Downtown Indianapolis, as I did.

Circle Tower

Whenever the sun was not directly behind me, the frame tended to fog a little.

Mass Ave corner

I can’t see any grain on any of these images. I’m not surprised, as this is an ISO 50 film. Check out all the great detail the film captured on this ornate theater building.

Indiana Repertory Theater

It is a shame, however, that so much is lost in the shadows. This is why with specialty films it pays to read everything you can before you go off shooting. (That’s a note to self.)

Doorway

Despite my challenging choice of lighting for this film, it did lovely work in a few cases. Like this one. So silvery! So sharp!

Lacy

Shooting specialty films is great fun under any circumstances. But it is even more fun when you read up on it first and know the conditions in which it delivers its best results. So let me be clear: shoot Film Washi S on an overcast day. Don’t be a doofus like me.

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Film Photography

Shooting Kosmo Foto Mono in 120

I often like the medium-format version of a film better than its 35mm counterpart. The larger negative opens up the film and shows you what it can really do. This goes for the new 120 Mono film from Kosmo Foto.

Flowers

When friend-of-the-blog Stephen Dowling, the man behind Kosmo Foto, announced this new film, I preordered immediately. My order arrived in due course, but it took me a couple months to find a day to spool a roll into my Yashica-D. I took both on a walk up and down the lovely Main Street in Zionsville.

One Nine Five

Dowling makes no bones about it: this is an existing film, repackaged for Kosmo Foto. This classic emulsion features strong contrast and managed grain, much like black-and-white films of old. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced. If you’re curious, get yours here.

Bus

It was a full-sun summer day as I strolled Zionsville’s charming brick Main Street. A lot of classic emulsions struggle to keep highlights in check on days like this; no so Mono.

Brick street

Moving in close, as close as my TLR would let me anyway, Mono shows good resolving power.

Chickens on the wall

I don’t mind doing a little work in Photoshop to make my photos more presentable, but it sure is nice when I can use them right off the scanner. Such was largely the case with these images. The only thing I did consistently was rotate them slightly so the verticals were vertical and the horizontals were horizontal; I do struggle to hold a TLR level.

Winery

It’s not a photowalk in Zionsville unless I photograph the great Black Dog Books sign.

Black Dog Books

Rich blacks, reasonable midtones, good contrast, barely detectable grain. What’s not to like about Kosmo Foto Mono in 120?

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Film Photography

Shooting Ilford HP5 Plus

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This post is brought to you by Analogue Wonderland, who offer dozens of fun films for you to try. Click the logo to see!

Why did I wait so long to start shooting Ilford?

Market Street towards the Statehouse

I actually know why: so many fine childhood photographic memories that involve little yellow boxes. It leads me to reach for Kodak first. But I’ve been missing out.

The Lacy Building

Ilford HP5 Plus is a fast (ISO 400) black-and-white film with a traditional grain structure. As you can see, it delivers plenty of lovely grays evenly at every level between white and black. No “chalk and soot” here, no sir.

Lime scooters

The only thing I did with any of these photos in Photoshop was boost contrast and exposure a little to suit my tastes. But truly, I could have used these images without any post-processing. I almost never get that outcome with film. Oh Ilford, I’m sorry I waited so long!

The table is set

I shot this roll in my Nikon N90s with my 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor lens attached. I have to think this camera’s advanced (for its time) matrix metering helped get even exposures on this blindingly bright day.

Artsgarden

These scenes are all from Downtown Indianapolis, where I work now. It’s lovely to take a camera on a lunchtime photowalk. The sun directly overhead typically provides the harshest light; conventional wisdom is to go earlier or later. But noon’s when I can get out, and Ilford HP5 Plus is just the film for it.

Bus terminal

There’s so much to photograph Downtown now! I last worked Downtown in 1996, and revitalization had only just begun. I wish I had made lunchtime photowalks then for then-and-now comparisons!

Nicky Blaine's

If you’d like to try Ilford HP5 Plus for yourself, you can order it from Analogue Wonderland here. They provided me this roll of film in exchange for this mention.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

Shooting Fujifilm Fujicolor Industrial 100

Analogue Wonderland, who sponsor this post, ships film almost anywhere. Click their logo to choose from their extensive selection.

Corvette

I love car shows! Especially those where everyday people show off their old iron. A nearby dealer of classic cars invites folks to bring their muscle and classic cars the last Saturday of every month during the warm-weather months. I visited last month with my Nikon N90s and 50mm f/2 AF Nikkor lens.

Pontiac RPMs

My Nikon was packing Fujifilm Fujicolor Industrial 100, which Analogue Wonderland sent me in exchange for the mentions in this review. I liked the old Fujifilm Superia 100 very much — the two rolls I got to shoot before it was discontinued. I’d heard that this film was still available in Japan, but was rebranded as Fujicolor Industrial 100.

Bug light

These results are good enough for me: if this isn’t the same film it’s darn close. Unfortunately, it’s a little pricey. But when you need a smooth-grained, bold-colored film with managed contrast and excellent sharpness, this option remains available. As of this writing, at least; Fujifilm loves to discontinue film stocks. (You can buy this film from Analogue Wonderland here.)

Satellite

This isn’t my first time shooting cars with a Fujifilm ISO 100 color film. I used Superia 100 at a show a couple years ago; see my shots here. I liked those photos so much that I saved my one roll of Industrial 100 until I could again find myself among some old cars. So far I’ve shared a ’67 Corvette, a Pontiac GTO from the late 60s (with the tachometer on the hood), an early-70s VW Bug from Australia (hence the amber turn signal; they were red in the US), and a ’66 Plymouth Satellite reflecting a newer Ford Mustang.

Stacked headlights

This photo of a ’76 Chevy El Camino shows the sharpness this film can capture. The 50/1.8 AF Nikkor lets this film’s capabilities shine through. This El Camino was yellow and white (which surely wasn’t a factory color combination). I find that many color films struggle to capture yellow. Not so the Industrial 100.

Bed

The light matters, of course; here’s the front fender of the same car and the yellow isn’t as vibrant. My Photoshoppery on these images was largely limited to using Auto Tone to remove a slight green caste, and to lightly tone down highlights and, sometimes, to boost contrast a little.

Collonnade nose

A car show is a great place to test color film because classic cars were painted in real colors, not just black, white, gray, and beige as today! Can you imagine buying a pea-soup-green sedan now? Various shades of green were common on cars in the ’70s. The jutting fender is out of focus because I made this shot inside in available light, and this ISO 100 film granted little depth of field.

Mercury

What’s a car show without a ’57 Chevy?

57 headlight

I loved how this one had a model of itself on the back parcel shelf.

57 model

This film even likes black. A lot. Notice how the blacks are different on the ’57 Chevy above and ’67 Camaro below? It’s not a difference in lighting — these are legitimately two different blacks, and Fujicolor Industrial 100 rendered them both beautifully.

Camaro

Now I want to buy five or six rolls of this film and keep shooting it. But I have too much Agfa Vista 200 in the freezer to need more color negative film. Maybe after I finish shooting up the Agfa, buying some more Fujicolor Industrial 100 can be my reward.

You can buy Fujicolor Industrial 100 in a few places online — including Analogue Wonderland, here.

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Film Photography

Shooting Kodak ColorPlus

This post is sponsored by Analogue Wonderland, who offer more than 200 films from around the world!

Retention pond

I shoot a lot of Fujicolor 200, a snapshot film. I like its look — well saturated color, good sharpness, managed grain. I also like the look of its main US competitor, Kodak Gold 200 — warmer, slightly less saturated, barely noticeable grain. But it’s more expensive. I’m a frugal dude, so I shoot Fuji.

West Park Christian Church

Elsewhere in the world Kodak offers another ISO 200 color negative film, ColorPlus. Anywhere I find it for sale online, it costs less than Fujicolor 200. If you want to try it, you can order it from Analogue Wonderland here. As of this writing, it’s the least expensive color film they offer.

Mail building

If you shot Kodacolor 200 film in the 1990s, as I did, you’ll recognize the canister inside the ColorPlus box — it says “Kodacolor 200” on it and has the same design as that film of yore. Is it the same film? It must be, yet these aren’t the same well-saturated colors on the prints I still have from those days.

Fence

Is it me or do these colors just seem off? Muted? Is that a blue caste I detect? I suppose I could have Photoshopped it away. I shot this roll of ColorPlus in my Olympus Trip 35, by the way — a snapshot film in a (very good) snapshot camera.

Tree

These colors are more muted than I like, but the sharpness and contrast are good. It’s not fair to draw conclusions about any film after just one roll because so many variables are at play: lens, exposure, processing, scanning. I’ll shoot my other roll of ColorPlus in a different camera to see if it behaves differently.

Walker Theatre through the car window

It’s not like the whole roll was a bust, either. I really like this shot I made through my car’s window.

Edith

Others have said that this film doesn’t do well in the shade or on an overcast day, but I didn’t find that to be true. Bracing myself against a wall I even made this photo inside my church, and it turned out fine. These are the best colors I got on the whole roll. (Our stained-glass windows are all marked with names in this way — original members of our congregation from the early 1900s.)

Morris Minor

Just for fun, I’ll end with this photo of a Morris Minor I found improbably parked in Zionsville, Indiana. The ColorPlus captured its hue nicely.

If I were in some foreign country, needed a roll of film, and ColorPlus were my only choice, I’d buy it and not regret it. If Fujicolor 200 were also available, even for more money, I’d buy it instead — and almost certainly be slightly happier with my photographs.

If you’d like to try ColorPlus, order it from Analogue Wonderland here.

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