New film stock to try out … Agfa APX 400

I was recently sent a lovely little package from a twitter friend Sandeep @Givemeabiscuit that contained a bunch of different films stocks.

He kindly sent me the films due to losing a bet that we made last year in regards to Liverpool FC ( who I support) finishing higher than Manchester UTD (who he supports) .

We both agreed to send each other a pile of film which ever one of us lost the bet, I won but to be honest I forgot all about it but Sandeep being the gentleman that he is reminded me and suffice to say he sent me a excellent pile of films some of which I have never shot before.

The 1st film that caught my eye was some Agfa APX 400 which is a film that I have not tried so I decided as the weather last weekend was total pants and my rugby match was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch I though I would get wet anyway so loaded up a camera that I have had a while but never shot the Minolta Dynax 500si (more about this at the end of the blog) and went out up the mountain in the mist and rain to see how the film/camera performed.I tried to test the film/camera with a variety of settings and subjects from wide open closeups to stopped down wide shots all in aperture priority at iso 400 and developed the roll in Ilfotec HC 1+31 dilution for 8 minutes.

The camera performed really well I did switch to manual focus for some of the shots as it did struggle in the light a little but other than that it was great. The film itself was also a revelation with lovely contrast and excellent sharpness which really showed in some of the images where I stopped down to f8 and more.

The grain is pretty uniform and tight which helped in the large areas of mist in the pictures.

Overall I am very impressed with this film and will certainly look into buying some more in the future.As I said earlier in the post … more about the Minolta Dynax 500si …

I have been thinking about how to give back to the film community in some way.

I have given a few cameras/film away in the past but I was thinking about how to get others to join in the absolute joy that is “film photography” so as a start I am going to give this camera and AF35-70mm lens away along with some film to a newbie film shooter.

I will do a follow up blog post in the next few days with details about how I am going to do this as I am not really sure how to target newbie photographers.

Hopefully my fellow film togs can spread the word somehow and I can get the ball rolling soon.

Anyway thanks for looking ….

Click on an image to view larger

All images are available as prints just drop me an email

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

ilford HP5 @ 1600 …. I love the look ….

img015-EditAs a follow up to my recent post “Fathers Day” on the 52 Rolls project blog …. link in post below.

Here is the rest of the roll that I shot with my F80 and some HP5 at 1600 iso which I love shooting at even more than box speed.img012Even though the grain is more pronounced it does not impair the image in fact in my opinion it ready adds to the look that I love when shooting B&W.

The sharpness of the images also compares well to when shooting box speed too, the only slight drawback is the slight loss of shadow detail but if scanning there is a bit more you can do to the image whereas in the darkroom (I am not a master printer) it is a bit harder to do.img016I did a few test prints in my darkroom of the top image of this post and the level of detail in the negative/print is very good and so is the overall tonal range.

I did get a little more detail in the scan and would also get a slightly sharper print if I went the inkjet route but there is something much more satisfying printing in the darkroom.IMG_20160627_194001Overall I think that HP5 looks great at 1600 iso and gives me the look I love in my B&W, the grain/contrast and sharpness. I process all my B&W films using ilfotec HC so I don’t know if it would look better or worse using other developers and I may try a few others in the near future.img014img024img023img022img019-Editimg018img013img011click on an image to view larger …..

Thanks for looking … I also have a “Film Only” blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com/ if you want to take a look 🙂

Testing Nikon 35mm f1.8 AF-S DX on full frame ……

img010-EditI love the 35mm focal length when shooting. I have various 35mm lenses to fit my old film slr’s but the only autofocus 35mm I have is the Nikkor 35mm f1.8 AF-S which is a DX lens and when I shoot with it on my D7000 it behaves like a 50mm approx. which isn’t really what I like so the lens even though very sharp stays in my bag most of the time.img014-EditI have tried it on my full frame D600 and as long as I turn off auto DX mode it works great and the only real Vignetting occurred from f4 onwards and was easily sorted with lens correction in Lightroom.

I like Vignetting especially when I shoot contrasty B&W film so I decided to load up my F100 with some HP5 rated at 800 to see how the lens performed.img003The results were really pleasing and as the day was pretty overcast and quite dark I rarely shot above f5.6 so the Vignetting was almost no existent and the images were lovely and sharp/contrasty which is why I love HP5.img006I was thinking about getting the Nikon 35mm f2 AFD to shoot on my F100 and F4 but the results with this little lens really impressed and gave me the look I like with my B&W I would recommend this little gem highly especially as it is so affordable.img022 img008 img012 img016 img021-EditThanks for looking

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I also have a film only blog over at https://usingfilm.wordpress.com/ if you want to take a peak 🙂

Pentax Program A & C-41 process B&W film testing………

Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_014-EditI picked up a Pentax Program A SLR off ebay last week for less than £10, I couldn’t resist a bargain even though I have an ME Super and MV1 the benefit of the Program A is slightly lost on me as I don’t have any Pentax A lenses but for £10 it was a no brainer.

I also had the opportunity to try out some of West Yorkshire Camera’s C-41 process 400 iso Black & White film which I processed myself at home.

Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_003I popped along to a local derelict factory with the hope of capturing some nice contrasty images and I was not disappointed with either camera or film.

All the images were shot using the Pentax 50mm f1.7 lens which gave me lovely detail even shooting at f4.

Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_002I don’t normally use C-41 B&W film but I must say this film gave me great results and at the bargain price they charge its definatly worth a try.

Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_011-Edit Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_009-Edit Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_006 Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_005-Edit Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_004-Edit Pentax_ProgramA_WYC41_001Thanks again for looking….

comments most welcome 🙂

also check out my other blog at usingfilm.wordpress.com for more film only stuff

Mountain walk with FP4 instead of my beloved HP5………

img001I bought  20 rolls of Ilford FP4 the other week with the intention of shooting some still life and portraits but popped a roll into my Nikon F4 and went out to shoot some landscapes first.

img011I developed the roll using Ilfotec HC hoping to get a bit of punchy contrast in the images and I was not disappointed.img032cropFP4 does not give me the feel that I like in my images but it is still very nice, the still life stuff I shot on the walk were very nice, plenty of detail and great highlight and shadow tones.img020img008img005Since trying shooting some still life with HP5 I am a little torn between the 2 films for that subject. I love the contrast and grain of HP5 but the smooth tones and detail of FP4 are great.

img028I am going to try pushing the film next time just to see what I get grain and contrast wise and will post the results.

Landscapes do look good though I must admit and I am well happy that I have another 19 rolls in the fridge waiting to be shot  🙂img004 img017 img016 img012Thanks for looking

Click on an image to view larger………..

Father’s Day and a trip to Porthcawl………….

We popped down my Mum and Dad’s on Father’s day and I was determined to get some candid portrait shots of Dad as he never likes his photograph taken and as a challenge I was using film.

As usual he was a hard subject to pin down but I did manage to get a few nice frames with pretty good expressions.

When we left we popped down the coast to Porthcawl for a nice stroll by the seaside where I shot another roll of Tri-x 400. It is getting easier to shoot manual now after 15+ rolls and it is such a nice feeling to take my time and choose the shot rather than shoot everything and look through later for the best ones.

Ok, not every shot I take on film is perfect but even the one’s that are not quite what I envisaged at the time are still keepers.

Thanks for looking….comments very welcome

Keep film alive

 

click on image for a larger view………….

Tree felling in the Garw Valley and the aftermath…….

Over the last few months the trees in the Garw Valley have been felled due to an outbreak of ‘Phytophthora ramorum’ which is a fungus-like pathogen of plants that causes extensive damage and mortality to trees and other plants.

It is so sad to look out of my windows overlooking the once green hills that are now barren due to this disease but from what I have read this is the only way to stop the spread.

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-85TDX6

I decided to take a walk and try to document how this has changed the once beautiful tree covered valley using both Digital and Film.

All these photographs were taken using a Nikon FM2n and 50mm lens on ilford Delta 400 and hopefully shows the decimation this has caused, I think the Black and White gives a more poignant/sad feel to the images.

I am sure mother nature will prevail and cover this once green valley again.

Thanks for looking……  click to view a larger image….. 

Nikon 35mm f2.5e for Film and Digital………

I called into my local camera shop …  (Celtic Camera Centre) …on the weekend to pick up a few rolls of film and noticed they had a Nikon 24mm f2.8 manual focus lens for sale, it was a lovely thing and I am looking to get a wide angle lens to use on my FM2n but sadly it was a bit out of my price range at the moment.

http://www.celticcameracentre.co.uk/Welcome.html

But Andy pointed out they had a Nikon 35mm f2.5e lens also, it was not in the same league as the 24mm……. plastic and a bit tatty but optically fine and was only £50 so I thought I would give it a go.

When I got home I put it on my D7000 and delved into the menus to enter the Non-CPU data so as to be able to use the lens. I only took a handful of shots and imported them into Aperture and was amazed at the results I shot everything wide open and they looked great.

Next I loaded up my FM2n with a roll of Ilford Delta 400 and mounted the lens.

I went out for a walk and proceeded to test out the lens at various subjects and apertures.

On Sunday we went to a Photography exhibition at The Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff bay to see “The Last Resort” by Martin Parr & Tom Wood

http://www.thirdfloorgallery.com/exhibitions.html#exhibition23

so I took the film camera with me to use up the roll and couldn’t wait to get home to develop it and see whether it performed just as good on film as it did on digital.

I was really impressed at the resultant negatives this lens is no way a match for its more expensive equivalents but for £50 it is an absolute steal….closeup the results were excellent even wide open but it did need to be stopped down to get the best images at any distance over a few feet away.

http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/emfgfg20/eserieslenses/htmls/283550mm.htm#35mm

Maybe in a few weeks if funds are available and if they still have the 24mm in the shop I will buy that lens but in the mean time I cannot praise this little lens enough.

click on image to view larger……..

“Bridgend Mashup” digital version……..

As I said in my previous blog post I also shot some of the action type stuff digitally which was so much easier than trying to shoot full manual on my film camera…….

The band shots were also shot on film and I prefer the more gritty feel of the film shots over the cleaner/sharper digital ones.

As you can see in this post there are far more digital photographs than film but that is the thing I like about film it makes you choose your shots far more carefully.

There is no way I would go back to shooting film for everything but I will be taking a film camera be it an SLR or a compact like my Olympus Trip everywhere alongside my DSLR as I feel it really compliments the digital shots and I really enjoy shooting and processing film again.

Thanks for looking

click on an image for a larger version…….

 

Ilford HP5 at The Bridgend Mashup……….

It was “The Bridgend Mashup” event last week featuring various Street activities like Skateboarding, Bikes, Street art and music amongst other entertaining things.

My son Ben and I popped down for a couple of hours and as well as my trusty DSLR I took my Nikon FM2n and a 50mm 1.8 shooting some Ilford HP5 Plus 400 for the first time.

I was extremely pleased with the results the film gave me, it performed excellently in the sometimes harsh sunlight and then overcast skies.

I didn’t attempt to shoot any of the high-speed action stuff on film due to the full manual controls I have on the FM2n I left that to my D7000 the results of which I will post in my next blog.

I will certainly be using HP5 again as the level of detail I managed to capture from highlight to shadow was great and considering I processed it myself I was doubly happy  🙂

Click on an image to view larger……….