Monday, March 28, 2016

Film Mini Review - K-Mart Focal Slide Film

I belong to a pretty vibrant and active community of film photographers online. No, not APUG, not, not Rangefinderforum. Those are all great places, but I have found a home over at It is a very relaxed place to share photos and information about film photography in general. I enjoy running a film trading thread over there and have gotten a number of interesting films from other members. This film in particular wasn't part of that thread, but just came along in a box of film that one of the other members there sent to me. Yeah, people are still generous like that.

I had never heard of the film. Of course growing up and living in the US, I have always known about the K-Mart stores, but I wasn't aware that they made film. Actually, it was pretty common for drug stores and other corporate entities to rebrand films from the major manufacturers and this is one of those cases. The film is actually Scotch Chrome 640T probably from the Ferrania factory in Italy. To note, this was different than the 3M Scotch Chrome and also different than the new films being produced (hopefully soon) by the revived Film Ferrania.

So this film was produced for iso 640, and I generally follow the guideline to add a stop for every decade past expiration, but there was no expiration marked on this film. I didn't get the original boxes, just the 35mm cartridges, so now what? Well, I had a roll of 36 exposures and another of 20 (?) exposures, so I figured I would start with the short roll and see if I could gain any information about it. I figured it was at least 20 years past expiration, so that would mean 2 stops slower. That puts it at around iso 160. I threw it into my trusty Nikkormat FTn with a new-to-me Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 lens and set my handheld meter to 160. The lens I bought came with a 27.5mm extension tube, so I went a little crazy with the macro shots. I should have looked up the required exposure compensation for that tube, but I didn't and subsequently, a lot of the macro shots were under-exposed.

I developed the film in Unicolor C-41 chems at room temperature for 20 minutes with a 10 minute blix. Agitation was 1 minute initial and 4 inversions each minute thereafter. I did the RT development because I was developing some old 126 print film at the same time and wanted to be gentle with that. Unfortunately, there were no visible images on that film. So here are a few of the photos from this old film. The grain on the under-exposed shots is formidable, but on the brighter ones, not so bad. I have the 36 exposure roll left, so I will probably expose that with an EI of 80 and try to stay out in the sun without any extension tubes connected.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fuji Super HR Microfilm

If you have accidentally stumbled across my blog and found yourself with nothing better to do than read it, you might know that I like to shoot expired film, and in addition I like to shoot expired non pictorial film. Non pictorial film is that film that was intended for other uses like radiography and copying documents. Recently, while perusing a large auction site, I came across some microfilm made by Fujifilm. This was truly microfilm in that it was 35mm film, but it has no sprocket holes. Most 35mm cameras need sprocket holes in the film for the winding mechanism and/or the frame spacing/counting mechanism to work. So needless to say, demand is pretty low for film without them. When I saw this film it reminded me of a 100'roll of sprocketless Konica 160 I have in the freezer that I have used in my Kodak Instamatic 500. Granted, I did have to add some spacing holes in it for the camera to work properly, but that's not too difficult. So my intention was to use this Fuji film in the instamatic. But I digress. What I want to talk about is what I actually did with this film when I got it. It is not unheard of to put 35mm film into medium format cameras and expose it edge to edge over the sprocket holes. Lots of people do that, so I thought I would do that with this film and not be bothered by the pesky hipster holes. So that's what I did. I taped it down to a 120 film backing paper. Getting it centered and straight in the dark was a challenge, but after a few tries rolling it up and unrolling it, straightening it out and re-rolling it, I finally got it all rolled up. I found it easiest to tape down the leading end, roll it onto a 120 spool and then re-roll it from the untaped end onto another 120 spool. That makes it so that you don't end up having to untape and retape the leading end because the film slid past the paper as you were rolling. I thought later of making some sort of a jig that would hold the paper flat and let me use both hands to align the 35mm film. That might be worth thinking about later. But today, I just need to show some pictures. These are full width 35mm taken in a 6x9 camera (Voigtländer Bessa) so 90mm wide. That is a fully manual camera with a viewfinder and range estimation focusing. On top of that, I had to sort of envision where the 'film' was in the viewfinder. So I was picturing a skinny mask running across the middle of the viewfinder in order to compose my shots. I got 8 shots on a roll which is good for me since I don't have a lot of patience. 36 exposures is torture. The film didn't have an iso rating marked, so I went to the googlz and found the spec sheet. From there, I found that the film's manufacturer recommends an iso of "medium". So, I figured "eh... 100??", but it expired in 2001, so I thought "ummm... 25??" So that's what I shot it at. I developed it in Adox Adonal (Rodinal) 1:100 for 60 minutes with 30 sec. initial agitation and 10 sec. agitation at 30 minutes. When I pulled the negatives out of the fixer, I thought, "Woah, that's a lot of contrast.", and it is, but not as bad as I initially thought. Most of the photos were shot in bright midday sun, so contrast is what you get. The first shot is fogged because I was taking too long to get it rolled up, but it turned out okay since it was a shot of a foggy landscape. :)


This is a snake in the grass.


Here are some more without the bad jokes.


I hope you enjoy these photos. I sure had fun making them and am looking forward to having more panoramic fun with this sprocketless film.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Resilience of Film

I decided to visit a thrift store down in a part of town that I don't really get to very often. I had seen on CraigsList that they had some "darkroom equipment", so I thought I would go check it out. When I got there, the selection was sort of meager, but the prices were better than the 'bay', so I decided to have a closer look. There were a couple of Watson daylight film loaders and I can always use another one of those, so I picked one up. It had a typed (like on a typewriter) label on it that said "KODALITH ORTHO type 3 / 6556 film". I had a thought that there may still be film in it, so I did what any kid rummaging around under the Christmas tree would do... I shook it. It rattled a bit. It wasn't heavy like it had a full roll, so maybe there was just an empty spool in there. I decided to take a peek. What's the worst that could happen? If it was empty, no harm. If there was film in it, it wasn't very much and it was old iso 6 ortho film that had been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long and was probably fogged anyway. But I didn't just tear the lid off, I carefully cracked it a little and looked in. There was indeed film in there. Was it labeled correctly? Had someone else opened it and exposed the whole thing? How old was it? These were all unanswerable questions that really didn't matter. I needed the loader, so I bought it. The only question that mattered about the film was "Is it still any good for taking pictures?" and the only way to answer that was to stick it in a camera and shoot it. So that's what I did.

I loaded one roll of about 24 exposures and put that aside. I figured if my peek had fogged anything it would be most evident on the 'outer' parts of the roll. So I loaded another roll of about 20 exposures and put it in my trusty Pentax K1000. This was just a test roll, but I still tried to make a little effort to get something I would like to look at. I have never shot a picture of a test chart and I'm not going to start now.

I had some Kodak X-Tol developer mixed up already, so I decided just to use that at 1:1 with dH2O. I cut the leader off and did a quick test to make sure the developer was still good and to check the fixing time. I dunked the leader in developer for 5 minutes and it looked pretty opaque. Then I fixed for 4 minutes and the undeveloped area cleared in about 2 minutes, but the developed area got a bit less dense too. So I decided on a 10 minute dev time and a 5 minute fix. I don't have enough of this film to worry about figuring out 'the right' times and concentration. I probably only have enough in the loader to make 2 more 24exp rolls, so this is just for fun and for the information of anyone who might find themselves in a situation where they have to decide whether to keep some old unknown film or toss it.

So without further ado, here are some of the results... The highlights (and some of the mid-lights) are blown in all of them, and there is indeed some fogging (probably from my peek) on some frames. In fact in some (not shown here) there are only blown highlights! I think I may have over-exposed using iso 10. Next roll I will try iso 20 and see what happens. It is high contrast film by design, so a full range of tones is not to be expected. But the mere fact that I got recognizable images from this poor tormented film is really a credit to the medium. This film went out of production in 2002. Digital formats that old are already obsolete! So I'm going to enjoy my last few feet of this good found film and treat it with the respect it deserves. Thank you Kodak for making products to last decades, indeed centuries!!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Last of the Dupe

So it happened. I shot the last roll of one of my favorite "no longer in production" films. It is Kodak's Ektachrome Slide Dupe (Duplicating) film emulsion #5071. It is a color reversal (slide) film that was designed to make exact duplicates of existing slides. It was intended to be processed with E-6 chemistry, but I only ever processed it at home with C-41 chemistry (cross processed) to make negatives. It is probably the height of vanity to quote one's self in one's own blog, but since I have now referred to myself as "one" two times in this sentence, why not just go for it? From my first post using this film..."I knew that the film I had loaded in my 1967 Nikkormat FTn was expired 30 years ago, so there would be grain. I also knew that I was going to cross-process the film so there would be color and contrast shifts. I also knew that the film was tungsten balanced, so shooting in daylight would throw the color balance toward the 'cool' spectrum." And those characteristics pretty much drove my love for this film right down to the last frame. I have been looking for another 100' bulk roll of this, but it is getting scarce. I guess I will have to direct my x-pro love somewhere else, so this could be the very last post of slide dupe film images on this blog. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

K1000-SlideDupe-002 K1000-SlideDupe-013