Film Friday: Lomography Fantôme Kino 8 in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Lomography Fantôme Kino 8 in 35mm.

Last year Lomography unveiled two new black and white films, Fantôme Kino and Babylon Kino. Both very low speeds of 8 and 13, respectively. They were available to pre-order from the official Lomography website for either a pack of five or ten 35mm rolls. They sold at other photographic retailers soon afterwards.

A great sample picture to use on the packaging, hopefully it will convince me to do portraits this year

Today, I am concentrating on the Fantôme film. I bought a single roll from Analogue Wonderland some months ago, but I am yet to use it. Some inspiration is needed on what I can shoot with it.

The Lomography website stated the film is ‘perfect’ for pinhole cameras and ‘gritty’ street photography. Both things I would like to try out, especially pinhole photography as it would be great to get out of my comfort zone by experimenting around with it.

What about the low ISO of 8? This roll is most likely not to be DX coded, so would work fairly better on manual cameras, one that can go below to 8 ISO. Thankfully my Canon EOS 500n goes as low as 6.

It is also advised that a fast lens is better to use, since it can compensate for the low film speed. A lens with an aperture between f1.4 to f2.8 is highly recommended. I do fortunately have a prime lens, a Canon 50mm with an aperture of f1.8 which does come in handy, plus it is as low and fast as you can get!!

I’m considering developing this film myself. I did some research to find the developing times for the Fantôme; some developing times and dilutions are not all the same, depending on what developer is used. Lomography did suggest a few well known developers, plus making a note on the possible outcomes after processing. I was thinking of buying Ilford Ilfosol 3, as it is reasonably priced and great for beginners. Lomography said Fantôme would produce a ‘good contrast and impressive shadow detail’ from that particular developer.

Since I have nothing to show from the film, the Lomography website did showcase a range of examples from other photographers, who were lucky enough to test out the film before its release. Many of the results from Fantôme did vary, with many photographers experimenting with the film, trying out different styles and techniques.

This film is probably going to be the starting point for me to test out my skills on manual cameras at last…

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: A Day In The Museum – Canon Canonet 28 with Ilford FP4 (Pushed to 400)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Ilford FP4 at 400 on a Canon Canonet 28.

There are a couple firsts: 1) It was my first time shooting with the Canonet 28, despite buying the camera around six years from eBay; 2) First time pushing FP4 at 400, and not its original box speed of 125 ISO.

A Stone Crypt (?): probably one of the best selected shots

A little background on the camera itself: according to Camerapedia, the Canonet 28 is the ‘cheaper consumer version’ of the Canonet QL17, both look identical and most likely have the same functions. The Canonet 28 was launched in 1968, and marketed between 1971 to 1976.

The lens of the camera is fixed at 40mm with an aperture of f2.8. The ISO settings (or ASA) is from 25 to 400, with the shutter speeds on auto exposure at 1/30 to 1/600. There is a hot shoe to attach in a flash gun.

I had originally wanted to shoot the Fuji Superia 800 on the Canonet, but it was impossible due to the ISO limit. Although I would eventually use the film on the Olympus Mju 1 on the same day. Let’s say the results didn’t come out as I had expected – that’s for another Tried and Tested Thursday around the corner…

I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum (or V&A) in Kensington, West London with my friend back in mid-December. It had almost been a year since my last visit there, however it was my friend’s first time going. Because of Covid and restrictions, we had to book a slot online in advance, rather than turn up which was common before the pandemic hit. It did feel weird that it was quieter in the museum than usual with very few people.

When shooting at museums or galleries with film, it can be a challenge on what film to use, as lighting conditions can differ. Some exhibit rooms or spaces don’t have the best lighting, with some being too harsh, dim or low. I thought I could chance it with the FP4 at 400 ISO on a camera I had never used before.

I must note, I had no flash gun or light meter on me (I don’t even own them). So I couldn’t determine what aperture to use, but like I said before I chanced it and hoped for the best after processing and scanning.

The overall outcome wasn’t too bad, however I need to improve in some areas mainly with the camera. The Canonet 28 was a great way to learn how to shoot manual, that was my initial intention when I originally purchased it. There are so many opportunities to improve and learn with this camera – once I get the broken rewind crank fixed.

Some of the focusing is off with the main subject(s) being slight blurry, but I can work on that by practising or learning more along the way. As someone whose eyesight isn’t particularly the best, focusing with the lens can be difficult, especially when capturing detail or anything up close.

The results were decent for its first time use, but had it been on another already high speed film it would have been slightly better. Ilford HP5, Kodak Trix or Kodak Portra 400 would have been suitable for low light shooting. The outcome might have differed with those mentioned films, most likely HP5 which I often regard as the most versatile roll ever.

I do have plans pushing and pulling FP4, probably on other manual cameras.

Hopefully I will soon be able to master the Canonet, after being in a box stuck in the cupboard for years…

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – March 2021: Slide Film, Small Museums, Seaside Towns and a Broken Camera

I had four 120 slide film rolls processed at AG Photo Lab; here is one of the negs on my lightbox at home
  • Finally got my slide film negatives developed!! I had them processed at AG Photo Lab, a photographic processing and printing company based in Birmingham. The turnover time was a week, which was worth the wait and anticipation. I haven’t scanned the negatives yet, most likely later on in the week. Afterwards I will be sharing the results on a Tried and Tested Thursday post later on this month.
  • One of my cameras is broken – not completely broken but it might be fixable. My Canonet 28’s rewind crank came off, possibly to the pressure when winding the film. It was the second time shooting with the camera despite purchasing it a few years ago off eBay. I am considering whether I should get it repaired or not…
  • In camera related news: I finally used my Canon Z135 for the first time in a year!! I managed to replace the batteries a few weeks back. It was a little long overdue though.
  • There is the smallest museum in Switzerland, it is in Basel and is a window display in a 600 year old house. Surprisingly, I never knew of this until I found this link a couple weeks ago – despite having been to Basel twice-ish.
  • There are more museums to see in Switzerland, this time in Lausanne. My regret while in Lausanne months ago, I didn’t go to see the Collection de l’Art Brut, a museum dedicated to Outsider Art.
  • An interesting article from Refinery29 on relocating or moving to places without or little connections. There have been times when I wanted to leave London and move elsewhere, preferably to another country. My main worries are making new friends and settling in, although there is the financial side and of course finding employment. The women in the article discuss their experiences on moving away from their hometowns and how it has impacted them.
  • Last month was a frozen February, all ponds and lakes were completely frozen – thanks to the temperature being below minus 2. I went to Lloyd Park in Walthamstow and the pond was just pure ice, however the weather wasn’t as chilly as previous days.
Frozen Pond in Lloyd Park in Walthamstow last month

Take care and stay safe

Story Time Sunday: Valentine’s In Valencia

Story Time Sunday is a new feature on my blog, where I will be sharing a few personal anecdotes or interesting tangents from my life over the years. Most of them aren’t exactly photography related, although I will be sharing some photos and images in some posts.

My Story Times will be posted on the last Sunday of every month. I will try my best to make them short and sweet; something lighthearted and fun before the start of the new month.

Today’s Story Time Sunday is a throwback from February 2015, when I spent Valentine’s weekend in Valencia, Spain. I just wanted a break from university for a few days. Spoiler alert: this wasn’t a romantic getaway!!

Flags United: Valencian Community flag (left) and the Spanish flag (right)

My friend Zulaykha, who I have known since secondary school, was residing near the city at the time, where she was living with a host family. She was an assistant for a programme called CAPS, a language school helping Spanish children speak English, while taking a gap year from university.

We arranged to meet up during the weekend to go exploring around Valencia. We went to the famous huge indoor market, Mercado Central (translated as ‘Central Market’), where there were numerous stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, dried foods and nuts – to name a good few.

For lunch we went to a small cafe, this is where I had the city’s most famous dish, paella. Mine consisted of rice, lobster (I believe), beans and a few vegetables. I was impressed, not to mention glad that I went out of my comfort zone by trying the local cuisine.

My paella dish was delicious. Whenever I go to Spain I would have a big pan of the stuff!!

Soon after we went to the Museum of Fine Arts, close to the city centre. We probably spent over an hour or so there, exploring a few rooms of various artists from over the centuries, including Spanish painter such as Francisco Goya, plus Valencia’s renowned artist Joaquin Sorolla.

My time with Zulaykha ended in the early evening. It was nice to meet up with her after all these months. Where she was staying was an hour away by train, so we said our goodbyes at the main station before I headed back to my hostel. I wouldn’t see her again until later on in the year back in London.

Now by myself, I spent the last couple of days exploring the city (again), the beach and hopping on the tour bus. I would also take photos of the wooden doors, something that really fascinated me, especially with the craft, patterns and design.

I decided to spend my final day at the City of Arts and Sciences (better known in Spanish as ‘Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias’). Thanks to the tourist pass I had, I went inside for free. I started off at the Museu de les Ciences Principe Felipe, where it housed many scientific artifacts and displays such as the human body, biology, physics and climate change.

Afterwards I went to L’Oceangrafic, literally opposite the science museum. It’s similar to an aquarium, but actually it is an oceanarium. I saw plenty of sea creatures and mammals, as well as many exotic fish and exotic birds.

L’Agora: opened in 2009, opposite Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe and next to the Assut de l’Or Bridge
L’Oceanogràfic: bigger inside than out

My time at the museums ended, so I went to the nearby beach, which I had already been through there a few times by then. I went to a bar there to have tapas – and it wasn’t the best; mine was lukewarm and not as appetising. The nuts I had at the side were a bit of a saving grace, at least it was nice.

I flew back to London on Monday morning, on the same day my dad had returned back to Jamaica some hours earlier. 

It had been almost four years since going to Spain at that time. It was nice to go again and go to another city along the coast.

Took a snap of this man, who was reading a Valencia guide book while near the beach!!

I did enjoy my time in Valencia. It was worth the weekend break; I think I covered what I had to do in a short amount of time with no itinerary at all. If I could, I would certainly return again, possibly work my way around the region heading towards Barcelona. Most likely stay for a week or two…

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Fomapan Action in 120

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Fomapan Action in 120 – also known as Fomapan 400 or Foma 400.

This isn’t the first time shooting Fomapan both 35mm or 120, nor the first time having Fomapan as a Film Friday.

Limited edition packaging: still the same Fomapan film inside

Like the Fomapan 200, I have been shooting the Action 400 quite recently. Almost a week ago with the two of the three 120 rolls that I purchased over a week ago from Parallax.

Like many films out in the photographic market, there are many well known brands that have 400 ISO in 120, such as Kodak, Ilford, Rollei and Lomography. Each film brand differs with results varying after developing, like the quality and overall outcome when printing or scanning the negatives.

Having used Fomapan 400 a few times in the past, the quality is pretty decent for an ‘Action’ film. Fast enough for street photography or any photographic genre for that matter.

Grain is good, slightly fine with subtle coverage but not too much. It had a ‘dream like’ feel when scanning the 120 after shooting it on my Agfa Isolette. I was testing both the film and camera around London’s Soho and West End this time last year.

Usually whenever I’m trying out new films or any I haven’t shot in a while, I would wander down the streets of London or go around my local area with a couple of rolls to start off. This would help me decide if it is worth buying the film(s) again for next time.

Fortunately, Fomapan 400 has been put into ‘Action’. It has passed the test and I shall be buying more 120 rolls soon, hopefully I might consider home developing them at some point.

In terms of price, Fomapan is great value for money and possibly the cheapest in the film photography market (at the moment). This film brand is perfect for photographers from all levels, especially for beginners who don’t want to break the bank.

The future is Fomapan.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: A Stockwell Stroll – Canon EOS 500n with Rollei Retro 80s (Yellow Filter)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Rollei Retro 80s on a Canon EOS 500n with a yellow filter.

Back in October, I did some street photography around Stockwell in South London. Prior to the second lockdown, when there were different level tiers in certain areas and regions around the UK.

I only stayed within the area and worked my way up to Brixton via Stockwell Road by foot. Sometimes I would go home from Stockwell Station rather than Brixton, as the train station is less busy and quieter. Plus, it’s good exercise for me; less than a mile straight both ends, only a twenty or so minute walk. It’s nice to pass by the various spots, such as the Portuguese cafes or small South American shops.

I wanted to photograph around Stockwell for a while. I had an idea on what film I wanted to use as well as the camera, but it was finding the time. I had been working non-stop for months, throughout the pandemic and throughout the lockdown. Not to mention, rarely leaving my local area. When I did have days off, I would sometimes catch up with some rest or go through some photographic work such as negative scanning.

Thankfully, I eventually got the chance to do some Stockwell street snaps, as I had to go to Photofusion to drop off some film – including the Rollei roll used on that day. It was a bit cloudy with a slight overcast, but I didn’t mind as long as it didn’t rain.

I have been shooting Rollei Retro 80s for a few years. It is probably one of my favourite films for shooting street photography, also it is well suited for nature shots, especially for plants and trees – all thanks to the low speed and very fine grain coverage. The blacks are very deep in tone, great for darkroom printing or negative scanning with or without further editing.

Last May, I selected the Retro 80s in both 35mm and 120 for Film Friday. In that post, I highlighted some examples with shooting both formats on various cameras over the years with various results in quality.

For the Stockwell shots I upped my camera gear a bit – shooting on my Canon EOS 500n, with a 28mm – 80mm lens (or as I like to call it ‘the default lens’) with a second hand Jessops brand yellow filter, bought from eBay.

It had been a while since using a yellow filter for my black and white photography. Recently, it has been red or orange filters on my wide angle and prime lens, mostly it was the former since I was satisfied with the results and contrasts.

The yellow filter is seen as the ‘classic first choice’, stated on the Ilford Photo website. Although I often regard the orange filter as being the ‘one-size-fits-all’ choice for black and white photography; for being versatile for any photographic genre or style.

This particular filter did have its benefits, as described from the Ilford Photo website – for making the blue sky darker, despite the October overcast. I did see a difference after scanning the negatives; the contrast, tones and shadows were darker in some places with some deep blacks.

I would normally use a low speed film, nothing lower than 80 or 100 ISO for sunny or bright days. This Rollei knew how to roll on slightly different conditions.

The fine detail, the sharpness and tones overall in one roll, made worth shooting again and again for years to come!! I might probably test it out for portrait photography or explore other photographic genres or styles.

I would highly recommend Rollei Retro 80s for both beginners, intermediate or the advanced film photographers.

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Cinestill 800 Tungsten in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected the Cinestill 800 Tungsten in 35mm – also known as Cinestill Tungsten 800 or simply Cinestill 800T.

I originally bought four rolls of them around late last night from Analogue Wonderland. They had restocked the film after a long while, so I bought the Tungsten in both 35mm and 120.

Three is now the lucky number

I have been shooting Cinestill Tungsten since 2017. I used to buy at least one or two single rolls a year, as it was quite expensive. Whenever I got my hands on a roll, I would normally use it for night photography, mostly neon or bright lights. An example is when I went around London’s West End, shooting on my Canon EOS 500n.

Over a year ago, I was shooting Cinestill Tungsten for the first two Petrol Station Series. This particular film was great, especially for its cool and cold tones, also for the artificial lighting and capturing the dark blue-indigo evening sky. The results gave a clean and retro feel, although it was a challenge when it came to negative scanning and printing in the darkroom. Nevertheless, I was so satisfied with the overall outcome that I would use the film again for the second series.

The film itself is the same motion picture stock used by many cinematographers, as stated on the Cinestill website. It also recommends that the film can be pushed from 200 to 2000 ISO, and even higher at 3000. I often shot the film at its box speed of 800, however I might consider testing it out at a low or high speed in the future.

As Cinestill Tungsten is known for being the film for night shots, I decided to go out of my comfort zone by doing some daytime shots. Originally planned on shooting the neon signs at God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow, but was told that ‘professional photography’ was not allowed. Alternatively, I was able to use my phone. It was until after the brief stay there, I began capturing shots through the backstreets of Walthamstow, since it was heading towards late afternoon.

Normally I would share a few examples, but unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to get the film processed yet. When I do, eventually, I might do a Tried and Tested Thursday post in the future.

At the time of writing, I have three Tungsten rolls left. I have a few plans with them, hopefully test them out on various cameras at different speeds, plus do some daytime photography soon.

Take care and stay safe

Monday Monthly Mentions – February 2021: Discontinued Film, Birthdays, Exhibitions, Staycations and Social Media Breaks

Monday Monthly Mentions is a new feature on my blog of posts that I will be posting every first Monday of every month, discussing topics in list form; such as photography, art, travel, creativity, plus throwing a few personal tidbits too, or anything I find interesting or would like to share…

A Fuji Family Portrait: Recent purchase from Parallax Coop, based in South London
  • It was my Mum’s birthday yesterday. Normally, we would go out for a nice meal but due to Covid and lockdown, we stayed at home and had fish and chips instead (my Dad’s idea). We washed it down with a bottle of sparkly Cava wine that I bought from work. It was lowkey, but Mum didn’t mind!!
  • Last month, Fujifilm announced that they will be discontinuing Fuji Pro 400h in both 35mm and 120. After the announcement, film customers were panic buying the film; a few photographic retailers had sold out of the film. However, on eBay there were sellers (including one photographic retailer, who shall remain anonymous) selling Pro 400h for a ridiculous amount!! Some for £45 for a SINGLE roll!! A pack of five 120 rolls for over a HUNDRED POUNDS!! That doesn’t surprise me to be honest… Thankfully I bought two packs of 120 for a reasonable price, alongside with a few rolls in 35mm that will last me for a while.
  • There’s a JMW Turner exhibition at Tate Britain until next month. I would like to visit, depending on whether the lockdown restrictions will be lifted, who knows? Some museums and galleries are having virtual exhibitions, although it doesn’t feel the same being there in person. The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is exhibiting online as the National Portrait Gallery is currently closed until 2023.
  • The Only Way is Sussex: there is a UK staycation booking boom, since the chances of holidaying abroad is slim due to restrictions and possible quarantine upon return (fingers crossed for Malta is still going to be on the cards). Sussex Live has a list of places worth visiting this summer, including Brighton, Chichester and Camber Sands. I would like to go to a few of the places mentioned and possibly go to Brighton again – I haven’t for a few years. Having been to Eastbourne and Seaford last year, I would like to explore Sussex a bit more this year.
  • Speaking of staycations, the Guardian published an article of ‘tranquil places’ to go to in the UK. I have an eye for a few, being near to London. I was surprised to see Flatford Mill coming up, a place where my friend told me about and was interested in visiting at some point.
  • In late December I took a break from social media, now I am ‘back’ but only in small steps. I decided to take a hiatus to clear my mind and get away from the endless scrolling, also I was working quite a lot since last month. Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram, where I am known as ‘janninesphotos’
  • Lastly, I was due to post ‘Films of 2020’ entry over the weekend (initially for December), however the entry was longer than I thought after writing it in my journal by hand. I might post it at some point either this month or probably towards the end of the year…

That’s all for now, take care and stay safe!!

Tried and Tested Thursday: Whitechapel Wanders – Rollei Retro 80s with Yashica 635

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Rollei Retro 80s on a Yashica 635.

Another day, another post-lockdown summer street photography stroll, this time down Whitechapel in London’s East End. The area is famous for notorious serial killer Jack The Ripper, the Blind Beggar Pub (where Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell); also Whitechapel is nearby to Brick Lane, well known for its many Asian and curry house restaurants, vintage shops, markets, street art, plus having a large British Bangladeshi community.

Traffic Lights high up in the sky

One nice July day, I went around Whitechapel with the Yashica 635 TLR in hand. I already had another camera with me, my trusty Canon EOS 500n. It was a bit of a heavy load, but was certainly worth it for my day out around the East End.

For the film of choice was Rollei Retro 80s. A low speed black and white film, ideal for capturing tones and shadows. Great for bright or sunny days, which I use mainly for street or nature photography.

It was the first time using the 120 format on the Yashica 635. I had set the aperture between f5.6 and f8, and the shutter between 1/125 and 1/250 – I was basing this on the day’s weather, since I don’t own a light meter and hoping for the best afterwards – also there was the viewfinder. I often used the same settings when using the TLR, with some results varying, some coming out a little over or underexposed. Fortunately, the outcome came out better than expected once processed and scanned with shots at the ‘right’ exposure.

A ray at the Royal London Hospital (old building)

Before scanning, I couldn’t help admire the negatives and I was confident that they would come out well after production. I knew that shooting Retro 80s on a summer’s day would be well suited, especially on the borrowed TLR, which I no longer have but enjoyed the experience of using it.

When it comes to overexposure, it can be quite forgiving when shooting black and white. Further tweaking or altering can be done either on Photoshop (or any similar editing software) or in the darkroom. The latter is ideal for me as I can test out different exposure times or settings, however I haven’t been able to go to the darkroom in almost a year due to Covid.

The three shots, which I consider ‘overexposed’ weren’t too bad, it could possibly be due to the settings on the camera. I did no editing on Photoshop, just the faint watermark of my name in the corner.

I would definitely use the Rollei Retro 80s in 120 again, most likely on the Holga 120 or Agfa Isolette, or any medium format camera I can get my hands on. At the moment, I have one roll left so I may need to stock up soon…

I’m satisfied with this film, providing the best results all thanks to its slow speed of 80, which is great for deep black tones and shadows – an icing on the cake!!

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Kodak Pro Image in 35mm (Expired)

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Kodak Pro Image 100 in 35mm, which expired January of last year.

I bought a pack of five from Analogue Wonderland this time last year, after it was discounted from its original price. I already have a few rolls of Pro Image currently in my stash, from a previous purchase a couple years back.

Now there is three: The Pro Image purchased from Analogue Wonderland last year

Despite shooting with Pro Image once a couple years ago, I was interested in trying out a couple rolls on my Canon SLR, using a 50mm 1.8 lens.

So I went around London’s East End, such as Brick Lane to do a spot of street photography. Also I went nearby to the famous Square Mile – the City of London, a financial district, well known for the London Stock Exchange, Bank of England, also its historic and modern architecture and buildings.

Pro Image is mainly for daylight shooting, hence why the 100 speed. Although its colour balance is versatile for almost everything, bringing a warm tone with subtle saturation.

The film is similar to Kodak Gold and Kodak Ektar, in terms of results; a combination of colour vibrance and saturation. Having used both mentioned films before (many times), the resemblance and comparison is almost as close. Thankfully a single roll of Pro Image is slightly cheaper than the two films, which can be bought from Analogue Wonderland – sadly it is sold out at the time of writing.

With some spare rolls left, I will take advantage of what I can use them for next. I was thinking of possibly shooting some portrait photography or trying my hand with nature photography again.

Take care and stay safe