The Films of The Decade

Note: I was meant to post this yesterday but didn’t have enough time, I do apologise for the slight delay

Note: Wrong title!! Changed it!!

I began my film photography journey in 2011 while at university, then took a hiatus until late 2014 when I fell in love with film again. From that day forward, I have experimented and tested out a range of films, some I have been shooting since the beginning and some for the last few years.

  • Ilford HP5

The OG of my film photography. I have shot with it many times while attending university, even developed it numerous times myself. If I had to describe the HP5 other than versatile, it is a film that does the job; one size fits all on any format camera available. I had initially shot many 35mm rolls back then completely unaware of the 120 or even large format film!

I would highly recommend the HP5 to anyone who wanted to start film photography or have a little practice with. It has many advantages too, you can push the ISO from 400 to 1600 or possibly 6400, depending on camera settings, to achieve surprising results.

  • Ilford FP4

Another ‘OG’ film I have been shooting since 2011. More suited for the finest grain hence why its 125 speed, plus it is rare to find film with that particular ISO number. HP5 and FP4 were the only films I was able to develop with ease during my degree years. Like HP5, the FP4 is a great starting point for film photography.

  • Lomography Colour Negative 400 (or Lomography CN 400)

My Lomography journey started from this film when I bought a couple packs of the CN 400 in both 35mm and 120 from The Photography Show in 2017. Then the following month, I would take a few rolls with me when I went to Switzerland and Germany for a week.

The Lomo CN 400 is the ‘go-to’ film due to the high speed and could be used for everything, everywhere and anywhere. My time in Switzerland is a good example as the weather went from sunny in Bern, and then gradually changing to miserable in Lucerne. At the time of purchasing the packs of Lomo CN 400 35mm, it was around ten pounds for three rolls in a pack however the price skyrocketed over the years which is common in the film market.

  • Lomography Colour Negative 100 (or Lomography CN 100)

Another Photography Show purchase from my first time going there in 2017 and even second time round in 2018. The second time around was when I was out of a job after being made redundant earlier that year, and I was literally unemployed for a couple weeks at that point. I did spend a lot of money at the Show on mostly film, and then a month later I would travel through South of France to Northern Italy.

I seem to do a lot of travelling around Europe thus why I often take my camera(s) and many films with me. In this case, I took my trusty Canon SLR and a few rolls of Lomo CN 100 when I went to France and Italy. This was the first time using colour filters when shooting black and white; I brought along orange and yellow filters, as well as a UV filter for colour.

The Lomo CN 100 captured the best of the best, including the famous Promenade des Anglais in Nice which was hands down the best shots I took in 2018. So proud that I had planned to create a zine out of them, although it fell through though I did produce a few prints in the darkroom.

I took shots on the Lomo film in Cinque Terre, known for its brightly coloured houses along the Italian Riviera. The film gave the images a ‘washed out’ feel similar to the shots taken in Nice and it was always bright during the day another bonus too whenever shooting.

  • Rollei Superpan 200

There aren’t many Black and White ISO 200 films out there apart from Fomapan 200 and Roleu Superpan. The latter being my personal favourite throughout 2018 for one main reason: shadows. I worked so well when I went along the Promenade des Anglais while using the orange filter for the very first time.

Sadly, my passion for the Pan came to a halt. Indefinite? Quite possibly and it is linked to the film market. It has been difficult to get buy Rollei Superpan in both 35mm and 120, possibly related to Brexit (I will avoid being political here). There are sellers/businesses selling rolls of them over on eBay for different prices, however one registered business mentioned the Superpan is not DX coded and I am confused as past 35mm rolls have the coding at the back. Who knows? Maybe another batch…

For now, I have a few rolls of Superpan in 120 format that I will see in the near future. So watch this space!!

  • Kodak Colorplus 200

The ultimate consumer film and so cheap… until Kodak raises the price later on this month. Yes, cheap and certainly cheerful hence why I bought ten or so rolls during 2018.

Good for daylight and even at night time, although it may vary getting warm tones or a tinge of orange. I used it for street and travel photography a good few times even when I went to Nice and La Spezia, Italy in 2018.

In late 2018, I went to Andalucia in Southern Spain; travelling from Seville, Cordoba to Granada. The weather wasn’t the best while I was there, in fact it was flooding a couple days in Seville before I landed. I took my Canon SLR and around seventeen rolls of Colorplus with me, also couple rolls of the remaining Rollei Superpan I had left. I shot everything and anything during my nine days there; bright skies, low light, nightlife, coach journeys, colours, Cordoba Cathedral, Alhambra and the plane window when flying to Seville. A film of a higher speed, or even if I pushed the Colorplus one stop, would have been ideal nevertheless I was satisfied with the outcome.

  • Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200 (aka Poundland Film)

I wrote a post about the very famous Poundland Film last month. Since then I have shot six rolls for a mini series based around my uninteresting life during the last week of December. I shot many them on various cameras, mainly on Point and Shoot. I did consider using a Yashica 635 TLR to shoot it on, but the camera isn’t mine and I wouldn’t risk attempting.

The Poundland Film had a cult following within the film photography community, sadly Poundland killed it off and soon after replaced it with Power Geek film. A replacement, nowhere near as good as the famous £1 film with it only having ten exposures, although when shooting Power Geek on my Canon Z135, it only took eight for some weird reason.

  • The Impossible Project (Now known as Polaroid Originals)

Moving onto instant film…

Storytime: Before I started photography, in circa 2002-2003 my dad bought me a Polaroid Camera from Argos. Back then Polaroid Instant film had ten exposures, and I remember buying them from Tesco for a tenner or more. Ah the good old times…

Fast forward to 2017, I bought a Polaroid camera with a pack of Impossible Film from Parallax. My Original Polaroid from Argos must have broke or my mum threw it away amusing it longer worked.

The Polaroid from Parallax is vintage and quite bulky. I have used it a few times for shooting street styles of London Fashion Week, which did get some attention from the fashionable passersby and other photographers.

The Impossible range was expensive and unlike the vintage Polaroid film, there were eight exposures instead of ten. I had to consider carefully on what to shoot as buying this brand was costly, however the Impossible Project had various limited edition films every so often that I was lucky to get my hands on…

That was until Polaroid Originals was born and Impossible was no more. Business jargon isn’t my forte, this Wikipedia entry explains it the best.

I have shot on the Polaroid Originals instant film some months ago, pretty much the same if not slightly improved than Impossible with the same eight exposures for almost the same-ish price. Although Polaroid has launched a few Onestep cameras, a modern version of the classic.

  • Fuji Instax Mini

Last but certainly not least, Fuji Instax Mini film another Instant brand film. Often mistaken for Polaroid, the Instax is widely available and easily affordable. I bought my Instax Mini camera from Argos, and also the films too.

Since having this camera, I have experienced many trials and errors with it from overexposure to underexposure. It is fun to use for taking snapshots, even better for capturing moments to treasure and share them with friends or family. I even took my Instax into the streets of London during Fashion Week, West End and to Brick Lane. This camera is a keeper for the long term.

I hope everyone enjoyed the post and Happy New Year!!

Take Care

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