Film Friday: Ilford Multigrade Resin Coated Papers

For today’s final Film Friday of 2022, I selected Ilford printing photographic paper, but there is a slight difference: I chose three packs of paper in two different sizes.

It has been a few years since I last bought any Ilford paper. As I am returning back to the darkroom, I thought it would be a great idea to stock up on some.

The Prime Suspects, all for a purpose: My recent buys from Parallax Coop in Brixton

The Ilford papers are all Multigrade Resin Coated (or MGRC for short): Portfolio in glossy – 3⅞ x 5⅞ inches; Warmtone in glossy – 5 x 7 inches, and finally Deluxe in pearl – 5 x 7 inches. Ilford had recently updated and improved their printing papers for the first time in years.

I decided to break the bank by buying the Portfolio papers, however the unique 3⅞ x 5⅞ inch size was my original choice; I initially wanted 4 x 6 inches, however Parallax didn’t have it in stock at the time. The size purchased is known as the ‘postcard size’, ironically on the back of the papers had the postcard layout with lines to write the address and a box to place the stamp on.

I doubt the dent would affect the papers. The box does feel heavier than expected even though its small size

I went through the sample print swatches at Parallax when I came across the Portfolio paper. I was curious to see what it was like, plus I wanted to try other Ilford papers even if it included going over my budget. The Portfolio did draw me in because it produces deep black tones since it was glossy, also it would be useful to produce high quality prints for exhibitions or public displays. I will have to do a few tests with the pack at some point in the near future. Fortunately it comes in a pack of one hundred, which will probably last me for quite a while.

The Warmtone paper has been my ‘go-to’ for printing for the last couple of years. I bought it in both pearl and gloss, mostly in the 8 x 10 inch size. The paper has a ‘warm’ tint when used for printing, almost reminds me of using an orange filter. Printing with this paper in gloss, the finish is smooth especially the deep tones and shadows. Weirdly enough the Warmtone paper doesn’t come in Satin, but something similarish semi-matte in fibre based.

Warmtone Ways: 5 x 7 inch paper is the way forward, I find it easier to print with and ideal for travel photography, capturing the finer details

Last but not least, the Deluxe in pearl. One of the first darkroom papers that I ever used when I began darkroom printing at university back in 2012. It was my usual printing paper, in sizes 8 x 10 and 5 x 7 inches; sometimes 25, 50 or 100 papers in a pack.

Slightly cheaper than getting the 100 pack, just a spare in case of emergencies

For ole times sake, I decided to purchase a 25 pack in pearl – the new edition, 5 x 7 inches. I don’t think I will open them just yet, not until I finish the old original pack first – yes, there are still a few papers left when I did feel the black carbon bag. There might be a difference in quality with both the original and updated papers. Worth doing my own Tried and Tested with them.

Fun fact: the original paper marked ‘£7.42’ was bought from Silverprint, when they were in London around circa 2012-2013. So now the price has hiked, selling a pack of 25 for £11.51 from Parallax

That’s it!! I haven’t done a Film Friday for months, I thought I would post my final entry this year with something different to film and technically darkroom printing is similar. It’s good to share and explore other elements of photography.

I would like to wish all my readers and everyone a Happy New Year!!

Take care and stay safe in 2023

Film Friday: Ilford Ortho Plus in 120

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Ilford Ortho Plus in 120.

Ilford released Ortho Plus (or Ortho 80, as I call it) in late 2019 in 35mm, 120 and sheet film. The same year around the same time, Ilford had unveiled a new range of photographic papers for darkroom printing, Multigrade RC Deluxe.

It’s Ortho comes in 120: A recent purchase for round two

Ortho Plus has been described as a film suitable for landscape photography, all thanks to its ‘blue and green sensitivity’. On the Ilford website it stated, the Ortho’s emulsion sensitivity can enable the film ‘to be handled in deep red safelight conditions making processing and inspection easier.’

Ortho Plus produces fine grain and sharpness – a plus side for film photographers, who are hoping to achieve the smoothest results, especially when making prints in the darkroom.

The film’s box speed is rated at 80, which is ideal for daylight shooting or for sources of natural light. There are options of shooting below the ISO, such as 40 for tungsten shooting. Mostly suitable for cameras with manual settings or controls, although pushing or pulling could be possible when processing.

Having bought the films in 35mm and 120, I thought I could give them a  test run. The latter I shot on my Holga, earlier last year down Epping Forest.

The results were good, however there were unwanted spots on the frames after processing. This was most likely a bad batch from production, and this isn’t the first time either. Ilford did make a statement on this issue as well, acknowledging this issue when it initially happened.

The unwanted spots were a let down, however had it not been there, the outcome would have been better quality wise.

At the time of shooting, which was in February 2021, the weather was overcast during the day. The tones and shadows were darker, despite not taping the Holga – from what I can remember.

I did buy another roll of Ortho in 120 some months ago, and I’m hoping to give another spin. Maybe this roll could be the better batch? Possibly I could try it on another medium format camera soon…

Off Hunting: Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in Chingford

Happy Good Friday and Easter!!

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Invisible Film in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Invisible Film in 35mm.

This roll of ‘film’ is clearly invisible, which you cannot see but you can still shoot with it. It has no film speed, also exposures are limitless – basically continuous shooting. So you don’t have to worry about running out of film.

The Invisible Film comes in a canister like most film

This Invisible Film is both colour and Black and White. Sounds strange doesn’t it? I guarantee that it could possibly be done.

When it comes to developing: don’t even bother, there’s no need. The negatives will come out invisible anyway. Disappointing I know…

Sadly, the Invisible Film is not widely available at any photographic retailers, and I doubt it in the near future.

I haven’t even shot this film either, maybe because it’s April’s Fools and chances are very thin.

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Fuji Pro 400h in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Fuji Pro 400h in 35mm.

In early 2021, Fuji had announced that they were discontinuing Fuji Pro 400h in both 35mm and 120. I did a Film Friday in June on the 120 film. Despite its unexpected axing, the medium format is still selling at some online photographic retailers, at its standard retail price.

Sole Survivor: The only single in date roll of Pro 400h remaining

Sadly the same can’t be said for the 35mm, which is now gone forever… unless you go on eBay or similar sites, where they are selling a single roll from £20 (or even twice the price).

I did manage to buy a few rolls last year. My intention wasn’t buying them for keepsakes, I did want to put them into great use one day.

Fuji Pro 400h has a decent speed of 400, quite the standard ISO for general shooting – a good all rounder. The  film has been recommended for wedding or portrait photography, due to the colour quality and fine grain.

I tested out two Pro 400h rolls while on holiday To Switzerland around six months ago. I went to Burgenstock and Pilatus, two famous mountains. I had shot the film on the Olympus XA2 camera.

My aim was to do landscape photography from the highest peak, on and from the mountains. The outcome came out good after processing and scanning, although they would have been better as darkroom prints.

Most Fuji colour films produce vivid greens, due to the layers and often have the finest colour quality with its tones and contrasts. Like the Pro 400h, scans of the mountains were highlights and examples from the results.

Pilatus Rocking and Rolling!!

I have two 400h rolls left in the fridge: one expired from last August, something I did deliberately, and another still in date. Hopefully, I will shoot them both for the final time very soon…

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Kodak Trix in 35mm (Expired)

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Kodak Trix in 35mm, which expired in January 2020.

I originally bought the ten remaining rolls from AllPhotos Ltd. via its eBay shop in January 2020, the same month of expiry. The film has been unused, and quietly residing in the infamous ex-kitchen drawer since.

Outta drawer for a quick photoshoot: the ten expired rolls of Trix I currently have

I have been shooting Kodak Trix for years, as it has always been the film I would use for street or architecture photography. Its punchy yet subtle grain is the ultimate icing on the cake, thanks to the film’s speed of 400. The tones and contrasts are great: the black tones being deep, especially the shadows. The Trix is a perfect choice for making prints in the darkroom, which I have done a few times before.

Trix is great to use on colour filters, in particular the red filter. I love using that colour filter, which often produces sharp and deep contrasts, mainly on blue skies and clouds. Having used both the Trix and red filter, it can achieve crisp and high quality results, very rarely disappoints.

On my bike: Kodak Trix with Red Filter – Canon EOS 500n (I think the film was in date when taken)

Kodak Trix is also Point and Shoot friendly, having shot with it on my Olympus Mju 1 camera was a breeze. No fussing around with the settings or playing around with various apertures, both the film and camera was a suitable combination for simple shooting. The outcome from the Mju 1 was proven to be successful, still achieving the punchy subtle look.

As there aren’t really many significant changes when shooting expired Black and White film, I can only assume it will come out as similar as it was in date, as I have shot many before in both 35mm and 120. There weren’t any signs of shifting in tones or contrasts from them, unlike some expired colour film where it is noticeable.

Who knows? Trix might be up to its ‘tricks’, and surprise me…

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Kodak Colorplus in 35mm

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Kodak Colorplus in 35mm.

Colorplus is the cheapest colour film in the market ever, as well as Kodak’s cheapest best sellers. Despite the price hikes in both 2020 and 2021, the Colorplus is still the consumer brand film that is very popular internationally.

Fantastic Four: Still not used at the time of writing, but will be very soon…

Sadly film production has slowed down in recent times, even during the pandemic. I was very lucky to have bought four rolls of Colorplus from Parallax over a year ago, most likely before Covid 19. I think I did buy them at £3.95 per roll, before the price bumped up again.

I have been buying Colorplus for a few years, usually buying ten or more rolls at a time since it was widely available and great value for money. Reasonably priced for both the beginner and professional film photographers.

The colour quality is superb with the contrasts and tones not being too saturated, yet it still provides bright and bold colours. The Colorplus film has fine grain, which is very subtle and natural all thanks to its ISO of 200 – suitable for daylight shooting. Surprisingly enough, it’s good also for night photography, as long as there are sources of light around (i.e street lights or artificial lighting). I did try this before and the results came out warmer and soft with late evening shots I had taken in Seville. I recommend trying this out at its original box speed rather than pushing.

The availability of Colorplus is quite limited with them being out of stock on Parallax and Analogue Wonderland, to name a few also others. Selling sites such as eBay currently sell them listed almost twice the price for a single roll of 36 exposures. 24 exposure rolls tend to be cheaper, although they are a little hard to come by.

Early Evening Sunset in Nice: Shot on Canon EOS 500n

Hopefully, we aren’t going to wait any longer for Colorplus to be restocked in the near future…

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Lomography Color Negative 100 in 120

For today’s (delayed) Film Friday, I selected Lomography Color Negative 100 in 120.

I purchased a pack of Lomo CN 100 a couple months ago from Analogue Wonderland. It certainly hasn’t been the first time nor the last shooting with this film. I have been buying this film for the a few years, also it was one of the first colour medium format films I had ever bought.

Originally purchased around May of this year. Currently have two rolls left as of now

I describe the Lomo CN 100 as ‘the film for the Holga’, which is the absolute truth, having shot with it time and time again – results varying from shaky to vivid and bold colours.

I have used the Lomo on other medium formats too, from an Agfa Isolette folding camera to a Yashica TLR. The colour and quality varies from camera to camera, as some have manual settings and some don’t have the simplest of functions.

The Lomography often comes in a pack of three in both 35mm and 120, however you can buy a single roll from some retailers. I bought the Lomo CN 100 in a pack of three as I have always done. It’s probably one of cheapest colour medium format films in the market, also worth the money and great value – certainly not going to break the bank.

I would certainly highly recommend buying this Lomography film for beginners of 120 format. Perfect for daylight and sunny shooting, especially if using a Holga either taped or untapped, or even for pinhole photography.

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Kodak Ektar in 35mm (Expired)

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Kodak Ektar in 35mm, which expired in August last year.

I had bought these before expiry from Parallax, possibly back in 2019. I noticed recently colour film has a shorter expiry date in comparison to black and white film.

Fantastic Four Films: Ektar is Excellent

I let the four remaining Ektar rolls sit comfortably in the fridge for over a year, slowly approaching its expiry date. I did have a few plans on using them this month for a summer series, but sadly the idea fell through for now due to heavy work commitments.

Shooting with out of date can be exciting, great for experimenting around, especially colour film with the unexpected colour shift and unpredictable results.

I have shot with many expired films throughout the years, some outcomes came out better than I had anticipated, and some with the colour being completely washed out.

All in Dates: Expired in August last year

Last September, I had ten rolls of Ektar that I took with me to Switzerland, all shot on my Olympus XA2. Originally bought them from AllPhotos Ltd, via eBay, at discounted from the old price.

The results from those rolls were amazing; the colour was saturated, bold and smooth. Mind you the films had been in a drawer for a year after purchase. I had initially thought keeping film in certain conditions would have an effect after developing.

I was so satisfied with the scans (I’m yet to print them from the negatives) that I often admire them, looking at the colour quality – Ektar’s strongest selling point, expired or in date. Possibly the best film outcomes of 2020.

I’m sure the four Ektar rolls in the fridge would produce the same results as the Switzerland ones. I’m confident they will, maybe I could keep them in a little longer until next year?

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Kodak Sports Disposable (Expired)

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Kodak Sports Disposable, which expired in September 2019.

A couple years ago, I purchased two Kodak Sports Disposable cameras from Analogue Wonderland, that were both near to expiry at the time. Discounted at £6 each, which was half of the original price of £12.99.

What to call them?: They marketed in various names from Kodak Sports Underwater Disposable, Kodak Sports Single Use to Kodak Sport Underwater Waterproof 800. I simply chose to use ‘Kodak Sports Disposable’ in this post, not so much a mouthful

The Sports Disposable can be used underwater, down to 15 metres deep (50 feet), due to it being waterproof and shock resistant – good for divers and swimmers alike, who have a photographic eye. Plus the camera’s handy for outdoor use or bumps along the way, such as rocky trails or adventures. It is highly recommended to shoot during daylight hours or with good light conditions.

Like most disposable cameras, Kodak Sports cameras have a high speed of 800 ISO and 27 exposures (some other brand disposables have 39 exposures). I assume this camera is simple to use like most disposables, fuss free all round; just snap away with complete ease.

I would like to shoot the Kodak Sports Disposable at some point, possibly not underwater as I cannot swim, maybe in water based situations such as the beach or when it rains during the summer. I am hoping to put those two expired disposables into great use this year, during the summer or autumn months. Either way, they will not be stored or forgotten about in the drawer for longer than they should.

Take care and stay safe

Film Friday: Fuji Pro 400h in 120

For today’s Film Friday, I selected Fuji Pro 400h in 120.

Earlier this year, Fuji had announced that they would be discontinuing the Pro 400h in both 35mm and 120 formats. A huge loss in the photography community, as expected since Fuji has axed many favourites over the few years such as Natura, Superia 200 and Acros (with it resurrecting back to life a year later).

By my side: I had this film on my list prior to the shock announcement

As predicted, there would be some photographers rushing out to order as much remaining stock as possible. Then of course, there would be some sellers listing the Pro 400h on eBay at very high and ridiculous prices – which I find very greedy, I am not surprised but that’s my opinion. I did capture a few screenshots from my phone days after the announcement, some sellers are selling a single roll at the same price as a five pack 120 film!!

I did compare this to the international panic buy that we had last year during the start of the pandemic, when customers were buying toilet paper left, right and centre at various supermarkets.

I was lucky to have bought two packs from a photographic retailer via eBay at a decent price. I will be putting them into use very soon, rather than keeping them for keepsake. I would certainly not be reselling them either.

The Pro 400h itself is a high speed film with decent grain coverage. It has been recommended to use for wedding and portrait photography, especially the latter for skin tones. Kodak Portra 400 is often compared with the Pro 400h, due to its similarities with colour balance and quality.

Last summer I bought two single 120 rolls from Parallax. I had tested them both on the Yashica 635 TLR camera, mainly for nature photography around the local wetlands.

Most Fuji colour films have great greens all thanks to their four film layers. The Walthamstow Wetlands shots weren’t too bad for a first try; exposure may seem a little off in some frames, but I am proud of them. I do miss using a proper TLR sometimes.

I would take advantage of the two packs I currently have until its expiry date of March 2022, or maybe let a few rolls expire… I would try to try some on my Holga and Agfa Isolette, or test out a couple on the Kodak Box Brownie.

Take care and stay safe