Tried and Tested Thursday: Image Pro Perfect – Canon Z135 with Kodak Pro Image (Expired and Pushed to 200)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting Kodak Pro Image (expired and pushed) on Canon Z135.

Pushing film has become a favourite of mine recently, since it has a few advantages. From a post not too long ago, I had pushed a roll of Ilford FP4 a stop higher on my Olympus XA2, on my trip to Butlins/Bognor Regis, plus Arundel. Today’s post is from the same trip, but this time in colour on another film and camera. I had brought along four rolls of Kodak Pro Image, which all expired in May 2020, which were all shot exactly a year later (and originally bought around a year prior in 2019). The film was pushed from its 100 speed to 200 when developing.

Shingles Scene: Bognor Regis is full of rocks, and I don’t mean the candy rock

Kodak Pro Image was a Film Friday earlier this year, expired from January 2020. Unlike the Pro Image used while in Butlins, I had purchased the Film Friday five pack film when it already expired.

The camera used was a Canon Z135, a simple Point and Shoot. I didn’t use it for a while, and I wanted to bring a lightweight camera to carry around, especially for long walks. Great for simple functions and settings, as well as ideal for quick snaps. Sadly, the Canon Z135 doesn’t have a setting to change the ISO, hence why the film had to be pushed when processed.

Once all four rolls were developed, I scanned them on my Epson V550 at home. I was anticipating the results. So my thoughts?

Interesting, very interesting. The quality from the scans weren’t always consistent with the outcome varying, in particular the colour shift.

I think that I played it safe to have all four Pro Image rolls pushed to 200. 400 would have been better, probably for low light shots or night photography.

The beach shots stood out for me the most, although after a time, it did get repetitive shooting them everyday. It was fascinating to see the colour quality differ in each shot from the beach – the blues and beiges weren’t consistent; colours shifting in various contrasts and tones. These are negative scans of course, however the quality might be different when printed in the darkroom, all thanks to manual settings and controls.

All Seagulls in a Row in Bognor Regis

The local funfair shots did surprise me the most. As someone who wouldn’t dare to shoot with a film below 400 ISO for night photography (100 speed for the odd occasion), I was impressed with the outcome, mainly the LED lights from the rides. No flash was used as it was late evening, there were surrounding light sources at the funfair, mostly artificial lighting. Fortunately, there was hardly any camera shake when taking the photos.

I have been shooting with expired film for a few years, at times you don’t know what to expect after processing. It can either come out good or bad; in the rare instance, almost blank negatives which have happened to me before… In this case, the expired Pro Image came out better than expected and I am satisfied overall.

I have two Pro Image rolls left, both expired from last year in January. I do hope to shoot them at some point in the near future, maybe on another Point and Shoot like the Canon Z135.

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: A Stop in Arundel and Felpham – Olympus XA2 with Ilford FP4 (Pushed to 200)

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday, I will be talking about shooting a roll of Ilford FP4 (pushed at 200) on an Olympus XA2.

This isn’t the first time pushing Ilford FP4 beyond its box speed; I had pushed one roll two stops at 400 on a Canon Canonet camera late last year. I decided to get out of my comfort zone again and push the FP4 roll at 200 on another camera, an Olympus XA2, which has the settings to change the film speed.

Admiring Arundel Castle: Bigger both inside and outside

It had been a while since I last picked up my Olympus XA2, but this is the first Tried and Tested Thursday post on it.

In the last week of May, my friend, her youngest son and I went on a four day break to Butlins, a popular British holiday resort in Bognor Regis, West Sussex. We did explore beyond the resort during our stay, we went walking mostly along the beach and going into town.

On our second day, we headed to Arundel, a short train ride away from Bognor Regis. It was a nice day trip, relaxing and interesting to go around the town, as well as Arundel Castle. I couldn’t resist bringing my two cameras with me; a Canon Z135 for colour film (Kodak Pro Image – expired), and the Olympus XA2, already loaded for black and white shots.

I recently had to cut down on the number of films I took whenever travelling or when I am on my outings. Bringing five rolls on my trip was the right amount; four colour and one black and white, only to avoid ‘shooting for shooting sake’ – as I would put it. On the upside, it was easy for my workflow when scanning not to be overwhelmed with the heavyload of negatives to scan. If I had twice the amount of negatives, it would have taken a longer process to finish, not mention frustrating for me.

The overall outcome came out very good, I was very happy with most of the shots from the film. Certainly worth pushing a stop higher, it did make a difference with the contrasts and tones. The castle shots from outside were amazing, however inside shots were blurry and shaky due to its speed, since I didn’t attach a flash to the camera as I rarely use it.

The beach shots taken in Felpham, the quieter side of Bognor Regis, were also my favourites too. I captured the peaceful spots while on a morning stroll around the area, a day after Arundel. I finished the last few exposures there and then. I would consider producing darkroom prints of the beach, maybe on both gloss and matte finish photo paper, possibly a size bigger than 10 x 8 inches – great for framing and displaying on walls. Alternatively, I could create postcard style prints.

I wished I did shoot more beaches with Ilford FP4, or at least bringing along another roll – though I put myself on a limit on shooting. Surprisingly enough, the film did last me a day and a half, so I made sure that 36 exposures were put into great use.

The shadows were spot on, the quality was smooth like most films with a reasonable speed and subtle grain, even when pushed a stop or two. I have been shooting Ilford FP4 for a decade and I am very rarely disappointed with its results after processing, scanning or printing. Ilford FP4 is a film I would highly recommend shooting for beginners, enthusiasts, intermediates and professionals.

Is there any room for improvement? Not really, maybe consider pushing Ilford FP4 higher or lower on other cameras, preferably manual setting ones? Maybe give the Olympus Trip 35 a try or two?

Close but no Monet’s garden in Giverny: a small pond on the grounds of Arundel Castle

Whatever I decide, I know that I have to order some more FP4 rolls at some point as I have none left!!

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

Tried and Tested Thursday: The Bus I Cannot Take – Kodak Ektar (Expired) Pushed to 400 with Canon EOS 500n

For today’s final Tried and Tested Thursday of 2020, I will be talking about shooting a roll of expired Kodak Ektar (pushed to 400 ISO) on a Canon EOS 500n camera with a 50mm 1.8 lens.

The bus I would normally take to work

This year has been incredibly tough for almost everyone around the world: people have lost their lives, people have been ill, some have lost their jobs with many struggling financially. We have been living through these unprecedented times and it was the tip of the iceberg, especially when the months went by with lockdowns, the rules constantly changing, many restrictions on what we can and can’t do, and not to mention many workers going through furlough.

I was very fortunate to still be working during this crisis, since my job was very essential as I work at a supermarket. Trust me, it hasn’t always been plain sailing or even easy from the first lockdown; from food shortages, the need of toilet paper (some customers try to buy a stupid amount), arguments and even physical altercations – almost every retail worker, including myself had seen and experienced all at some point.

This corner shop was closing by the time I went past

Restrictions were put in place which made it difficult for some people’s daily living, including workers, families and vulnerable people. Even more recently, the government placed London and South East of England on Tier 4, similar to a lockdown which we had a month ago. This was a solution that hopefully would lower down the infection rates, but sadly it did the opposite and still continues to rise at the time of typing this post.

So where does today’s Tried and Tested Thursday post fit into all this?

Well, it all began with a Zoom call a few months ago with Kim Shaw, a photographer and executive director at Photofusion (the same place where I have my film processed and do my darkroom printing). We were talking about photographic ideas related to Covid and the lockdown. She suggested I should do a series on the life of being an essential worker, from my perspective. I believe Kim suggested the title being, ‘The Bus I Cannot Take’, as I mentioned to her that I was initially avoiding public transport to go to work, instead I would walk the four mile journey back and forth after my shifts. The light bulb moment came in my head immediately and then the idea was born…

I had originally wanted the series to chronicle a typical working week, however I ended up finishing the whole roll in one day!!

I chose a roll of Kodak Ektar, which had expired March of this year. I decided to do something a little different with this particular film, so I pushed the original box speed from 100 to 400. I some inspiration from a Twitter friend called Rachel Brehm (or incasino_out), who did something similar with Ektar, by pushing it from 100 to 800 ISO. She took a couple of shots on an empty street during the night of lights; the results are amazing with the colour being vivid.

I used my Canon EOS 500n camera, and the lens used was the 50mm 1.8. I would use this lens for mainly street photography or close up shots, despite the autofocus not working properly, I have to rely on manual focusing as an alternative. I have had this lens, nicknamed ‘Nifty Fifty’, since 2011 when I had my old Canon DSLR.

My first shot was disposable gloves on the dining room table, followed by other shots of my commute to work, and then I stopped through a coffee shop enroute to buy a hot chocolate. Sadly, I couldn’t use my camera while on shift but I took a quick snap of my facemask while on break.

My shift finished at 9pm, an hour earlier than usual following government guidelines at the time with many supermarkets closing early by an hour or two, even corner shops.

My two mile journey back home was quite relaxing, quieter on the roads, also not a lot of people on the street. Although a few buses went past me, I wasn’t even tempted to get on one. I was shooting a few random bits, such as bus stops and shops along the way.

The series was short lived as it was a one off anyway, however a month later I would do something in a similar vein for this year’s Shitty Camera Challenge.

The film was processed at Photofusion, and eventually I would scan the negatives at home on my Epson V550. I scanned almost every single frame, which was a bit time consuming but I eventually got there at the end.

The results were interesting, since I shot beyond box speed but only a few stops. The scans looked saturated, mostly blues in some frames. This could possibly be the film being expired as some results can vary. I was satisfied overall with what was produced from the roll. I would definitely like to push Ektar again, possibly to a higher speed above 400 or even go lower below 100.

This shot would have been different had it been on its original box speed

For now I will see what the future holds for my photography and ideas, especially developing them further or possibly revisit soon in the new year. Maybe do something similar to this short lived series by expanding it into something long term, or start afresh from scratch.

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

Take care and stay safe