How to be cool

 

  • Don't scan your film because scans don't look good
  • Print your negatives because prints look nice
  • Shoot Tri-X because it's romantic
  • Develop in Xtol because it's awesome
  • Make contact sheets, avoids having to use Lightroom
  • The only digital pic you take are smartphone snaps of your prints
  • Pray for Kodachrome to come back at least once a week
  • Fix your Tri-X in a neutral rapid fixer
  • Use acetic acid to stop film
  • Use citric acid to stop paper
  • Own an enlarger
  • Don't push film!
  • Keep a yellow filter on when you shoot B&W
  • use very few hashtags should you ever post on social media
  • don't sell stuff that you end up buying again later anyhow
  • Lift weights

I will probably have a follow-up post sometime in the future on how to be cooler.

Thanks and good luck with the above.

Against the Grain

Fall/Autumn time in Tokyo and leaves are finally starting to change color. People are going crazy about capturing the fall colors. Camera stores are pushing new gear and people love the excuse to buy a new camera. As if a new digital camera could somehow capture the colors any better than a 10 year old D700. 

Meanwhile I am shooting the trees in black and white and on film. I don't need instant gratification and I really like it when I can stick the middle finger up to the fast paced world trying to continuously sell me new gear. 

My film camera has zero shutter lag and focuses every time. Perfectly. It shoots when I want it to shoot, unless I'm out of film...

Tri-X, I'll never betray you again

Yeah I didn't like he purple-pinkish tint of my Tri-X negatives. You know that from my last rant.  So I shot through all of my old Neopan Presto stock and then started buying HP5+. While both, Neopan and HP5+ had a noticeable stain, too, it easily washed out every single time. The purple/magenta negatives supposedly don't affect anything. That's what Kodak and other wise people on the internet claim. I actually believed that until I started printing some negatives that were 2-3 years old. I noticed that the purple stain fades unevenly. I am pretty certain that uneven patches like these will have an effect on my prints or scans. 

I started printing more of my negatives on the new Adox MCC110 fiber paper and Tri-X just looked better every single time. HP5+ and Neopan can be nice, too, but Tri-X just had that extra little something. I don't know what it is, but I like it. I since stopped shooting the other two films and went back to Tri-X.

Kodak Tri-X two years after developing the film.

Kodak Tri-X two years after developing the film.

Very, clear and neutral negatives.

Very, clear and neutral negatives.

Update: Solution to pink, purple and magenta Tri-X

So after searching forums online and asking friends how to get rid of the tint on Kodak's Tri-X I finally decided to actually ask Kodak itself. 

If you follow Kodak on Instagram and/or Twitter you may have noticed their recent enthusiasm for film. What can I say? I like it! So I thought if they are so pro-film now maybe they actually care and will answer if I ask them. So I went to Kodak's website and clicked somewhere on "contact me" and sent them an email.

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Artisan & Artist Review

Artisian & Artist is a Japanese company that makes camera bags and camera straps. According to their website they provide "a wide range of high quality camera accessories". 

I've had three of their straps now.  

The ACAM-103N wide fabric strap. The ACAM-262 leather strap and the ACAM-310N silk cord. 

I mostly bought them because stores here in Tokyo were pushing them as "superior quality" straps. They all cost over a 100 USD and look beautiful. That is when you but them they look impressive. The packaging and presentation is awesome, but so far not one of them has lasted over a year. Every single one of them had threads at the ring attachment slowly dissolve and come off.

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Expired Black & White Film

Once in a while when I get tired of shooting in the city I take a day trip or weekend trip to the Inaka (countryside) to shoot landscape or random stuff in old towns. On my trips out there I noticed all the expired film they had in the stores. In the 90s and early 2000s basically every store was selling film. Flower shops, supermarkets, convenience stores and of course camera stores. When I saw Neopan 400 on the shelves, long after it was already discontinued, I asked them how much it was. They gave me all the rolls they had for free!

After that, every every time I saw a "Fujicolor" sign outside of a store I just asked them if they had black and white film for sale. Long story short, every time I asked I got a bunch of free Neopan 400. In Japan it's called Presto 400. The oldest rolls expired in 2006. The best ones are expiring sometime now. I wasn't sure how to shoot or develop them but gave it a shot anyhow.

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Anniversary Post

Can't believe it's already been one year since I wrote my first post here. Lot's of things have changed within one year. I have a lot more time to photograph and blog now. I don't know what the next year has in store for me, but I'll probably keep blogging at the same rate, talking to myself... 

Also gave myself a little birthday present. A Fujifilm Instax Mini 90. More instant pictures to come soon. Stay tuned!

Olympus XA2 vs Leica MP + Summicron !

Both take 35mm film, both have 35mm lenses. Both take SR44 batteries, both have a meter, both are  manually wound, both are black, both are ....

Ok, there are a few differences. f/2 vs f/3.5 lens. Manual aperture & shutter speed vs automatic aperture & shutter speed. Manual focus vs zone focus. One is made out of brass and basically indestructible the other is basically cheap metal and plastic. Oh yeah, and the Olympus costs about 1 % of what the Leica will cost you.

Can you tell the difference?

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How to get that film look from your scans.

I used to get frustrated when I scanned my color negatives at home on my OpticFilm 8200 scanner. That scanner is fantastic for slides, how could it be THAT bad for color negatives? 

No matter what I did in post, color negatives from that scanner never looked as good as they did when I printed them wet in the darkroom or had them scanned at a lab.  I almost thought I'll just shoot slides then. Nice idea, but that costs a lot more money for film and processing and sometimes slide film is just not the right tool for the job.

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The lost Generation

All my college memories are gone. No graduation photos, no photos to remember trips, events and friends. 

I graduated in 2007. Digital was the way to go. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Shoot as much as I want and it was 'free' too. Couldn't get any better. It's 2016 now and I have none of these photos left. Between moving countries, buying new computers and transferring from one medium to another things got lost. The only photos I have left is what parents or friends printed. Very sad.

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Do we still need contact prints?

Now that we can batch scan thumbnails? 

As far as I know, the only use of contact prints was to evaluate which ones were keepers and worth enlarging. I've made contact prints in the darkroom twice. Once for black and white and once for color. Never again. Reason being, when I go to my local rental darkroom to print, I have already decided which frames to print. 

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