Still shooting Film



I have a few friends that like me enjoy scaling it back a bit, step away from current tech toys just enjoy the pure nakedness of photography and go shoot a roll of film.  We tramp about like a group of excited school kids on a field trip, just enjoying the day and being outside.  We walk from one exciting discovery to the next as well as secretly capturing a moment when no one else is looking and at times all is quiet except for the click of a shutter.  We are out enjoying each others company on our film day  . . . only one rule, you have to shoot film.  Today I decided to use an old Nikon FTn that a friend gave me for my birthday (thank you Sharman for such a wonderful gift).  This camera is tied to a similar one from my early days in photography when I was just starting out as a News Photographer.  The memories came flooding back in as I picked up the camera and looked through the viewfinder.  The FTn has some heft to it, all metal, glass and barely any plastic to be found on it, you had better have a good strap.  I carried mine with a 50mm & a 24mm lens and a 35mm attached to it for most of my work.  In the bag was a 180mm and an 85mm.  That was my first kit, later I upgraded to a F2AS & an FM as my backup (2nd camera) with an added 70~210mm zoom, and traded the 24mm for a 20mm.  Those where the days film ruled and you found rolls of Tri-x, Plus-X and KodaChrome . . .

Nikon FTn

Nikon FTn

Here she is, all manual, clean mean photon capturing machine.  I ran my first roll of film (BW400CN) through it today.  A test of the camera and all its functions.  The meter was without batteries so I substituted my Gossen DigiPro light meter.  This is as simple as you get, all manual functions . . .  Well anyway I was having fun and the camera performed flawlessly.  I had a yellow filter on the lens (that was standard for shooting B&W back in the days) and you had to compensate for it when making exposures yellow K12 has a filter factor of 1.2 or simply open it up one stop or slow the shutter speed by one stop.  I rated the BW400CN down from ASA400 (ISO & ASA are interchangeable) to ASA 320, I dislike thin negs, however the film has great latitude.
So out we went . . my friend Ron and myself enjoying the morning, we loaded our cameras and walked to a parking structure and began our photo discovery for the day (a prize was the DOVE photo above).  Here is my friend Ron sitting on the stairwell shooting a photo of the dove.

Ron photographing a dove

Ron photographing a dove

Yes the scan is a bit dirty but usable (BW400CN is a C-41 process film), we had our films processed at Costco and scanned to CD for us while we slummed the sales floor a bit, as you can see even in the dim light of the stairwell the camera and me did a good job.  The film did a great job and I love it’s character for scanning, getting the proccessing done at a lab is easy and getting them to scan it to CD is a convenient way to judge what one has, you can later scan it at home after it’s cleaned and get far better results and control.  Here is another shot titled “Sticks and Stone” I post processed it a bit to add a bit nore contrast and mood, as you can see it is a great way to get the feel of real film intor your digital process.

Sticks and Stone

Sticks and Stone

I will leave off here with only one last comment: if you have an old 35mm film Camera you can still enjoy it, grab some C-41 type film either Color or B&W  and go shoot it.  You might find it to fun, and you might find it helps you see an image without clicking away a thousand throwaway shots.  Try it, you might like it.

Next post I will review the Nikon FTn camera with the 50mm f/1.4 MF lens . . . until then have fun, get off your ass and go out and shoot some film!

Addendum: about Chromogenic Film

A very brief description of what is Chromogenic film, Chromogenic refers to photographic processes that work by forming a conventional silver image and then replacing it with a dye image. Most films and papers used for color photography today are chromogenic.It contains one or many layers of silver halide emulsion, along with dye couplers that, in combination with processing chemistry, form visible dyes. In processing, the silver image of each layer is first developed.

BW400CN is Kodaks Chromogenic B&W film and its high points are . . .
World’s finest-grained chromogenic film
Incredibly sharp
Convenience of C-41 processing
Smooth, neutral tones with great highlight and shadow detail

Another B&W Chromogenic film is Ilford’s XP2

Both Kodak BW400CN & Ilford XP2 are developed in the same color C41 process used for Color film.  This is usually done in 1 hour at such places as Walgreens or CVS or Costco . . .  etc . . .  etc . .  most do only 35mm only with a few able to process 120 roll film (more likely to find 120 processing at a real camera store with an in house lab)

C-41 is a chromogenic color print film developing process. C-41, also known as CN-16 by Fuji, CNK-4 by Konica, and AP-70 by AGFA, is the most popular film process in use, with most photofinishing labs devoting at least one machine to this development process.

Processed C-41 negatives, as with all color films, consist of an image formed of dye. Due to the long-term instability of dyes, C-41 negatives can fade or color-shift over time. This was a significant problem with early films; whether the newer films are archival or not is a subject of some debate.

C-41 can be home processed as well, the answer is yes and there are more then a few ways, I would suggest a google search for the various methods.  It is by far a fun and versatile film.


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