Tag Archives: Medium Format

{Testing the batch} Expired Kodak Pro 400MC 2.0

Maybe you’ve noticed by now that I sometimes buy batches of expired film. I had some film called Kodak Pro 400MC a couple of years ago, which expired in 1996. I LOVED it. It was some of my favorite expired film which I’ve ever used. I wished I had lots more rolls of it once I ran out! Here are some examples of that Pro 400MC batch:

(those last two were taken in London <3)

I finally decided to buy more Pro 400MC from ebay, knowing that it wouldn’t necessarily give me the same look as the other set of Pro 400MC I had, but I thought I would give it a try anyway. I got three rolls that expired in 1999 (well, I bid on five, but then the seller realized that there were only three in the box and the other two were something else. More on that another time though…) ANYWAY, I used the test roll on one of my niece’s “$5 photo shoots” on July 4, in her “photo shoot worthy” Nintendo shirt. I know some purists won’t like the way the expired film looks in these, but I kind of LOVE them. A lot.

Fuji GA645i • Kodak Pro 400MC, expired 1999

I shot the film at 200 ASA to help compensate for the age of the film, but I will probably want to do exposure compensation in tricky lighting situations, because film this old doesn’t have as much “latitude” as fresh film. I noticed that when I used the other batch of Pro 400MC I had in my GA645i, it wasn’t as well-exposed as when I used it in a camera where I set the exposure instead of the camera doing it (which is the case with the GA645i.)

 

Agfa Isola I {Two Rolls In. Again}

Photo borrowed from my 365 Project blog

The Agfa Isola I is a camera I have had for nearly ten years now. I relayed my backstory with this camera in a post in 2009, but to give you an overview: I bought it in 2006 at a camera fair during my first trip to England. I believe I paid around £10 for it. The Isola I is a medium format camera that produces 6×6 cm photos. I don’t know exactly when my Isola I was produced, but the camera was manufactured from 1957-1963. It is a basic camera with zone focusing, two shutters speeds (Bulb and 1/35s) and two apertures (f/11 and f/16.) There’s also a built-in yellow filter you can use for contrast on black and white film. Through my recent usage of Lomography Diana cameras and my Holga 120N, I thought I’d try to show people what can be done with a vintage camera that’s less plasticky than its more modern counterparts and not as expensive as the toy cameras a lot of us use.

Heretofore, I had only shot two rolls in the Isola I, both of which were black and white films. I had always been reluctant to try color in it because some of these older cameras don’t handle color very well due to the fact that they were made for black and white film (it has to do with lens coatings or lack thereof.) I decided it was high time I changed that! 

Color Roll #1 was Kodak Ektar 100

Usually I couldn’t get by with ISO 100 film on an overcast day while using a fixed shutter speed camera, but because the Agfa’s fixed shutter speed is a 1/35s, I had some leeway there. The Holga and Diana F+ take in about half that amount of light as the Agfa, for reference.

Most of this roll was taken at the Memphis Zoo when I visited there with my family. Given the age of the Agfa, I thought “Back in the late 50s and early 60s, a visitor to the zoo might have used a camera like this.” So I tried to take “touristy” photos while I was there. So maybe not the most exciting photos I’ve ever taken?

Iconic animal statues outside the zoo entrance 

Two above photos from the China-themed area where the pandas live

My family, looking at the polar bears

Part of the Northwest Passage area of the zoo

King and Queen of the Jungle in Cat Country

<3 this one of my mom lovingly looking at the lions

The zoo has Egypt-inspired decor due to the connection with Memphis, Egypt

NOT the zoo, but a photo of fleabane daisies (with an Instax mini photo of the daisies in the middle)

I struggled as to whether or not to include this one, because I think it’s not very good

Color Roll #2 was Kodak Ektachrome 64T that expired in 1997, cross-processed

 

Frames overlapped because I tried to work around the double exposure prevention. Oops!

Viewfinder issues. See below for more about that problem.

1961 Impala that has previously been seen in my 365 Project

Motorcycle in the rain

Colorful Memorial day

Also previously seen on my 365 Project

Conclusion?

This is actually my first proper attempt at reviewing the Isola I, though I have had it for nearly ten years. It’s got retro style (because it’s acutally vintage 😉 ), plus it’s inexpensive, lightweight, and capable of producing relatively sharp photos. But here’s what I don’t like about the Agfa:

  • The shutter speed of 1/35s is great, since it allows you get a good amount of light onto the film if you’re shooting a slower film. BUT I have found it somewhat tough to handhold this shutter speed. Depressing the shutter button often jars the camera just enough to cause motion blur because the shutter speed isn’t fast enough to prevent that from happening. I included some “bad” shots that I wouldn’t normally post, just so you can see what I’m talking about.
  • The viewfinder is not accurate, especially at the camera’s closest focusing distance, which is 5 feet. The photo from the zoo of the red door is a good example of this issue. Clearly I wouldn’t look through the viewfinder and compose that shot without including the entire door knocker in the composition! In the future, I’d probably compose my photo in the viewfinder, then physically take a step back to ensure the composition I want is closer to what I actually get.
  • The Isola I has double exposure prevention. A lot of people would like this, but I don’t. I will put aside the issue of actually wanting to take the occasional multiple exposure photo (because I do) and shed a light on the real issue with this: sometimes the shutter button gets pressed when the camera is in my bag, and once that happens, I have to waste a frame by advancing the film because once that shutter button is pressed, you can’t fire the shutter again until the film is advanced. I don’t even know HOW the shutter is fired when the camera’s in my bag, because the shutter button isn’t supposed to work while the lens is collapsed, but it somehow keeps happening!

Yes, I listed some cons that make it sound as if I didn’t have a positive experience with the Agfa, but the toy cameras I mentioned during the intro of this post have their own flaws as well (if you only knew how much gaffers tape I have to use on my Lomography Diana cameras to prevent light leaks…) The way I see it, the Isola I is just a basic camera from nearly sixty years ago. It is in no way a camera with modern amenities. But if you’re someone who enjoys toy cameras like the Holga or Diana and you see an Agfa Isola I for $10 or $15, I say pick it up!

{Diana + Tri-X}

Kodak Tri-X is my favorite Kodak black and white film. It’s the only black and white film that I’ve shot in my Diana F+ thus far, and I have found that it’s a really nice pairing of camera and film. I can’t really qualify that statement, except to say I just feel like Tri-X has the right amount of grain and contrast for use in this plastic camera! Kind of like how sometimes you can’t put your finger on why you like a particular piece of art, you just know you do like it 🙂

Here are photos taken with my most recent use of the Diana F+ and Tri-X together. I am rather pleased!

Como, Mississippi

Pinhole exposure of a few hours

Hernando, Mississippi

Mallory’s new apartment, Memphis

Mallory’s new apartment, Memphis

Coldwater, Mississippi

Coldwater, Mississippi

Coldwater, Mississippi

Coldwater, Mississippi

Coldwater, Mississippi

Lomography Diana F+ • Kodak Tri-X

{Fuji + Fuji}

Awhile back, I thought I’d put one of my favorite films in one of my favorite cameras: Fuji Pro 400H in my Fuji GA645i. The GA645i is one of those cameras that I forget how much I enjoy using until I get it in my hands again.

Scenes from a visit to Muddy’s Midtown

I shot this on Instax mini and wanted to see how it turned out on another Fuji

Rainy day

That valance I love at my sister’s house

All was going well, until something potentially bad happened: I discovered my GA645i, in the soaking wet floorboard of my car. For a camera which is completely reliant on electronics to function, I thought the GA645i was a goner. I was preparing to go into mourning, but I decided that it couldn’t hurt to put the camera into a container of rice to give it a chance to dry out, like you would if you dropped your mobile phone into a glass of water.

GA645i, in a combination of sushi rice and arborio rice

I trepidatiously took this photo to see if the camera would go haywire – it didn’t!

I took a celebratory photo of the GA645i for my Instax daily photo project

Clover

The Mayapples bloomed

Radio Flyer

Cart of wood

As you can see, the camera still worked after it gave me the scare of a lifetime! I’m so very happy about this ♥

Fuji GA645i Fuji Pro 400H (shot at 320 ISO)

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