Film Emulsion Review: Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 Color Negative Film (35mm and 120)

Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 is an odd, but pretty cool film

For years I’ve walked into Lomography’s shop and looked at Redscale XR 50-200 with disdain. I’d wonder why any hipster would want to try something like this! But then I tried it myself, partially out of curiosity, part out of needing to do this review, and part out of just trying to understand it. Lomography Redscale XR 50-200 is a film that you expose anywhere between ISO 200 and 500: the results depend on how you expose the film. Some are more normalized, others more random and super orange tinged. While proper photographers may not love it, ordinary folks think it’s pretty darned cool and fun.

Perhaps that’s all this film was developed for.

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Film Emulsion Review: CineStill bwXX Black and White Film (35mm)

CineStill bwXX film is gorgeous in so many ways

I’ve forever been on the hunt for a black and white film I’m truly, madly in love with. While the Ilford Delta lineup of film is more my taste, CineStill bwXX comes really close! I can’t find any major fault with CineStill bwXX: it’s more or less a film designed for cinema and repackaged for 35mm still film camera consumption. Photographers who want the look of classic old time cinema may really enjoy what CineStill bwXX offers. Is it sharp? It can be. Is it grainy? Oh yeah. Does it have those deeply inky blacks I enjoy? Heck yes. In fact, photographers who like to max the contrast of their images after a black and white conversion will really enjoy CineStill bwXX. The film also pushes decently well and most of all, I feel like it has a distinct look vs Kodak T-Max, Tri-x, and much of what Ilford offers. Oh yeah, and CineStill recommends rating it between ISO 200-400: but I’ve pushed it to 800 with decent results too.

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Vintage Camera Review: Leica M4-P (Leica M Mount)

The Leica M4-P is one of the most beloved Leica cameras and it isn’t too expensive either!

If you ever happen to stumble on a deal like I did with the Leica M4-P, then snag it as soon as you possibly can. In many ways, the Leica M4-P is one of the most perfect analog cameras. Although the Leica M6 goes a step further and incorporates the inclusion of a working light meter while allowing the camera to operate completely and totally mechanically at all shutter speeds, the Leica M4-P is essentially the Leica M6 without a light meter. And if you’re like me, you don’t always need a light meter because you’ve shot so often that you know and understand how Sunny 16 works, or you’ve got an app on your phone that will help you figure out your lighting with ease.

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Film Emulsion Review: Kodak Portra 800 (120)

Kodak Portra 800 is a film that truly surprised me.

I cut my teeth in the photography world amongst some really old school people–these were folks who probably would have never used Kodak Portra 800. Why? Well, they swore by the fact that everything over ISO 400 is way too grainy. And that grain is bad no matter what. This is wrong; and I only wish back then that I hadn’t let folks like that try to mislead my mind and that I was more experimental. Kodak Portra 800 is a gorgeous film that is obviously still around for great reasons. It’s a film primarily designed for portraiture in available lighting. With that said, it’s beautiful in 35mm but even more so in 120 with fast lenses. And considering that so many photographers out there love to work with natural light more so than working with a flash, it could be one of the films that stays in your film camera on a consistent basis.

Indeed, it has to be one of the best available light films I’ve ever played with.

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Review: Lomography Lomo’Instant Square (Fujifilm Instax Square)

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Square is the first good camera to use the Fujifilm Instax Square format.

When Fujifilm came out with their own Instax Square camera, I found it to be a serious letdown; but now we’ve got the Lomography Lomo’Instant Square. This camera is far different; for starters, it’s actually analog. This will appease so many photographers who wanted something that wasn’t a digital photo being taken and then printed out onto a piece of film. On top of that, just look at it–it draws inspiration from a previously made Kodak Instant Film camera. Announced last year as a Kickstarter, the camera is starting to make its way into the hands of a number of people. I was able to play with a prototype awhile back; but the finalized production camera is quite a bit better.

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Film Emulsion Review: Ilford Delta 400 (35mm and 120)

Ilford Delta 400 is perhaps my absolute favorite film emulsion.

While I really enjoy the look of Kodak Tri-X 400, almost nothing in black and white has made me drool like Ilford Delta 400. I’ve always felt Ilford Delta 400 delivers those inky, beautiful black levels I’m smitten with. It’s a beautiful film for street photography, portraits, candids, etc. It’s simply a gorgeous film that consistently delivers everything I want in a photo. What makes Ilford Delta 400 even better for me is that it pushes and pulls well and looks good no matter what ISO you’re shooting it at. I’ve shot it in both 120 and 35mm and found both types of results to look pretty fantastic. Ilford Delta 400 doesn’t have the characteristic grain Tri-X does, but a very classic look instead. It isn’t as gritty as Tri-X, and for that reason you shouldn’t necessarily use it as such.

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Film Emulsion Review: Fujifilm Velvia 50 (35mm and 120)

Fujifilm Velvia 50 is a gorgeous film when printed; but make sure you’re careful about the scans!

Perhaps one of the most magical films out there is Fujifilm Velvia 50. It’s one of the last slide films available for purchase and is a favorite of landscape photographers everywhere, not only due to its beautiful, vivid colors, but its low ISO which allows for incredibly detailed images. Fujifilm Velvia 50, like many other films, is better at medium and large formats; but arguably the most popular option is the 35mm film. Why? Well, it’s the format most amateur and hobbyist photographers know. Talk to them about medium format and they’re not sure what to think or do. Either way, Fujifilm Velvia 50 still looks great at the smaller formats.

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Vintage Camera Review: The Polaroid SX70

The Polaroid SX70 is one of the most iconic and well known analog film cameras ever made. It was designed to be simple to use, compact, yet versatile. In today’s culture, it is a camera often associated with the hipster culture, and many people don’t even know that film is still made for it. Using film from the Impossible Project and Polaroid originals, your Polaroid SX70 is an option bound to not only look great on a bookcase, but also will be fun to use. Many companies tend to buy them up, refurbish them and then flip them for sale.

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