Film Review: Lomography Color Negative 400 (35mm and 120)

Lomography Color Negative 400 is one of those alternative color films that unfortunately isn’t spoken about enough. And for some of us, that’s perfectly fine. I’m okay with all the haters of Lomography refusing to understand what the company is doing and saving more film for me. Walking into the West Village store in NYC to be greeted warmly by the employees and always having the ability to buy some simply makes me happier. And all the folks who only shoot digital and only care about shooting digital can keep doing so. They’ll never understand the awesome secret that the rest of us know that is ironically being published on one of the biggest indie photo blogs on the web.

That’s all just fine.

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Vintage Camera Review: Pentax 67 (67 Format)

The Pentax 67 has to be one of the most drooled over medium format SLR cameras ever made. For great reasons too! The Pentax 67 is a film SLR that is more or less designed to be portable and shot handheld by fashion photographers and portrait photographers. For many years it was well regarded and even today, there is some fantastic work that is often done with the camera. Between this, the Pentax 67 II and the Mamiya RB67/RZ67, lots of photographers really have a tough choice figuring out what they want.

The truth is that it really depends on your style and it also really depends on how good you are at being able to create photos.

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Film Review: Fujifilm Provia 100f (35mm and 120 Formats)

There’s been a big personal void in my life when it comes to slide film since the first death of Kodak Ektachrome, and I haven’t been able to fill for a while. But perhaps the closest thing to filling that gap is Fujifilm Provia 100f. Lots of folks love negative film; but I’ve always been more partial to slide film. Slide film is sort of like a badge of honor: you have to get the exposure perfectly right and most of the time the camera doesn’t really do it. With negative film and the development process, you’ve got a lot more versatility. But with slide film, you have maybe one stop extra in either direction. Perhaps this is one of the trademarks of what makes film so fun–you have to get the image right and the editing process isn’t as simple as it is in digital.

But either way, I’m genuinely in love with Fujifilm Provia 100. Like any other film though, I adore it in medium format much more than in 35mm.

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Review: Polaroid Snap Touch

It took a while for me to wrap my head around the Polaroid Snap Touch–and it’s not because I’m not accepting to what they’re doing. It’s more because of the fact that they’re finding a way to appeal to the Snapchat generation in the form of a camera. Personally, I don’t use Snapchat and never used it for anything else besides dating. When it comes to instant film cameras, I prefer, well, instant film. That’s one of the biggest issues right here. The Polaroid Snap Touch doesn’t use actual Polaroid film or even anything close to it. Instead, it uses zInk paper and has a printer built into the camera. You could say that it helped influence the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10. And even then, I’m really not the customer for a camera like that simply because I know what’s possible with the actual film.

For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m one of the mods for R/Polaroid–and without a doubt we’re a bunch that don’t really accept what Polaroid has become. Make no mistake, all that the Polaroid Snap Touch is is a camera with a printer inside of it. It isn’t a true Polaroid in any right.

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Vintage Camera Review: Canon EOS 33 (Canon EF Mount)

If you were to look at any of the best Canon EOS film cameras made, you probably wouldn’t think immediately about the Canon EOS 33. But indeed, it and the Canon Elan 7 are surely some of the best. These cameras incorporate features that make a whole lot of sense for most modern film shooters and don’t cater to the film shooting sports photographer–if even such a thing exists. One of the best things about the Canon EOS 33 is not only its price point but also just how reliable it is.

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Vintage Film Camera Review: Pentacon Six TL (6×6 Square Format)

There are only a few cameras that have been coined “an SLR on steroids” in the medium format camera world, and one of those is the Pentacon Six TL. The Pentacon Six TL is a medium format SLR camera similar in style to its more famous rival the Pentax 67. It doesn’t use interchangeable backs but instead opts for one of the quirkiest ways of loading a camera perhaps ever. Shooting square format 6×6 images, it’s also prone to problems like frame overlap unless you’re careful. Though if you can work with its quirks, you’ll have yourself a solid SLR camera that is reliable otherwise.

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Brock Saddler Shows You How to Hack the Bronica ETRS to Shoot Fujifilm Instax Mini Film

“Not for the Bronica unfortunately, unless you could possibly bring the tripod mount into it, rigging something to the back to hold it in place,” says photographer Brock Saddler (follow him on Instagram) about his Bronica ETRS hack when I asked him about whether or not he’d still need to use the rubber bands. “…something for the next person to think about.” Brock is amongst the many photographers and hackers we’ve interviewed here on the Phoblographer. His hack specifically has to do with the Bronica ETRS. Last year, we interviewed him about hacking his Bronica ETRS to shoot Fujifilm Instax mini film and he was still in the process of refining it. But he got really close to making it absolutely perfect.

Brock, unfortunately, has no plans to make it commercially viable. “This was just something to do on a rainy day,” he tells us. And to that end, he’s given us permission to share his post on how he did it.

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Film Camera Review: Ilford XP2 Super Single Use Camera

Ilford has been making their Ilford XP2 super single use camera for a while now, but with the resurgence that the industry is seeing in using disposable cameras, I figured I’d review them. Call it a disposable camera if you will, but they’re the only black and white disposable cameras on the market with the exception of the new offerings from Lomography. Oddly enough, they were also designed to be developed C41 vs black and white. Well, that’s odd for some–Ilford XP2 can typically be shot at around ISO 50 to ISO 800 on the same roll and due to the process, the images will come out pretty well. The Ilford XP2 super single use camera makes a whole lot of sense for fun, but there’s also quite an interesting quality that would please me if it were used for concerts, documentary work, or even just weekend shenanigans.

Indeed, the Ilford XP2 super single use camera is very much the antithesis of what a lot of film photographers strive for with absolutely perfect quality and sharp lenses. Instead, this camera is a slap in the face to them–and instead it’s just about a look and getting a different reaction from your subjects.

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Film Review: Lomography Color Negative 100 (120 and 35mm Formats)

“It’s Kodak Gold,” I’m often told by Lomography reps about Lomography Color Negative 100. The film is one of the offerings from Lomography that is also a more affordable option at times in both 35mm and 120. Now, some folks may scoff at the idea of shooting Kodak Gold since for years, it was designed for being shot by just consumers. But in truth, it’s capable of delivering some seriously lovely colors. To that end, so too is Lomography Color Negative 100. At times, I genuinely feel like Lomography Color Negative 100 sometimes just intensifies whatever scene is just in front of you. But either way, if you’re looking for a low ISO alternative because you don’t like Kodak Ektar’s colors, then Lomography Color Negative 100 is a very viable option.

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Vintage Camera Review: Pentax Spotmatic (M42 Screwmount)

Pentax has has a number of great cameras over the years, but if you’re going to get something cheap and reliable, one of the best options has to be the Pentax Spotmatic. The little camera is one of the first options to offer a TTL (through the lens) light meter though otherwise is completely mechanical. With that said, it still truthfully doesn’t need a battery or the light meter to operate–which is a lot light many Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander rangefinders. That means that even if the battery dies, you can still shoot and get perfectly usable photos if you’ve got just a bit of light metering knowledge. The Pentax Spotmatic was designed during a time when folks typically shot photos in full shutter speeds vs 1/3rd options of today. So with that said, you’ll want to pay close attention to the film that you’re loading up and your own intentions when it comes to shooting.

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Review: Kodak TMax 400 (35mm and 120)

Kodak T-Max 400 doesn’t get all the love, love letters, and overall adoration that Kodak Tri-X 400 does simply because of the fact that a ton of the most iconic photos in the world were shot on Tri-X 400 vs T-Max 400. However, part of that has to do with the fact that Tri-X has been around for a longer period of time and T-Max 400 is designed to do something much different. While Tri-X 400 is known for its characteristic midtones and grain, T-Max 400 is instead known for its fairly high contrast (in the highlights and shadows), its incredibly fine grain and its overall sharpness. It’s touted to be the sharpest black and white 400 speed film in the world. Indeed, there has been a movement in the black and white photography world towards the high contrast, crispy, sharp look. And that’s essentially what Kodak T-Max 400 can do while still retaining a fair amount of details in the midtones. It does it in a much different way from a film like Japan Camera Hunter Street Pan 400–which is a near infrared film. Yet it also differs from many of the Ilford emulsions.Before you go on, more of the specific technical details of using Kodak T-Max 400 can be found in this Kodak PDF file.

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Zine Review: She Shoots Film No. 1

A while back we wrote about She Shoots Film: a special analog photography zine put together by a number of designers and photographers using money from an IndieGoGo campaign. The magazine, which has won quite a bit of acclaim thus far, is a continuation of the underground photography culture’s progression into moving off of the social web and back into a distraction free environment. Spearheaded by four women, She Shoots Film may excite some photographers and turn others off simply because, well, we live in a marginalized world. Though if you remove the fact that the magazine is put together by women and features exclusively women, then you’re bound to be amazed by not only the quality of work presented in the first edition, but the very subtle details put into the actual production of the zine itself.

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Review: Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan answers the prayers and wishes of almost every Fujifilm Instax Mini film user–and it’s arguably one of the absolute best cameras shooting the format on the market. Obviously, part of this appeal is the glass lens on the front of the camera. This lens is the same optic used on the company’s Lomography LCA 120–and so it is the sharpest and the fastest aperture lens available for use on any Instax camera (at the time of publishing this review.) That quality will appeal to a lot of photographers; and though there are a number of shooters who still want manual controls, you’d be shocked at how great the photos are from the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan.

And if you don’t care about any of that stuff: then this is the absolute ultimate Instax Mini camera on the market.

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Vintage Camera Review: Minolta Maxxum 7 (Minolta a7)

No, this isn’t the Sony a7, but the Minolta a7 is perhaps one of the best film Alpha mount cameras that you can still get your hands on used. While the Minolta a9 is considered the flagship, there are features built into the Minolta a7 that can make it much more appealing. For starters, it’s much lighter. And there is also a built in data back that lets you change a whole lot of parameters in a very simple way.

And to be honest, it’s one of the best autofocusing film SLR cameras I’ve ever used–completely putting a lot of what Canon and Nikon created to shame.

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Film Review: Lomography LomoChrome Purple 100-400 (35mm, New Emulsion)

A while back, Lomography LomoChrome Purple was released in 120 and 35mm formats. But earlier this year, the company updated the formula to make it more stable. With it came the major improvement of making it easier to shoot with. The current LomoChrome Purple formula allows a photographer to get great results whether they’re shooting at ISO 400 or ISO 100. Lomography states that you can rate it at either setting, as opposed to the older formula which needed a lot of light to create the best images. This new emulsion is available only in 35mm, but it provides finer grain and still very nice colors.

So if you’re the type who only wants to shoot in 120, then the size may put you off. But make no mistake, the quality is absolutely there.

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Film Review: Fujifilm Pro 400H (35mm and 120)

While Kodak Portra 400 has forever enjoyed the spotlight, Fujifilm Pro 400H has in some ways lived in the shadow of what’s often marketed with Kodak’s option. But in truth, Fujifilm Pro 400H has a character that is all its own–and like Portra, you either love it or you despise it. If you’re a Fujifilm X series camera user, then you’ve probably experimented with the film emulsion simulation in many ways. Most of the work online though was probably rendered in Velvia, Provia or perhaps even Acros at this point simply because it’s so darn good.

If you’re a portrait shooter that loves to step into the studio or work with off-camera lighting in one way or another, I highly suggest that you take a look at Fujifilm Pro 400H if you haven’t already.

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Film Review: Fujifilm Acros 100 (35mm and 120 Formats)

Fujifilm Acros 100 is the company’s last black and white film emulsion, and for many photographers it was an absolute favorite. Acros 100 is a very fine grain film considering how it’s also a fairly slow film. In fact, it’s so fine grain that when my scans came in, readers thought that the image was digital and not film. For this reason, it was always used for a variety of applications though mostly with portraits and landscapes. Depending on how you developed it and if you pushed it or not though, it isn’t very tough to get great results even when pushed to ISO 1600, though it is surely time consuming when it comes to the processing.

Today, the closest thing to any of the other previous Acros emulsions comes in the form of the image quality offerings from the Fujifilm X series. And despite the fact that it doesn’t totally look like the Acros film, it comes incredibly close.

Editor’s Note: This is a review of Fujifilm Acros 100. But next month, La Noir Image will be 100% dedicated to the film emulsion and the digital simulation from Fujifilm’s cameras. If you want to read more, I highly recommend subscribing for as little as $15/year.

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Review: Lomography XPro Slide 200 Film (35mm Format)

To begin this review, I’m going to say flat out that Lomography XPro Slide 200 film has to, hands down, be the weirdest film I’ve ever worked with. But it’s also been a pleasure and a very fulfilling learning experience in my own pursuits of bettering my photography knowledge. To say this wasn’t a challenge is an extreme understatement. Within three rolls, I tried to “get it right”. Pretty simple you’d think, right? Well, yeah–even I’d sit there and call me a dumbass. Except that Lomography XPro Slide 200 film isn’t a conventional film at all.

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Analog Film Review: Lomography F2/400 Film

Every now and again Lomography comes out with some weird, limited edition film: and the most recent was Lomography f2/400 in 35mm. The film, which allegedly was aged over a number of years in oak wine casks, was a negative film. Surely it’s expired, but as every experienced film photographer will tell you, freezing the film greatly negates the effects of expiration. That’s more or less how Lomography stored it–at least according to reports and their semi-cryptic press release. My favorite film from the company was Sunset Stripe, though f2/400 was perhaps the easiest to use.

I keep saying “was” because the film is now gone.

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Film Emulsions with a Look You Can’t Get in Digital Photography

Lead photo by Doctor Popular. Used with a Creative Commons License.

There are loads and loads of film emulations that have been more or less copied with presets for Lightroom. Everyone has their own interpretation, and for the most part if you ask any film photographer, they’ll tell you that they don’t look like film. At the same time though, there are film emulsions out there that really don’t look like anything that can possibly be replicated in digital.

Here are some of our favorite film emulsions that digital hasn’t yet copied.

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How Well Do Old Medium Format Lenses Hold Their Sharpness Vs Modern Prime Lenses?

Something that has always been in the back of any camera lens lover’s mind is the question of how well the older lenses hold their own against the newer lenses. Indeed, older lenses have a special character to them that can’t really be replicated with most modern lenses, sans the offerings from Lomography and Lensbaby. While most 35mm film format lenses were designed with an appeal for consumers over professionals, medium format was always more of the cream of the crop (with exception to large format).

So we went through our archives and looked at how a few classic medium format lenses compare to the new king: the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art lens. Of course, this is a very interesting battle in the film vs digital debate.

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