Later last year I somehow became quite enthusiastic at taking photos. Carried my Df with me almost everyday and shot whatever I came across. As a natural process I began searching for specific topic of photographing technique, learnt a lot such as exposure compensation, histograms etc.. And inevitably got introduced to film photography. Then after watching Matt Day’s FM2 Review I really wanted to get myself a film camera.
Quite soon after all these, around the start of November last year, I felt really tired and lost at work so I went home for some rest. During that time I accidentally catched a funeral of a friend’s father (actually my father’s friend, but quite close to me as well) at Puyang, where my father grow up and started his business. And how lucky I was that my father’s another friend there HAS a FM2, and he was very generous and glad to lend me it for some time.
So yep, god bless me, I got just that magical craft in like under a month since when I really know anything practically about film photography. And I’ve been carrying it with me truly 24x7. Being a true beginner to film photography, some of the shots are not appealing, some others really amazed me, and I think I am getting better with every roll.
Recently Shanghai has been so cold that I don’t really want to go out and shoot things. So instead of actually using up my a few rolls left, I wanted to look back and write down some thoughts on these rolls I’ve used during the last 2 months of 2015.
The first batch of films I bought.
I also got a 24-75 lens together with the FM2, however I felt the lens is a bit too dirty and I was quite interested in 35mm lens at the time, so I bought one and been using it for all the shots except the first several ones. (Can’t remember which one but doesn’t really matter anyway)
All the following shots are from my FM2 album on Flickr.
A decent beginner’s bargin
This seems to be a bargin for beginners, and it seems ISO 200 films are the cheapest anyway. It is also the first roll I tried, as a safer first step.
Despite being a cheap choice, with some practice it really gots me more and more into film photography. By ditching all the “modern” controls on a DSLR, it feels that’s just how photography should be. The moment when you got photos back after films being developed and scanned is also a completely different excitement from viewing on LCD.
This film is okay to use both indoor and outdoor. I think it gives a quiet and peaceful mood to photos, as in it’s not that expressive on colors.
Kodak Gold 200
Golden even in the dark (outdoor only)
A very very expressive film, so golden that I think it would be useless for most indoor scenarios (unless you’re in a golden palace then maybe it could shine..)
Also because of that, it’s a perfect fit for outdoor shooting on a sunny day. The added goldenness makes sun light alive.
Look at how the hairs are lighted up with those awesome golden sheen. It feels warm, energetic and alive.
ILFORD PAN 400
Sharp enough and usable under any condition
I have to salute the guys at ILFORD, when noticing it’s a company all-in for B&W films. And PAN 400 is what I started with among all their awesome films. Because the previous several rolls are all ISO 200, making them next to useless at night, I wonder if 400 could perform well enough at night.
In fact, the ILFORD PAN 400 astonished me on how well it could fit at almost any time, any place.
It’s good for indoor with okayish light.
Or outdoor in a not-so-great weather.
Or on the street.
Even into water!
Seeing the photos after the lab sent them back, I was so amazed by just how well it could perform under almost any condition, and before this roll I never thought shooting B&W could be this much fun.
PAN 400 is also sharp enough, in fact after seeing some of the photos I was wondering how better could their PAN 100 be.
Bright & colorful
The first ISO 100 film I tried, and quite good despite being cheaply packaged (フジフイルム業務用フィルム means for bulky usage by professional photographers/studios). It produces brighter and more colorful photos.
I also tried the SB-22s speedlight (from my father) during our celebration party for Gunjack, but only got 1 good photo..
I think this is the ISO 100 film that I kind of expected after almost one month of shooting other 200 and 400 films, it also has a pretty strong white, providing good contrasts.
ILFORD PAN 100
Higher contrast with a lot of details
In some ways, PAN 100’s “sharpness” is not that much better than PAN 400’s. But I found it shows, or to put it better, presented much more details in a photo.
It just feels every line and every corner is so clear.
I think that’s another side of photography, each photo you take is a moment frozen, that moment can be revisited countless times and yet still have undiscovered details waiting for you. That’s what PAN 100 makes me feel.
ILFORD DELTA 3200
Not a bad choice for moments in the dark
The cool thing about film cameras is that by loading a different film, it’s almost like replacing the sensor on a DSLR. All these films not only have different ISO, different brand and name, they have their own “personality”. And once you come to know one, you’ll notice it changes how you perceive each scene, how you want to shoot, it’s really interesting and exciting.
For DELTA 3200, I know I’ll need it if I want to use the FM2 with my 35mm f/2 lens for our Christmas party. And as it turns out, not a bad idea at all.
I bought 2 rolls, and only used 1.3 or so during the party. So I shot the remaining exposures during the very last days of 2015 and very first days of 2016.
The only thing is as an ISO 3200 film, it “expires” really fast, I think the 2nd roll didn’t perform as well as the 1st because I used almost three weeks to finish it. Still, I’m proud of this true “street photography” (as in my heart) taken with it.