Polaroid Filter Kit

For the past week I’ve been trying out my recently purchased Polaroid Filter Kit for my Polaroid 600 camera and the Polaroid Originals 600 colour film.

I found this kit for sale on the Polaroid Originals website and since I like experimental colour photography, I knew this would be a great addition to my camera.

The filters come in a really nicely packaged box so I can continue to store them in there when they’re not in use. They also come with a velvet drawstring bag which I can put them in when I’m out and about:

The filter set contains the following:

  • Blue
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Starburst
  • Multi-image 3
  • Multi-image 2

Here are some photos I took using the Blue filter:

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I wasn’t particularly impressed by the blue filter but I think in hindsight I had used the wrong things to photograph for this filter.

In the first picture I took a coastline photo where most of it is blue anyway (the sea and sky) so it looks like a pretty normal photo. As with the usual quirks of polaroid pictures, there are blemishes at the bottom of the photo which I actually think livens the photo up a bit otherwise it would have been extremely dull. The bottom part of the blemish almost looks sand like.

The next photo I attempted with the blue filter was of a green tree. Again, I didn’t feel particularly excited by this photo and thought it was rather dull. By this point I had got bored of trying out the blue filter. I’ll perhaps try it again when I find a subject with colours that have no elements of blue in them already.

Here is a photo I took with the Yellow filter:

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This colour is ok and I think it works well with the coastline but when I decide to use this filter again, I think I will need a particular idea in mind that I think will also work well with the yellow.

Here are some photos I took using the Red filter:

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As you can probably tell from the amount of photos I’ve taken, this was by far my most favourite filter to use. I initially thought the photos would come out red so didn’t think I’d like them, but when I discovered they actually come out as this cool pink colour I was over the moon with the results.

As you can see, I used a variety of different settings for my photos and I think the colour works well in all of them. You’ll also see there are again, some classic polaroid quirks (blemishes) at the bottom of some of the photos.

Here are a couple of photos I took using the orange filter:

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The orange is quite similar to the yellow filter although the colour is slightly darker and richer so I actually prefer the orange filter for this reason, hence why more photos were taken using it.

Here are some photos using the Mulit-Image 3 filter:

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Both images are of the coastline divided into three of the same image which I think looks quite cool and I’ll definitely be using this filter again.

I haven’t yet used the Multi-Image 2 or Starburst filters. The reason being that I haven’t yet found any particular subjects where I felt the need to use either of these but I’m sure I will at some point.

Overall, I’m really happy I purchased this filter set from Polaroid Originals. It gives a different style of photo to a bulk standard setting and since the limited edition colour photos such as the duo chrome from Polaroid Originals are few and far between, I think this is a good way of getting that colour fix I’m after if I’m unable to get hold of the duo chrome style films again which at some point will run out or get more expensive when there are less of them about.

I recently purchased some ‘Gold Frame’ polaroid 600 colour film so I’m keen to see how the filters may work with that as a contrast.

Streaky Polaroid 600 Film

Whilst getting some photos developed in my local lab, I bought some Polaroid 600 colour film from them as I was keen to see how the photos would look when taken with my (new to me) vintage Polaroid 600 camera.

This was the first photo I took:

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As you can see the photo has streak marks on it and my initial reaction was that there was possibly something wrong with my camera (since I had bought it in good faith on eBay). I also wondered if it was because it had been taken indoors.

I decided to take some more photos outside:

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Yet again, more streaks! At this point I wondered was it my camera or was it the film? I struggled to believe it was the film because I had bought it recently from a reputable camera shop in Brighton and not on eBay.

I was reluctant to put some more film in the camera in case it was the camera that was the issue so didn’t want to waste another £18.99.

I therefore decided the best thing to do was contact Polaroid Originals and submit copies of these images and ask their opinion on what they thought the issue was.

I was surprised to get such a quick response within 15 minutes of my initial email explaining to me that they thought the film was at fault. They asked me for the serial number of the film (which is on the back at the bottom of each photo) and upon further investigation they confirmed to me that this film was manufactured by them in January 2018 but the reason for the streaks was most likely incorrect storage and the fact the film was several months old.

I’ve read in the past that the new Polaroid film can have issues with developing correctly but as time progresses and further research is carried out by Polaroid Originals, I think the film quality is improving.

I was relieved to know it wasn’t the camera that was the issue so armed with this information I went back to my local shop to let them know in case they still had any of this particular batch of film left. They informed me that it had all since been sold so I pre-warned them that they may get some other customers coming back to them confirming the same issues with the film.

Whilst I don’t doubt that my local cameral shop had stored the film correctly, I can only put the issue down to the fact that we recently had a mini heatwave in Brighton and perhaps the heat had affected the film whilst on their shelf or if refrigerated and only recently put out after the heatwave, perhaps it was just a dodgy batch of film supplied to them (we’ll never know).

I didn’t expect a refund as quite frankly I had used up all the film, plus the owner of the shop wasn’t there so I understood that an employee may not be in a position to make a decision on whether they were able to do this.

However, whilst I’m extremely pro supporting local businesses, in this instance, I think I’ll be buying a majority of my polaroid film direct from Polaroid Originals.

There is no difference in cost of the film (except for added postage and also the film is discounted if bought in bulk) and Polaroid Originals assured me that if I ever receive a pack of film I’m unhappy with from them, they’ll either provide me with a replacement pack or a complete refund. For this reason I’m happy to pay a few extra pounds for postage.

I’ve since purchased some colour and black and white film from Polaroid Originals which arrived within a few days of ordering and can see that the film has been freshly manufactured in July which is encouraging.

I’ve been extremely impressed with Polaroid Originals as a company. Their customer service is great and I would highly recommend anybody to contact them if they ever have an issue with their Polaroid Camera or film as they are really helpful.

On a final note, for all this particular films faults, I have to admit that I do really like the effect of the middle picture of the West Pier in Brighton as I feel the streaks give the photo an atmospheric, horror look. I think this works quite well with the decaying pier.

My Olympus Pen FT Camera and Cinestill BwXX film

I’ve been a fan of the Cinestill film ever since I tried the Cinestill 50D colour film using my Olympus Pen FT and got some great photos at a car show.

I’d also used the Cinestill 800 colour film with my Pentax K1000 and had managed to take some nice evening shots.

In a nutshell Cinestill film is a motion picture film for still photographers.

I’m fortunate enough to have a shop in Brighton called Zoing Image which stock Cinestill 50D and Cinestill 800 colour film.

However, when I discovered the Cinestill BwXX black and white film, they unfortunately didn’t have any in stock for me to buy. I therefore had to look online and bought the film through Analogue Wonderland  as there were a couple of other creative style films I wanted to try that they sold so I bought them altogether.

I already knew that I wanted to use my Olympus Pen FT camera for this film because I love the high quality lenses this camera has and I also knew I mainly wanted to take architectural style shots. Also, the size of the photo taken on a half frame camera is very similar to cinematic style photos.

The Cinestill BwXX is a high speed, classic black and white film emulsion with a recommended ISO 250 under daylight.

What I also love about this film is the fact it’s a classic black and white film stock left relatively unchanged since it’s release in 1959 for still and motion picture use so this really adds to that vintage film feel of a photo.

I’ve read that it’s a classic film stock to fill the void left by the discontinuation of it’s sister films, Kodak Plus-X (which was discontinued in 2010) and TXP320.

The film produces 36 exposures (or 72 on a half frame camera) and is a 35mm film format. It’s not the cheapest of films and retails at around £10 per roll.

Here are some photos I took whilst out and about in Brighton

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Since I had architectural photo’s in mind for this film I also visited the Barbican in London and took some photos:

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I got the film developed at my local lab and I scanned the images using my Epson V600 scanner.

One thing I did notice when the negatives were developed was the high quality negatives produced. They were really thick and not flimsy and the images on the negative were very bright and clear to the naked eye.

As I expected, the photos have a real grainy, cinematic look about them which I do think has worked well with the architectural shots.

Going forward I would definitely use this film again if I had a black and white vintage style photography project in mind as i think the film would work well with that.

The Sprocket Rocket Camera and Street Candy ATM400 Film

I had been looking for interesting black and white films to shoot with my Sprocket Rocket camera which had an ISO of 400 as that is what is recommended for this camera to get the best exposure since this camera doesn’t have an ISO range to choose from.

Whilst visiting the Analogue Wonderland website I came across the Street Candy ATM400 film.

This black and white film initially came out in 2017. It’s a 35mm film which was originally used in surveillance cameras. The film was described as having high contrast and high sensitivity so would work well in dramatic light conditions. The film brand said it works well in street photography and the logo is very striking on the film.

The film retails at around £8.00 per roll (although Analogue Wonderland currently have a sale on so they have reduced the price to £7.00 a roll).

It therefore isn’t the cheapest film in the world but one of my love’s of film photography is trying out the different types of films for my camera’s so I was happy to pay this. Also at the time of purchasing, Analogue Wonderland had an offer on where you got a free colour film with any purchase so that was good in my opinion.

Here are some pictures I took with the Sprocket Rocket camera using this film which I got developed at my local lab and scanned myself using my Epson V600 scanner:

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These photos were taken whilst I was on a boat cruise along the River Thames in London. It was a bright sunny day so was the perfect weather for a boat cruise and taking photos with this style film.

I do feel the photos have a grittiness about them which would make sense if the film was originally used for surveillance and I can see how this film would work great in street photography (although street photography isn’t really my thing).

The film brings out some really interesting cloud detail in the sky. I also like how the last few pictures have interesting light detail around the sprocket holes which makes the photos more interesting and I’m not sure if that’s due to the film or if it’s possibly where the sun has just caught that part of the film?

I’m glad I tried this film and if I have a photography project in mind where I require a gritty style of black and white photography then I would definitely use it again.

 

 

 

Polaroid 600 Camera

From my previous blog posts you’ll see that I’m a fan of instant film photography and currently own a Polaroid Snap and Leica Sofort instant cameras.

I love these two instant camera’s and use them a lot for taking photos on social occasions.

However, due to the size of the photo they produce, I never felt they quite matched up to a polaroid photo if I wanted to take some more artistic style photographs for potentially framing to show at home.

I feel quite nostalgic about vintage polaroid cameras’ due to the fact my parents took a majority of my baby photos on their polaroid camera. Unfortunately they no longer have the camera.

I decided to finally purchase a vintage polaroid camera when I discovered the Polaroid Pink Duochrome 600 film which really inspired my creativity.

The Impossible Project which changed their name last year to Polaroid Originals had produced several colours of this Duochrome style film as limited editions ranging from orange and black, yellow and black and blue and black.

Polaroid Originals have since discontinued all of these limited edition films but thankfully the Pink and Black Duochrome film is still available to purchase from Urban Outfitters in the UK.

Once I knew I could currently purchase this film I had to decide on a Polaroid Camera which was compatible with the 600 film.

After doing much research with the help of a book called ‘Polaroid the Missing Manual’ by Rhiannon Adam, I finally decided I would buy a box type vintage 600 model.

The main reasons I decided to get this style of camera was first of all, it’s compatible with the film type I wanted to use and secondly, it’s a camera I would be able to buy at a relatively low price compared to the new polaroid onestep cameras which retail for over £100 and the desirable folding cameras such as the SX-70 which can sell for over £200 for a good condition one.

I ended up winning an auction on eBay on a Polaroid 600 LMS (Light Management System) camera from around the 1980s which had been refurbished by the Impossible Project just over a year ago and is painted black and white which I really like.

I was slightly nervous, yet excited at the same time about the quality of the images this camera would produce since it is classed as one of the more basic polaroid cameras.

However, I was really pleased with these photos I took:

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I’m currently getting used to the camera and am still in the experimental stage regarding exposure. The picture above taken of Brighton Bandstand was made darker on the Polaroid camera by sliding the control on the front of the camera towards the black arrow. I decided to darken the photo because when I took the photo it was on a very sunny morning and I had seen from the Brighton West Pier photos I took previously that they had come out quite bright so there wasn’t as much detail as you can see in the photos below:

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The Duochrome film retails at £18.99 and there are only 8 photos in a pack which means it works out at over £2.00 per photo which is considerably more than fujifilm mini instax which is around 80p a photo.

Polaroid films used to contain 10 photos in a pack but due to the way it is currently produced and the thickness of each photo, they can only fit 8 photos into a pack. This means that ‘experimenting’ can work out quite costly.

Interestingly, although this is an instant camera, I’m finding that it is actually helping me practice being a patient person (which is something I lack most of the time). This is because I have to really think and plan each photo I take due to the cost of the film.

For instance, I knew that I would have to take a photo of the Brighton Bandstand in the early morning in the daylight before lots of people were up and about either visiting the bandstand or just generally walking around as I didn’t want to waste my film with any unwanted shots of people accidentally getting in my photo. I also had to plan a day when the weather would be reasonably nice and not raining.

Also, the photos don’t develop instantly as you may think. Once the picture is taken, the photo needs to be kept in the dark for at least 10 minutes to enable the picture to develop to it’s full potential. My refurbished camera has a camera shield frog tongue already installed into it to stop the picture being exposed to any light when it first comes out of the camera.

Lastly, I discovered that it can take up to 30 days for the chemicals within the Polaroid film to fully dry so it’s recommended that you don’t put the photos into a plastic photo album or picture frame for at least this amount of time.

For all these constraints, there is something very endearing and addictive I’m finding about taking Polaroid photos.

I’ve since ordered some more Pink Duochrome film, so again, I’m having to be patient whilst I wait for the film to arrive in the post.

The Sprocket Rocket Camera and LomoChrome Purple XR 100-400 35mm Film

My favourite colour is Purple and I have a real love of psychedelic style photography with weird and wacky colours instead of the normal colour photos.

It was pretty obvious to me in view of this that I was going to end up having a real love of the LomoChrome Purple film available at Lomography.

Since the ISO range is between 100-400, it gives more experimentation options of the colour results. Basically, if you have an ISO of 100, the purple will be brighter and lighter on greens and if the ISO is 400, the greens in a photo will be more of an indigo colour.

This is a 35mm film which is developed under the standard C-41 process.

Lomography also do a 120mm film version which I’m keen to try out in my Diana F+ camera but as is often common with Lomography films, this is currently out of stock.

I’ve tried this film a couple of times now (in my Sprocket Rocket camera which recommends an ISO film of 400) and I’ve been extremely impressed with the results.

Here are some photos I recently took on my second roll of the LomoChrome film I put in this camera:

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The above images were taken during a trip on the River Thames in London. The pictures below were taken whilst out and about in Brighton:

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I really love the pictures taken on this style film. I’ve now put a roll of the LomoChrome Purple film in my Olympus Pen FT camera as I will have more control of the image quality compared to what I have on the Sprocket Rocket camera so I’m looking forward to seeing the results (which I will upload in my blog once the film is developed).

 

Pentax Auto 110 Film Camera

One major part of my journey into film photography is discovering the types of film available and how they produce different types of photos etc.

Whilst using various Lomography cameras and their 35mm and 120mm films, I came across a 110mm film that they also sell.

When I saw the small plastic cartridge that the film came in I instantly had flashbacks from my child hood of using rectangular style cameras that used 110 film.

Lomography produce a Fisheye Baby camera which uses this film. However, I wanted to buy a vintage camera which was originally using 110 film.

After much research and a great deal of choice, I was drawn towards the Pentax Auto 110 Camera.

The main reason for this was first of all, it is a Pentax and I absolutely love this brand of camera and my Pentax K1000 35mm SLR camera. The second reason is that it is an SLR with interchangeable lenses.

The camera was produced by Asahi Optical Company from 1978 until 1985. It is very small and initially produced three types of lenses:

  • 18mm f/2.8 wide angle
  • 24mm f/2.8 normal
  • 50mm f/2.8 telephoto

After 1980, a further three lenses were made available to this camera:

  • 20-40mm zoom
  • 70mm telephoto
  • 18mm Pan Focus lens

Although this camera is an SLR, the exposure is fully automatic and the exposure range is from 1/750 second at f/13.5 to 1 second at f/2.8.

There are tripod and cable release sockets. The camera has through lens focusing with a split image focusing aid in the centre and I would say the viewfinder is quite bright.

The film advance lever is in the usual place at the top right hand side of the camera and it needs two strokes to advance the film and cock the shutter.

There is a light sensor which shows in the bottom right hand corner of the viewfinder when you semi-press down the shutter button to let you know if the exposure will be correct. If the light is green, this means the exposure is fine. If the light is orange, this means that the photo will either be under or over exposed when taken.

The camera requires 2 x SR44 1.55 V Silver Oxide batteries to enable the light sensor to work. These batteries are loaded into a battery holder which is placed inside the camera, next door to where the film is loaded. I picked up a pack of 5 Camelion batteries on eBay for £3.29.

The price of these camera’s varies. I’ve seen some on eBay for as little as £8-£20 for just the camera with one lens ‘untested’ which understandably can put buyers off. I’ve also seen some for sale fully boxed in great condition from £80 to over £100 on eBay and second hand camera websites.

There is also a flash attachment as well as a battery powered automatic winder attachment.

I ended up purchasing my camera from West Yorkshire Cameras for £49.00. The camera was fully boxed and ‘back in the day’ it would have been referred to as a Major Component Set. This set consists of the camera body, 18mm lens, 24mm lens, 50mm lens, flash, winder, strap and soft cases for the camera and flash.

The condition was very good, but what West Yorkshire Camera’s hadn’t mentioned in their description and photos of the item was the fact that it also came with the UV, Skylight filters and rubber lens hoods which was an unexpected bonus. Although I do wish West Yorkshire Camera’s had noted this because in my haste, I also bought some filters from Japan for around £7 (with postage) before the camera arrived.

I was really happy with the condition of the camera and lenses. The only disappointment was the camera case which is beyond use because the leather has really flaked off and continues to flake off, making a mess everywhere (including in the box). Thankfully the lenses had caps on them so they didn’t get covered in this black mess. I think it’s a rare find to have a case in immaculate condition as the ones with cases I’ve seen so far for sale, all seem to have the same problem.

One other slight problem which I’ve since read is quite a common occurrence on these cameras is that the plastic divider between the battery compartment and where the film is placed is quite weak. On initial inspection of the camera, this was all fine (so West Yorkshire Camera’s were not at fault here as they had described the camera in the condition it would have been at point of sale) but after I placed the new batteries inside the camera, this plastic literally fell apart (joys of vintage cameras) so the divider was no more. However, I could see that as long as I was careful when placing the film inside the camera and keeping the battery prongs out of the way, it shouldn’t affect the photos taken.

The 110 films that Lomography sell have 24 exposures and are extremely easy to load into the camera. Winding on and unloading are also extremely easy. The films cost around £6.90.

Here is a link online to the Lomography 110 films:

Lomography 110 Film

I initially loaded my camera with the Lomography Tiger 200 ISO colour film.

I found the camera extremely easy to use. I loved how little and subtle the camera was when taking photos (it would probably work quite well for street photography). The interchangeable lenses fit nicely into my sunglasses case so have great protection when out and about. It really is a camera you can use everyday since it hardly takes up any room in a handbag or you can just put it in your pocket. You can really quickly use up a roll of film as there isn’t much manual control so less time is spent taking a photo.

As with any vintage camera when trying it for the first time, there is always that element of  ‘does it work?’ and unlike digital I have to wait until I get the first roll developed before I know.

Here are some of the results of my first roll of film using all three lenses:

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I wasn’t sure what to expect as the camera was so small so I did think how can it possibly take great photos plus the fact there is no manual control (except for focusing the lens).

However, I’m impressed with the quality of these images. For a little camera it certainly packs a punch!

I’m also impressed with the Lomography film quality.

I took all these shots in daylight hours since the film ISO is 200 and I’ve yet to try out taking photos using the flash.

Lomography also do three other types of 110 film (black and white, lobster redscale and peacock).

I luckily managed to purchase all of the above types of film so will be blogging the results when the films are used and I get them developed.

Frustratingly (as with most Lomography film) they seem to sell out of film very often and then you have to wait for it to be re-stocked. Currently the Lobster Redscale and Peacock film are out of stock online. Thankfully I had managed to buy some Redscale film before it sold out online. I was then lucky to be at the Lomography store in London last week where they had just had a new consignment of the Peacock film delivered so I bought a couple of rolls of that to experiment with too.

I’ve only given a brief overview of this camera (and I haven’t even mentioned the Auto 110 Super that was released in late 1982) so if you’d like to read some further detailed information, I recommend the following website which is dedicated to the Pentax Auto 110 camera:

Pentax Auto 110 Camera

Here is a link to the West Yorkshire Camera website if you’d like to see what vintage cameras / accessories they currently have for sale:

West Yorkshire Cameras