International Film Swap

Through my blog  I was recently contacted by International Film Swap Group and asked if I would like to join in taking pictures on a roll of film, then posting it to somebody in their community in a another part of the world who would reshoot the film and get the film processed to create some cross country double exposures.

I was really interested to see what effects the photos would have if I did this via their group so I immediately agreed.

After agreeing, I was contacted via email from one of their member’s called Mathias who is based in Stockholm, Sweden. His instagram page is @haexes if you’d like to check out his work.

He suggested that I shoot a colour roll of 35mm film that I would then post to him and he would flip the roll and re-shoot it to produce a red scale fusion effect.

I had never heard of flipping a roll of film before to create this effect so again, I found this really interesting and was really looking forward to seeing the results.

After some further discussion with Mathias on what type of colour film would work  for the red scale effect, I decided to use Fujifilm X-TRA Superia 400 35mm film.

I shot the film using my Pentax K1000 camera as I knew this particular camera would allow me to shoot the film at ISO 800. I had wanted to double the ISO from the original 400 since the film was going to be double exposed.

Mathias used his Olympus Trip 35 camera for the re-shooting of the film.

We had both agreed from the beginning that I was not going to give particular details of each shot I had taken as we wanted the finished photos to be more free style. Instead, I gave Mathias a brief overview of where I had taken my shots which I confirmed were of Brighton Beach and some other sites nearby such as the West Pier, a statue and the I360 along with a couple of flower shots to create a bit of a mixture.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when Mathias developed and scanned the film except I knew it would probably look quite creative and very lomography-esq since part of the exposure would be of a red scale type of photo which would create a fire effect.

Today I received the scanned photos from Mathias and I was really impressed with the images we had managed to combine on the film.

Here are a few of my favourite images we took:

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We’ve decided to do a further film swap together, this time using black and white film. Mathias will be shooting the film first then he will pass it onto me to re-shoot and I will get the film developed and scanned.

I’d be interested to know what other people’s opinions are of the double exposures. Do you like them? or is it something you wouldn’t want to do in your own photography?

If anybody reading this blog post is interested in doing a film swap with me, please contact me as it really is great fun to do.

Leica Sofort Instant Camera

Following on from my recent blog where I was discussing my Polaroid Snap Shot Instant camera that I’d owned for the past couple of years and the issues I had with the print quality of the photos, I decided I was due an upgrade.

I felt I could justify an upgrade of instant camera as I do use it regularly, especially when I’m out with friends or family.

Whilst I appreciate the cost of film can be quite pricey I do tend to use it carefully and for me personally, I tend to buy instant film every one to two months so the cost isn’t too expensive for me. My basic rule is that I try to shoot quality over quantity with film camera’s.

My upgrade came about when I discovered the Leica Sofort Instant camera for sale in the UK. Whilst I appreciate all camera’s are ‘tools’ I couldn’t help but fall in love with the look and design of this camera.

Since it’s a Leica, this obviously comes at a higher price compared to a lot of instant cameras out there. In the UK the cost of this camera ranges from £200 – £250 and that is for the basic camera. That doesn’t include the cost of the case, film or cool orange, mint and white camera strap.

The camera is currently sold in three colours….white, orange and mint. Personally for me, I absolutely love the orange one.

It uses the fuji instax mini film and also the leica version of this same mini film which is produced by fujifilm.

Whilst the camera isn’t fully manual, it does have a built in flash and has several shooting modes:

  • Macro
  • Bulb
  • Automatic
  • Self timer
  • Party and People
  • Sport and Action
  • Double Exposure
  • Selfie

So far, I’ve mainly shot in standard or party and people mode. I’ve found the photos of people to be very flattering and many of my friends have commented about how the photos make them look younger which they obviously love.

The instant film is easy to load and there is a digital counter on the back which tells you how many photos you have left in the camera which I find really helpful. The film comes in packs of 10.

I find the camera lightweight and very portable. It is slightly bigger than my polaroid snap so doesn’t always fit into my smaller handbags but the cool strap enables me to wear it over my shoulder like a handbag.

There are two colour cases available for this camera in black and brown with a white canvas section on the side parts of the case. Again the cases aren’t overly cheap and retail for around £19 in the UK. However, I was pleased with the quality of the case.

I bought the brown case as I felt this colour complimented the orange shade of camera I owned.

The camera comes with a black Leica neck strap but I didn’t feel this colour went with my orange camera and didn’t look anywhere near as cool as the orange, mint and white strap. I therefore purchased the other strap for around £15 in the UK.

I was very impressed at how quickly the photos came out of my camera in comparison to the Polaroid Snap. The quality of the pictures are a million times better than the zinc  printed paper in my opinion and I’m very happy I decided to opt for an instant camera with this type of film.

The downside to this type of instant camera is that you cannot choose between colour and black and white photo modes like I could on the Polaroid Snap. To do this, I either have to load the camera with colour photos or black and white photos then use up 10 shots before I can change the colour. I can also only print one photo at a time as it doesn’t have different style modes, like the Photo Booth option on the Polaroid Snap. However, the picture quality more than makes up for this.

I tend to use the Leica colour film over the own named fujifilm. There have been many arguments that they’re exactly the same, just with Leica noted on the back of the film prints instead of fujifilm. I personally have found that the Leica film produces a warmer colour picture which I prefer.

However, on the black and white photos, I actually prefer the fujifilm brand over the Leica one because I think the photos are slightly cooler in tone which I personally prefer.

I’m sure there are many people who disagree with me about the difference in the film quality but I’m going from my own personal experience of shooting with both of these brands of films.

I tend to buy my Leica colour instant film online from Harrison Cameras as they currently sell a pack of 20 (2 x packs of 10) for £16.00. I can buy my black and white normal fujifilm from any local camera shop since I prefer the own brand of that to the Leica one.

I won’t deny it, this camera was definitely a luxury treat to myself and I’m sure the fujifilm camera’s take just as good photos for the fraction of the price of this camera but I have to be honest and say the look of this camera was what I loved.

I also loved the fact it was a Leica (admittedly not a German produced high quality Leica) but then it would have cost even more if it had been produced in Germany with all metal casing etc.

Ultimately this camera is great fun, is a great conversation point at a party and I’ve had much fun taking photo’s with it. I love the cool retro design and the fact it’s not too bulky to take out with me like a full size Polaroid camera would be.

I certainly don’t regret my purchase and can see me using this camera for many years to come.

Here are some instant photos I took at a family party this year:

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Here is an instant photo I took of the steering wheel of my friend’s 1965 Mustang:

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