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.

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.