Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2016

Ilford Digital Paper: Printing Kodachrome Black and White

My saga of printing Kodachrome processed as a black and white negative continues. I had posted my earlier efforts to process an old roll of exposed Kodachrome film here. I was stymied by the high orange content due to the orange filter base. Normal photographic paper is insensitive to red and it frustrated all attempts to print it. I thought that if I could find panchromatic paper I could have better results. In another post I reported on using some old panchromatic Kodak Panalure I bought online. Alas the paper was too fogged with age to give any satisfactory answer to my idea.

I had found out about Ilford Digital Silver paper which is meant to be laser exposed and is panchromatic. It is only available in 100 ft to 500 ft  rolls. Not affordable for a little experimentation. Eventually I ran into a company in the US that sells boxes of 8x10 sheets of the stuff. It is aimed at pinhole camera users. Photo Warehouse sells a lot of old-school and different photographic and graphics arts s…

Saving Old Paper

The problem with using old photographic paper is it fogs with age. Fogging means that an unexposed paper when developed will not be white, instead it will be some shade of gray. This reduces contrast and makes for muddy indistinct prints. The degree of fogging depends on age and the paper. In this blog I have reported on a range of old papers I have tried. As a word of warning old papers are in general a false economy except perhaps as a first time learning tool. The results are almost always disappointing.

The exception for me was some obscure Spanish a paper I found last year. I was interested in making large prints 16x20" but new paper is expensive. I took a chance on one box and got pretty good results. There is some light gray fogging in the white borders however. In another post I experimented using Potassium Ferrocyanide bleach to rescue some old and very fogged Agfa paper. This was met with some success but it was a simple experiment.

Now that I have The Beast I have been…

The Beast...

Recently my wife's workplace was getting rid of some old darkroom equipment and offered it up to anyone who would cart it away. I told her I was interested but someone beat us to it. However for some reason they declined to take it in the end. I suspect it was due to the size of it. I call it 'The Beast'.

For the last year I have been in possession of some of my grandfather's (he was called Cushy short for Cushman) 4x5 negatives. He was an avid photographer and made a living from cameras and photography. I remember his interest while I was growing up and still have his Nikon F. He is part of the reason I took an interest in film photography back in 2009.As a result of this I wanted to print some of his negatives but I lacked a 4x5 enlarger. This is where The Beast comes in.

So since last summer I have been perusing ebay looking for a 4x5 enlarger. They are not common, often expensive and very big. So finding one cheap less than £50 and close enough to pickup (shipping …

Old Plus-X Large Format Film

One can find old large format film on ebay for some pretty good prices (£4 -25 sheet 4x5). The question is, is it any good? I had accumulated some Plus-X (ASA 125, expired 1968) and some Tri-X (ASA 320 Expired 1985).

I compare the Plus-X  to unexpired Fomapan 100 which is a very economical choice for B+W film. I find Fomapan to be a bit contrasty compared to Ilford Delta the only other large format film I have experience with. I ran this through my MPP MKIII large format. This is a camera I bid on but did not expect to win. I find it is rather intense and time consuming to use and as such is not good to use when you are out with others. Consequently it has seen limited use. The lens is a Fuji 210mm f5.6 which is a joy to use and reasonably priced.

I took identical photos with each film to compare. I rated the Plus-X at 2 stops slower to compensate for age. This gave me ASA 30 for the Plus-X. I stop it right down to f64 so exposures got out to 1 second on the Plus-X in daylight. Howev…

35mm film reloading success: Yashica Electro 35

One of my pet peeves about shooting 35mm is that film is only available in 36 exposure rolls. While this is economical I seldom shoot an entire roll in a day out. This usually means it sits around in my camera before it gets developed. My normal medium format cameras have 12-16 exposures which is just about right for my style of shooting. So a while back I bought a bargain reloader and found a huge stash of old 35mm canisters as well. I also bought 17m of Ilford FP4+ 35mm film. This is the smallest quantity I could find.

I started reloading 12 exposures per roll. This works out as I expected and I get through a roll in a few hours out shooting. I get home and develop it the same day and 12 exposures fits in one scanning run. Very nice and a success from a use standpoint for me. 35mm now makes more sense for me. Of course this is not the most economical way forward as you use up 3 exposures for leaders on each end of the roll. So 6 wasted exposures for every 12 useful ones. In the futu…

Russian Spy Film (16mm photography)

To try out my  Minolta 16 camera (£5 on ebay). I bought some Russian (Soviet 1982) 16mm B+W film. The 65 number refers to the Soviet film speed which elsewhere on the box is translated to 80 ASA and 20 DIN.
Loading the film onto old cartridges is simple enough in a changing bag after a little fumbling around. The first roll of film I exposed using a flash  on automatic mode with a speed of 100 (The Russian film is actually ASA 80). I also developed using semi-stand development with a solution of 1+100 Ilford LC29 developer. Stand for 30 Minutes, invert and stand for a another 30 minutes. Stop and fix per usual. The results were under exposed and grainy. The film had some fog as well. The scan below shows one result and this is after optimizing for levels in Photoshop.
I thought the development was not good for this film and wanted to see where the film speed was best set for. I loaded and shot a new roll. This time out the back garden using a photometer. I ran 7 test shots 3 at 1/30th …

Minolta 16 PS Miniature Camera

My latest camera is a bit of a surprise being a medium format buff. You can see more info here at (requires translation).

It is a simple camera with 1/100s shutter speed (1/30th in flash setting) and variable aperture (f3.5 to f16) and fixed focus with a view finder. It takes 20 photos from a roll of 16mm (that's right movie) film. The small cartridges are reloadable. The one I bought did not include a film cartridge but happily I found a couple of rolls of film on ebay from Germany. One is color the other Kodak Plus-X. Both were from the 1980s. I took the roll of the black and white on a trip to London last weekend and developed it at home. These were quick snaps to burn through the film so I could reload some fresher film.

I developed them as a wad of film using semi-stand development. My spiral reel cannot accept this small film so I wadded it up in the tank. (I have since found an old tank and reel that takes 16mm film.) This worked OK for most shots bu…

Garden Box Repairs

When my father visited us in 2007 in Bath he bought a very thoughtful gift. It was a shed about 6ftx8ft in size. He knew I liked my projects and Vicki's house did not have a garage or space for hobbies such as woodworking. I had brought over with me my hand-tools having sold or given away my power tools to friends and neighbors. I don't think my father knew of the British obsession with garden sheds and how they become sanctuaries and and expressions of personality.

Mine was a simple kit that I assembled after my Dad's visit. Soon I moved in my workbench and hand-tools. I had by then acquired a router, a power planer and a cordless drill. I laboriously dug trenches to the house to bring out power for the tools, lighting, and a small heater.

One of my first projects was a garden box to store the outdoor recliner pads out of the weather. Vicki's garden was huge and some ways from the house was a patio that caught the sun and a couple of recliners that were great for rea…