Lucky Films

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by brofkand, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Who here has tried the Chinese Lucky films? I was searching on eBay for film (hoping I could find a good deal so I don't have to wait a week for Freestyle's shipment to come in) and I saw a lot of Lucky stuff.

    I've not heard of it before. Is it a treasure waiting to be found?
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have much better ways to get Lucky! Besides I am willing to spend money on film to have quality and consistancy.

    Steve
     
  3. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    It's an interesting film, well worth playing with.

    One warning: the tape affixing the 120 version to its backing paper is very weak. I had a roll detach during film transport, and the roll was ruined.
     
  4. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've had fun with the brick of 35mm Lucky 100 I have. The poor antihalation is interesting. It's cheap.
     
  5. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Is there any place to get it other than eBay? I haven't noticed it on Adorama, B&H, or even Freestyle.
     
  6. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    My dad was in China a couple months few months ago. I was going to ask him to get me some, but he's not a patient shopper so I decided against putting in the request late in the trip. Maybe next time. He's probably going in September again.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I tried Lucky film about 4 or 5 years ago and found it was OK, I couldn't get the halation problems even with severe backlit subjects. The 100 ISO film I used was very similar to Tmax, Kodak were licensing the technology to Lucky, However the films appear to have been inconsistent and reverted back to older technology.

    Simon Galley indicated that Ilford had analysed the film and it wasn't based on T-grain technology. Kodak terminated their co-operation with Lucky.

    Ian
     
  8. cmo

    cmo Member

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    These films are mentioned here every few months. I tried some of them, but results were sobering, x-double minus performance. It's like using a bad 400 ASA film with a 2x ND filter - only 100 ASA. Almost all other films are better in almost all respects. The only interesting thing is the useless anti-halation. It creates some kind of special halo effect that disturbs in all normal photos and perfectly ruins all shots taken in high-contrast situations. Together with the muddy tones, the lack of sharpness and the ugly grain it is a good choice to create a '1955 official chinese press photo look', especially when you use it with a bad lens. Let's call it a special effect film for special situations... some people like it for its flaws.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    cmo, your review sold me, (never to use it), very funny. :D
     
  10. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I have shot 25 to 30 rolls of it in both 129 and 35mm. It is a ok film, yes it has a weak anti-halo layer. Bright whites do cause a halo if there is a dark back ground. The film has been very consistent and pretty resistant to scratches. I have shot it in my RB67 and M645 and have never had the tape break (10rolls total). For the money it is a fun film to play with, some times I load a roll in my oldest RB film back. I develop it is D76.
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I couldn't agree with cmo more. It's absolutely horrid stuff. I scored a couple dozen rolls of 35 mm and 120 stock. It wasn't worth the effort even at the $0.50 US per roll that I paid for it. Do yourself a favor. Don't bother with it. Use the money for some good stuff.
     
  12. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    I think it is fine in 35mm (halation is not consistent)...at 120 not so impressed (since at that format you are intending to get detail, extended tonal range etc). If you know what you are buying you won't be disappointed. Kal
     
  13. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Well, I didn't dare to write "it's a waste of chemistry to develop this". :D

    Maybe I set the bar very high - since I used some new Tmax 400 and developed them in XTol 1:1.

    It seems the new Tmax generation does not have the old T-grain flaws any more: 2 f-stops faster than 100 ASA films - but sharper. What I like even more is the enormous range of tones, there are lots of details in the shadows and highlights. Compared to this new film Lucky films look medieval. 100 ASA B/W films are not a choice for me any more, not even 'legends' like APX 100.
     
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  15. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    It's not that Lucky is a bad film (I've got some in my fridge right now) but it has stiff competition these days. A film like Lucky would have been great 50 years ago. Now it is just so-so. But it could be very good if you are looking for a look like they did from the past, at at the price you can afford to experiment some. Just don't waste your good shots with it until you have a feel for what you can do with it.

    Michael
     
  16. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I cannot compare directly since I would not even try it if free. However, the films from 50 years ago were not that bad and from the sounds of the description of Lucky, maybe you have to go back 100 years.:D
     
  17. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    We must be drinking the same Kool-Aid. TMY-2 is fantastic stuff. First time I developed a roll of the stuff, I was sold and I didn't even shoot it. A friend of mine picked up a few rolls and shot them in a Pentax 645 on the streets of midtown Manhattan. Now, anyone who's got any powers of observation and has ever been here on a sunny day will tell you that the contrast range of a scene can be completely off the hook. Summer is bad. Winter light is even worse because the lower angle of the sun casts hard shadows everywhere. This stuff just took it in stride with easily printable detail from the deepest shadows to the brightest highlights. And yes, you get this at box speed following Kodak's directions to the letter for D-76 or XTOL.
     
  18. McFortner

    McFortner Member

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    Here are a few shots from my first roll of Lucky. It was Lucky SHD100 in my old Vivitar EF35 point and shoot. While it was only the second roll of film I had ever developed, I think it turned out OK.

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    I haven't cleaned up the dust and such from the scans (for some reason my house is always dusty when it's time to develop film!) and the scanner is only 5mp, but they are not bad scans for printing moderate size images.

    Michael
     
  19. trexx

    trexx Member

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    If Lucky had been around 50 years ago, digital would have happened 20 years sooner. The films I shot 50 years ago were, albeit slower, were far superior. Add to that the total lack of consistency. One batch of 35 is not the same and another, not he same as any 120 or sheet.

    It may have it's place. If you shoot t a vision Lucky is not the film. If you shoot hoping to be surprised, as with shooting Holga, or even pin hole, then by all means Lucky would be a film to consider.
     
  20. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Lucky film is like Lucky film, end of story.

    I started using this film only a short time ago when the local photo shop had some in a box on special.

    I bought a couple of rolls, tested them and found that it does have a weak anti-halation layer thingy in the make up of the film.

    What some people find terrible, others will like. You can use that weakness as a strength, would you believe, just think a bit laterally.

    I now have used about 20 rolls with a further 50 odd rolls sitting in the refrigerator.

    It's like anything really, if it does what you want, then use it, if it doesn't, don't use it.

    Lucky film in 35mm format, which is what I have, has it's own look and feel.

    It is more grainy than most current films available, it does have a small halo effect with a bright subject with a dark background, it does develop consistently, roll after roll.

    Ummm, Lucky film does what it is supposed to do, gives you negatives to make pictures with, consistently!

    Mick.
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Is it available in 5x7 or 8x10???
     
  22. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hmmm. Back when I used to shoot J&C 100 in my 8x10 the red paper bag inside the envelope was sealed with a sticker. The sticker had writing in Chinese....
     
  23. wogster

    wogster Member

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    There is no real language known as Chinese -- it's more of a Classification for a group of Languages, the most popular of these is Mandarin, the official language of China. Most Western people can't tell the difference between the writing of the languages in this group and the Kanji script of Japan, both are Iconic, but quite different. If you refer to Kanji as Chinese, a Japanese person, would be deeply offended.
     
  24. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I can't tell you if it was Mandarin, but it wasn't film from Fuji, and that pretty much narrows it down to China, unless the North Koreans have a film coating facility tucked away under a missile bunker. :D
     
  25. mabman

    mabman Member

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    If you accept Lucky's flaws (anti-halation coating, weak tape in 120 as already mentioned), the major issue with them as I see it is sporadic or lack of communication with the outside world about their products and their availability.

    For example, a couple of years ago, Lucky SHD400 and SHD100 were widely available on eBay. After asking a Taiwanese seller with some sort of factory connection (supposedly), I was able to get some of their apparently short-lived C-41 B&W film, SHD400CN. However, SHD400 seems to have dropped off the face of the earth, and I can't get the SHD400CN again (it wasn't spectacular, but it was interesting and cheap).

    So, they're interesting films to try, but a consistent supply may be an issue, and availability may be hampered without any warning.
     
  26. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Well, if it was more then a couple of years ago, there was Konica, who had their own film and paper manufacturing, we saw their colour stuff in Canada, not sure about B&W or what happened to the facility after they sold out to Sony. I used their film occasionally and it definitely wasn't re-badged Fuji either.