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  1. #1
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    The good thing about Kodak, Fuji and Ilford

    A little break from the Kodachrome threads.

    A year or so ago I bought a bunch of Shanghai and Lucky film from China. This is quirky black and white film that is quite unlike any other film on the market. While I use predominantly Fuji for colour and Ilford for black and white (intermingled with a little Ektar 100 and Kodachrome and the odd roll of Kodak's various b&w products) I like to tinker with unusual films. I discovered Foma 100's interesting properties this way and I use it from time to time precisely for these qualities.

    I'd shot some of my 35mm Lucky 100 already but I had not yet tried the 120. I was at the cottage. My niece and nephew are 5 and 3, respectively, and quite unabashed around a camera. Even a large camera doesn't freak them out. So into my Bronica SQ-A went a roll of Lucky 100.

    As I wound it on it felt a little tight but I thought little of it. I figured that perhaps the backing paper was slightly wide for the spool.

    As I shot the roll the winding got tighter and tighter and eventually I thought that this was not a wise thing to be doing. I popped on another back and shot other films for the rest of the day.

    I put the back in question into my changing bag when I got home yesterday. The film had slipped from the backing paper! It was all crumpled up like an accordian. No wonder.

    The "tape" holding the film to the paper was a shiny piece of white paper about 40 mm wide with the number 1 printed on it. The bottom side wasn't the least bit sticky.

    Needless to say I will be inspecting the rest of my rolls in the darkroom before I shoot them.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  2. #2
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
    A little break from the Kodachrome threads.

    A year or so ago I bought a bunch of Shanghai and Lucky film from China. This is quirky black and white film that is quite unlike any other film on the market. So into my Bronica SQ-A went a roll of Lucky 100.

    As I wound it on it felt a little tight but I thought little of it. I figured that perhaps the backing paper was slightly wide for the spool.

    The film had slipped from the backing paper! It was all crumpled up like an accordian. No wonder.

    Yup, been there.

    Lucky + Bronica = unlucky

    I found 120 Lucky films to be very heavy and stiff. It seems they don't like the hard backwards loop required to load a Bronica magazine.

    Cheers,
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I have been farting around with all sorts of films, and one thing has become perfectly clear to me (to me, this is my opinion, ok?!):
    Even though I really can't afford shooting Kodak film, (Ilford and Fuji being equal in my mind), I also cannot afford to NOT shoot any of the above. As my finances tighten, and the time available to shoot, I will NOT sacrifice film quality. Kodak has never been anything but top notch and stellar product that is easy to handle and trouble free.

    Fresh, good film = less chance of faux pas. I know that some people swear by Efke, Foma, formerly Forte, etc. But I have had problems with quality with all of them that I just don't have with FP4+/Plus-X/Tri-X in the past, and now TMY-2 and TMX. It's worth the extra expense in my opinion.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Tom #1:

    Interesting point. It had occurred to me, actually. I have shot Shanghai GP3 in this camera, however. Still, I can see the film path being a contributing factor; a roll that is not well made could easily cause problems. Perhaps I'm best to shoot my remaining Lucky 100 in my Pentax 67.

    Tom #2:

    I agree with you 100%. I actually don't shoot these quirky films because they're cheap (although I like that they are), I shoot them because I like to experiment. Unquestionably the quality control of the Big Three (I'm hesitant to use that label since it cursed the auto industry ) is head and shoulders above the others. Still, Efke and Foma films are completely unlike Kodak, Fuji and Ilford and they're worth shooting on occasion.

    I actually think film from the Big Three is pretty reasonably priced. Five bucks for a roll of Ektar 100? Tremendous value. The b&w film isn't dirt cheap but it's certainly reasonable.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've never had an issue with defective film from Fuji, Kodak or Ilford. I did ruin a roll of HP5 in the 1970s, when Ilford used reloadable 35mm cartridges and the ends weren't firmly affixed. However, those cartridges were handy if you did bulk loading and they were really easy to open in the darkroom, and I found that they weren't a problem in the field as long as they were treated reasonably gently, so I don't consider that to be a defect.

    Invariably if something matters I grab a roll of film from a major manufacturer. Still, using the alternatives is fun even if it does have a few perils!
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    You pay for what you get. I do not want to loose a roll of film because I could save a little money. Therefore, I shoot Kodak, Fuji, or Ilford in that order. At some time I will try Rollei, Efke and Foma to see what they are like. I trust FreeStyle, so I will trust their films. But I am not ready to trust Lucky at this point and with the selection that I already have, I am disinclined to try it now.

    Things change, but this is my story and I am sticking to it!

    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  6. #6
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Don't discount Lucky films entirely. These films apparently have little or no anti-halation, resulting in some interesting glows to some highlights. I haven't used any in a couple of years, but I was recently doing some spotting on an older print and quite liked the effect.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Toffle; 06-30-2009 at 12:24 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    You pay for what you get. I do not want to loose a roll of film because I could save a little money. Therefore, I shoot Kodak, Fuji, or Ilford in that order.
    This is a reasonable point, but I think it's based in an incomplete picture. I have no argument in the areas where there *are* comparable films---say, Foma or Efke 100 vs. Plus-X/Acros/FP4+ in normal sizes. (In that case I happen to like Fomapan 100 so much that I use it anyway, but it's a matter of taste and I see where you're coming from to do otherwise.)

    But if I want something like Efke 25, or a true IR film (>720 nm), or sheets in metric sizes, the "big 3" aren't going to help me out. (Yes, I know, some Ilford films are available in the metric sizes, but not easily, and at a really high price.) I assume they would if the market were there---but the threshold of "if the market were there" for a big international company, the kind that can afford high levels of quality control, is pretty high. A smaller specialty operation, using old equipment and "best effort" in lieu of "best practice", can at least afford to keep IR film and plate-camera sheet sizes in production.

    I actually really like the fact that we have both "ecosystems" around. Horses for courses.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
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  8. #8

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    I was messing around with Lucky films long before many people had even heard of the products in the West. I have a friend who visits China at least once a year and for a while she'd always bring back a few dozen rolls of 120 and 135 for me to play with. At the time, I was getting the stuff for the equivalent of $.50US per roll and at that price I was willing to play with it. But you know, that stuff is really crap. The 35mm stuff isn't too bad. The 120 stuff is truly awful. It is stiff and it has a wicked curl to it before processing. After processing it wants to curl up into a tube along the length of the film strip. It is almost impossible to get it into the negative carrier without taping the corners down The anti-halation characteristics are so bad as to make the film virtually useless if there is a moderately bright light source in the frame. The film also comes nowhere hear its advertised speed and can get very contrasty very quickly if over developed even just a little. After having fought with this film for a while, I finally gave up. Life is too short to argue with a strip of film.

    You want bad anti-halo characteristics? Use Foma or Arista.EDU Ultra fims. The anti-halo characteristics are not as good as films from the big three There's enough halation to make it useful if you want it to be there, and it is, to an extent, controllable. The Foma films are curly, but at least they curl in only one direction, and the tendency isn't so strong as to make you fight to get them into a negative carrier.
    Frank Schifano

  9. #9
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    I find the Foma films curl if they're freshly developed, but once they've been in a binder in a negative page for a few months, they're fine. Since I rarely print new negatives (I always seem to have a backlog) that's fine with me. The only annoyance is getting the negatives *in* the negative sheets in the first place.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  10. #10
    Toffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
    I find the Foma films curl if they're freshly developed, but once they've been in a binder in a negative page for a few months, they're fine. Since I rarely print new negatives (I always seem to have a backlog) that's fine with me. The only annoyance is getting the negatives *in* the negative sheets in the first place.
    They can't possibly curl as badly as the few Maco films I've used. Both Cube 400 and 820c are so flimsy and curly that it tries my patience just to line them up in the negative carrier. It's too bad too, because I really like the prints I've gotten with these films.

    Cheers,
    Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada

    Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...

    http://tom-overton-images.weebly.com


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