Film Dark Room, Monochrome, Pentax ME Super 35mm film SLR, Portrait

FoolHardy Clowns

The Likely Lads. FoolHardy, clowns in Wisbech. Pentax ME Super camera. SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens. Ilford HP5 Plus 35mm film, developed in ID11

Clowns at the Christmas Fair in Wisbech.  From the FoolHardy circus in Norwich.  Joe Fool, and his partner Cosmo Hardy.

A place in Explore, and over 11,000 views, and 180 faves for this image on the Flickr website yesterday.  Well I liked this one, so I’m glad that others do as well.  It was a good strip of film.  I’ve started pre-soaking my film in water at developing temp (or slightly above), and it’s probably just me or a lucky film, but the grain looks really nice.  As I’m moving towards Colour film and C-41 developing, I’m having serious second thoughts!  I’m liking my home developed b/w so much!

On the C-41 front, I’ve found an online article, based on my Digibase chemistry kit, using stand processing. The method develops C-41 at a lovely familiar 20 C, with minimal agitations, but very, very slowly.  It sounds safe, and I think I can manage that better, so when the time comes, I’m probably going to use that method.  My dark room notebook is starting to dry out (since I dropped it in water), and I need to start writing a C-41 plan stand processing plan.  Not too sure that I fancy bleach bypass though.  Meanwhile I also need to do two other things.  1) take some photography, and 2) find some nice 5 litre drums to store chemicals in.

Film Dark Room, Pentax ME Super 35mm film SLR, Portrait, Rants and discussions

On the Fiddle

On the Fiddle. Pentax ME Super. SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens. Ilford HP5 Plus film developed in ID11.

I bought another eighteen 36 exposure AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 35mm films from Poundland in Peterborough yesterday.  That’s on top of the twenty that I recently bought from the Poundland in Kings Lynn.  I can’t resist those 36 exposure films for a quid each.  It’s ridiculously cheap.  Thing is though, I’m not totally happy with cross processing them all in b/w Ilford chemistry.  It’s sometimes cheap and convenient, but it’s not HP5.  All of these colour 35 mm films begging to be used.  I’m increasingly tempted to have a go at C41 colour film developing.  Just the film mind.  I’m looking at the Rollei Digibase C-41 LT20 Midi Kit 1L to start with.  A C41 chemistry kit sold online at FirstCall Photographic Ltd.

It claims to be sufficient to develop 20-24 films (presumably 35 mm), and depending on post & package costs, will cost me somewhere around £3 a film to develop.  I can actually get my film commercially developed locally for only £2.50, but I hate having to wait, and accepting his quality.  So, I’m thinking it over.


Film, 35mm, and scans, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

The 50P compact Camera keeps producing…

The O2 Arena captured with 50p film camera. Olympus XA2. Ilford HP5 Plus film, developed in ID11.

The above photo taken with my awesome little Olympus XA2 that I bought at a car boot sale for 50p (circa USD 70 cents).  Seems to produce well on Ilford HP5 Plus.  Other news?  I’ve now home developed over thirty films.  This evening I cross processed two 35mm C41 films with Ilford b&w chemicals – in the same tank together, another first.  I’ve really got a hang of simple straight forward b&w film developing by now, although reeling 120 film can still be a curse.  Anyway, another new photo from the XA2 below:

Child’s Play. Olympus XA2 camera. Ilford HP5 Plus 35mm film, home developed in ID11.


I think that the Olympus XA2 has proven itself by now.  What do you think?  I know, I know, it’s not a Canon or Nikon full frame DSLR, but I think it’s a cooler camera.Other news?  I bought a 135 film of AgfaPhoto from Poundland today.  The box had been opened, and it was reduced to 75p HA HA ha hah hah….

Cheapest Cheapskate Film. Sony A200 DSLR. Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM lens.


Film Dark Room, Monochrome, Olympus Trip 35, Uncategorized

Mr Fips Circus Photography and more…

Mr Fips of the Wonder Circus at Wisbech 2013. Olympus Trip 35 camera. Ilford HP5 Plus b&w film (ISO 400). Home developed in ID-11

It didn’t get much better last night – even after the “disastrous photography day” blog! We went to the circus, I had decided on the Olympus Trip 35 as my companion.  I was warned as we passed into the tent that flash was not allowed during performances (fair dinkum), but used the flash gun outside.  After the performance, we whisked off home, then I whisked the spent film into the Paterson tank.

Then once again, I fouled up.

I set the Paterson reel to 35mm, but something looked wrong – the entry points either side didn’t line up.  Should have stopped then.  I didn’t.  I put everything in the changing bag and reeled up – so I thought …. until chemical processing was complete and I opened the tank.  The reel had come apart, and the film escaped to coil against the edges of the tank.  I went to bed in a grump.  What a dreadful day.

If we learn by our mistakes, surely I’ve made enough mistakes by now?

Anyway, I’ve salvaged a few decent frames from the scanner…

The Ring Master. Mr Fips Wonder Circus. Olympus Trip 35. Ilford HP5 Plus b&w film. Developed in ID-11.

Film Dark Room, Lubitel 166B

More Fun with a Two Quid Twin Lens Reflex Camera

The Fen. Lubitel 166B TLR camera. Ilford HP5 Plus 400 120 film. Developed in Microphen.

On the dog walk. Lubitel 166B TLR camera. Ilford HP5+ 400 120 film.

Kings Lynn Customs. Lubitel 166B TLR camera. Ilford HP5+ 400 film (120 format). Developed in Microphen.

Looking through my home developing notebook and log, I’ve already developed ten monochrome films – nine 120 rolls, and one 127 roll.  Including Ilford HP5+, Fomapan Classic 125, and the Kodak Verichrome Pan 127.  I’ve used two developers – Ilford ID-11, and Ilford Microphen.  It’s early days, I’ve got 35mm to tackle next, with two cameras presently loaded with 135 cassettes of HP5+.  I’m really enjoying this learning curve!  I have a few problems to iron out.  The more I transfer 120 film onto the Paterson Tank spools, the more problems that I get.  It’s not become easier.  I watched three YouTube videos this morning on other developer’s techniques at spooling, and I’ve got a few ideas to try out.  The problem has started to affect my films – I’m seeing little crescents where either the film creases or contacts my finger tips as I struggle in the changing bag.  Keeping a notebook was a great idea – I keep setting myself tasks, recording measurements, solutions, and listing my problems to resolve.  The roll with the two top photos above shows a problem that I had with my last film – watermarks.  Not too sure how I did that.

Anyway, back to the subject of this blog post title.  I just want to sing the praise of a spanking budget camera, that I am using to expose most of my medium format films.  The Lubitel 166B.  I bought mine for two quid (GBP £2.00) at a local car boot sale.  Excellent condition, with lens cover and a case.  I suspect, hardly used.  They are common fare on Ebay, where they seem to sell for between GBP £5 and £35.  These are CHEAP cameras that make medium format film photography accessible to us masses.  They were built in the USSR during the 1980s in the Lomo factory.  For some reason, the LOMO badge is missing from mine, and I wonder if it was ever fixed.  The body is plastic.  Yes, plastic.  Lubitel is Russian for Amateur.  This camera was produced in the Soviet Union for amateurs without pretense.

It is a true twin lens reflex – with the two lenses geared together.  However, visual focusing is next to impossible.  It has a pop up magnifier / focusing eye piece, but it really is not much help.  Instead I usually keep a small aperture, and zone focus – estimating distance.  If I wanted more precision or a larger aperture, I could use a measuring tape, or a DSLR to find my distance and exposure value.  Exposure value?  There’s no light meter on this camera.  I just use the old F16 rule, to judge and estimate light for myself.  I’m really pleasantly surprised to see how often it works.  Exposure and focus are… ok, on the majority of my photos.  A lesson in photography.  Use a camera like this for a while, then use a DSLR, and it’s incredible how much more you can understand – and appreciate the exposure controls.

The lens is a Cinesales Corp T-22 Triplet Lens.  1:4.5 75mm.  Ok, it’s not a Carl Zeiss.  It vignettes.  However, it is better than many might expect, much better.  The above photos with my messy developing do not do it justice – click on them to see the full gallery of my meagre efforts to date.  Problems?  Tiny shutter release button is not easy to locate while setting up a take.  The back is clipped with a simple lock.  It’s too easy to knock it open and ruin much of a film.

This camera is so much bloody fun – cheap and easy access to 120 medium format film photography, while still delivering some great results.  If you see one at a car boot sale for under a tenner.  Consider it.

My Lubitel 166B