Pentax ME Super 35mm film SLR

Nothing to do … but take pictures

Not Forgotten. Pentax ME Super camera. SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland. Developed in Rollei Digibase C-41 chemistry.

I’m incredibly broke at the moment, and I have time off from work.  It’s pretty fortunate then that I have plenty of film, and processing chemicals.  Just can’t afford to go far, and the weather is … British.

We shot some photos yesterday, and I processed them in the Rollei Digibase C-41 chemistry later.  Digitally scanned them on the Epson V500 today.  Really, it was a case of looking for colour, in such dreary grey weather.  I loaded the Pentax ME Super with Poundland film (AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200).  The ME Super is a classic little SLR built in Japan around thirty or more years ago.  It was an Automatic SLR camera – not as in modern DSLRs, but Aperture priority.  You can simply set the aperture ring where you want, and the light meter will electronically set the shutter speed.  Unlike some Olympus counterparts though, it does have a full manual exposure option.  It also has a 125X option – if your battery runs down at an awkward time, you simply switch to 125X mode, and it shoots at a set shutter speed of 125.  Using the Sunny F16 rule or an external light meter, all you need do is stop up or down the aperture ring.

Processing was ok.  I’m getting there with C-41.  I am already missing my Ilford B/W films though.

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

C-41 Process and Me.

The General Cemetery. Wisbech. Olympus XA2 compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland. Developed in Rollei Digibase C-41 chemistry.

For crying out loud.  I really do not like this C-41 process game, and it does not like me.  However, I’m sticking with it, but it is fighting me back.  Ok confession time.  First attempt.  Screwed up totally, although sort of salvaged a few sprocket hole images.  I’ve posted on that one before, so I wont go into detail.  Second attempt.  I accidentally poured some used bleacher into the fixer storage drum.  I’ve checked with the swots on an analog forum – the verdict is that it’ll gradually degrade and to use it ASAP.  I did however pretty well process a 24 exposure of 35mm, although it wasn’t a very good shoot.  I took it in my 50p Olympus XA2, and it included the above image, of the chapel of rest, in the disused General Cemetery in Wisbech.

Third attempt – just now.  I processed two 35mm films in the Paterson tank together.  Too early to say how they’ll turn out, I’ll see tomorrow.  However, I accidentally dropped 600 ml of precious C-41 developer to waste.  I wanted this stuff to last 6 – 8 months, but it isn’t looking good.

Maybe I’m just too much of a rush-about klutz to process my own C-41 colour film.  Too much worrying about temperature, too many jugs.  It’s certainly another learning curve.

Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II, Rants and discussions, Uncategorized

Cross Processing 35mm Poundland Film

Looking Down. Olympus XA2 35mm compact camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 film from Poundland. Cross processed in Ilford b&w chemicals / process.

Looking Down. As above image.

Looking Down. As top image.

Looking Down. As top photo.

Looking Down. As top image.

Looking Down. As top image.

Looking Down. As top image

Well the one use camera project failed – but while Nita was snapping away with a light leaking dog toy, I was using Poundland film in my trusty little Olympus XA2.  This film costs me a quid a roll of 35mm.  Labelled as AgfaPhoto (to distinguish it from the defunct Agfa) Vista Plus 200, it’s rumoured to be a repackaged variant of Fujifilm C200.  Incredible value colour film.  However, I’m not yet inspired enough to try and develop C41 film.  But I do have plenty of Ilford B&W chemicals and a Paterson tank.  I can get it commercially C41 process developed at a local photo lab or two, but that’s more expense, and I’m trying to be the tight fisted photographer.  To be honest, I could get it developed only (no prints) at one local photo lab for only three quid a film.  Tempting, but it’s nice to DIY isn’t it?

So cross process it was.  In the same tank as the Kodak GT800 that I posted on yesterday.  A dilution of 3:1 water/ ID11 stock at 20C for 22 minutes.  Inversions 10s in each minute.

The negatives are ugly, and you need to tweak the scanner to produce results on digitalisation.  I scan using my Epson Perfection V500 set for color negatives, but saving as 16 bit greyscale images.  A bit more tweaking post scan on Gimp, particularly on Levels.  I think that’s passable b&w film photography.  A quid a roll and cheap b&w home developing.  Cheapskate tight fisted film photography, and with the 50p compact camera!

Other News.

Poundland Film.

Talking about Poundland film, I have recently heard rumours that some stores are temporarily retailing 36 exposure AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200, rather than the 24 exposure films.

A few years ago, Poundland stores were selling a mixture of colour 135 film types, but shifting to the AgfaPhoto brand.  At first, this was not a problem, as they were 36 exposure films, incredible value for GBP £1.00.  A local photo lab would C41 develop them for me (no prints) for £2.50 a film – regardless of 24 or 36 frame.  That worked out to an incredibly cheap rate of 8p per exposure – cost of film and developing!  I did buy quite a few, but when new supplies reached the stores a year ago, they were replaced by 24 exposure films.  Still great value, but less exposures for your pound.

I recently ran out of 36’s, and started to resort to 24’s, when I heard the rumour.  My local Poundland is still retailing the 24’s.  However, on a visit to Kings Lynn today, I popped in the Lynn branch …. and there sat a box with twenty beautiful AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 36 exposure 135 films!!!  Of course I bought the bloody lot.  The box underneath were 24’s.  Sorry Kings Lynn cheapskate photographers, I raided your supply.  Twenty quid for 720 x 35 mm exposure frames.  Now that’s tight fisted.

Film Dark Room, Film, 35mm, and scans, Monochrome, Olympus Trip 35

In Search of the Cheapest Film Photography

The Singer. Cheap colour (color) 35mm film developed in b&w chemicals. Olympus Trip 35 and flash. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus film from Poundland, home developed in Ilford ID-11.

I got this idea from the Flick Group COLOR Films developed in B/W.  Pretty much what it says on the cover.  It turns out that I can save money on expensive monochrome film, by using my cheapskate Poundland colour film, and then developing it using my b&w chemicals.  That’s AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35 mm for a quid a time.  I exposed a Vista film in an Olympus Trip 35 camera.

Unfortunately I haven’t found any developing time guides for this, so simply guessed at 1:1 water to Ilford ID-11 stock, at 20 C for 13 minutes – 10 seconds agitation per minute.  The developed negatives don’t look pretty.  My Epson Perfection V500 software couldn’t see images at first, but a little tweaking and they came out just fine.

So there we are.  If I should choose to do so, I can load a 50p camera with £1 film, and develop it for a few quid.  Who said that film photography is too expensive?

Pick this! Budget colour film developed with b&w chemicals. Olympus Trip 35 camera. AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 35mm film from Poundland, home developed in Ilford ID-11


Film, 35mm, and scans, Landscape and buildings, Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II, The East English Fens of East Anglia

Back to Tight Fisted Basics with a 50p Camera

Capture the Sunset. Olympus XA2 compact 35mm film camera, loaded with AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 film from Poundland.

I’m really enjoying the dark room learning curve at the moment, but I still have plenty of cheapskate colour 35mm film from Poundland, which I take to a local independent commercial processor to run through his mini-lab.  He presently charges me £2.50 for developing negs only – no printing.

I’ve used so many car boot sale cameras over ther past year, but it might surprise people, that if I had to choose just one to keep, it would by my lovely little Olympus XA2 compact zone focus camera, that I purchased for 50p at a car boot sale.  It is such a fun camera – great for street fun – capturing odd moments or sights.  Discreet, small, quiet.  Close and open the clam shell lens cover and it defaults to a medium zone focus.  It’s not such a bad camera for the countryside neither.  Here are two photos that I’ve recently ‘snapped’ with the Olympus XA2!

Balloon over Fenland Skies. Olympus XA2 and Poundland film. Some post neg scan touch up using Gimp 2.8 open source software.

Click on either image to view a Flickr set that I’m proud of – Poundland film in a 50p camera.

Film, 35mm, and scans, Models and themed photoshoots, Rants and discussions, Sony A200 DSLR and Sony DT 35mm F/1.8 SAM prime lens

Cheap AgfaPhoto 35mm film from Poundland UK

Bargain Film from Poundland. Sony A200 DSLR. Sony DT 35mm F1.8/ ISO 800. Candlelight. Post process Gimp 2.8. Same for below images

I’ve posted about this great deal in the UK before, but it’s worth re-mentioning  and it gave us an excuse for a quick Photoshoot.  Poundland, a chain of discount stores in the UK (similar to US ‘dollar stores’, they retail cheap goods for GBP £1.00 or less), are offering analogue film photographers a great deal.

They are selling rolls of colour negative 135 (35mm) ASA200 film for only a quid a roll!  My local branch are now only offering rolls of 36 exposure AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200.  However, until recently, they were also selling 24 exposure rolls of Kodak ColorPlus 200, and I understand that at one point, they were selling Ferrania Solaris 200.

A little research on the Internet reveals that AgfaPhoto is NOT the same as the old Agfa brand, which is no longer in production.  Instead, the brand has been bought up by another party, that is reselling other brands.  If sources on the Internet are correct, these AgfaPhoto rolls are being produced by Fujifilm, and may be a variant of Fujifilm C200 film.

How do they perform?  I’m no connoisseur, I’m just a tight fisted photographer, but I’d say for a measly quid a roll of 36 exposures – bloody good.  Other local sources of colour negative film charge between £3 and £7 a roll.  Next cheapest I’ve recently seen locally was a pack of three Fujifilm, but they still worked out almost double the price of the Poundland deal.  That Poundland film is value for hard earned brass.

I Love Film Photography. As above image.

Ok.  So that’s the deal.  As for developing, do I do my own, no do I heck.  This is C41 film, so I take it down to a local independent photo developer, that still has a C41 mini photo lab machine.  He develops my negatives for two quid – 36 or 24 exposure, including cutting into strips and stuffing into an envelope.  On 36 exposure, the cost of film plus the cost of developing works out at 8p per exposure on a roll of 36.

As for this photoshoot.  You can see, I’m sort of hoarding this great deal.  Whenever I walk into Poundland, if I’ve a couple of quid in my wallet, I walk out with a couple of films.  I wanted initially to post something about the Poundland film.  Nita saw me taking a photo of my hoard of Poundland film stuffed in my hat.  She corrected me, and suggested that we could do something better with it together.  The candles came out, and some clothes off.  The camera in the shoot is a cheap old Halina Paulette.  It’s a 35mm viewfinder, dating to about 1959.  I bought it from a car boot sale, but sort of wish that I hadn’t as the Halina’s were not the best quality camera in their day, and I’ve not tried to use it.  I prefer the Kodak Retinette IIA that I bought with it.  But, it was an excuse to take it out of it’s leather case, and to use it here.

We love photography.  Do you?

Budget Photography. As top image.

Dogs and animals, Film, 35mm, and scans, Kodak Retinette IIA film camera

New Dog through Old Glass

Flint – our young lurcher through the lens of a Kodak Retinette, captured on Poundland Agfa Film

The Lurcher puppy. Flint, age nearly five months on a local dog walk in the Fens. Kodak Retinette IIA viewfinder camera (vintage 1960). AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200 135 film from Poundland. Scanned negative. Some post scan retouch on Gimp 2.8.

Can’t help posting more Kodak Retinette scans.  Just love the glass – even the cheap film from Poundland.  Getting plenty of enjoyment from this two quid camera from a car boot sale.  I love this one.

I visited a local Christmas fair in Wisbech today – getting so many comments from people about the old camera – lots of interest.

EDIT: This photo made Explore on Flickr.