Okay it took me some time to figure this one out. Turnout that there’re Holga’s with a working sunny/cloudy switch and there’re Holga’s where it doesn’t change the F-stop at all. The rule to this is actually fairly simple, if you have a glass lens Holga (the GN) you really do have 2 F-stop settings, the plastic lens Holga’s have one F-stop setting and changing the little nob to cloudy or sunny won’t change a thing. For me at least, mystery solved
Tag Archives: film
For the first time since a year and a half I developed a film again. I had the honor to develop the now discontinued film Fuji Neopan 400, which is an amazing black and white film.
It was as though I never stopped, the measuring of chemicals the smell of fixer and the ticking of the clock. I know Meatlove sang about “paradise by the dashboard light”, but I seem to find it by a bunch of highly toxic photo chemicals.
I’m not going to turn this into a rant against digital; my film is hanging to dry and one remains decent around a lady. I just want to say, film I love you and you’ll always have a devoted follower in me.
(Update 22-04-2013: The article bellow describes using the back with the GN glass lens Holga)
Yesterday I finally got my Holgaroid back in the mail, it traveled all the way from Hong Kong to my doorstep in The Netherlands. Opening the box it came with the back (without film) and a diopter lens to correct for the new film plane distance as with the instant back that moves a couple of millies backwards. It also comes with a new frame you can click into your holga instead of the 6×6 or 6×4.5 But let me first start of with 2 questions and their simple answers.
Q: Polaroid doesn’t make film anymore so why would I want one?
A: Correct they don’t but FujiFilm does and since instant film is still used in science labs they won’t stop making it tomorrow.
Q: I never shot instant film and I have no clue what film to use?
A: Fuji Film sadly discontinued there ISO 400 color and black and white film which would have been perfect for the Holgaroid. But fear not we have tricks up our sleeves! So there are 3 films still available
- FujiFilm FP-100C Professional. Which is an ISO 100 color film
- FujiFilm FP-3000B. Which is a ISO 3000 Black and white film
- FujiFilm FP-100C Silk. Also a ISO 100 film but with a satin finish
Metering and Corrections
Okay, let me start of with the simplest mod you can do. You ready? here it goes: Don’t install the new frame! Now that was easy. Alright I’ll tell you why. Holgaroids can’t do full frame FP film size so your image will always land on the left side of the film when viewed horizontally. The reason is that the Holga lens can’t cover the entire frame (the Diana lens can here is a guide how), so you get a round feathered image. Now I don’t care too much about the round feathered image but I really didn’t like the fact is was round and feathered on one side and a straight line on the other. The straight cut off is caused by the frame they give you with it. Just don’t install the frame and it all looks even.
One of the first things I started sweating and stressing out about is how to figure out what to set my light meter to now. Usually you can get away with using an ISO 400 film and applying the sunny 16 rule, if it’s clouded all you do is throw it in flash/clouded mode and you can continue. You can’t use your Holga this way anymore!
When you move your film plain back it will effect your f-stop, when you stick something in front of your lens less light reaches the film plain. See the problem here? The Holgaroid does both… On top of that we only get to choose between 100 ISO film and 3000 ISO film. If we had a 400 ISO film we could have gotten away with only shooting on high noon and the camera set on it’s couldy/flash setting, but we don’t have that.
ISO 100 Film
All isn’t lost! And to be honest in some ways it makes it even easier to shoot inside. Let me explain. So we loose a whole load of light due to the Holgaroid mod, then we load it up with ISO 100 film which is also less sensitive. Because you’re loosing so much light you can now actually count the seconds! The only thing you need is a tripod (and I would get the cable release mod as well, I have it and it works very well).
Here’s how it work. Grab a light meter and set your Holga to the cloudy/flash setting. Normally that would make your Holga work on F16. I know there are a lot of posts out there that say it’s F8, they’re wrong, sorry. Anyway due to the new distance of the film plain and the diopter lens, that turns out to be F32 now How’s that for crazy! Set your lightmeter to ISO 100 and keep cycling the shutter speed until the display says the F-stop is 32. In side on a cloudy day next to the window that will give you a shutter of 2 seconds more or less. Easy to count no problem. So that takes care of the ISO color film. Let’s move on to the ISO 3000 film.
ISO 3000 Film
So this is cute, mega sensitive film! But now it will over expose on a sunny day in the Holgaroid and still under expose inside. Worse still it will just underexpose a bit inside which means we can’t use a cable release as the shutter will be n’th of a second and we can’t really count that.
Okay lets go with outside first. The solution is really easy. When you get to much light at 100th of a second (the shutter speed of the Holga) make sure you get less light. You can go about this by just using an ND filter but why not use a cheap black and white color filter, they eat up light as well and you get to be a little bit more creative. Usually a stop or 2 on a sunny day with that camera on sunny setting is really more then enough. Red filters tend to eat away just that. If you don’t have a red filter that fits your Holga you can also just get a cheap gel. It really doesn’t matter much as the Holga doesn’t have a high quality lens anyway and lets be honest if you want images like that you’d probably not be shooting with a Holga to begin with.
Inside the same trick works but I’d use a ND filter, you want to get in to the second(s) range again so you can count of your own exposure time. Pretty straight forward really.
Flash with the Holgaroid works well when you want some fill flash and/or fixing people into place. I use an external flash for this as I seriously doubt that the build in Holga flash is strong enough to do even that (I own a flash less model so this is pure speculation on my part). You have to experiment a bit with flash to see what it does for you. But I can already tell you if you don’t have something like a mega flash unit but rather a simple hot shoe flash just start by giving it two flash exposures and see what you get.
I realize that instant film isn’t the cheapest thing out there so I imagine that at the price of a Holgaroid and the cost in figuring these things out, most people just decide to skip this project all together. However it’s a lot of fun and often the results are really wonderful. So if you’re considering getting one and you’re reading this I’d say go for it! With the information supplied here I’ve saved you a pack of film it cost me about 10 shot to get all exposures and numbers figured out.
If you want to support polaroid and instant film have a look at http://www.polaroidconversions.com/ as long as there’s a community and a healthy user base we can keep having fun with this.
Yesterday I wrote a post on the virtues of shooting film and tips on getting started with black and white film development. Today I stumbled on a very nice Screencast and post on FeelingNegative giving you a general primer on chemicals. If you’re tempted to dive into the process I advice you check it out.
I would still like to add another developer to their Rodinal advise, Kodak HC-110. Like Rodinal it’s a very efficient developer with a very long shelf life when kept in its concentrated sirup form.
The standard dilution for HC-110 is dilution B which is 1+31. 1 part developer on 32 parts of water, which we can easy calculate. Lets say you have a Paterson Universal tank and you want to develop you 35mm film. I use 300ml for doing that (the Paterson Univeral tank says 290ml on the bottom but its a pain to calculate with that number). So all we need to do is dived 300ml in to 32 parts (literally 31+1) which is 9,3ml. Which leads me to my next suggestion, buy a syringe!
To close a link to even more details on HC-110
In an effort to be a better blogger I decided to write a new post. This time without the promise to write more often!
The last couple of months I’ve complete emerged my self into film photography. After wanting to do it for years but always dismissing it as being to cumbersome. What I actually ment was too daunting. Deep inside I knew I had to do it as it is an important step in the learning processes.
No wonder I waited so long with giving it a try, I made it sound like a school assignment! Not one of those fun ones but one of those really boring icky ones!
If you’re making excuses or telling your self that film is dead. Or the always funny, “I can do that with Photoshop”. With Photoshop you can emulate film, not replicate. Let it be said once again; there is a BIG difference between noise and film grain. But lets not get into that discussion. Digital is great and so is film . Anyway stop making excuses you’ re depriving your self of a whole lot of fun and creative growth.
I’m actually writing this post to tell you that film is fun! The process of development is great! The smells and the experiments! Even if you completely fumble up the process you can still get creative results, how ever unexpected they may be. Also, it’s really not that hard. And no you really don’t need a special room completely blacked out. I really needed to put that last sentence in to bold as loads of people think this and a lot of articles written out there make it sound like it’s the only way (including the one I’m linking to below). A simple changing bag and you don’t need the blacked out room. Note that I refer to it as a “blacked out room” as a darkroom is where you develop your prints and has the red safety light. Although that room has to be really dark as wel it’s not as sensitive as photographic paper is not as light sensitive as film. Anyway we’re only talking about film here.
So this morning as I was going trough the latests post on feelingnegative they linked to an excellent film development tuturial on PhotoTuts+. The tutorial talks about Kodak TMax film but the process is pretty much the same for any black and white film. I have a couple of short notes/tips on the tutorial, but go read it first.
- You don’t need a completely blacked out room, get your self a Changing Bag. Paterson makes these and it’s the one I use.
- Buy a Paterson Universal development tank and buy a new one. Second hand tanks can leak or can be incomplete without you knowing until you have developer all over your hands and ruined negatives.
- Start out with plastique reels they’re easier for beginners. The Paterson Universal is a plastique reel system and can handle 135 and 120 film without a problem.
- The Massive Dev Chart is your friend! It’s a database with film and developer combination and tells you the times and temperature need to develop (and a lot more)
- If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch install the Massive Dev Chart app! Aside from telling you how to develop your film with a specific developer it also provides you with a timmer that guides you through the process of developing, stop and fix. It even tells you when to agitate. It’s a breeze with this little helper. They also provide the app for other mobile platforms but the iPhone version is by far the best.
- Your stop chemicals can be replaced with water with a little vinegar!
- You can skip the HypoClear I never user it. But wash properly!
- Never buy photo flow, it’s really bad for the environment!! You can replace it by using a little dish washer fluid. Also just using a squeegee also solves the issue. There you go saved you 3 bottles of chemicals with the last 3 points.
- To close some general info on shooting black and white film. The wonderful thing about most black and white film is that it’s really hard to screw up! Black and white film has a very high dynamic range. Just meeter light in the shadows and you’ll be fine.
This is pretty much it! At first glance it might look like a lot but it’s really not such an unforgiving process as it migh seem. I’ve made loads of mistakes including developing in an incomplete, liquid and light leaking tank and guess what, I still got good exposures out of it. I even once forgot the stop bath all together and still the negatives were fine.
Don’t be afraid of screw-ups! And just have fun! And I can guarantee that you end up making better photographs also when using your digital camera. I would love to hear about questions, suggestions and experience in the comments below.