Sunday 18 September 2022

Surprising film discovery and old cameras in use, for a while

A chance comment by @alex_roddie on a Twitter photography thread that he couldn't find any colour negative film anywhere reminded me that I'd recently seen an old roll somewhere. A hunt in some long neglected drawers revealed two rolls of Kodak ColorPlus 200 film plus two film cameras with half-used films in them. The two unused films have expiry dates in 2009 and 2011. I sent the latter to Alex. I'll use the former myself, when I've finished the two films in the cameras, one another Kodak ColorPlus, the other Kodak Elitechrome 100. 

One of the cameras was a surprise, one wasn't - I knew I had it somewhere. That both had half-used films in was more of a shock. How come I'd never finished them? When did they date from? What might be on them? I have no idea of the answers to any of those questions.

I changed completely to digital in 2005 so the films are older than that. I have no memory of when I last used the Ricoh GR1s compact, the camera I knew I still had and which has the Elitechrome film in it. I remember I enjoyed using it. It's compact and lightweight at 218 grams. The 28mm f2.8 lens is very sharp if I remember correctly.

The last time I know I used the Nikon F50 SLR was on my Munros and Tops walk in 1996. I bought it for that walk because I wanted a lighter camera than the Nikon F801 I had used for a number of years.The F50 feels like a brick now! Even though the lens on it is a small Nikkor 24mm. I didn't like the F50 as I found the tiny button controls fiddly and soon after the Munros walk I bought a lighter, better designed Canon SLR. The film in the F50 isn't from that walk though as it's a print film and I only took slides. I mainly used colour print film for product shots for gear reviews. Maybe I kept the camera for that purpose?

I'm interested to see what images are on these films and how they come out. I hope the pictures already taken will be okay. I doubt the ones I'm taking now will be as the cameras haven't been carefully stored, though both work perfectly. When I've finished the films and had them developed I'll post some results.

I might take the GR1s up in the hills. The F50 will only be used locally. The 24mm lens is the only I have for it, which will limit what I can do. But then I'm not expecting much from the results. 

Using film again has brought back many memories. I took hundred and hundreds of rolls, probably thousands, between 1979, when I started taking photography seriously, and 2005. I don't remember film fondly! Of course there was no other option but looking back now it really was a hassle, especially on long walks. I remember sending back batches of film for processing, in many small packets in case any got lost, and then waiting to hear from home that they'd arrived and the pictures looked okay. Unable to see the results I'd take two or more shots at different settings most of the time so a 36-shot roll was more like 18-shots. I carried a lot of film but still had to limit how many photos I took each day.

Sending photos to magazines and for books was another hassle. Parcelling them up carefully, insuring them (what price for irreplaceable photos from long walks?), posting them, waiting to hear they'd arrived okay, waiting for them to come back okay, checking them on return for scratches, glue marks, fingerprints - all of which occurred at times. 

Once these films are finished I doubt I'll shoot anymore. The cameras will go.

Digital is a joy! I love it!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting to read an article on old film cameras.I used to work with the Pentax ME super,and it was just that,super!I found it took good photos,was easy to fit film and with a couple of lenses in my pack found it light enough to carry on a trek.Thank you for bringing back fond memories,I have once had a digital SLR camera and i understand the advantage of it,but I am a sucker for the old cameras!Thank you.