Testing Orwo NP7 (Compania Imago)

In yet another instance of my long and ongoing series of photographic failures, when I loaded the first roll of film from Compania Imago (Orwo NP7, expired in 1988), for some reason, I set the LC-A to f/2.8, thereby fixing the shutter speed at 1/60th. I think this was to prevent the LC-A from using unreasonably long shutter speeds while loading the film, though insofar as I loaded it in a well-lit room, that was largely unnecessary.

Anyway, after I got the film loaded, I started shooting around the house a bit, and forgot I was shooting with the Orwo but instead thought I was shooting with the 50ISO Polypan-F that the good people at the Film Photography Project love for its tendency to turn highlights into big glowing blobs, so I shot the sun, bright sky, etc. for a bit. Shortly after, Hana and I went walking around downtown Dallas some, and I shot a bunch there, and then the day after we went to the Dallas Arboretum, where I finished the roll.

Only when I developed the roll (D76 1+1 at 20℃, 14.5 minutes, with agitations for the first 30 seconds (pouring in), then gentle swizzling for 10 seconds every minute, following suggested times here) did I realize there was a problem…

Were the batteries going? Was something off with the meter?

I was sure I set the aperture lever back to Auto… I even checked in the Arboretum, tried to push on it and it didn’t want to move; glanced at it and it looked to be at the bottom…

But of course I hadn’t.

The first couple of shots were actually exposed properly, or nearly so… ISO100, 1/60th, f/2.8 is probably near enough for Hana, backlit, in the kitchen, in the mid-morning. I’d share one of those, but alas, my darling, adorable wife has some hair showing in them, so at her request, I won’t.

I realized the need to set the ISO properly early on, and so reset to ISO400, not that that mattered much, since the LC-A defaults to its lone mechanical shutter speed of 1/60th at any explicitly-chosen aperture.

Amazingly, most of the roll was wildly underexposed at f/2.8 and 1/60th. Out of a 25 exposure roll, 13 frames were completely blank, and only got 12 frames were identifiable as pictures, even tangentially so. See, for example, this one… Even now, I’m not sure what this is.

The others took considerable amounts of work to get something even remotely usable, and even then the grain is rather harsh. Take, for example, this picture of my darling, adorable wife…

Despite the grain, she’s still darling and adorable, but wow… Grainy.

This picture is nice enough, but would’ve been better exposed in the LC-A’s Auto mode at ISO200, I think.

I’m thankful to have another roll of this to shoot, and need to get CHECK YOUR $^%&*#^ SETTINGS tattooed on the inside of my eyelids or something. Allah alone knows how many times misplaced settings have wasted valuable film and time, and maybe even decent shots.

Good news: I don’t think the X-Rays harmed the film too much. The Orwo is the highest speed film in the lot, and I don’t think it shows any ill effects, though given that I shot it all at wildly incorrect settings, I doubt I could tell if they had any effect at all.

In case you missed it: this was developed in D76 at 20℃, 1+1, 14.5 minutes. I started with a 5 minute soak, then 14.5 minutes with agitation for the first 30 seconds, then 10 seconds/minute. 2 minutes in the stop; 6 minutes in Fix; 10 minutes of wash.

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