Ah, the best laid plans…
I received a roll of Ilford Pan F+ 50 in the Emulsive Santa thing last winter, and after the fun blurry stuff I got out of the XA during #BIFscale17, I wanted to see if I could reproduce it somehow. Seeing as I shot the #BIFscale roll at EI 50, I surmised the Pan F+ 50 might produce similar results. Sadly, most of my negatives came out like this:
I noticed some unreasonably long exposures during the roll, and I assumed it was just me, shooting away, mindless. Each time, I quickly checked settings and usually found I was at f/11 in the dark or something. But other times, I was at f/4 and in bright sun and still got unreasonably long exposures. I had no idea what was going on. I’m no zone system expert or anything, but I’m pretty good at guessing when I can hand hold something, and a covered patio at an old Dairy Queen in Fort Worth should be easily handheld at f/5.6 in broad daylight, even at ISO50.
Here’s the shot above, processed by my usual method, with some additional fun with the layers panel in Capture One Pro:
I pulled ~.5 stops out of the whole image to get the base nice and dark and make the sprocket holes go black, and had to pull 3 stops out of the exposed area to get anything visible. Sheesh.
I should mention that I recently picked up a bottle of Ilfotec HC, and this was the third roll developed with it. So far, I love the times: this roll sat in the developer for 4 minutes; a roll of TMAX 400 soaked for 6.5; some JCH StreetPan for 5 minutes. I think, I have it down now, more or less, or at least am a step closer.
- For the JCH, there was no time available in the Massive Dev Chart, and I don’t trust the times on the box, so I used a time for HC110 Dilution B, which is relevantly similar to HC’s 1+31 mix, agitated every minute, and think it was maybe slightly overdeveloped. In the future, for the JCH, I’ll start the timer when I start pouring the developer, rather than when the tank is completely filled, and that should correct for any issues.
- For the TMAX, I went with the Kodak times for Ilfotec HC 1+31, 68F, 4 inversions every minute, and was perfectly happy with the developing (I’ll share pictures later this week for the TMAXParty!, InshaAllah).
- For this roll, I went with Ilford’s times (4 minutes) and decided to agitate every 30 seconds. I think I over-agitated, and the next time I do Pan F+, I’ll try agitating every minute to see if that helps. It’ll be awhile, though, since I only had this one roll.
Anyway. With this roll, virtually everything was overexposed.
Here’s another one where this shot was about 3 stops over.
The next two shots were also both overexposed, but by a bit less, maybe 2 or 2.5 stops.
Maybe f/5.6 or f/8 were too much for broad daylight at EI 50? I got slight motion blur from people walking in the middle of the afternoon, and I had to pull the exposure back by a couple of stops to even get this far.
And here, on the way home from the Jummah salat, it was again about 2 stops over, though I quite like the results.
I quite like the Pan F 50, I think, but I really wish that my command of the XA, its meter, Ilfotec HC, and/or my early playing with it hadn’t so severely impacted the outcome.
With this last one, the exposure was, expectedly, off by 2-3 stops, but it cleaned up rather well, if a bit grainy. There’s something in this that reminds me of @chichic‘s excellent botanical stuff. This doesn’t have her color, or her composition, or anything that makes a Chikako picture a Chikako picture, but there’s something about the bokeh that hits me in a similar way to her work.
After all this, I took a close look at the XA meter window, and it was filthy. I cleaned it off, and the meter in the finder appeared more accurate. To test it, I shot two rolls of slide film for expired film day, and all of the outdoor shots came out wildly overexposed. This might be due, partly, to old chemicals, but since it was only on the outdoor shots, I wonder if something is up with one of the XA’s meters.
More testing will be required, and I hope nothing is amiss with the XA: I really love that little camera.
If you have any ideas about what might’ve gone wrong with this roll or the camera, or how I could fix it, please let me know!