It’s been almost a decade since I last shot a roll of film.
Ever since getting the Nikon D100, shortly after its initial release in 2002, I’ve been exclusively digital and my N90s has lived in one of various drawers, boxes and camera bags during the last 3 house moves. It still even has a roll of el-Cheapo Kodak something or other other sitting half unused inside it (I’ll have to finish that off and get it developed, because I’m kinda curious what I was last shooting with it).
A couple of years ago I picked up an 1932 Voigtlander Brilliant to have a play with some TTV photography. TTV is sort of a precursor to the iPhone photography we see today with the multitude of apps available to make your crisp clean beautifully exposed images look like they were shot through an old dirty stocking.
Then, during 2011, a friend at Lancaster Photographic Society, who’d sold all his medium format gear several years beforehand, gave me a couple of dozen rolls of 120 film he’d found laying around in a box. It’s a varied mix of Ilford PANF, FP4 and HP5, all quite a way beyond various dates of expiry.
If I actually want to use it with film, the Voigtlander needs a little TLC. The shutter speed timings are way off (if I set it for 1/2 a second exposure, it lasts about 4 seconds), and I don’t have the time or knowledge to fix it at the moment. Not too long ago I managed to get hold of an Agfa Isolette for an extremely good price, which also just happens to take 120 film.
I still have all the rolls of 120 film, kept nice and cool in their box, having had the urge to go out and use some of it but never the time. This year, I’m making the time.
With the decline in the numbers of decent places to get film developed, the typical price for development has become rather high (today I was quoted £12 to develop a 36 exposure roll of 35mm!). I figured it would ultimately be less expensive to learn to develop my own film (and much more fun too!). As I’ve not shot 120 film before, and not used either of those cameras before (regardless of one not being too terribly accurate), I’m relearning film with something I know; My trusty old N90s.
So, a few days ago I pick up a couple of rolls of 35mm Ilford FP4, along with Ilfosol 3 developer, Ilfostop, and Ilford Rapid Fixer. I’ve also ordered a pack of 10 rolls of Kentmere 100 film too (as I know I’m going to mess up my first few rolls, so I figured I’d do it with rolls that cost half as much as the lovely FP4), and I’ll be picking up my developing tank in a couple of days.
As I’ve never yet developed my own film, I’m going to be documenting my adventures so you can all have a good laugh at my expense, and hopefully learn from the mistakes I will inevitably make.
So, watch this space.