BIFscale16 — the 2016 iteration of the redscale film photography event championed by BelieveinFilm.com — snuck up on me a bit, but I’ve got some early results back from this year.
Last year I did all my redscale month work with a single camera — the Konica EE-Matic Deluxe. It wasn’t until later in the year that I tried it with film turned the right way round.
This year I hastily picked my new Olympus Trip 35 for the task. The month isn’t over yet, so maybe I still will have time to try something else.
The Trip 35 is definitely up to the task. I counted on the auto-exposure, which seems to have performed quite admirably. I just used the film speed ring to compensate for the film being backwards, rating it down two or three stops. The zone focusing — something any regular reader will know I am usually very bad at — actually worked out really well for me this time. As we’ve come to expect from Olympus cameras, the lens is superbly sharp and I’m very impressed. I can’t wait to use it for normal film.
Last year I shot four rolls of redscale, each rerolled from some junk in my expired film pile. I prepared six rolls, though, and the last two languished in the crisper drawer for eleven months because I never got to them. It turned out to be handy having some ready to go when February was suddenly upon me this year, however.
In addition, I’ve rerolled two new rolls this year — a roll of fresh Kodak Ektar 100 and another roll of miscellaneous expired film (400-speed drug store film, in this case). The Ektar results will come in a post of their own.
Today, though, I have results from the three rolls of expired film, all ASA 400. In addition to the drug-store film, one roll was Kodak 400 (not even Gold — just Kodak) and one was Fuji Superia 400. All came to me from unknown conditions; I don’t even remember where I got them, actually, they were just in the pile.
The Kodak 400 performed the best, by far. It’s not unexpected to get the best results from the best film — even though it was their cheapest consumer film, Kodak’s reputation for quality has never really been in question. I also suspect this roll must’ve suffered the least damaging storage in the ten or twenty years before I got it.
The Kodak 400 results display very low grain, good contrast and the reddest reds. I exposed it as ASA 50 — three stops over box speed — hoping for something closer to the alien landscapes I got at the Denver Botanic Gardens in my first redscale experiment last year, but was disappointed.
The Fuji Superia 400 I only rated down two stops, exposing it at ASA 100. While the grain was higher — and the saturation and contrast a little lower — than the Kodak, the results were still quite satisfactory.
The last roll — the ASA 400 drug store film — also was exposed at ASA 100. It must have suffered terribly in storage over the last couple decades, probably experiencing a lot of heat. It’s possible that it was bad to begin with, but most drug-store films from the early 1990s that I know of were made by Fujifilm, so it shouldn’t have been too bad.
The saturation is greatly reduced, the grain is extreme, and it must’ve been fogged quite a bit — in spite of my efforts to overexpose the reversed film, the finished product seems extremely underexposed. I’ve adjusted the exposure in Photoshop, deepening the shadows a bit, but the results are still terribly flat and noisy.
Based on the last two years of experimentation, I feel fairly confident saying that Kodak films give the results I like best for redscale. I’ll probably prepare another roll or two for the remaining week of the month and hope for time to shoot them. I may try going four or even five stops over for one in search of that alien look.
Without further ado, here are the rest of the images I’ve got to share this time around.