Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cross-Processing, part II: Kodak and Lomography films, cross-processed

Hopefully you tuned in last week for Part I of the cross-processing special, in which Old-School Photo Lab's Ty Ueda reviewed the results the various Fuji slide films give when cross-processed. Without further ado, here are his expert opinions on the cross-processed results of Kodak and Lomography slide films. All the images are Ty Ueda's.

Kodak E100G
E100G creates robust and saturated images with just enough contrast to make things deep and impacting.  Best used on a sunny day, point at the nearest colorful object and snap away!

Kodak E100VS

E100VS, a film that is rather dense in nature, is one of the slide films that Kodak is still readily producing.  This film, as abbreviated in its title, is very saturated, and when cross processed tends to have rather high amounts of contrast. 

Kodak Ektachrome 100 EPP Plus

 Ektachrome 100 EPP is a classic slide film produced by Kodak known for its high contrast, pleasurable skin tones, and high saturation.  When cross processed, this film has an exorbitant amount of contrast, which looks great for things like silhouettes.  This film has been discontinued so keep an eye out for it!

Kodak Ektachrome EPR 64

A film widely regarded as the industry standard, Kodak EPR 64 is a low speed slide film known for it’s great tones under controlled daylight lighting situations.  The film offers neutral colors and a touch of contrast, making it a great all around film.  Sadly this favorite has long been discontinued, and since most EPR that is found is expired, it tends not to have some of its fine grain qualities.

Kodak Ektachrome E200

Boasting an extremely fine grain, Ektachrome E200 presents wildly cool tones to a photo of every situation.  In any sort of lighting, E200 will take your photo and slap a blue intensifier on the photo and leave it looking as blue as the sky can be. 

Kodak Elitechrome 100 EB

Only produced in a 35mm size, Elitechrome 100 EB gives off a vast collection of radiant colors, ranging from underwater-like blue tones to neon yellow tints.  Under daylight, expect clear deep blue tones in the sky and around landscapes, while indoor lighting situations usually give off the yellow cast that already radiates from tungsten light. 

Kodak Elitechrome 100 EBX

Yes, it is just like it sounds! Elitechrome EB Extra Color  is everything you love about Elitechrome 100 EB with a touch more saturation and contrast.  This film successfully takes the already outrageous colors from Elitechrome EB and turns the dial up to 11! 
*PLEASE NOTE* Both Elitechrome EB and EBX are often deemed unscannable by our machines.  To best avoid this, try under-exposing the film rather than over exposing it.

Lomography X-Pro Chrome 100

Since Lomography seems to be on top of the whole cross processed movement, they began packaging their own slide films to sell exclusively labeling them for cross processing.  This film offers high saturation and tones much like those of Elitechrome EB.

Lomography X-Pro Slide 200

Another slide film produced by Lomography! This film generally yields a wider range of color casts, along with a lower contrast than the 100 film they produce.  With my personal use of the film, I’ve received everything from red overcasts to yellow tints to green flares, so I’ve always deemed X-Pro Slide 200 as a rather unpredictable film.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest post: the Fuji slide films, cross-processed

Ty Ueda works here in our lab; he is something of a connoisseur of cross-processing. Since there's so much interest, in the recent return to film, in cross-processing, I asked him to assemble his thoughts on the results the various available slide films yield, when cross-processed. Here are the various Fuji films compared; we'll have the Kodak and Lomography offerings in upcoming posts.

Fuji Velvia 50F

They say it’s not easy being green, but when it comes to photos, Velvia 50 makes it worth the work. With a very slow film speed, Velvia 50 almost must be in the outdoors, but when utilizing the film in combination cross processing, photos exhibit high contrast and eerie green and yellow casts under any kind of light.

Fuji Velvia 100F

The easier to use brother of Velvia 50, Velvia 100 gives off radiating velvet-like colors. With color casts ranging from purple to yellow, the unpredictable Velvia 100F is a great all around film that will give off seemingly random colors.

Fuji Provia 400X/400F

If looking purely for saturation without major color casts look no further! Neither Provia 400x nor Provia 400F have overwhelming color casts yet still boast high saturation and contrast when x-pro’d. Overall a great film for many different lights and situations.

Fuji Provia 100F

A personal cross-processing favorite of mine, Provia 100F gives off an overall green cast to any photo! Provia 100F looks great in any situation for an eerie green look to your photos, and depending on the camera of your choice, the photos will sometimes be inhibited by a slight blue or yellow color.

Fuji T64

Fuji T64 is a very low speed tungsten balanced film. When you cross process this corrective film, you’ll receive a whole different array of colors. In outdoor sunlight, your photos will have a red tint with blues that are deeper than deep and under indoor tungsten light, expect an overwhelmingly red tint to your photos. Warning! This film is very slow, so make sure you’re using the right camera!

Fuji Astia 100F

Astia 100F is yet another wonderful yet increasingly harder film to find after it was discontinued recently. Astia 100F when cross processed gives a relatively low amount of contrast while, depending on the lighting situation, giving the photos a varying amount of magenta.

Fuji Sensia 100
Depending on the exposure of the photo, Sensia can deliver a range of different tones and looks. When underexposed, Sensia 100 will give off Red/Orange/Blue tints to photos depending on the color temperature of the light. When overexposed, the film can exhibit close to normal color tones with little yellow overcasts and red in the shadows. Sensia 100 has been discontinued as well. However, it is the easiest of the Sensias to find.

Fuji Sensia 200
Sensia 200 is a very different animal from Sensia 100. Sensia 200 gives off very saturated blue green and yellow tones, without any particular overwhelming color casts. Like Sensia 100, Sensia 200 is capable of producing almost regular looking photos when cross-processed if overexposed. Sensia 200 is mildly harder to find than Sensia 100, so keep your eyes peeled.

Fuji Sensia 400

Commonly referred to as the holy grail of the Sensia family, Sensia 400 delivers some of the wildest and astounding colors while cross-processed. Boasting relatively low grain for a 400 speed film, Sensia 400 to many is the most desirable, hard to find, and satisfying film for cross processing.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Short History of Consumer Cameras in the US Since the 1970s

When I got into the photo business in the early 70s, 35mm and medium-format (120, 220, 620) were for professional photographers and serious amateurs. At the time, the dominant consumer cameras were Instamatics, which were instant-load cameras that took cartridge film. The first were 126; later came 110. Before the 1960’s, not every family had a camera; Instamatics’ ease of loading made photography much more mainstream. Family photography as we know it today came about in the late 1960’s. My dad had a Instamatic X45, which he loved.

126 film had negatives that were about the size of a 35mm negative, which was to say, negatives big enough to support good-sized enlargements. They were the first cameras to take flash cubes as opposed to flash bulbs, which made it possible to take four images in quick succession. Though the first 126 cameras were very simple, more complicated cameras came later, including the Kodak Retinas, which had interchangeable lenses.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Kodak was a marketing powerhouse, and one of the early adapters of personality-based marketing. 110 was a success from a marketing perspective, but because of the small size of the cameras, the film had to be quite narrow, which meant that the negatives were very small. Many people were frustrated by the marginal quality of images from 110—especially at sizes bigger than 4x6 or so.

35mm was originally for serious photographers, but the 35mm’s climb to dominance in the broader market was started by the Canon AE-1, and in particular, Canon’s Jimmy Connors advertising campaign. The camera was preprogrammed and fully automated. The pitch was something like, “the professionals use this, now you can too--professional quality images through automation.”

Kodak’s next innovation was disc film, in the early 1980s. The product launch was huge in advertising dollars, and there were attractions—especially the camera’s automation and its small size. However, the product had its liabilities--the image was too small to yield good prints. The film was color negative only, 15 exposure. It had to be loaded on a spindle and spun in chemistry to be developed.

APS stands for ‘Advanced Photo System’; it was a creation of a conglomerate of the major manufacturers of photo and photolab equipment (Kodak marketed it as ‘Advantix,’ Fuji Film as ‘Nexia,’ and Agfa as ‘Futura’). APS came out in the mid-1990’s, when photography was already anticipating the digital revolution; APS was marketed as a bridge to digital photography. In fact, the technology was not that different than that of standard analog photography. APS cameras were able to capture images of different aspect ratios--you could set your camera to ‘classic,’ ‘high-definition,’ or ‘panoramic.’ The film was a cartridge film, and it was possible to change film mid-roll.

From the 1990’s on, the emphasis in consumer photography came to be about producing better point-and-shoot cameras cheaper—and with more features for ease of use. Auto-load and auto-advance were both popular features. Eventually the trend culminated in single-use cameras, which made decent images available for very little more than the price of a roll of film.

The trend in late twentieth-century consumer photography was finding ways capture images more and more precisely at a lower and lower cost. By contrast, the return to film photography in the new millennium seems largely to be a “lo-fi revolution”—what is compelling about film to today’s photographers is largely the ways in which the image is captured imprecisely.