So, I’ve been wanting to shoot the 120 (square) format of the Ilford HP5 ever since I’ve developed the 35mm version of it shot with the Nikon F100 last year. There is something that draws me to it, a mystery, an unobtanium, something I can’t really put my finger on it. May be the contrast, the grain, or my teenage year nostalgia or a mix of everything. It’s like I can’t seem to have enough looking at a print taken with this film.
The 120 format of this film is quite cheap, but keep in mind that if you are shooting square format, you’ll get about 12 exposures out of it. It’s a good problem to have since it forces me to think twice about the frame I’m about to take. Compare that with my spray and pray attitude I have with my dSLR.
From the very start I was impressed with the wide tonal range this film can have. I am far from nailing correct exposures each and every time, despise the fact that I do have the Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III Light Meter. So I either end up over or under exposing. You would think that after a couple rolls I’ve learned my lessons. You can apparently rate this film all the way to 1600 ISO in camera for low light situations (indoors). I didn’t try it yet. I expect more grain there.
I tend to like it more than the T-Max 400 counterpart which has a bit too much contrast to my tastes.
The only downsize is the developing/scanning price. Cost me $28.00 plus shipping at The Find Lab. But nevertheless, they did an amazing job at developing and scanning.
YASHICA MAT 124-G
This humble TLR camera left me speechless (used, off ebay). That tiny 4-element taking lens (80mm/f3.5) can produce some of the most unique bokeh around on low f stops. I don’t know if it’s an anomaly, or they intended it to work this way, but it has the potential to create some killer photos with little or no effort, given that you can master your exposure right.
I shot a few rolls with this camera (portra 400, ektar 100), but non of it was shining as the Ilford HP5. Find some good light and off you go.
It’s seemingly great for street photography since no one is aware that you are pointing the camera at them given the top ground glass viewfinder. Pretty discreet, huh? You can become a Vivian Maier now!
The viewfinder flips the image, so it took a while to adapt my panning, and to make sense of it all. It’s like driving backward while looking in the rear view mirror.
Same thing with the square format. It can be challenging at first, figuring how to frame your subject, but it’s one of those good issues to have that forces you to create new compositions and stories.