Monday, January 25, 2021

Tiffen Pro Mist 1/4 Filter :: Mini Review and Photo Samples

     It's likely that I'm late to the game, but I'd never heard of these diffusion filters until Moment dropped their video for the CineBloom filter.  I thought it looked pretty cool, but also a bit gimmicky at the same time.  Over the course of months, I added the CineBloom filter to my cart, but would change my mind after deciding I could learn how to create the effect in Photoshop.  To top it off, one of my friends brought up a good point - what if you decided you don't like the look?  You can't just take away the effect because you've already taken the photo with the filter on.  Of course, you can can always take one photo with and one without the filter, but that just seems like a tedious thing to do, am I right?

     Well, it didn't matter, because everytime I thought about buying the CineBloom filter, it was always out of stock in the 49mm thread I wanted.  I had decided that I'd only be using this filter on my Fuji X100V, and a 49mm filter should suffice.  My other option was to purchase a 77mm filter, and then use a step up ring to use it on my X100V as well as a few Canon lenses I had that shared a 77mm thread.  Needless to say, I had no problem admitting to myself that I haven't shot with my Canon gear in a while, so that really wasn't a realistic option - plus, the X100V would look so weird with that big filter in front, and these days, I'm all about traveling lightly when it comes to gear.  

     After watching countless YouTube videos, I learned that Tiffen made a Pro Mist filter that does the same thing as the CineBloom.  Who know?  Well, appparently, everyone else but me. 😂  The best part?  The filter was in stock.  I decided to go with the Tiffen 1/4 Pro Mist filter.  Tiffen has the filter in 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2 versions, while Moment offers their CineBloom in 10% and 20% versions.  I have no idea if these are meant to be compared, but one is expressed in fractions while the other is in percent form.  If that's the case, the 1/4 filter I bought is stronger than both offered from Moment.  Here's a great video that compares the CineBloom, Pro Mist, and Prism Lens Dream FX filters.  I've never heard of the last one by the way, but this video is great at comparing the effects of the filters.

     Now on to the samples!  First, here are two comparisons of photos shot without the filter and with the filter using the same camera settings.  



     I did forget to take off my WCL converter on the "with filter" photo here, but you can still see the effect the filter had.


WITH FILTER (and some editing)

     I did use this filter in the day time, but I had trouble noticing a huge difference.  Where this filter really performs is in the evening, and when you have neon or lights in your photos.  This effect is called "halation" and I'm into it.  I love the way it makes twinkle lights glow, and it adds a little extra something to my photos with neon signs.

     Here are some more examples using the 1/4 Pro Mist filter:

     Overall, I love the effect it has on my photos at night.  It's not something I would use all the time, but it definitely has a place in my camera kit.  Some people claim these filters give your photos a film-like quality.  I'm not so sure I agree with this.  I'm not seeing it, but perhaps I haven't experimented enough with it in the day time to really notice.  I may try to do some comparison shots using the 1/4 Pro Mist in the day time, and of course I'll report back!  If you're looking for something to have a little fun with your photography, it's definitely worth the investment.  Thanks for reading and happy shooting! 😀

Monday, January 18, 2021

Beginner Film Photography :: Developing Color (C-41) Film at Home

      I had been talking about it for weeks (and putting it off for weeks), but I finally did it.  I developed my own color (C-41) film. People always talk about how they took a photography and film developing class in school, and unfortunately I never had an opportunity to do that.  This was a really cool experience, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared to mess it up.  By no means am I saying what I've done is the right or only way to do this, but it is what I found through careful research (AKA watching a lot of YouTube videos).  To achieve the best results possible, I did the following:

1)  I bought all the supplies necessary to develop the film.  I'll put a list at the end of this post if you're interested in seeing what I used.

2)  I made sure I had two rolls of color film to develop.  For this session, I had a roll of Fuji Pro 400H and Portra 400.

3)  I used a roll of film that I totally messed up on rewinding to practice with.  This means I practiced blindly spooling the film into the reels that go into the tank over...and over...and over.

4)  I watched a TON of videos of someone developing color film at home using the exact kit that I used which was the CineStill Kit that makes one quart (perfect for the bottles I got).

Here is the most helpful video I found.  I won't say how many times I've watched this video.

CineStill C-41 Film Developing Kit Video

     The directions that came with the kit were okay.  I felt like watching the video FIRST made the directiosn make more sense.  Every video I watched always stressed labeling your bottles.  This is a great tip.  There are only three liquids you will make, but with so much going on at the same time, I found having them labeled really prevented me from using the wrong thing at the wrong time.

These photos are from my cell phone.  I thought about taking nice photos of the process, but um, that wasn't gonna happen.  The best way I could describe this is to compare it to trying to cook 3-4 things in the kitchen at the same time.  You're constantly checking temperature (in my case, out of paranoia) and reading and rereading directions to make sure you're doing everything correctly. 

     I really thought loading the film onto the spools in the black bag blindly was going to be the most challenging part of the process.  At first there was this moment of panic because I couldn't see what I was doing, but once you take a deep breath and remind yourself that nothing horrendous could possibly happen, a sense of calm will come over you, and it will be fine.  I was able to open the film canisters, cut the ends off, and spool them onto the reels without any issues.  Make sure you close the lid of the tank securely - you don't want any light getting in there!

     One of the best things I got out of this was that I realized there was no need to be super obsessive abotu the temperature.  Yes, you do need to heat up the liquids, but they don't have to be exact.  Someone mentioned that in one of the videos I watched, and I'm relieved to know they were right.  I was probably off by about 10 degrees F, and it was totally fine.  You can imagine my excitement when I did the final rinse, opened up the tank, and saw this!  

     I felt like a fucking magician - and you will, too! 😉

     This little clothes hanger thing is perfect for hanging your film to dry!

Here's a list of everything I used to develop my own color film at home:
     One of the things I would've done a better job on in retrospect is to really make sure the film is dry.  I had a few photos that had visible water spots on them, so this is definitely something to look out for.  I also recommend clipping something to the bottom of the film to keep it as straight and flat as possible.  When you go to scan the negatives, it is a pain to deal with curved negatives.  

     Speaking of scanning, here are some of my photos from this batch.  They were scanned on an Epson V600 scanner.  This scanner is so easy to use, and now I understand why it's so popular for scanning film.  I did try to do this the cheaper route by buying one of those quick film scanners, but I will save you the trouble and tell you that the scan quality is HORRIBLE on those.  Do not waste your time and money.

     Enjoy the photos, and thanks for making it til the end! 😀

Converted to B+W

Monday, November 23, 2020

Beginner Film Photography :: The Third Roll

      While watching YouTube videos late one night, I somehow stumbled upon the website of a small camera shop that was selling this Yashica Flex twin lens reflex (TLR) camera.  I've always wanted to own a TLR camera, even if it was only for a nice piece of vintage camera decoration.  However, for about $100, this camera was listed as actually in working condition.  I was curious, and that combined with staying up late is a recipe for buying a camera you know nothing about.  I knew I bought it from a trusted shop, but with film, you never really know until you film test it.  After picking up a roll of Ilford HP5 black and white 120 film, I was ready to test it out.  

     The camera is in great condition considering how old it is.  I think it's from the 50s?!  I knew nothing about it.  Research had to be done in order to figure out where the shutter button was.  😂

     One of the coolest things about this camera is the waist level viewfinder.  I love looking at it.  It almost looks like a 3D effect when looking at it.  However, one of the toughest things about shooting this is the horizontal flip of the viewfinder.  Basically if you move to the left, you're going to see what's actually to the right in front of you.  It was very confusing, and made me a little dizzy. 😒

     Without any editing, here is my third developed roll of film from this camera.  You're supposed to get 12 exposures from this roll of 120 film, but for whatever reason, I only got back 9 photos from The Darkroom Lab.  I have to assume that I messed up on 3 of those photos and they just didn't expose properly.  Trust me, there's a high likelihood that's what happened. 😂

     Yeah, this is blurry.  It was really windy that day, but that's probably not why this is blurry. User error. 😛

     I think this is my best photo from this roll.  I know I didn't really give any of the photos that much thought since I really just wanted to burn through the roll to see if the camera worked.  Honestly, there was a part of me that was shocked something this old still works.  I definitely want to try another roll where I actually shoot photos I want to take. For now,  I hope you enjoyed these... because they cost me about $3 for each photo. 😛

     Here are my thoughts on shooting film so far: 

PROS:  forces you to be patient (because you have no choice), you learn to be more selective about what you shoot (this post does not apply though), it's fun to learn how to use different types of film cameras, I like the cranking sound from winding the film, the excitement of getting your scans back from the lab, the nostalgic and unique look of film

CONS:  the lack of instant gratification, the cost (this is a big one), the learning curve can be big and it takes time to learn how different film stocks expose/look, not being able to switch between black and white and color (unless you have a camera that has this capability), manual focusing on some film cameras - this is probably what I hate the most! 😂