It was Sunday, I had loaded a roll of FP4 PLUS for the #FP4Party (but of course the party was already finished) in a new to me Robot Royal 24 Mod III. FP4 PLUS is not my usual slow speed film, as I usually go cheaper for that, and it had been a while since I had shot a roll of it. It’s nonetheless a pretty good film that a lot of fellow photographers get excellent results from, and I was looking forward to shooting it.

It felt like the end was nigh (I’m totally exaggerating), that it was only a question of days before the government issued a “shelter in place” order (now, I’m not). This sunny afternoon might be the last one before a long time allowing me to have a photo walk all by myself, so I took the cameras and decided to finish a few rolls. I didn’t feel like going very far from home or taking the subway, so I decided to visit some familiar places.

The first half of the walk was documented on another camera, but I switched to the Robot Royal while crossing the Seine again. I discovered the Robot camera a few months ago via this article and immediately felt attracted to it, as I had been looking for a 35mm film camera able to shoot square frames for some time. This rangefinder camera is not a camera for everyone: e.g. you need an external viewfinder for most lenses (but you have quite some choice and most are not too expensive), and there is no integrated light-meter. On the other hand, the reformed mechanical engineer in me could not resist to a German design (think metal, lots of metal) clockwork camera with a mechanical advance mechanism. It’s quite a heavy camera, and loading the take-up canister means you can’t swap rolls that fast (but you do get +/-52 square frames out of your regular 36 exposure roll).

Enough talking: here are a few samples taken with a Schneider Kreuznach Xenon 40mm f/1.9 (while staying at least two meters away from my fellow Parisians).

Technical information: ILFORD FP4 PLUS developed (Rodinal 1+25) and scanned (Canoscan 9000F Mk1) at home by me. Some cropping, straightening, dust removal and exposure/contrast adjustment was done in Adobe Lightroom 6 as well. If you want to connect, please check my bio below.

~ Anthony

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About the author

Anthony Chatain

I live and work in France. After 10 years using exclusively digital cameras, I came back to analog photography with the willingness to experiment with different film formats, to slow down my picture taking habits and to renew with this aspect of randomness...

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  1. I recently shot my first roll of this film, waiting for it to be developed as I write — based on your images, I’m really looking forward to (and hoping for) some nice results!