Scrolling through my Instagram feed introduced me to the wonderful world of CineStill. I had been having an extensive internal debate over which CineStill stock to buy and where to shoot it, but a pre-Christmas 2019 trip to Copenhagen ended up forcing my hand. After the usual trawls through the local camera shops (the best way to see a city), I found one that sold all the CineStill emulsions..so I bought one of each.
I chose to shoot their B&W stock first; BwXX. Repackaged Kodak EASTMAN Double-X 5222 and made famous by some Bonds, Neeson and some angry bulls amongst others. I didn’t know what to expect or should I push this film, Copenhagen was quite dull and overcast for the few days I was there, so I just let my Nikon F100 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G lens do the guesswork, shot on full matrix metering and did what I was told to do.
I was really impressed on how the emulsion handles contrast. It seems to be a bit punchier than my ILFORD Delta 400 Professional go-to and I didn’t really run into any issue shooting as rated ISO 250, even using an 85B orange filter on some scenes. I did most of my shooting with this film while out and about in the morning/afternoon, so I’m thinking the overcast weather did help.
No real deep shadows and no overpowering bright spots to contend with when trying to catch some candid shots. I would love to and will try this film with some heavy filters in and around a beach with some seascapes. With some time on your hands, you could create a moody scene and keep them low on grain for enlargement.
On grain, it is super fine, pretty much un-noticeable on regular scans, I lacked and still lack the true acumen required to fully meter and spot mid-tones, but I feel that all the shots I took have superb tonal range (thanks Nikon). Here’s hoping they enlarge well without too much hassle in the darkroom to add to my hipster gallery of random photography.
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Brian — beautiful images. I actually hadn’t appreciated the fact that Cinestill had a B&W emulsion (if I decide to splurge on the cost of film, I tend to buy the 800T colour film, which is beautiful). Nice work! I’m inspired to purchase a roll of this next round.
JJN! Think I can work out the name from that.. That little Pentax ME Super, I remember it well! The first film camera I ever had.. The only reason I shot film back then was becuase I couldnt afford your slick Sony DSLR setup on a student’s budget! But I’ve learned now that sometimes older is better! Good times!
Hope you’re keeping well JJ!
JJ N? Think I can peice the name together from that! Far more in-depth then back in those days..that old Pentax ME Super was my first venture into film though..owe it a lot! I just couldn’t afford your line of Sony DSLRs in those student days! Good times!
Nice work Brian, you can buy 120m rolls of XX from the UK if you want to go crazy and respool, I see you’ve gotten a lot more into film since the Caving Club days in Fermanagh with the Pentax, I wish I shot film back then. @anotherfilmcamera
I’ve just started shooting another rebrand of 5222xx I found on Ebay. I’m anxious to see the results.