5 Frames… On the last day before lockdown with ILFORD FP4 PLUS (EI 125 / 35mm format / Robot Royal 24 Mod III) – by Anthony Chatain

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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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

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Anthony Chatainhttps://www.chatain.eu
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 and delayed discovery of the result inherent to film development.

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1 COMMENT

  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!

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