I have been a film user for many years – well before digital existed. I purchased my first “good” camera with money that I made working a summer job while in college. Many cameras later, film as well as digital, I seem to find more enjoyment from film. It seems more real to me – shaking a tank in the darkroom is so hands on, whereas sitting at a computer screen processing an image is not. When I watch an image appear in the developer tray, I still find it magical, even after all these years.
I travel for work within the U.S., so I am always searching for the perfect travel camera – good quality yet light and tough enough to get knocked around in my briefcase. At a local thrift store I found a Chinon 3001 for $3.50. At that price, I decided to take a chance on it. Research revealed that it has a well-regarded f2.8 lens, but the slowest shutter speed of 1/45 sec and a lack of manual controls certainly are limitations to the camera.
My go-to film is Kodak TMY aka Kodak T-MAX 400. It is very sharp and almost grainless with most developers. What little grain is present is not overpowering and generally enhances the film effect. I generally use HC110 with this film at 1:63 dilution (dilution H) for 11 minutes at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C). While the film has great exposure latitude, the winter lighting conditions on a recent trip to Chicago (pre-Covid) were quite harsh, so I decided to mix up some divided D-23 (per The Film Developing Cookbook) in an attempt to tame some of the extreme contrast.
The divided formula allows the shadow to develop nicely while not blowing out the highlights, All were printed on ILFORD Multigrade FB with some dodging and burning. As you can see, camera, film and developer seem to have done a fine job showing off the Chicago Loop area on a sunny winter day and did a surprisingly nice job at night as well. The Chinon is already loaded with another roll of TMY in anticipation of my next trip.
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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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