5 Frames… Of sharp shots on a soft lens with Kodak Portra 400 + flash (35mm Format / EI 400 / Olympus OM-1n + G. Zuiko 55mm f/1.2) – By Trevor Hong

Written by and published on .

Oh … well, this is more of a story of how I quit film and then went back to it again. You see, I was having some issues with the toxicity of the film community here in Vietnam and so I decided to quit film photography for good. I got myself a Fujifilm X-T2 but there’s still something about old vintage lenses that’s really…soft. I love how they reproduce the colour, the micro-contrast and etc., the works.

“Quitting” for me lasted about two months — more like a brief wobble.

Anyhow, I got myself an Olympus G. Zuiko 55mm f/1.2 because I knew that lens is crazyyyyy…soft at f/1.2, which is ideal to me; because I don’t have to buy a Tiffen Promist filter to achieve the same effect. I was scrolling around Facebook Marketplace and I saw this middle-aged guy was selling it. I went by his house to view/buy the lens and he threw in a working chrome Olympus OM-1n body for FREE (Yes, I checked, the price I paid for was only for the lens..and yes, I know the camera in the photo below is not chrome, keep reading).

My Olympus OM-1n + G. Zuiko 55mm f/1.2, Trevor Hong

At first, I was going to sell it because (remember) I wasn’t going back to film. But then the camera was still working fine and even the light meter was modified to meter correctly on a 1.5v LR44 battery. So — you can see where this is going –I got some Kodak Portra 400, and some spray paint because I’m all about black body baby!

Also, I was into flash photography at the time of this writing and I heard of some good results with Portra 400 on flash. A couple of calls later and there I was shooting the OM-1n, in the studio, with the flash and some Portra.

To be honest, the lens is crazy sharp at f/16, flash sync of 1/60s is an advantage and disadvantage at the same time because I can still perfectly expose Portra 400 (advantage!) but then I can’t shoot anything lower than f/16 (Maybe some Ektachrome 100 would be awesome!)

Anyways, enjoy the result! And good night!

~ Trevor

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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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