5 Frames… With Cinestill BwXX (EI 250 / 35mm format / Pentax Spotmatic SP II) – by Donna Macauley

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When Cinestill reintroduced their BwXX 250 film stock, I was intrigued and bought a roll immediately. Like their other film stocks, BwXX 250 is movie film re-engineered for still cameras. BwXX is classic EASTMAN Double-X 5222, a film stock that hasn’t changed since 1959.

I took my trusty Pentax Spotmatic SP II with Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens on a trip with me to the West coast of Michigan. It was early Spring but still felt like Winter, with most of the Midwest and East coast still experiencing extreme weather patterns. The sand dunes were still capped with snow. It was bitter cold, even when the sun was out. Clouds blew in and the 250-speed film worked well in both full sun and cloudy conditions.


I used the Sunny 16 rule to determine exposure for the images. It’s liberating to think about the scene and determine exposure without reading from a meter. I usually use a meter, but with my son in tow, I had to be quick. He had no tolerance for the high winds and cold.

All in all, it was worth braving the elements and using this film to record the weekend trip.

~ Donna Macauley

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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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