5 Frames… Shot with my daughter-in-law on ILFORD FP4 PLUS (EI 125 / 35mm / Agfa Optima 1A) – by John Ellis

Written by and published on
Filed under ,

These photos were taken on the first roll of film taken by a complete newbie to film photography, my daughter-in-law Amy, on her first visit to Australia in July 2019, when she stayed with us in Perth for a few days, and then went on to Sydney.

I’m in my late 70’s now, but I started taking photos in the 1940s as soon as I could hold my dad’s Brownie Reflex the right way up. Photography, combining physics chemistry and art, was good for me, and got me out and about on my bike in the English countryside. Later, I managed to adapt to colour photography and then digital, and readers of my generation will understand that was not without pain.


After seventy years I have a large collection of books and cameras. Amy was keen to try film photography, so the night before she left, I looked at some cameras I’d recently tried to sell and picked out one I didn’t mind parting with, that seemed to be in good working condition, with a good leather ever-ready case. It was a fairly humble Agfa Optima 1A and its Agfa Color-Agnar 45mm f/2.8.

The next morning, off we went to a well-known camera shop in Leederville, where upstairs, we found several films displayed, some with names unknown to me, but to my relief, there was Kodak Gold 200, and ILFORD FP4 PLUS — ILFORD FP was a favourite film of mine from the 1950-60s, developed in over-diluted Promicrol! Strangely, the FP4 PLUS was more expensive than the Kodak Gold, but I bought a roll of each.

A few days later Amy emailed back her first results from Sydney, which were somewhat to my surprise. Firstly, the processing had been rather haphazard as there were scratches and tramlines, and much more grain than I would have expected from ILFORD FP4 PLUS.

But I was impressed with the definition on some of the shots from this non-pedigreed old Agfa; I particularly like the close photo of Sydney Harbour Bridge. And Amy had done rather well handling the quirky old camera, focusing her shots and composing them through a pokey viewfinder!

~ John

Want to submit your own 5 Frames...?

Go right ahead, submissions are open! Get your 5 frames featured on by submitting your 350+ word article by either using this Google form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.

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.


Share your knowledge, story or project

At the heart of EMULSIVE is the concept of helping promote the transfer of knowledge across the film photography community. You can support this goal by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.

If you like what you're reading you can also help this personal passion project by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and giving as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.


Previous

EMULSIVE interview #209: I am Paulo Monteiro and this is why I shoot film

Three things Bill Murray can teach you about street photography

Next

2 thoughts on “5 Frames… Shot with my daughter-in-law on ILFORD FP4 PLUS (EI 125 / 35mm / Agfa Optima 1A) – by John Ellis”

  1. Very nice results indeed 🙂
    “Scratches and tramlines” shouldn’t happen at any decent process lab. I’d look closely at the Agfa to see if its happening in-camera. If she can find a junk roll of film, have her run it through the camera, then examine the (un-processed) film in daylight to look for damage. (Needless to say, she won’t be getting any pics from THAT roll.) If its all good, find another process lab!!

    Reply
  2. Great article John. My first encounter with analog photography was with the Agfa Stilette Camera of my grandfather. I like shooting with it to this day even though the camera has lots of limitations.

    Greetings from Germany

    Reply

Join the discussion