I have been stuck in a rut with my film photography. I used to shoot anything and everything until I recently started working on a couple of series for my portfolio. Now I find myself being so selective with what I am shooting, that I don’t actually shoot much.
So I got a Yashica Mat EM as an everyday carry camera and tried a film I have never tried before, ILFORD FP4 PLUS. I already knew I would not like FP4 PLUS after trying Denae and Andrew’s 100-speed blind film scorecard. This film rated second-worst in my blind rating. ILFORD Delta 100 Professional, which was my go-to film, ranked low on my blind test results as well. But I still gave FP4 PLUS a shot and could not have fallen deeper in love.
It may be the inherent nature of FP4 PLUS, the Yashica Mat or the combination of them together, but I just loved the tones I was getting from this setup. The results I got looked like what many try so hard to replicate on their Instagram with their digital cameras. The “filmic” look is so easy when you shoot film.
I loaded up the film in my camera and went on a walk downtown during my lunch break. I did not bring my handheld light meter because the Yashica Mat EM has one built-in, which turned out to be pretty accurate. The camera turned out to be a great everyday carry camera as it is lightweight, really easy to focus and is just a joy to use. The only thing I did not like about the camera is that the highest ISO the light meter will go to is 400, so you’ll need to figure out equivalent values before you press the shutter.
Blacks did not render black, they turned out really dark grey. Midtones came out gorgeous. There is a beautiful haziness when the sun is just out of frame. Everything came out super sharp as well. Just beautiful.
ILFORD FP4 PLUS is a film I am going to keep in my camera bag for a long time.
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This series is being 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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