As part of my EMULSIVE Secret Santa 2019 present, I got a roll of Silberra U400. Well, this is different, I thought. I had used Silberra film before (their Pan 160 looks very nice, if you’re interested) but not the U400, so I was intrigued.
In case you don’t know, Silberra is a Russian company based in St. Petersburg who first started making chemicals a decade ago before venturing into making their own photographic film. Their ‘U’ series of films are new and are a mix of flat grain and classic grain. They are also coated onto a thinner substrate. More on that later.
And so, onto the shoot. For the last shoot of the year, I thought something simple and laid-back would be perfect and decided to use my trusty Nikon F2 with the 50mm F/1.4 AI lens. I contacted the model and arranged the shoot. She warned me about her two cats. As a cat lover, I didn’t mind at all.
The shoot went easily enough but I spent most of it being climbed over by the two cats! The things you must endure as a photographer. Only when I got home did the problems start.
I had forgotten to write down what ISO I had pushed the film to. I had shot four rolls; some I had pushed, some I hadn’t. I knew I had pushed a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 to 1600, what about the Silberra film? I took the plunge and went for that.
Like Ilford films, the Silberra boxes have developing details printed inside. Great, or so I thought. Just not my developer. Nor anywhere else for that matter. There are no details for pushing it to 1600 either.
The final problem was loading that film into the reel. It was a pig. This film does not like to be loaded into a plastic reel. It even states on their website that you must make sure that the reel is dry first. You also need to make sure it is clean as well. I mean spotless.
Anyway, I am pleased with the results. If they use the same emulsion on their thicker substrate, I will be using this film again.
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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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