5 Frames… With Svema Color 125 (EI 100-ish / 35mm format / Widelux F7) – by Jason Self

I shot these during a walk around my town (Raleigh, NC) on a partly cloudy morning. I’ve been in a bit of a photographic slump lately, so I reached for the panoramic swing-lens camera, hoping to shake things up a bit. I paired it with Svema Color 125, which is one of my favorite color negative stocks, owing to its unique color palette.

The Widelux F7 is a fun camera. The viewfinder is not particularly accurate and the film plane is curved, so it’s important to keep the camera level. I usually hold it at waist or chest level and compose with the arrows on the top, paying close attention to the spirit level. It is a similar experience to shooting my pinhole cameras.

Oh: you also need to be aware of your fingers at all times.

If you hold the camera in the standard way, you’ll get fingers in your shot every time. I usually grasp it on the top and bottom and fire the shutter with my thumb. The smallest aperture on the Widelux is f/11, and there are only three shutter speeds (1/15, 1/125, and 1/250).

Focus is set to ~10 feet, which means everything from ~3 feet to infinity is in focus at f/11. I brought a meter, but I didn’t use it at all. I decided to keep the shutter at 1/125 and set the aperture to f/11 for sunnier shots and f/8 for cloudy/shady shots.

I feel pretty good about this trip, and it has made me feel better about photography in general. Not fussing over camera settings or focus was really liberating. I walked around some familiar areas, but I found some new angles and pops of color amid the grey urbanity.

The clouds were a blessing and a curse. At times, they obscured the sun when I wanted it, but they also made the skies much more interesting. I processed the film at home using the Unicolor C-41 kit and scanned the images using an Epson Perfection V850 scanner.

~ Jason

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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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Jason Self
Jason Self
I'm a photography enthusiast/hobbyist - I don't know, but it isn't my day job. I shoot film almost exclusively these days, mostly due to my appreciation of and preference for film cameras. I live in Raleigh, NC and am partial to fine whisk(e)y and shortbread cookies.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Very nice shots! I hope this got you out of the slump. I love the sweeping curves you got from the Widelux in the right-angled urban environment. I haven’t seen much shot with it apart from Jeff Bridges’ work, which is pretty much all rural-based. Great!

  2. Great seeing a working Widelux and nice shots. I had rented them a couple of times and always had problems with banding due to slight irregularities in the timing of the swing lens. Great that yours doesn’t have that issue.

  3. Jason, these shots are great! I just shot my first roll of Svema 125, but haven’t gotten it processed yet. I’m wondering if you could share a little more about the color pallette? Thanks again & great article!

  4. i think it is misleading and not fair to market those films as “svema”.
    anyone who knows real “svema” colours knows that these films have nothing in common with real svema. may be this is “lucky”, i don’t know.
    i also read an interview with people in charge of “svema” factory today, and they said that they don’t produce any film today, just repackage film they receive from china. which film – i don’t know.

    i think i am sensitive to this topic because real svema never had such great colours and doesn’t deserve this.
    communist regime failed to produce a good colour film, and best soviet advertisment shots presented in the west were made on western film.

    b/w film labeled svema and packaged today is also usually just chinese film. real old b/w svema were last produced in early nineties, i believe, and results are usually foggy. so b/w film sold today as “svema” is also not svema at all.

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