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On my trip around Europe I met a guy in Croatia that was shooting only film on his travels, using an old canon from around the early nineties. I had not been into photography too long  and thus knew next to nothing,  something struck me about the images he was showing me and what he told me about his experience shooting film.

When I got to Seoul I just had my Canon 550D and two lenses but previously in Spain I went to the Sunday market, El Charco de la Pava and found a cheap I mean CHEAP!, 1970’s, aluminum body, 35mm, reflex camera with a 50mm lens.  The Revueflex T was in bad shape. Full of scratches and dents,the mirror was cracked and the lens was more oval that circular from a previous drop, which made the focus ring stick. With force you could get the focus ring to move past a certain point. The real test was if the shutter still fired; It did.

My next stop was to get a battery for its on board analogue light meter, which was currently just a needle resting pointing down. Then to pick up a roll of film. Since I was scheduled to Leave Spain for Peru just a week later I wanted to put a roll through it to make sure it actually worked before carting the beast of a camera 10,000 miles across the ocean.

The light meter was not detailed like my DSLR the reading had three positions; needle above center(over exposed) Under center(under exposed) or dead center(image is correctly exposed). It behaved erratically but I had been shooting my digital camera in Full manual for a while and so could guess the appropriate settings for a given light environment within some degree of accuracy.

After a day or three the color film went to be processed. All but 3 of the 24 images were correctly exposed. The images may not have been the most artistic and the focus may have been off in a a big handful of them but it was sea worthy so I bought two rolls of  color film and a roll of black and white film and tossed it in the top of my backpack and set off for Peru.

A week into the trip I had finished off the first roll and had loaded the second. I was sitting in a really rickety feeling backpackers hostal full of Argentinians juggling clubs. There was a nice but tattered hippy girl who I was talking with. she mentioned that she liked photography. I figured I had had enough of lugging that thing around and gave it to her along with the remaining canister of film. We will never know what she did with it or how her pictures turned out.

But back to the recent past. Seoul has two areas known for photography gear. Chungmuro, which is more well known and is full of everything from high end studio setups to vintage cameras. They also have a shop called Fotomaru which will process and scan and print your images. Namdaemun is less well known but I have found more reliable shops there.

A few months back I started to think about film again. Already having some canon EF mount lenses I thought back to that Guy in Croatia and his old, 35mm Canon. I started looking around and found a Canon EOS-1 for a normal price. This camera was released in 1989, as Canons first professional SLR.

What I really like is that all of my lenses are compatible and the controls are almost identical to my Digital Camera though there are a few differences. My first roll of film here in Seoul was Kentmere 400, a cheap Black and White film. It took forever to get through 36 Exposures. After shooting digital, with film I feel like each shot deserves careful consideration. Is it worth one of my precious shots? If so then it takes time to insure that settings are adjusted correctly. though on rare occasion I saw something that caught my eye and I didn’t have time to think much about it; some came out others didn’t. Highrise Creek shrunk Hold Hands Shrunk Smoke Stack shrunk Turning It Shrunk Oculus shrunk Pine Tree shrunk Natl Assembly River shrunk Metro Bridge shrunk Lost Ball shrunk Videogame ShrunkCar Lights and Neons

I wasn’t very happy with the way the images turned out. I’m not sure if it was the scans or the film itself but I have a feeling it was the film. The images had no black in them; Black was rendered as a medium dark grey.  What you see above has had the levels adjusted.

Anxious to see if it was the Kentmere 400 that was to blame, I purchased a roll of Tmax 400 and was more pleased with the results. These too have had some leveling but much less Bike Tunnel shrunk Biking over Foot Bridge shrunk Bird Landing Seoul Canal shrunk Fishing on the Han Overpass Cyclist Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Picking Edible Weeds Stage Jump Tires and Tubes Transformers Triangle Welded PAvilion Parabola World Cup Stadium

I’m now working on my first roll of color film. again with an experiment in cheap film, Tudorcolor XLX 200.

You can check out more of my images here in my other blog posts or at my Flikr 

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