Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Back to the Future: The Film Project

Canon A-1, 50mm lens, Kodak Ektar 100 film
Last week we posted an update to our film project, rediscovering my old 1980 Canon A-1. In addition to the A-1, I also picked up a Holga 120N toy camera and shot a roll of Fujifilm Neopan 100. I like to experiment, and I've been intrigued by the low-fi images produced by the Holga and Lomography cameras and the original Diana camera that inspired them. In fact, there's a great exhibit that I recently viewed at the PhoPa Gallery in Portland, Maine by Tonee Harbert, all shot on an original 1960s Diana. 

Sony a7R, 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar lens
But, back to my experiment. On a recent trip up the California Coast, I had two digital cameras and the two film cameras with me. Stopping at the iconic Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, I shot the bridge with the Canon A-1, the Holga and a Sony a7R. 

Clearly, these are three different interpretations of the same scene. Readers on my Facebook page seemed to prefer the color film version shot by the A-1, but everyone's response is going to be different. I used Kodak Ektar 100 for that, and it was shot with the original Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens. The detail is present and the colors are neutral without over-saturation. 

Holga 120N, Fujifilm Neopan 100
The black and white Holga image is naturally softer, with greater contrast and some vignetting. The 36 megapixel capture from the Sony a7R, equipped with a Sony Sonnar 35mm f/2.8 lens, reveals a highly detailed, vibrant photograph.

As I mentioned in my previous post, retraining myself to shoot film was interesting. The muscle memory returned and the experience was rewarding. I'll be looking to use both of these film cameras in future projects where they can lend a distinct perspective.