Hello there and thank you for bearing with me! It has been some time since I was here talking to you last and since then I have been moving into a new studio! I have never really had a bespoke space just for working in before so it’s a good way for me to separate my ever messy (and stinky) work from my home life. I will post more about that soon.
For now I’d like to talk about something Lomography kindly sent me. I was given the Lomography Earl Grey 100 film and Lubitel 166+ (once called ‘The Jonathan Edwards’ camera). So, without any more hesitation, I begin to tell you my thoughts on them both.
The Lubitel 166+ was overall easy to use. I am fairly au fait with the general use of twin lenses cameras so it came quite naturally for me to use (I frequently use them in my portraiture work). This camera has glass lenses, so the distortion is minimal and all the buttons are in their expected places, winder where it belongs, shutter button, and so on.
What I was really impressed with was the accessories; it comes with a set of various ratio apertures (35mm or Panoramic) as well as its standard 6×6 ratio and a shutter release cord, which, when shooting self portraits comes in very handy. Now I am not a self-portrait artist but because of the cord added (I do love to use them) I decided to photograph myself, a feat I would not usually undertake.
Focusing was easy enough; I’m no self-portrait master so I had to use a portable radiator as a supplement for myself (for focusing) and a medium ‘depth of field’ so to avoid any miss focusing (something I didn’t avoid entirely). I am glad I shot this alone; it must have been an embarrassing sight.
One thing I would like to say is, in order to make the most of the camera, I would recommend a fairly sturdy tripod as it is a very light camera, and if you are using a shutter release cord you could jog it easily. That is fine if you want that kind of look, but I’m quite keen on getting good negatives and degrading the image later so it was not ideal for me in that respect. I had to change the tripod I was using. As for the lens quality, I think you could say its pretty bloody good and I could not see any fringing or aberration.
The film itself is very good. I used a chart on Lomography for developing film) and replaced the D76 for Kodak XTOL Film Developer and got fairly evenly toned negatives (perhaps lacking slightly in contrast) but I don’t mind that as I can change the tones in the darkroom. I just used standard ‘anything goes’ fixer (i.e. whatever I had laying around) and the results were nice. The colour of the negative is a deep purple, meaning that the contrast would naturally boost in the enlarger (that particular shade of magenta can be used as a contrast enhancer in b&w images) so it’s just as well I (accidentally) made them slightly flatter in the development stage. Another thing I will note about the film is it is very curly and hard to work with when trying to make them flat for contact printing. So I had to use tape on the sides. I find this often happens with thicker film but the positives of a thicker film outweigh the negative (i.e. it doesn’t tear in the camera). Those points aside I really liked the film and would definitely use it again.
You can see the results here:
Here is a self-portrait, one processed print and a raw contact print.
A local haunt of mine to give some further examples of the way it rendered architecture, again in both processed print and raw contact print:
And one more obscured textural print with both processed and raw contact print:
I hope this gives readers a general idea of how the film and camera behave; please note the processing is done in the darkroom and results usually vary according to the person printing the images and their tastes. I am just treating these here as I would my usual personal or commercial work.
Thank you so much for reading and I will speak to you all in this form again soon.