Babylon Kino First Impressions: Cool, Calm, Contrasty15 Share Tweet
We're exploring different moods with our social media testers' black & white photos – the calming vibe of a nature walk, the effortless cool of film noir, and the contrast of clean and chaos in an urban setting. These three photographers flawlessly exhibited the various effects that you get from the Babylon Kino 35 mm film, and we can't wait until you try shooting with it, too!
Stephen Jackson is a telecommunications engineer from Buntingford, Hertfordshire. He goes by @stevejack0 in the Lomography community and as steve_jacksun on Instagram. He enjoys walking with his camera and taking photos on film. For this Babylon Kino shoot, he used a Nikon F5 with a 50mm f1.4 and 24mm f2.8 lenses and developed this roll of film using Ilford Perceptol for 15 minutes at 20 degrees C.
I made a couple of photos on a local walk then stayed late after work and walked around London at night. My daughter volunteered to feature in a few and lastly, I visited Dartmoor National park.
The lowest ISO film that he has shot was rated at 25 ISO, but he has made 4x5 negatives, too. Compared to other black and white films, Stephen says he was impressed with how the Babylon Kino captured all the highlights and shadow details in his photos.
We asked how the low ISO of the film influences his approach and choice of motif.
My preference is for low ISO film, I like the fine grain and sharpness associated with slow film. In comparison to digital sensors all film might be regarded as slow, so it makes little difference what I attempt to shoot on film. I guess Babylon Kino isn’t suited for sport or nature photography but I wouldn’t mind trying.
His favorite photo from this set? "Apart from the ones of my daughter, it’s of a bill poster that says “I DON’T KNOW BRO”. I like the way the light plays on the creases posters creases."
For future Babylon Kino shooters, his advice would be to shoot anything that you want.
If you don’t have enough light to handhold and don’t have a tripod, try making multiple exposures at a speed that will allow you to handhold your camera. Try 4 or 5 or maybe 10 or 20 exposures on the same frame.
Lenny B. Conil
Lenny B. Conil is a street photographer from Hong Kong. He is on Instagram as photochromatique. He holds a corporate job, but on the side, he regularly takes photographs for the past twenty years.
While he has mainly shot with digital, he rediscovered analogue photography two years ago, documenting life around him on film. For this shoot, he used a Leica M7 fitted with Leica 90mm f/2.8 TELE-ELMARIT-M.
I went out over two days with very sunny weather in Hong Kong with the intention to capture contrasts and shadows. I did not know at that time that the film would have such high contrasts, maybe I would have done it differently otherwise but I still like the strong and raw results.
We asked about his thoughts on the Babylon Kino film.
It's my first time to use a low ISO film. I liked the ability to have wide aperture even with bright daylight, and I was surprised by the very high contrast of the film which I didn't expect. It gives a distinct touch that people can recognize and enjoy. It also limits the range of situations in which you can shoot without a tripod but it can be a very useful film stock in urban environment.
For future Babylon Kino users, this is his advice:
I think it is a film with which you shouldn't be afraid to black out shadows and burn the highlights. I would definitely use it for urban/street photography – which is my main genre -more than for portraits or nature where the harsh nature of the film could give varying results.
Leonard Drorian is a photographer from Los Angeles and currently based in Berlin, Germany. "I studied cinema in graduate school and this background informs my work, drawing on influences like Film Noir and the French New Wave. I shoot exclusively on film. Over the years I’ve moved more into fashion work, shooting editorials and working with aesthetically like-minded, forward-looking designers." You can see more of his photos on Instagram as len_dro. For this photo shoot, Leonard used a Canon A-1 with 50mm 1.4 lens.
These photos were taken outside of the historic Babylon cinema in Berlin with two of Leonard's favorite models and muses, Alana Richards and Das Fräulein Fuchs. Styling was provided by SUMO.
We asked about his experience using the Babylon Kino.
It handled the contrasty midday light very nicely, and the fine grain is beautiful. There’s a smoothness about it that’s appealing and different from other B&W films I’ve used.
This was the lowest ISO film I’ve ever used. I used a tripod on some shots to give the film enough exposure time while maintaining sharpness. The low ISO allowed me to shoot in mixed light for a Noir look while still preserving shadow and highlight details.
I love this picture of Alana because it’s a quintessential Film Noir frame, and she looks effortlessly cool. There’s also something special to me about this picture of both models looking up at the cinema lights. It looks like it could be a poster for a film.
With such a low ISO film, using a tripod could maintain sharpness while giving the film enough exposure time. Or you can roll with it and embrace potential movement within the frame. I recommend using this film if you want to balance out mixed lighting conditions, or anytime you want to achieve a smooth, velvety finish to your photographs.
We'd like to thank these photographers for sharing their impressive photographs and experiences using the Babylon Kino film!