Around Toronto with the Fuji Natura Classica

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When I arrived in Toronto I met up with a friend and Toronto legend, Pete, and he handed me his Fuji Natura Classica, together with a roll of Fuji Superia 1600 film and asked me to finish the roll while I’m in Toronto.

Challenge accepted.

If you haven’t heard of the Natura Classica (sold in Japan only unfortunately), it’s a neat little film camera that tries its best to get a good light combination into the picture, even with dark shadows and bright sunlight in the picture at the same time. And I gotta say, it does a pretty good job.

Supposably you can even through in the flash as a fill-in, and use it indoors to get as much natural light into a picture as possible while not making everything look blown out, but I haven’t gotten around to trying that, because the weather in Toronto was outstandingly awesome while I was there.

Unfortunately the Natura Classica is a bit expensive, Lomography sells it for $ 299, which is not too bad compared to the prices you get on eBay for direct imports from Asia. I’d definitely get one if I had that money to spare. It’s beautifully light and takes very nice pictures. It’s no Contax T2, but a great camera to carry around all the time.

I spent most of my first day walking around Toronto, taking pictures here and there, and sitting on the harbour front, video-chatting with Mari and J. It was a pretty good day. Obviously I visited some coffee shops, but more on that later. More pictures below.

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Fuji Neopan 1600

a neopan winter

While shooting a conference last November, I had my first contact with Fuji Neopan 1600, a high-speed black and white film. I decided to use it simply because I was shooting indoors most of the time, so both the high speed and the fact that it’s black and white were a good indication that it was a match.

a neopan winter

I was pretty surprised by how nice the shots came out. The high speed obviously increases the grain in the shots quite noticeably, but it’s not too bad. The film’s contrast is hard to grasp in one sentence. As it’s quite sensitive to light it’s easy to blow out overly bright areas, so having harsh contrast in the scene might result in the brighter areas of your photo being overexposed, losing contrast and detail. That’s true for overexposing the shots in general, so be careful with light metering. The grain is not even annoying (at least not for me) when the shots are underexposed. In black and white film that somehow adds character. With color, it’s just annoying.

a neopan winter

But that’s what you get for shooting film at such high speeds. It makes up for it though, because especially in grey-ish winter as we had it for the last couple of weeks, it’s pretty much the only choice you have. Even in reality things look dull, not having lots of different colors, so why bother? Might as well shoot black and white at higher speeds.

a neopan winter

There’s one area where the grain is a bit annoying though. If you like having a spectacularly thin depth of field in your shots, I wouldn’t recommend using this film. The grain takes away most of the softness you usually expect, making the blur effect look a bit weird. But I found that to be more annoying when things in the foreground are out of focus. Which is not something I enjoy in general.

a neopan winter

In general I really like this film. It’s really great for shooting indoors or for those dull days when the sun just won’t come out at least a little bit. Fits in perfectly with the atmosphere of grey autumn and winter. It’s a tad cheaper than Ilford Delta 3200, so if you can get your hand on a roll, go for it! The only downside I found was that the film only exists in 35mm format, and not in 120. Shame really. All of these shots were taken with a Nikon F90X either with a 50mm/f1.8 or 28mm/f2.8 lens.

News Quickie

Do people still use the word quickie? No idea, anyway, I do.

As a Holga fan I’m sure you’ve noticed a dip in the Holga matrix just recently. That’s because the Holga manufacturer has unleashed no less than two accessory lenses upon the mind-blown toy camera photographer world. A wide-angle and a tele lens, sweet stuff. I immediately ordered mine, since they were available on ebay on the day of the announcement. The awesome peeps over at the Holgablog got all the inside scoop, so head on over there and read all about them. If you want to buy some, search ebay for “holga tele lens” and “holga wide lens”, and you’re golden. They’re frickin cheap too.

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In case you missed it, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Fuji would discontinue its Fuji Pro 800Z film, updating the post that Fuji may have changed their minds. I’m happy to say that they apparently did, and that this awesome film is here to stay. It’s my favorite 800 speed film, and I don’t mind that I now have three five-packs in my fridge. It’s a good film to have at the ready, and it’s just perfect for shooting in slightly lower light during winter.

If you haven’t tried the film, you really should. It’s a nice fit for the Holga in lower light, though it even works during the day when you’re not shooting right into the sun. I can’t blame you for trying, since one should just shoot into the sun from time to time, but you probably wouldn’t be all too happy.

Also, let me just go ahead and recommend Four Corner Store, my new favorite dealer for expired film, and toy cameras for that matter. But the last order I did was just film, a whole big box full of it. So much looking forward to stuffing all my cameras with all kinds of different film, some of it expired back in 1993.

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A whole lotta good news, eh?

Fuji Discontinues The Pro 800Z Film (Updated)

It’s sad news that the British Journal of Photography is bringing us. Apparently Fuji will cease production of the Pro 800Z film this September. Sure, it’s even more of a niche film then their other Pro line films, but it’s a really nice 800 speed film, with very little grain when exposed properly. It’s perfect for the Holga in winter, when the sun doesn’t come up too far, and obviously for shooting any other camera in low light, as The 10 cent designer proves.

My kind of house

It’s a shame really, but probably not very surprising. If it helps to keep the rest of the Fuji film Pro line on the shelves, so be it. Only thing left now is to buy a couple of boxes before it’ll vanish. Stocks should last till November, so get yours before it’s too late.

Update: Hot on the heels of me ordered three packs of 120 800Z film, the British Journal of Photography posts a news update informing us that Fuji Japan might not discontinue the film after all. Oh well. Now I have a stash of it, so that’s that. We’ll see what the final decision is going to be.