I was lucky enough to have the opportunity from the wonderful crew at Sebastemulsion and Film Never Die to shoot and review a small batch of Snail film the had rolled onto spools for the adventures of slowness. When I collected it, what threw me at the start is that the film is white! After a lot of reading and research, the film has no anti halation cover which makes it super sensitive in light, and as a film its very sensitive to blue light.
When I sat and thought about it for a while, I was wondering how was going to work with this at such slow speeds as a number one, but as number two what was I going to shoot to do the film justice and give a definite change and run through different conditions? So I decided to load it into the trusty old Nikon F4S and see where it takes us.
Searching around my office I managed to come across a few scraps of old lighting gels in different colours, so not having my 55mm Red filter handy, I was able to cut an small round of red gel and fit it under the lens hood. This was never ever going to be a great filter, but it would help and make something a little more ‘Interesting’ or as some would say ‘Artistic’ or even ‘Low Tech’.
By looking at the results, I am fairly amazed not only how the ‘Low Tech’ option faired, but how the images actually look. Nice and dreamy with lovely deep blacks and a fairly crisp white without being overly blown away to nothing.
This was when I had switched to an Orange Glass filter, and I think i like these a little more. The tones seem to have more graduation and slide in-between each other a little more than just big clumps.
Even looking at the above crop in section, the tones are amazingly smooth with such definition between them all. With such a fine grain, the film shows great hard edges with almost no loss of detail cropped in this close. This section was taken at just under 500 pixels and expanded to 1200 pixels. Gives us all a great idea how ‘crisp’ this film can be.
I have talked it up, and I am pretty happy to do so to be honest. Was there any to report on the bad sides.. Yeah there was, but I am really of the opinion the downs weren’t that down. Sure I had to carry a tripod almost every as it was almost near impossible to shoot this film hand held unless you were wide open at f1.8 so you could get 80th sec, but that didn’t really get to me that much as I don’t mind using a tripod, but it was fogging.
After reading many many reports on Flickr it turns out this is a pretty normal occurrence with films using Kodak 5302. The film is so thin that even the light traps on conventional 35mm film rolls may let some light in and fog a few of the frames. Again yes I would say it’s a negative, but is it a deal breaker from buying this film? Definitely Not!! Yes I maybe should have placed the film into a tube to keep it out of the light, and I should have loaded it into the camera in subdued light, and I should have bathed in unicorn tears to make sure blah blah blah……… All I want to see is performance and quality. The fogging didn’t effect the quality of performance of the film or subject matter I was shooting, it enhanced it in may ways.
I would defiantly buy more of this film. It has a special place in where I would love to do a little more night shooting of even very late afternoon and really string out the exposures to 10-30 seconds. It was great fun to use and I highly recommend it.