One of the coolest things about the online film community is the generosity of film photographers. Last year I emailed Natalie Smart, a Brighton UK film photographer after reading one of her blog posts. Seeing that she had just purchased a Hasselblad 500 C/M, I had several original Hasselblad brochures, and some other film items I thought she might be interested in, so I sent them to her. Natalie asked how she could return the favor and I asked for one of her darkroom prints. In return, she not only sent me a print, but several film-related items. One item she sent was a roll of Lomography Berlin Kino 400 film.
I’ve had an interesting experience with Lomography film over the years. Whenever I’ve shot with Lomo film, my shots have never looked anything like what they’ve advertised. Even when processed at a lab, my colors don’t look the same, or the black and white contrast is just meh. With the Berlin Kino, I decided to shoot it at box speed, and develop with CineStill DF96 Monobath. This is probably the first time I got what I expected with Lomo film. The film has a lot of grain. And the contrast is either just right or too little. And that’s exactly what I’ve seen in other examples of this film.
Camera: Leica M3 (1959)
Film: Lomography Berlin Kino 400
Process: CineStill DF96 Monobath
Scanned: Epson V700 Photo
For Christmas 2018, I received the CineStill C-41 one quart developing kit. This seemed to be the right size for my first attempt at developing color film. At $25, the kit is a price I’m willing to pay, to experiment and learn. Plus, the amount of chemistry is enough to get me through roughly 8+ rolls of film. That should be enough to determine if I’m really interested in color film developing.The CineStill C-41 kit I used is a liquid kit, they also have a powder kit available. Before using the chemistry for the first time, you mix the developer, blix and rinse stabilizer. Using the FPP Heat Helper, I heated some distilled water and followed the instructions included in the box, mixing each of the items. Doing this for the first time, I pre-read, re-read, and re-re-read the instructions. CineStill has done an excellent job documenting each step for both mixing the chemistry and developing. To summarize mixing the developer and blix: heat the distilled water to the correct temperature, measure out the correct amount of water, stir in Part A, stir in Part B, stir in Part C. For the stabilizer rinse: measure out the correct amount of room temperature distilled water, stir in Part A.
During the Christmas season, I shot two rolls of film that I intended to be my experimental developing rolls. The first roll was Agfa Vista 200, the second was an expired roll Kodak Gold 200. I developed both rolls at the same time in a Patterson tank. The instructions provided by CineStill are straight forward. So easy, even a caveman can do it! And depending on your skill with the kit, they also provide the details for pushing up to 3 stops and pulling 1 stop.
In the end, the results surprised me. Could it be that developing color film is easier than black and white? The color developing process was much faster than black and white. The step that took the longest was heating up the chemistry. And stepping through CineStill’s instructions was incredibly easy. After this experience would I recommend developing color film at home? Yes.
Camera: Canon EOS 10S (1990)
Film: Agfa Vista 200
Process: CineStill C41 Kit
Scanner: Epson V600 Photo