Dracula: I’m Not Dead Yet

Lately I’ve posted about the return of photographic film, or “analog” as the various Gen kids call it.  My old Nikon FM2N had 5 minutes of fame at my favorite coffee shop, Rev Coffee Roasters in Smyrna, before the pandemic.  The baristas went gaga over it when I brought it in to keep it from roasting in my car last summer.

Almost daily I get an alert to the opening of a new film processing lab.

Of course the big boys have continued to manufacture film – Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford. The old European film manufacturers headed east to the former Soviet bloc countries, and old factories that were shut down have reopened.  Even old Soviet film is coming back – see details below.

However, Nikon is the only camera manufacturer still making a pro level film camera, the Nikon F6. They also still make a film camera for consumers, the Nikon FM10. I have an old FM2N built in the 1980’s. It may outlive me.

The demand for old film cameras has exploded.  Why chase megapixels every 2 – 4 years (or even 10 years) at $1500 to near TWENTY GRAND (without the lens) when you can pick up a Nikon FE for $150, have it overhauled for another $150, and still save money photographing with a machine Nikon says will last 150k shutter cycles.  Scan your negatives when processed or do it yourself with your digital camera, and learn how to use Photoshop or Lightroom to turn them into photographs. Sure the whole process is slower and you can’t post your vacation photos on FB to brag about for a week or two, but you have a smart phone for that.

This is a photo of the film can for one of the new/old Eastern European black and white films, Dracula. Yeah. Guess where it is made.  See filmphotographyproject.com. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svema.   They use recycled film cassettes and cans.

Dracula is ISO 64. Slow, very fine grained. It has a sensitivity into the infrared, so it should render foliage lighter than typical panchromatic film such as Ilford Pan F (ISO 50) and Kodak Tmax 100. It’s not about kids and sports and parties. Put it in your grandpa’s Minolta SRT 101, mount your camera on a tripod and shoot away.

We’ll see how it plays out today. I searched and searched and found out that Dracula is the same film as Svema FN+64, still available at Freestyle Photographic when they have it in stock.

I also had to search high and low to find the development times for the film. In Adox Rodinal diluted 1:50, it’s 11 minutes at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. That is if you shoot it at full ISO 64. Times vary, but that’s a start.

As they used to say when TV news was news, “Film at 11.”


~ by Bill on September 22, 2020.

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