This article forms part 1 of 2. With this part focusing on Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow 400 and part two with a different film stock.
As a hobbyist, I find with film photography I currently have two modes of taking photos. One where I have a camera in my bag and slowly use up the film taking snaps interesting things I find while out and about. Then the other mode where I’ll set out to an interesting place and take as many photos as I can.
This time around I was keen to venture out and use a whole roll or two of film up. Living in London means there’s no shortage of interesting places to go to. Almost at random I felt Borough Market was worth a try not just for the photography but also for the food!
Having just acquired a roll of Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow 400 and I was keen to give this stock a try. I’ve used many panchromatic films before and 400 ISO is my go to speed as it’s a good general all rounder. The next thing was which camera to take. I’ve got a few 35mm film cameras, but I wanted something small ish, but fun, so I decided to take my Contax G2 out. It’s my every day camera at the moment.
With the Contax G2, it’s technically a rangefinder, but I’ve never used it as such. As you’ve got to dial in the distance from the dial on the front, rather than the lens itself. This can only be done while the camera is turned on too. However this makes it a bit awkward so I use autofocus, which makes it an extravagant point and shoot! It should be noted that the original G1 actually has a better range dial on the top of the camera, which lets you set the range without turning the camera on.
I found even in the dull December London light didn’t limit this black and white film stock. It wasn’t a bright day, just dull and average. The results here feel timeless. The blurb with the film talks about sending you back to the 1960’s, but some of the shots it’s not exactly when the photos were taken, it could have been in the 1960’s or a bit later and that’s half the fun of using this film. I’d happily shoot a few more rolls for fun. I’m going to have to order a few more rolls a try.
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6 thoughts on “A Little Trip to Borough Market with a Contax G2 – Part 1 – Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow 400 – By Joe Curzon”
Great article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and images. I have and really like the G1.
Nice shots! Ginger Pig is not world famous, no matter what they claim!
Your posting was a nice surprise to read. My wife and I were there in late September. You Londoners are so lucky to have such a market. We dined on local breads, cured meat, a couple of Pimms. We were entertained by a busker and a little girl dancing to his music. I shot some pics w/my M4-P & a 35mm Nokton. All on HP-5. It was a delightful afternoon, one of best we experienced on vacation. I look forward to part 2.
If you expose for shadows and normally develop the film, then print for the highlights, and you have a lab process your film, then won’t your highlights be overexposed? Now this depends on the subject and what you are trying to do.
So lets say yo’re photographing a street scene at night. There are areas of light and dark. Perhaps people coming out of a theater that’s lit. But across the street a dimly lit cafe’ You can only expose for one or the other. I want the cafe’ to look dark (well dimly lit) and the theater to look bright. Most people would just meter the entire scene and how the picture comes out, that’s what they would accept. But since you know a lot about photography and are trying to be an artist, you’re not just making a picture in B & W and accepting the picture as is, you want to have nice tones….good contrast and good shades of gray. So if you expose for the highlights and allow the darker areas to become dark, then they’ll (the darker tones) will have a muddy look. To solve that problem, you can increase the contrast, but then you’ll have no detail in the darker areas. Of course we all know if the difference between the darkest areas and the lightest areas are very far apart, then of course the dark areas can not have any detail. Now what LOOKS correct in a picture? Dark areas should look dark. So most people with a little understanding of exposure would expose for the highlights and ALLOW the dark areas to be underexposed. This would LOOK correct….dark is dark.
Now lets say we have a scene: An area with trees in the shade, and an area outside the trees in the sun. We place a person in the shaded area and expose for that area. The person will be properly exposed, and the bright sunlit area will be overexposed. But if we place the person in the sun and expose for that (the sun) Then the shaded area will be underexposed. And the picture will LOOK correct, because as I said before, dark should LOOK dark. But in B&W we want all the tone to have a rich vibrant look. Unless we are photographing a snow scene on an overcast day, then the scene is considered low contrast. Of course we COULD print the snow scene with high contrast, but that would not be the NORMAL contrast. So what would you do?
Barry, this is an interesting comment, but can I ask what inspired you to post it here?
Expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights. What is really means: expose for the shadows where you want to retain detail, and develop for the highlights where you want to retain detail. In 35mm photography, our rolls contain images from a variety of subjects & lighting situations. Therefore, 35mm film processing is a compromise, you’re trying to arrive at a personal ‘sweet spot.’ The zone system w/sheet film offers the ultimate in exposure & processing control. It’s time consuming, demands a higher degree of precision at every step of the way.