5 frames with...

5 frames of Cinestill 800t in Two Londons – By Robert

September 8, 2019

I’d only shot Cinestill 800t once. I was given a roll by a friend over a year ago and was petrified I’d screw it up. Eventually I bit the bullet, loaded it into my trusty OM10 fitted with a nifty 50 and took a sunset walk around London’s Canary Wharf.

To get the best out of the roll I bracketed each shot by a stop or two either way but still I didn’t get the results I’d wanted or expected. To be frank I screwed it up by over exposing the images. Even though I had bracketed almost each shot it looks like I started a bit slow and each subsequent shot was even slower.

This shot is from my first roll and is way over exposed but I can see that there are really beautiful colours in the film.

I told myself that the next time I would try under exposing one shot. Next time. All over social media other people seemed to be getting awesome shots on Cinestill 800T, portraits, city scenes, architecture. Each image with its characteristic red halation and quirky grain. Despite the wealth of images there were no guides about how to get the best out of it. I had spoken to some people via DM on Instagram and Twitter about their experiences. What I found (apart from the fact that my photography is awful) is that many users have their own methods of shooting it and each method would have different results. Some shoot it at 500 ISO and others use a filter. Everyone  has a budget and on mine another foray into shooting Cinestill 800T would be bit of an expensive gamble so I just tried to forget about it. For now. I stuck to ColorPlus.

Nearly a year later and among some other film from those wonderful people at Analogue Wonderland I finally had another roll of Cinestill 800T.

I regarded the black film case with a sense of excitement and the question of if I would be able to exorcise my demon. I had a trip planned to London-On-Sea, also known as Brighton and thought I could shoot it there. This time I would be using a Minolta X-300S. Also in the camera bag would be my Sigma 28-70mm zoom lens (not fast but handy) and my 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor prime lens. I also took a tripod.

The X-300s is fast becoming one of my favourite SLRs. It’s no way near as sexy my Canon AE1-P or as lightweight as my OM10 but it’s sleek, sturdily built and can shoot aperture priority which is nice.

After the sun went down I left the house and made my way towards the pier and took a few casual shots of shop fronts taking care not to over expose the frames. I set the camera ISO to 800 and treated it more like a high speed film and trusted the Minolta’s built in meter.

I have no idea where this light leak came from as the rest of the roll is fine but in this case I really don’t mind. The red and green clash quite well.

Cinestill is known for the red halation around white lights but with lights of varied colours I’d say it still looks attractive. The halation is less pronounced around the blue lights than around red and white lights but I think it add an element of variety to this image.

Cinestill is known for the red halations around white lights but with lights of varied colours I’d say it still looks attractive. The halations are less pronounced around the blue lights than around red and white lights.

The blue tinge around the bright areas looks really cool.

It was getting late and instead of wasting the remaining frames I decided to save them for my return to London. Real London. While out in Southgate I took the Minolta X300s to finish the last few shots.

This is the best lit kebab shop in London, discuss.

Buses at night rarely disappoint. I must admit to using a tripod for this shot. This was at about 1/40s.

I really like the results of this crazy film. It has so much potential.  I chose to shoot it at box speed, with the UV filter my lenses normally have on them so nothing really fancy. The light meter in the Minolta did a great job and really simplified the process. I can’t wait to shoot it again. Next time I’ll use some neutral density filters so I can use smaller apertures and extend the exposure times without blowing out the highlights.

You can find a curated collection of thought provoking analogue art and info about a range of workshops and photo walks on my Instagram – londoncameraproject

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  • Reply
    September 8, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Robert

    Nice shots from London.

    Regards Bernhard

    • Reply
      October 23, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks so much Bernhard. Have you tried Cinestill 800T yet? It’s a lovely film.

  • Reply
    Bill Thoo
    September 8, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    I have had the light leaks on my 135 Cinestill 800t also. Andre Domingues from Cinestill and the Negative Positives Podcast explains that the removal of the remjet makes the film susceptible to light leaks even in the canister. He recommends not exposing the canister to light except to load or unload it, and keep it in the container the rest of the time. The felt at the canister slit is not fully light tight but the intact remjet, or equivalent layer in other emulsions, will block any light from affecting the deeper layers of the roll, and of course the remjet is removed in the 800t. Hence the vertical light leak.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      Got it. That Andre knows his stuff! I think I dithered about putting it into the camera a few times as I was uncertain about whether I’d ruin it or not. To support Andre’s explanation the light leaks on my roll are on the first one or two frames. On a side note I’m not sure about what other film would render light leaks this cool though!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2019 at 1:24 am

    Some nice work there Robert. I’ve personally grown to really dislike Cinestill 800T – not a popular opinion, I know, but I just can’t stand the bloody haloes. Yet you’ve really made them work for you. I particularly like the Brighton Palace Pier shot. Nicely done.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2019 at 8:23 pm

      Thank you so much Brent! I can understand that the haloes can be a turn off. I had seen amazing results online before I got my first roll and then I was gutted when I got the results I did. But I just shot the second roll differently, a different subject with a different type of light. Brighton is great for this film as there are so many individual light bulbs in displays or hung from lines which I personally feel work well with Cinestill 800T.
      I’ve seen a few photographers use it for portraits. It could throw up some unexpected results.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Very nice shots. I also occasionally get a ‘light leak’ the way you did, but only using Cinestill 800. When I use the same camera with different films of all types of ISO – no light leaks. So I have a feeling it is something with the film itself, perhaps a production flaw, that results in this.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      It was mentioned above that the felt seals in the cans are not properly light tight so I’d follow the traditional advice of loading in subdued light and keeping the can in it’s case until you’re ready to use it. Light leaks can be really annoying though right? especially when you are not expecting them.

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