Nocolorstudio experimental no.5 bnw film in 35 mm
Film

The Birth of The NoColorStudio Experimental No.5 High Contrast Film – By Arnas Špaka

September 11, 2021

Greetings, I am Arnas Špaka, creator of NoColorStudio – an experimental initiative.

My interest in photography started when I was a teenager and found my grandfather’s old Zenit-E camera in the wardrobe. I began to shoot with color and gradually tried out many of the then-available black and white films. It just kind of became part of my life – documenting life in black and white. My interest in photography really boomed when I started working with expired film while I was studying fine art in Vilnius, Lithuania and from there it grew towards alternative photographic processes. I think photography really filled that void of being interested in a combination of optics and chemistry for me. I’m very glad that I had a really great teacher who shared many great books on old 19 century processes and guided me in all sorts of technical aspects of photography during my student years.

In Eastern Europe we have a sort of “get your hands in those chemicals and find out by yourself” mentality, therefore I was always interested in the combination of the technical and the experimental aspects of the craft. That’s why I also make my own large format and pinhole cameras to shoot with. I love working in large format very much as well. It’s a totally different experience.

I guess one of my biggest inspirations for starting the NoColorStudio initiative was when, in 2017, I found all the interesting industrial films that “film washi” produces. I tried out each of them and had a few favorites with which I shot quite a few rolls. At the time I wanted to move forward from expired film towards something made today, yet not just good old reliable ilford, kentmere, fuji, kodak etc… I wanted something with a more unknown character to shoot.

As time passed I started thinking about what else might be out there? What else was forgotten in time or left behind? That’s how I decided to start digging and eventually came across a few interesting emulsions that could be revived and used again around today’s blooming interest in analogue photography.

This past year I had been experimenting with the no.5 film and decided it was great film to start off my Studio with.

The studio’s first release is the experimental no.5 high contrast specialty film, which is a low ISO (ISO 5) film, yielding high contrast, continuous tone and very small grain. I think it’s a great film for landscape and long exposure photography, and also one of my colleagues has set out on a journey to experiment with this film in portraiture (I’ll be sure to release some of those experiments in my facebook page).

The interesting part for me in this film is that it was originally used as film for storing archives and could be viewed in these big machines resembling computers back in the 1980’s. However, this film stock is now freshly produced! I had a lot of fun tests with this film and It took quite a lot of time experimenting with it in the lab, but finally, here it is available for anyone to try out.

experimental no.5 film developed in D-11

experimental no.5 developed in D-11

experimental no.5 film developed in perceptol

experimental no.5 developed in perceptol

Each recommended developer for use with this film is listed in the data sheet, which is supplied with each order.

The film is currently shipped in North america, Canada, Japan and all of Europe and available on nocolorstudio.com website or ebay.com

Nocolorstudio logo

The studio has also just recently released the “no.10 wide spectrum” (ISO 100) film and is currently working on two new projects as well, for now – on 135 format releases. The thing about 135 format is that so many people use it, and whenever someone starts out their journey in analog photography, it is usually in this convenient and compact format. My main goal is to reach more photography enthusiasts and get them into film photography, thus not letting the art to ever die out! I hope to make the no.5 available in other formats in the near future as well. NoColorStudio also features a donation page in the about section, so feel free to help us out to release new ideas into the market faster.

All of our products and updates can be found in www.nocolorstudio.com, in our facebook page and instagram

Best regards from the baltic coast!

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    September 11, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Pretty interesting!

  • Reply
    Michael J
    September 11, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    Rock on! This seems to me to be a vital discussion, as anyone involved in making images on film is ultimately beholden to how their chosen film emulsion behaves. I’ve thought a lot about this in the last couple of years, and I’ve personally recognised a gulf, where in 35mm or 120 I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to use Ilford FP4+ for everything, having spent a while working through the alternatives, and in 4″x5″ (and God help me if I end up larger than that) anything goes as long as it’s cheap.
    Good things come from refining one’s mastery of a medium through perseverence and Technical rigour- thanks for reminding us.

    • Reply
      Arnas Špaka
      September 12, 2021 at 9:21 am

      Hi Michael, well I guess that’s one way to go about it. I mean choosing one emulsion and just working with it and nothing else.
      But for me personally, that’s not the way. I’d like to take a more old eastern phillsophy way – to not tie yourself down to one thing. The experimental part is very important to me, so that also means switching things up even when you think you’re already 100% sure about something. I wouldn’t have developed this idea for new film otherwise. Best regards,
      Arnas

  • Reply
    Rock
    September 12, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Well done Arnas. Always encouraging to see new emulsions being made available. High contrast seems to be making a comeback in the b/w world – which is good. Good luck. Cheers, Rock

  • Reply
    Film Friday: More information about how NoColorStudio developed its new 'No. 5' emulsion: Digital Photography Review - Techoska
    September 17, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    […] The Birth of The NoColorStudio Experimental No.5 High Contrast Film […]

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