Long time no post! Well, it’s been a while since my last article appeared here on 35mmc. And in the meantime? One of the rather uncommon things I tried was cross-processing Tungsten-balanced slide film, namely Fujichrome 64T II. With two rolls of this long-gone stock I explored forests as well as a local cemetery. A quite exciting endeavor that kept me busy in late summer / early autumn – now I’m happy to show you some of the results!
Some Words on Fujichrome 64T II Slide Film
A few years ago I bought a set of four 35mm rolls of Fujichrome 64T II color reversal film. As the “T” in the name indicates, this film is balanced for Tungsten light (like CineStill’s 800T). Back in the day, Fuji manufactured this stock mainly for the use in interiors and for reproductions in a controlled, artificially lit setting. The manufacturer underscored the film’s “highest degree of fine grain” for its speed as well as an “excellent resolving power”. This came alongside “high saturation, rich gradation, faithful color reproduction and well controlled gradation balance”. Sounds pretty fancy, doesn’t it? But like many other specialist film stocks, Fujichrome 64 T II is now long discontinued. My four rolls had expired in June 2006, so they went straight into the freezer.
As usual with odd and expired film stocks, it took me quite a while until I found an opportunity to shoot the Fujichrome. It’s not that I didn’t like the results I got – actually, they provided a nice change from to the usual Portra routine. However, slide film processing was (and is still) expensive and I wanted to save the remaining rolls for special occasions. You very likely know what happened then: I forgot about them.
Shooting Fujichrome 64T II in 2022
In mid-2022, I increasingly experienced the effects of inflation and material shortages: (color negative) film hiked in prices – and reached a point at which it was almost everywhere out of stock. With my own supply of 35mm film dwindling, the rear end of my freezer gained interest all of a sudden. While most of the deep-frozen jewels I found there were in 120 format, I also brought the two rolls of the Fujichrome to light. “Why not just shoot it now and ask the lab to process it like a color negative film?”, I thought. Such cross-processing (or short “x-pro”) normally alters contrast and colors and can occasionally lead to crazy results.
As we all probably know, slide film requires us to better nail the exposure – at least approaches of questionable accuracy like Sunny 16 are not the methods of choice. But as I wanted to treat the Fujichrome like a color negative film, I allowed myself a lazier handling. To account for its age and to have a bit more wiggle room, I rated the film at EI 40. And yeah, for shooting handheld in darker environments, this is a pain in the ass.
Strolling through Forests…
In the past month, I have been feeling more and more drawn to landscape-ish subjects. So I figured out that forests and trees should provide an appealing topic. Maybe you have the same (stereotypical) associations with woodlands like me: rays of sunlight poking through canopies, magically gnarled tree trunks, a winding path disappearing in the mist… But we don’t live in a fairy tale and most of the time the woods look rather mundane and boring (at least where I live). Finding a pleasing composition is challenging as there are always some trees that overlay and interfere unfavorably – and thus spoil the overall image. My approach is often to focus on a single distinctive tree rather than showing a broad view.
Strolling through the woodland feels very satisfying to me in general. I walked around aimlessly, just waiting for something to catch my eye. As soon as I spotted an interesting scene, I started working on the composition: trying different angles, moving closer or further away, going down on my knees or stretching myself. For the second woodland session, even heavy rain couldn’t stop me (it also provided a good opportunity to check my new rain pants).
… and a Cemetery
After a long summer that was too hot and too dry, I really appreciated dull and wet days. A gloomy mood is something that goes pretty well with the Fujichrome 64T II film, I think. Apart from the woodlands, I also chased this feeling in a nearby cemetery. In particular, the old tomb sculptures attracted me, often epitomizing mourning female characters.
There is a German saying, “Das letzte Hemd hat keine Taschen”. This literally translated “the last shirt has no pockets” – meaning you can’t take any money with you to your afterlife. Nevertheless, it’s pretty obvious who was a wealthy person during hers or his lifetime. The tombs often mirror the reputation and achievements of the dead underneath. In some cases, the social role or profession is engraved to the stone – factory owner, city council member, physician. But in the end, we are all alone.
As you might know from my previous posts here on 35mmc, I’m pretty much into architecture. So it’s no surprise I also attended to this genre and shot some buildings with my 35mm shift lens. During our usual on-vacation stay at my in-laws, I managed to visit some nearby villages and small towns (sometimes chauffeured around by my father-in-law: really comfortable!).
I also made use of my in-laws’ huge kitchen garden and arranged a nice still life of the home-grown vegetables in the shed. Although I struggled a bit with the dimly-lit atmosphere in there, this was fun!
Discussion and Final Thoughts on Fujichrome 64T II
After inspecting my scans from the lab, I was blown away. Awesome! These moody, strangely colored images looked wonderful, I love every single one of them. Compared to the warm and airy appearance of Kodak Portra or Gold, the Fujichrome 64T II samples are a indeed pleasant change. This stock is a fine tool to convey the mood of the autumn and winter season (although many of the images here were shot in the late summer). If I come across this film again, I definitely won’t hesitate to grab it. In the meantime, I already snapped a five-pack of 120 rolls. But as common with expired film, you shouldn’t have high expectations with regard to consistency.
And as you might wonder: both rolls were developed and scanned by Carmencita Film Lab. Like I carefully indicated above, the folks over at Valencia did a great job here!
And (Expired) Fujichrome 64T II Processed Correctly?
And in case you also wonder how the film looks when properly processed in E6 chemistry, I have some samples for you, too. These were (obviously) shot with the help of a tripod, so the Fujichrome’s low speed didn’t matter. What can I say? Not bad, but I like the cross-processed frames a lot more!
All images shown in this post were shot either with a Leicaflex SL2 single reflex camera or a Leica M4 rangefinder, both paired with either a 35mm or a 50mm lens (35mm Summicron-R f/2 2nd generation, 35mm Curtagon shift lens and 50mm Summicron f/2 1st generation in case of the SL2 as well as a 35mm f/2 Zeiss Biogon and a 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4 pre-asph for the M4). The only exception to this is the protagonist shot, which was taken with my veteran Canon EOS 5D.
I hope you enjoyed this selection. Thanks for reading and keep on shooting!