Film News & Events

Lomography ‘Fantôme Kino’ B&W 8 ISO 35mm Film – First Frames Review

March 26, 2020

A few weeks ago (before all this CoronaVirus crap, but whilst Worcester was partially under water – hasn’t it been a fun year), Hannah from Lomography UK got in touch to see if I would like to try a new film they have just announced today: Lomography ‘Fantôme Kino’, a black & white 8 ISO 35mm film!

Of course, I agreed! A couple of days later an envelope landed on my doorstep with a set of basic instructions/guidance and roll of film with a handwritten label on it that simply read “8 ISO”. I’ve not shot film this slow before, so was quite excited to give it a go!

Shooting film at EI8, as it turns out, comes with quite a few challenges. I didn’t want to use a tripod or artificial light as I quite liked the idea of the shooting wide open in broad daylight. I also wanted to make sure I didn’t screw up the exposure as I had no idea of the latitude of the film. As such, I decided to use my Nikon F80 with 50mm f/1.8 lens. The F80 has a very good evaluative meter that I knew wouldn’t let me down, and the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens, whilst fairly cheap, is actually pretty damned good wide open.

Once the camera was loaded and set to EI8, I found that I actually needed a sunny day to be able to shoot at shutter speeds appropriate for handholding the camera. Fortunately, after the rain clouds had cleared here in Worcester, we had a couple of fairly sunny afternoons, so about 4 pm one day, as the sun was starting to get lower in the sky, I headed out to shoot my test roll.

As you might expect, I almost immediately fell foul of the low ISO. Walking down the road, I saw a chap sat on a bench apparently looking at the scantly clad giants advertising M&S underwear in the front window of the shop. I raised the camera to my eye and without thinking took a shot. I thought the shutter sounded slow, but it was only after I’d took a few more steps did it click in my head… it probably was slow, I was shooting at EI8!!

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

I needed to be more careful! In the guidance for this film, I had been told that it was high contrast. So when I turned the next street and spotted a nice angle of sunlight falling across a white building I decided I would try and line up one of those street shots where the shadow of a person sits in an angle of light. I stood and waited for a while, but people kept spotting me and doing odd things like ducking out of my way… So much for the idea. I took a shot of the building anyway.

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

A couple of crap shots later I found myself down a street with the angle of the sun pretty much facing me. I know the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D will do a bit of flare when shot wide open, so thought I’d try and take something of the BT logo on the side of a phone box. A shot of nothing really, with capturing the flare being my main goal.

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

At this point, I started to think a bit more about how I could take some slightly more abstract shots that would take advantage of the high contrast nature of the film. The first thing I spotted was a padlock. The exposure meter was obviously thrown out a bit by the backlight. Still, I quite like the shot.

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

Another bike park just down the road and I spotted these nice shadows.

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

This CCTV sign caught my eye next. Despite being in shade it was catching the light reflecting off something on the opposite side of the road. It looked like it would stand out really nicely against the silhouette of the building behind it.

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

By this point, I felt like I had got my head around what I was doing a bit better. I had the idea the film was high contrast in my head and wanted to take advantage of that within the limitations of the camera settings that were available to me. This next shot jumped out at me, mostly for the fact that the swans at the edge of the floodwater in the shadow area of the building behind still had sunlight landing on them. I think this shot came out really well – it’s exactly what I had in my head at least.

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

Just down from that shot the high river had brought all the birds to the water’s edge – I guess the current was less strong? Either way, there were birds everywhere, so I shot my last few frames either trying to take advantage of their contrasting bright feathers, them as silhouettes, or looking at the shadows they were casting. These two and the frame at the top of the post were the most successful.

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

Lomography Fantôme Kino Test Shots

The roll was developed by Duncan at SilverPan Film Lab using the instructions given by Lomography as a starting point. He developed it in a Paterson Tank in fresh stock D96 with standard agitation (30sec + 1 inversion every 30sec) at 21C for 5.5 mins.

As Lomography suggested, they have certainly come out nice and contrasty. Of course, the low evening sun and my desire to take advantage of the higher contrast certainly added to that look. Overall, I’m really pleased with the outcome too!

As I said, this is also the first time I’ve shot such a low ISO film, and actually, I really enjoyed it. I’m a bit of a sucker for working within quite a tight set of limitations, and it’s fair to say that shooting a high contrast 8 ISO film certainly imposes some limitations! There were only a few occasions that the camera didn’t offer me 1/60th of a second as my shooting speed, and when it did it was being thrown out by bright backlighting.

One way or another, this is definitely a film I will try again!

Lomography ‘Fantôme Kino’ B&W 8 ISO 35mm Film has been officially announced today. If you like what you see in my photos, or indeed any of the shots in Lomography’s dev guide here, and you would like to give this film a go you have a couple of ways to get your hands on it. You can either sign up to their current open-call for testers here, or you can pre-order the film in 5 packs here, or in 10 packs here.

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    Huss
    March 26, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Any info on the film itself? Who makes it? Where it comes from? Rebranded something else? Limited supply?

    Thanks!

  • Reply
    Rod F
    March 26, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Looks like the early days of photography

  • Reply
    James Hanes
    March 26, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Nothing off the writer but that film stinks. 8iso is simply too slow, and the film too contrasty to be of practical use. I have used Kodak 2238 at 25iso and it is usable. I wouldn’t go any slower.

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      March 26, 2020 at 11:23 pm

      There’s people out there entertaining themselves using 0.9 iso films. It’s not just about practicality this sort of thing, it’s about the challenge and or the experiment

    • Reply
      Huss
      March 27, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Completely disagree. In sunny weather you can shoot at 1/1000 @1.8.
      So one can get really shallow DOF w action captured in a very contrasty way.
      If this is what one has in mind, this film allows for it. It is just another tool for the photographer’s artistic vision.
      I have lots of Ilford 25, Delta 100, FP4 etc. Just ordered 10 rolls of this Lomo film as it gives me options for different projects.

    • Reply
      Daniel Fjäll
      March 28, 2020 at 9:47 am

      Ideal for shooting with my 50mm 0.95 on a sunny day 🌞👌.

  • Reply
    Brian
    March 27, 2020 at 1:14 am

    I see a lot of street photography using the high contrast styles occassionally. I think it’s a nice change of pace occassionally and challenging.

  • Reply
    Andre
    March 27, 2020 at 6:44 am

    I think it’s technical film wich was repacked by Lomo.

    • Reply
      Alvaro
      March 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      Most definitely. Probably something like copy film, sound film, etc, judging by the speed and contrast. Using more esoteric developers, one could obtain a more normal contrast for this film.

  • Reply
    Chris Pattison
    March 27, 2020 at 10:26 am

    That would be an interesting film to try here on the coast, particularly today with a sea fret blanketing everything. Tripod, long exposure and patience.

  • Reply
    My First Frames with the Newly Announced Lomography 'Babylon Kino' B&W 13 ISO 35mm Film - 35mmc
    April 14, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    […] in late March I told you about my first experiences shooting Lomography’s new ‘Fantôme Kino‘ 8 ISO film. What I wasn’t able to tell you about at the time was that I also had the […]

  • Reply
    Michael Kay
    April 20, 2020 at 2:47 am

    Cheers to Lomography for giving us black & white shooters two more options! Awesome to see in this day & age where film is making a bit/a lot of a comeback (this observation is either an understatement or an overstatement, depending on the person). Either way as film diehard, I LOVE it!

  • Reply
    Huss
    July 24, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Just shot and developed my first roll of this film. Love it (but it is curly!). No issues using Cinestill DF96 Monobath.

    Gallery here:

    https://flic.kr/s/aHsmPByVQG

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