It’s not everyday you get to shoot 8 ISO film, and from the moment I first heard about this new emulsion by Lomography, I wanted to try it. It’s not easy to find, I have yet to locate a store that would carry it, but my wonderful wife ordered a 5 pack directly on the Lomography website and it was my xmas stocking filler. Yay!
For a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to shoot my first roll until March. I slapped the film in my recently purchased Canon EOS300 with my trusty Sigma 50mm 1.4 attached, and strolled in and around Hollywood Rd. looking for opportunities.
It’s an interesting experiment, shooting everything at f/1.4. It forces you to focus on the little things, details that the shallow depth of field will enhance. I did stop down to f/5.6 for one or two shots, including the one of the air conditioning units below.
When the scans came back I was super happy with the results and surprised at how contrasty the film was. I suppose it’s to be expected for such a low sensitivity film, but considering my lab (Camera Film Photo) always delivers balanced scans designed for post-processing adjustments, that the blacks are so black is saying something. There obviously isn’t much of a drop off between shadows and blacks, so that’s probably something to be embraced with that film.
A few more remarks:
– I shot a portrait of street artist Grand So, and clearly this film isn’t made for portraits. His white hat was nicely exposed, his face completely drowned in shadows.
– The one shot I stopped down, shooting across a receded square into a facade of air conditioners came out really well. It was still shot at f/4 or f/5.6 (I can’t remember) but goes to show you can get conventional results with this film as well depending on what you choose to shoot.
There is one important downside to Fantôme 8 though: the film stock is unbelievably thick, and while I didn’t have any issues that I perceived shooting that first roll, the second roll nearly killed my EOS300. I could hear the motor whining trying to wind the film in, and then it got completely stuck. I ended up having to extract the entire roll manually (thus ruining it, I don’t have a darkroom where I live). I’ve now decided to shoot Fantome 8 exclusively on manual cameras. The lab told me that sometimes they struggled to scan this stock in their automatic scanner, and I’m not surprised.
All in all, a really cool experience. I might give RPX25 a try soon in similar conditions, just to see how different the looks might be. In the meantime though, I’m definitely going through my rolls of Fantome 8 this way, with the exception of maybe one that I’ll reserve for long exposures.
I hope you enjoyed this short experiment. If you like my work, you can check me out on Instagram: @benfelten.