5 Frames with the Film Washi S – By Odair Fortes

I used the Olympus Om-2n equipped with a 35 mm lens for those 5 shots. But I am not here to talk about the camera, instead I want to talk more of the film itself. This article is about how I shot my first roll of the Film Washi S and my experience with it.

Film Washi is a small French film company, where the creator works alone most of the time. The company’s history began with W films. They expanded their main field of activity after a while to have several varieties of films including handcrafted, technical and motion picture films. Washi S is a b/w film that can be exposed between 12 and 50 ASA, meaning it is a low sensitivity film. People who like b/w films in shades of grey and with very little contrast, you will have to skip on this one. The S film gives you only rich black and very strong white results, with little in between.

My experience so far with it is quite awe-inspiring.

The pictures presented were all taken within 1 week. I did use different weather and light conditions to test the film. I took these pictures between 11am and 4pm to achieve a strong light influence. Of course, it was this influence that strengthened the contrast even more, though it is already strongly present in the film. If you look at some of the pictures, you will see that there are a lot of burned highlights, which is a shame. In order to achieve a well exposed photo, you will have to focus the highlights as your first priority. It was extremely hard to nail the exposure because of the contrast. I even photographed a night shot, which was highly discouraged, but I still wanted to give it a try. Regarding grain and film definition, since it is a low sensitive film, there is little to no grain and an ultra high definition.

What I loved very much about this film is that it transforms a simple banal scene into very graphic pictures with extreme contrasts. Views that are well composed and not necessarily interesting in colour or in their contrasts can, given the right composition, immediately gain a strong personality. But of course this all depends on the light and how you took your exposure. The S film can handle very well  double, triple or quadruple-exposure. But before you rush ahead, give it at least 2 to 3 test runs to really understand on how it works. I would certainly recommend trying it before using it on more advanced and/or professional projects.

Thank you for your patience reading this and enjoy the pictures.

Stranger man enjoying the last rays of sun of the day.
Some burned highlights inbetween the columns even if the picture is more or less properly exposed.
The surprise that she turned completely black from her own shadows. Really unexpected.
The silhouette of city Antwerp. This film really takes a banal scenes and completely transforms it in something else.
My only night shot with the film so far. Nervous at that time but the results is impeccable

For the next projects I will take some portraits to see how well it copes with skin textures and reflection. For more film photographic content you can always have a look over here at my Instagram or my personal page.


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17 thoughts on “5 Frames with the Film Washi S – By Odair Fortes”

  1. Thanks for the posting this, ODAIR. As you said the Washi S transforms the banal into some really nice graphic pictures. Seeing your results I’m quite motivated to give it a whirl myself, but at such low ISO (I’d probably expose at 12 to be safe), and given the light intensity in the UK, I think I’ll have to wait for Spring or Summer, and possibly a tripod too.

    1. Until now I didn’t try shooting it at ISO 12, but I will try it this summer. A tripod is in my opinion not needed if its a sunny day, but U would be interested in your results.

  2. Dude wipe your lens! Why so blurry? If that’s the film’s fault, I would never use it again! That’s not for artistic effect, it’s just crap. Sorry

    1. I would also be interested in what you are seeing because I see sharp images… Charles Morgan is right with the excessive Contrast, but thats the film in itself. I explained it in the article.
      Thanks for your input.

  3. I’m not seeing blurry images, but I am seeing ones with excessive contrast so that most detail is wiped, so that it looks blurred. I’d be interested in the developing regime used. It’s not a look I want, but it’s not my photos!

    1. Hello, its like I wrote on the article its an extremely hard film to expose properly. About the developing regime I can’t tell you anything since I dont develop it myself.

  4. Hi Odair. This looks like a highly challenging film to use. I can see me giving this a go on my local coastline during foggy conditions to enhance contrast and give definition to jetties, outfalls and other man-made coastal objects. Thanks for posting.

  5. Very timely piece, Odair, as I just got a few rolls of Washi S for Xmas. I like the pictures too. I’ve used a few rolls of Washi A ISO 12 and I really like it, looks quite similar to your results. Looking forward to try this one!

      1. Ivan Bernal Palli

        Hi Odair. I guess the only advise I have is to use a bright lens as ISO 12 is quite low. Having said that, I shot a roll a few weeks ago with my Voigtlander Vito B with a max f number of 3.5. The day was slightly overcast, but I used 1/50, 1/25th of a second at f3.5, sometimes f4. I’ve just developed the roll and they look very decent overall so I’ll be posting something on IG soon, @ivan.b.palli, if you’re curious.

  6. Hi Odair,

    This feels very much like the early experiences of the Kodak 2238 Project group on FB with trying to work out the subjects and developers to overcome the high contrast and to make the film shine. Good work and happy experimenting! Have you tried Washi W or Washi V? I have found Washi W to also be very high contrast with similar issues to Washi S, but Washi V much more conventional (notwithstanding the paper carrier). Planning to shoot a lot more Washi V if I can get my hands on it.


    1. No I am not planning on trying any of those two. the next one will be :
      – Washi A – 12 iso/12° – Leader Film
      – Washi D – 500 iso/28° – Aerial surveillance film. I might write an article about those the in the near future (might be spring or summer).

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