|I fought hard against buying this OM2 but I eventually caved in :)|
I shot my last roll of 35mm TMax 400 before Christmas and a roll of Eastman Double-X 5222 just a week or so ago. I'm about halfway through a roll of Adox CHS 100 II and when that's gone, I'm all out of 35mm stock. So it's time to raid the children's piggy bank and buy a roll or ten.
The Eastman film was given to me to test by www.ntphotoworks.com but there's no development time available for the Firstcall Superfine brew I've been using for a while now. It's similar to AM74 or Rollei RHS but there's no time anywhere on the internet as far as I can see for 5222 in those developers either. I'll just have to extrapolate by comparing various developers with, say, Tri X, against the same with 5222. A pattern usually emerges and it becomes possible to make an educated guess based on how the development times change with each film.
Eastman 5222 seems very popular with some photographers. I was trying to explain its qualities to Cath but was getting nowhere. Then I remembered and told her that the black and white sequence at the start of Casino Royale, our favourite Bond film, was shot on the Eastman film. "There's a black and white sequence at the start of Casino Royale?" she asked in a mystified way. I gave up at that point. The film seems to me to be a little like Tri X with strong tonality, a bit of grain and quite "pushable" - all the way to 6400 ISO - if that's your thing.
When it comes to restocking I think I'll just stick with Tmax 400 and the Firstcall developer - although that might change depending on the results from the 5222 roll. Tmax/Firstcall is a very nice and relatively cheap combination. Chopping and changing films and developers is fun and can be interesting but there's nothing like sticking to the same materials for consistent results. One or two films and one developer is definitely the way to go if you want to able to predict the kind of output you'll get from your camera. Mind you, it gives me less to write about on the blog.
At our latitude up here in Scotland, a 400ISO film isn't just preferable but well nigh indispensable when it comes to hand-held photography. There are times during the winter when I point my exposure meter out of the living room window at noon and think it must be broken, so low are the light readings. With the Rollei TLR I think it would make sense to uprate Tmax 400 a stop for handheld shooting. The contrast ratio during our dreich days can be so low that I doubt I'd even need to give the film any extra development.
When my film order arrives, I'll be able to try out my latest acquisition - another Olympus OM2. I saw it in a charity shop along with a 50mm f1.8 and T20 flash for £35 before Christmas. I have my my main OM2 and two back-up bodies so resisted the temptation to buy it. However, when I looked in at the shop last week, it was still there with the price reduced to £20. You struggle to get three fish suppers for £20 these days. Well, what's an Olympus user to do? Especially when the sales assistant said I could bring it back if it wasn't working.
It turned out that it just needed fresh batteries and new seals. Otherwise, it seems fine with a clear viewfinder and largely blemish-free glass on the standard lens. In fact, it seems smoother in operation than either of my back-up bodies, one of which is decidedly rough feeling. With my main OM2 giving me some concerns, the new camera might be pressed into service earlier than I'd imagined.