Category Archives: Hacks

Old film pt. deux

I shot the Orwo NP22. Rated it at ISO 32 to compensate for the alost 30 years it is expired.
Developing went along almost smoothly. For ease, I used HC-110 dil. B. (1+31) rather than Xtol. I had to guess the developing time though. I looked at other film stocks and concluded that a time of 5 minutes in HC-110 would be the normal developing time for unexpired film of this type shot at box speed. The recipe said to develop for 1.5-2x the normal time, so I chose 8 minutes for this experiment.

The developer is supposed to be cold – 10C (50F), so I mixed it from water I had stored in the fridge. However, as it was very warm here, I noticed that the developer very quickly rose in temperature. When I poured it into the development tank, it was already 12C-15C and during development, it rose even further to about 20C. I therefore decided to cut the development short and stopped it after about 7 minutes.

A quick mobile shot of the negs on a light table.

It seems that base fogging is somewhat under control. But what I didn’t know was that the film was already exposed, so the negatives are overexposed due to the double expossure.
Since the original, 30 year old exposure contains images of persons and small children, I will not publish them. However there was this one rather cool double exposure.

Cool double exposure from the film.

The recipe I ended up using looks as follows:

  • 300ml HC-110 dilution B ( 1+31)
  • 2g iodized table salt
  • Temperature 12C -> 20C (rising)
  • Development time 7 minutes
  • Agitation: 1 minute initially, then 3 turns every minute
  • Fixing for 4 minutes

It needs tweeking, of course. Next time, I will try to control the temperature better using ice cubes or a large cold bath for the development tank.

Old film

I recently found a roll of some old Agfa Ortho 25 film and a roll of Orwo NP22, 125 ASA film. How old, I have no idea. Once again, Daniel Keating comes to the rescue with some experience based advise.

He wrote a nice article for about reducing base fog on old, expired film.
Basically the recipe is as follows for a 300ml tank for 135 film:

  • Mix a normal solution of your favorite developer
  • Add 2 g of iodized table salt (or 0.2 g of potassium bromide). Acts as a restrainer to minimize fogging.
  • Cool it down to 10°C (50°F)
  • Develop the film for 1.5-2 times the standard time for a 20°C (68°F) development of that particular film stock. Agitate normally.
  • Fix and rinse as usual

This procedure should give very fine results even with old, poorly stored film. I am looking forward to trying it out and will of course post an update blog about it.

Note: Daniel Keating’s article actually says to use benzotriazole as a restrainer. However Daniel wrote to me that 0.2 g of potassium bromide would also work.
Now, where I live, photographic chemicals are not easy to come by. But as I read in the Caffenol Cookbook, potassium bromide can be substituted by iodized table salt by using ten times the amount. In this case 0.2 g x 10 = 2 g. This is experimental, of course, but worth a try!
Daniel’s article can be read in full here:

Breaking the rules

Developing film is always interesting. When I first started out, I used Rodinal, but I found it too grainy. Didn’t like the results I got. Then I found Kodak Xtol. I loved it. Really lovely results! Only downside – the shelf life of the mixed developer stock. So I got my hands on some HC-110. Really lovely developer with a shelf life of about a million years or so. A thick syrup like concentrate that you mix with water. I really like HC-110 – but I kind of miss Xtol. So when my friend, Søren, came with the idea that you could perhaps make a stronger concentrate of Xtol that would last longer, I got to thinking, so I asked in the Facebook group “The Darkroom” about experience with making such concentrate. A nice man called Daniel Keating gave me a few tips. He suggested mixing the Xtol powder up in propylene glycol, so I got me some of that. Sadly, the Xtol powder is insoluble in Propylene glycol, so that experiment was shut down before it even began.
He also suggested that I simply split the powders up and only mixed what I needed. I had long thought of that but people were always like, “You can’t do that. You don’t know if the chemicals are evenly mixed in the A and B powders”. I asked Daniel about it and he said that he had been doing that for 47 years with all kinds of powder developers and never had a problem.
So I broke the rules and went for it. I wanted to make 250ml of Xtol stock, so I weighed the contents of each bag, thinking it might differ a bit from the weight stated on the bags. It did. The contents of Part A was 241 grams, should have been 244 grams. Part B was 269 grams, and should have been 270 grams. I divided the amounts and ended up with 12,1 grams of part A and 13,4 grams of part B to make 250 ml of stock. I mixed and put a film in my Paterson tank.
I made a 1+1 solution of Xtol and developed my film – an Ilford HP5 shot some months ago at iso 1600 (N+2).

One of the images from the test film. HP5+ @1600. Xtol 1+1, 23,5C for 13:30 min.

To me that looks like a successful development. So far so good. Next experiment was a Rollei Ortho 25 shot last year at a photo marathon. It developed perfectly from the look of the negatives. Very contrasty though.

Rollei Ortho 25 Plus – film was shot over a year ago and was not stored properly.

It looks fine – although it seems that the film did not handle sitting exposed for a year and some months in a nonsuitable environment very well. Something is definitely not quite right – but I blame the film, not the developing.
I will do more experimenting, but for now, my conclusion is that of course you can split the powders into smaller portions. Just shake well before you measure up a small batch.

Quickfix for lens adapters for Canon EOS cameras

My main digital camera is a Canon 1Ds mk2. It’s a full frame camera from 2004, I believe. I have grown fond of using vintage manual focus lenses on it. Mainly Nikon F mount lenses, but also a couple of M42 lenses. That is all fine and dandy with a cheap adapter from Amazon or Ebay. Or so I thought.
If you get an adapter without focus confirmation and have an older EOS body, you might run into a little problem. But before you get to modifying your adapter, test it. If it works, modification is a waste of precious shooting time.

_MG_2425-blogOn older EOS digital bodies – probably also on EOS film bodies, there is a little pin on the left side of the lens mount. When you mount a lens or an adapter, this pin is pushed up. For some reason though, it has to be able to move down when something without a focus chip is mounted. But the flange on the adapter prevents that. If you try to shoot your camera with an adapter mounted, the mirror will open and then lock up and you have to switch the camera off and on again for it to pop down.


To solve this, I actually filed off a piece of one of the flanges, as you can see on the pictures above. Now, which flange do you file? Answer: The one on the opposite side of the red EF-mount dot, as you see.

When you have finished filing your adapter, make absolutely sure there are no metal filings or metal residue of any kind left on it. If it gets in your camera, it can mess up quite a few things. If it is a digital camera, it can damage your sensor severely. I had a piece of metal get stuck by the lens contacts which caused my mirror to jam, just like what happens if you don’t file the adapter. This happened while I was using a fully automatic AF lens, so needless to day, I almost pooped myself, thinking my camera had broken. Lucky for me, when I popped off the lens, a piece of metal filing fell out and all was good again.

Yashica Electro 35 GS battery fix


The Yashica Electro 35 GS is a rangefinder camera manufactured in Japan between 1970 and 1973. It features a 45 mm f/1.7 lens with aperture range up to f/16. The camera uses aperture priority auto exposure with shutter speeds ranging from 30 sec to 1/500 as well as a bulb and flash sync setting.
The Electro 35 GS was originally designed to be powered by a PX32 5.6V mercury battery, but because of environmental concerns, mercury batteries are no longer produced. In stead a few other options are available. I chose a 6V silver oxide battery, labelled 4SR44. There is also an alkaline version called 4LR44, but alkaline batteries loose voltage when used, which could result in incorrect metering. The battery itself is too small to fit in the camera’s battery compartment, however a quick fix solves that problem.

What you need is:

  • A ruler
  • A utility knife
  • A pencil
  • A piece of rubber tube or garden hose with a 16-17 mm outer diameter. I used a piece of soft 16/12 tube for aquarium pumps bought at the local pet store .
  • Aluminum foil

Now, you need to create an adapter for your battery. The total length of battery plus adapter is going to be 4 cm. The 4SR44 battery itself measures 2.5 cm, so what is missing is 1.5 cm.
Cut a piece of tube 2 cm long. This allows for the battery to be inserted 0.5 cm into the tube. Make sure you don’t insert the battery too far into the tube. It fits very tightly and thus is very hard to pull out if inserted too far.
Take a piece of aluminum foil and curl it up to fit inside the tube. Put the tube on a hard surface, standing up and stomp the foil inside the tube with the back end of a pencil. Repeat this till you have a 1.5 cm long aluminum foil plug filling up one end of the tube and 0.5 cm of free space at the other end. Make sure the foil sticks out just a little bit, so it can connect to the electrode in the battery compartment – but not too far as it might short circuit everything by accident.

_A1P0185Now put the battery into the tube and insert it into your camera’s battery compartment. I prefer to put the + end inside the tube, but you can do it the other way around, if you’d like.

Use the camera’s built in battery checker to ensure everything is connected properly.

That is all. Enjoy shooting your awesome rangefinder camera!

PS: This should apply to all Electro 35 models as far as I know. Please correct me, if I am wrong.