Although I was disappointed with my first attempt to get something from the Kodak EK2 (hereafter known as, ‘The Handle’), I remained undeterred. Looking at the original frame it was clear that the chemicals has not spread evenly across the film. I thought the blue patch at the top of the frame might have been sky, but there was no guarantee that the camera was even making an image, so I came up with an alternative plan that I knew would develop the films properly.
In addition to my Fujifilm 100 Instax Wide camera I also have an SP-3 Instax Square printer. This was ideal for developing a film as I could reinsert an exposed frame into the printer and it would eject and develop the frame, thinking that a new cassette had been inserted and ejecting the dark slide.
Buoyed with this plan I loaded an Instax film into one of the mounts, reinserted it into the Kodak PR10 cassette behind the dark slide and loaded the cassette into the Handle. When a fresh cassette is loaded into the Handle, the first frame ejected is the dark-slide, which protects the films inside the cassette from exposure to light. Unfortunately, although I had repeatedly tested the dark slide, on this occasion the film frame came out with the dark slide, wasting the film. It was useful, however, in showing that the chemicals were not spread evenly across the frame, and this will be my focus for the remainder of the #shittycamerachallenge #instantregret.
Instax film is a very fast film, of around 800ASA, while the original Kodak PR10 film was only about 160ASA. If I was to expose an Instax film in the Handle I needed to make an adjustment to the exposure to match the exposure of the camera fro PR10 film. I decided that this could easily be achieved with a Neutral Density filter placed over the lens but not covering the exposure metre just above the lens.
For the first exposure I used an ND4 filter with no exposure compensation in the camera. My plan to reload the Instax Square film into an empty cassette and run that through the SP-3 printer worked perfectly, and with some excitement I watched the image appear. The image appeared dark, suggesting that the image was underexposed (my understanding is that with instant films overexposed films are lighter and underexposed films are dark, which is the reverse of conventional negative films).
With the second exposure I tried an ND8 filter. In theory, I thought, the film should be underexposed even more, and hence darker, but as it appeared it was clear that there was something wrong as the film was covered with these ‘splotches’. I wasn’t sure what caused this, but one idea was the the dark slide was not as light-tight as I first thought.
I repeated the exposure with the ND8 filter, this time making sure that the PR10 cassette was in the light for the least amount of time possible. Sure enough, the image was nearly black, suggesting that it was hugely underexposed.
For the next exposure I used an ND2 filter. This time the image was much better, although perhaps a little overexposed. It was a little too light for my liking so I think the correct exposure is somewhere between ND2 and ND4. I therefore decided to try using the ND4 filter with the exposure compensation dial on the Handle.
The first combination I attempted was with the ND4 filter and the exposure compensation set to the ‘+1 light’ level. This was still slightly dark and underexposed.
The second combination I tried was with the ND4 filter and the exposure compensation set to ‘+2 light’. Although this image looked much lighter, and to my mind was overexposed, this might have been because after taking the last frame I dropped and cracked the ND4 filter.
I was now on the last frame in the cassette, so with nothing to lose I made one final image. I set the image to ‘+2 dark’ and this time the image looked almost perfect. The exposure still needs a little adjustment, and with the next cassette I will try some other filters and perhaps film stock.