I’ve been trying to force myself lately to use slower speed films than what I’m used to. Most of the time, my instinct is to reach for films more in the ISO 400 speed range. For over a decade my default film was Fuji Neopan 400. When that went away I transitioned to mostly Ilford HP5 with a little bit if Kodak Tri-X and Kodak T-Max 400 thrown in depending on what film stock I could find for the least amount of money. Some of that decision making has to do with geography for me. It’s overcast a good amount of the year in the Pacific Northwest so a film stock that is a bit on the faster end just makes good sense.
But that doesn’t mean I should limit my aesthetic choices purely for the sake of convenience. Especially as my tastes tend to change with time. I’m really starting to like the extreme amount of detail and sharpness one can achieve with really slow speed films, particularly in the 35mm format. This particular image was made with a Minolta SRT-101 and a roll of Rollei RPX 25, probably the slowest film one can easily find still fresh.
Admittedly it was a fairly bright day when I made this image so I was lucky enough to be able to hand hold the camera. Even still, I was photographing this at about 1/125th of a second and f/2.8. I appreciate all the fine details that emerge when film grain gets out of the way and true to life textures emerge. I’m also fairly shocked that I managed to maintain shadow detail as slower speed films tend to bunch up tonally and exhibit high contrast the majority of the time. I haven’t used Rollei RPX 25 much but I’m hoping I can replicate these results and this image doesn’t end up being a fluke.