From time to time you have to try something new. Something that makes you feel awkward and silly because it’s different from the things you have done before. Sounds totally stupid but at least you left your comfort zone a little bit.
Okay, I admit this sounds like a really high goal when I actually only tried a new camera and a new film and a new development method and a new recipe – all of that is not really groundbreaking but I will tell you the whole story here so bear with me.
Some time ago a colleague from work found out that I started to shoot analog and he thought of that old plastic camera that he had at home and never used. He decided to give it to me and I had to promise to put it back to use. While the camera has a lot of features that I would never use (flash, zoom, different shooting modes) it was not overly attractive to use with its plastic housing, the cheap rubber buttons and the low quality lens. I was very sceptical and I let the camera lie around for a long time without ever using it.
After months of shooting my beloved Leica MP and the Contax T2 I felt that I should give the Nikon a try but I thought I’d need something special, a small project or something. I researched about the Nikon 300 and I found out that the camera is said to be extremely slow so I decided to try out Ilford’s Delta 3200 film in this camera, especially as it took place during November which is a very cold and dark month here in Switzerland with few chances to shoot during good daylight conditions. Maybe this would be a nice combination – slow trashy camera, fast grainy film and dark moody November. The results promised to be interesting.
Next thing was to take the Nikon out on some walks. The handling of the camera is – to say the least – quirky if not terrible. All the buttons are too small. If you power the camera off it will reset the flash status meaning that on the next startup flash will be on “auto” again and you have to remember to shut it off every time you use the camera. The finder is ridiculously small and dark, and even when you are not used to an expensive high-end point and shoot like the Contax T2 you will find the finder very bad. And the worst thing I found out only too late – the Nikon 300 can’t use anything higher than ISO 1000 even if the film is DX coded. So I was wasting the Delta 3200 at ISO 1000.
When I researched about how to develop Ilford Delta 3200 in Ilfotec DD-X at ISO 1000 the internet came up with not much. The usual push and pull speeds are ISO 800 and 1600 of course. But 1000? Good luck finding out how long to let the film in your soup. After a lot of reading I found hints that you’d best use the time for the next higher ISO so I went for the time for ISO 1600.
After I was not expecting too much from the pictures out of the Nikon on a film that I was developing on a roughly estimated recipe at least I did not want to waste too much developer so I decided to go for a 1+9 dilution instead of the usual 1+4. Looking at the results I have to say it was a good decision, at least for the few pictures that came out ok.
Most of the photos went straight to the trashcan. The sluggishly slow Nikon Zoom 300 managed to create only blurry photos event at ISO 1000. So far I could not find technical specs on the fastest exposure times this camera can manage but I guess it might be 1/500 or even slower. It’s quite a pity having spent so much time shooting this camera and getting so few usable results but it was an experiment and sometimes experiments fail. Maybe one day I will give the came a new chance and use it in better light conditions.
So after all I tried out a new film in crappy plastic cam and a new recipe considering the dilution of the developer. You be my judge by the photos posted here. I would say the usable results look still okay. We better forget about the rest.
All developed at 19 minutes at 20°C in Ilfotec DD-X 1+9. Scanned in my Noritsu LS-600.
Also see the flickr album.