Street Candy ATM400

Street Candy ATM400 was first released in 2017, and is a high sensitivity, high contrast ISO400 35mm black and white film.

I purchased this film from analoguewonderland.co.uk for £7.00 for a 36 exposure roll, and shot it during an April afternoon in London with the Canon AT-1 + Canon FD 35-70mm 1: 3.5 – 4.5 zoom lens.

SAMPLE IMAGES (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
PRE-SHOOT THOUGHTS

Having shot exclusively digital photography for the past decade, and having never shot a fully manual SLR before, I’ll admit that I found this first roll a bit of a challenge. I’ve picked up a LOT of habits from shooting street photography with the Fujifilm X100F: relying on the continuous autofocus, being unconcerned about whether my images are straight because I know I can adjust them in post-processing, firing off limitless frames of the same thing because, well, why not when it doesn’t cost a penny? All of which were some of the reasons I invested in a digital camera in the first place, but I knew I’d have to adjust my mindset for this switch back to film.

I also had to learn a lot very quickly about the exposure triangle. Another joy of digital photography is not really having to be that technically minded when it comes to getting a half-decent exposure. My standard practice over the past couple of years in daylight street shooting with the X100F has been to cap my ISO between 200 and 800, stick my aperture in auto, and toggle my shutter speed on the rear command dial. My lenses for the Canon AT-1 don’t have an auto aperture option – the system is fully manual. So I have spent my evenings recently doing far more math study than I’ve previously done my entire adult life. The Canon AT-1 has an in-built match needle light meter, which makes things slightly easier – although I have no idea of its accuracy, so a little basic knowledge was necessary.

WHY I CHOSE THIS FILM

I’ll be honest here. I’m a sucker for pretty packaging. Considering that black and white photography isn’t generally my “thing”, I’m surprised at myself for choosing a black and white film as the first roll to load into the Canon AT-1. I can only put it down to the packaging design and the brand name. Which is a win for marketing, I guess.

On a (slightly) more technical level, I wasn’t sure exactly when and where I was going to shoot this first roll, and so I opted for an ISO 400 film to give me more options, hoping that it would perform well in a variety of lighting situations.

MY SHOOTING EXPERIENCE

Regardless of what film I had loaded into the camera, I yo-yoed between two completely opposite shooting styles during this first attempt:

  • Overly cautious, and completely paranoid that every frame would be a blurry, incorrectly exposed mess – and so missing opportunities through over-thinking;
  • So “in the zone” that I reverted to snapping away like it was digital, without slowing down to properly compose first time, and then berating myself for wasting film (and money).
THOUGHTS ON MY PROCESSED PHOTOGRAPHS

37 images came back from the lab, of which 24 were relatively decent to my critical eye – a much better success rate than I’d anticipated. The film was a lot more grainy than I’d expected, though. I wonder whether this is because of the film or because of my amateur exposing? The sample images I have seen from other photographers look less so, so I think I need to work a lot more on getting the exposure right. It’s a personal preference, because I prefer colour photography, but I wasn’t overly excited about these photographs. I don’t think it’s a fair criticism of the film itself, though – more a criticism of my own photography. I think I’d like to try this film again next year, once I have more experience in shooting film again.

DO ANY OF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE SHOOTING STREET CANDY ATM400? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FILM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

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