Something Different – Why we do FT-12!

We try everything!  Don’t forget, at heart we’re just like you guys…we love something rare and that hasn’t been tried by many. If there’s some existing cult following all well and good!

This one begins back in 2013 a few months after we first opened and the first of our hard-core, wanting more than the off the shelf stuff, customers manifested their true addictions!

We located a couple of sources of out of date or un common films, one of them being Eastman SO-331 a duplicating film for the motion picture industry of fine grain and panchromatic sensitivity. It had accrued something of a cult following so we gave it a punt!

Initially, not impressed with results but I persisted nonetheless and on a break in June of that year I took a couple of the rolls with me on a trip to Caen and shot them out in my FM2. I got the “Wow Factor” when these were processed, an example is labelled Fig. 1 below:

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This is Eastman Kodak SO-331

By then, no bulk stocks were left. All of the SO-331 stock was well and truly out of date as it transpired that it Eastman hadn’t made any for some years. Dammit!!

There was nothing else on the market that even came close to the nature of this strange but lovely film.  Nothing at all!

I was chatting to a new specialist supplier about this so he went to the factory. They sent us a short length of a 35mm film that was labelled “Sound recording film” – What the hell is this stuff? We never did get a reply to that one and at that point in time we no longer cared that it wasn’t intended for photographic purposes!

The film was formulated to undergo its own unique processing with chemistry that was of no use to man nor beast outside of the intended use…so we started with nothing!

Use it like SO-331 was the natural thought…so I did!  Shot at 50asa and stand developed in Rodinal for one hour. Negs came out well and truly over-developed.  Try again – stand developed for 35mins….under-developed and thus it went.  All of a sudden, at 45 minutes stand developed in RO9 at 1:100 = exactly the right thing!

Negatives the like of which I’d only seen once before….just like SO-331!   For now it’s the only dev time we have had time to come to, sadly but others will come….we envisage about the same time in Caffenol for example.

Both films share a pale yellow case which if scanned and left saturated gives a cool blue toned look as seen in Fig. 1

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Brutal! But they print beautifully…

Over the course of more trials it became clear that not only was this stuff a replacement, it was actually an improvement! Even less grain and even more detail with same tonality but one that could be varied with use of filtration and always with the blackest blacks that fell straight off the bottom end of the Adobe palette! Spot on!

Only trouble is….it is only available in 1000ft tins…that’s an awful lot of film, I mean a LOT. Totally ridiculous amounts for stills use. But, we couldn’t resist and thought of so many others like us who also love the unusual, so we brought a can into stock.

Now remember….if you’re wanting SO-331 it is years out of date, every last length of it. Our FT-12 is fresh.


So here we are…the world’s only suppliers of this gorgeous and now unique bit of stills film.  See some of our own shots right on this page, note how the tones are real lovely no matter how they change.   A couple are shot via an orange filter and gave Bill Brandt looking landscapes…

It’s available right now online and in store for just £4.60 per 27exp roll and off the back of this blog we will send a free roll with every five rolls of any films purchased. Because we’re good like that 

 

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2 thoughts on “Something Different – Why we do FT-12!

  1. Reg says:

    Dear Nick, A great read, please can I have 5 rolls of 120. 35mm is for snappers. 120 would really do it justice.
    Regards Reg Markin

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