Washi Film V a special emulsion made from Gampi Japanese paper

Washi Film is a French company created in 2013 and based in Saint-Nazaire. They are specialized in handcrafted film making and industrial film conversion.
Washi (和紙) in Japanese literally means “Japanese (wa 和) Paper (紙 shi) ”. It is handmade from local wood that makes it stronger then standard paper. Usually used for traditional arts like origami, Washi Film created an emulsion from this special material.
The Washi V is handcoated on artisanal Gampi paper made by Awagami Factory in Japan. This is a delicate film and you have to be very careful when you load, advance, and rewind the film. You can shoot 16 pictures per roll.
I shoot with a Leica M6 and the Noctilux 50mm . When I shot my first roll, everything went all right until I rewinded it. The film broke inside the camera and then I made a huge mistake : I opened the camera instead of asking the lab to open it in the darkroom to remove the film. However, I was lucky enough to save 6 pictures.
I love the rendering of this film! I’m crazy about it! It looks like an ancien ink painting on silk.
So I decided to shoot another roll in Paris. And this time everything went all right. I brought it to the lab Friday, the 4th of January 2019 and I’m still waiting for the scans.

Update : 16th of January 2019

I received the scans from my second roll . They are great except some stains on almost all the pictures. I asked the owner of the company Washi Film about that. He told me that the emulsion was applied manually on the paper and this explains that it’s not 100% regular on the film. Besides the film is hand-coated in the dark with infrared glasses so he can not see all the flaws. Let’s say that these irregularities make the charm of the film. However I decided to remove the stains with photoshop. You can still have a idea of what the stains look like because I didn’t remove them on some pictures.

Well, despite the stains I still love this film and I’m looking forward to shoot more pictures with it.

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Washi Film S for sound recording with Leica M6 and Noctilux in Brussels

Film Washi “S” is a film used by motion picture professionals for sound recording, this requires a very fine grain and a very high definition. This sharpness is guaranteed by a special anti-halation layer located between the film’s base and the emulsion layer, while its usually in back layer for ordinary films.
I tried this film for the first time in Brussels in the iconic Grand Place and its neibourhood. The rendering is very original, with a great contrast. The film has a good dynamic range and I could get back a lot of details in the shadows in Lightroom with the shadow slider. I also reduced the highlights sometimes. I didn’t do any other editing, I liked the pictures as they came from the lab.

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Paris Photo 2018 through the Leica Noctilux and Kodak film TMax 3200

Paris Photo is the most prestigious gathering of art galleries in the world of photography . It takes place at the famous museum Le Grand Palais in the heart of Paris. This year, the 22nd edition hosted 166 galeries and 31 publishers, from the 8th to the 11th of November. 68 000 visitors attended the event, 40% of them came from abroad.
Visiting this unique exhibition is very inspiring, considering the diversity of the galeries coming from 30 different countries. The atmosphere is special, this is a place where you can meet people and share your passion for photography.
In order to take original pictures, I choose to document my visit by shooting with film. I tried for the first time the film Kodak TMax 3200 . It is quoted at ISO 800 so in reality, they push it 2 stops when you meter at 3200. You can meter it at 800 or 1600, but you have to tell it to the lab. They have a chart indicating the different requirements of development corresponding to the ISO.
I shot it at 3200 because it was indoor. After a few shots, I realised that there was enough light to shoot at 1600. As you can not change the ISO after starting the shooting, I shot everything at 3200.
I’m very happy with the result. There is some nice grain, expected at such a high ISO, and we have a lot of details in the shadows. It is sharp and clear.
I used my trusted Leica M6 TTL and the lens Noctilux f/0.95 . I shot most of the pictures around F5.6-F8 , in order to keep a descent shutter speed.

Here are the pictures :

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Portraits with b&w film and flash : Leica M6 TTL, Flash SF20, Noctilux f/0.95

I shot these pictures with my Leica M6 TTL, the lens Noctilux, the flash Leica SF 20 , and two different films : Kodak Portra 400 and Ilford HP5 400. The great thing about this combo is that the flash is TTL compatible which means that the light meter takes into account the ISO, the shutter speed and the light coming “through the lens” . In the viewfinder a “thunder” symbol appears, that indicates that the flash is well connected. The internal meter of the camera will take everything into account and will guide you to get the perfect exposure. You’ll find it by playing with the aperture until the red dot appears . Just as an external meter would give you the right aperture in a studio when you fire the flash for testing.
The big challenge is the compulsory shutter speed you have to use : 1/45s . Faster than that, the flash doesn’t fire. But finally, I managed to keep my hands steady and the pictures turned out sharp. I think the flash is really necessary when you shoot models indoors, because it lifts the shadows and make the image brighter without pushing the film.
Black and white films are less forgiving with under or overexposure so it’s not easy to get a great picture indoors with flash. sometimes it looks a little bit underexposed and there is two much grain. As much as I love grain for landscapes, building and objects, with portraits it’s not so flattering. However, all is all, I’m really glad that I shot black and white because when it’s well framed and exposed, it’s really beautiful and more special than color. And finally I’m happy with the pictures I got.
The first pictures featured are the Ilford ones and than it’s Kodak .

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Pretty Models : Leica M6 TTL, Flash SF20, Noctilux f/0.95, Kodak Portra

I shot these pictures with my Leica M6 TTL, the lens Noctilux, the flash Leica SF 20 , and film Kodak Portra at speed box. The great thing about this combo is that the flash is TTL compatible which means that the light meter takes into account the ISO, the shutter speed and the light coming “through the lens” . In the viewfinder a “thunder” symbol appears, that indicates that the flash is well connected. The internal meter of the camera will take everything into account and will guide you to get the perfect exposure. You’ll find it by playing with the aperture until the green light is on. Just as an external meter would give you the right aperture in a studio when you fire the flash for testing.
The big challenge is the compulsory shutter speed you have to use : 1/45s . Faster than that, the flash doesn’t fire. But finally, I managed to keep my hands steady and the pictures turned out sharp. I think the flash is really necessary when you shoot models indoors, because it lifts the shadows and make the image brighter without pushing the film. Besides, with color film, you don’t take too much risk with a flash because it can handle overexposure pretty well in case the TTL function doesn’t do its jobs perfectly enough. All in all I’m very happy with the rendering and I think the pictures look really nice.

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Beautiful Models with the Leica Noctilux at f/0.95 with the Techart Pro in Bangkok

I shot the most beautiful girls of Bangkok with the Leica Noctilux wide open at the aperture f/0.95. It was mounted on the Sony A7R2 with the Techart Pro adapter. This adapter makes the lens autofocus. It works with any M mount lens. The face detection works very well.
This pictures were shot during a motor show in Thailand called Big Motor Sale 2018.

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Empire State 360 views with Cinestill 800, Leica Noctilux, M6 in New York

In June 2018 I was in New York and I decided to shoot some film at the panoramic desk of the Empire State Building. It’s a great place to get some amazing 360 views of New York. This day it was raining which adds some charm and mystery to the pictures. I shot a roll of Cinestill 800T because New York is a very cinematic city and I thought it would fit perfectly with this film which comes from the motion picture film Kodak Vision 3 5219. The major landmarks of the Big Apple are there on the pictures : Flatiron, New York Life (golden top pyramid), Chrysler, 432 Park Avenue (the new and tallest building of the hemisphere), and the Hudson river!
I used my trusted Leica M6 TTL and the lens Noctilux. I had a lot of light despite the rain, and it’s a 800 iso film, so I was most of the time at maximum shutter speed, and the aperture was between F8 and F16.
You can see below the video and the pictures

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Bokeh Challenge f/0.95 in Lisbon with Leica M6, Noctilux and Ilford HP5

I was in Lisbon in June 2018 and it was a good opportunity to do a “Bokeh Challenge f/0.95” ; it’s about shooting an entire roll of film wide open at the aperture of f/0.95. I used my Leica M6, the lens Leica Noctilux, and Ilford HP5 Plus 400. As it was a bright day, I was afraid of overexposing the film even at the highest shutter speed of 1/1000s. So I used a yellow filter to block a little bit of light, and at the same time it could give me more contrast with the black&white film ;
Heliopan 60mm #8 Medium Yellow Filter made in Germany, bought in B&H New York 3 weeks earlier for $65. It blocks one stop of light. But I didn’t have to worry about this because my M6 is TTL so it measures the light through the lens. I just had to follow the internal meter.
I started shooting avenuda de la Libertad, Restauradores , then I went to Praça Rossio. I walked to Baixa-Chiado via rua do Carmo. This is a very lively neighborhood with locals and tourists. Fernando Pessoa used to come here regularly for a coffee in the famous Café A Brasileira. Then I walked down to the Praca do Commercio on the banks of the Tejo river. Not far from there, there is San Antonio’s church, build above the crypt where Saint Anthony of Padua was born in 1195. I finished my roll by walking around and shooting the legendary Tram 28.

You can see below the video and the pictures.

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Street Photography with Leica Noctilux at f/0.95 and Techart Pro in Paris

June is a great time to shoot Street Photography in Paris. The weather is beautiful, many tourists are visiting and there is a lot of action in the city. I choose Montmartre and le Sacré Coeur to try for the first time the TechArt Pro adapter for shooting street photography. I had the Sony A7R2 and the Leica Noctilux. In order to add some fun to that I shot all the pictures wide open at the aperture of f/0.95. It’s rare to see this kind of pictures at this aperture. Usually people use the zone focusing technique with an aperture around f/8. As I don’t like to do like everyone else, I did the contrary, I shot wide open! At this aperture you need to nail the focus perfectly. That’s where the autofocus function of the Techart Pro is essential. The depth of field at 0.95 is so shallow that too much time would be necessary to manual focus and I would miss the shot. Obviously people won’t pose for you. The concept is to catch a slice of life, to capture a special moment, to document street life. To do that you need to focus quickly otherwise the scene will change and you miss the picture.
The adaptor worked perfectly! Sometimes the face detection was working, but not always. When the face couldn’t be detected it was not a problem because the focus points could detect my subject and I just had to shoot. I was really glad to have it and try this experience because street photography makes more sense at this aperture. As only your subject is sharp, it draws easily the attention on it and immerses instantly the viewer into the story.

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