Sometimes when I feel stir crazy and I just need to get out of the house I pick up my camera and take an hour’s walk by the Severn Bridge. I find that brief respite, the indulgence of solitude rather salubrious and cathartic. I credit it to the sea breeze. There is something quite refreshing about it. On my short sojourn, I took with me my custom Olympus Trip 35 which my wife and best friend bought for me for our anniversary last year. I wanted to finish the roll of Ilford HP5 Plus, give the camera a work-out and, if circumstances permitted, shoot some Ilford Pan F+.
I quickly finished the roll of HP5 Plus. I only had seven or so frames to shoot anyway, so that was an easy job. In went the Pan F Plus. Now I have only ever used Pan F Plus once before and that was in 6x6 medium format. Shameful I know! I wanted to shoot a test film before using it in anger in the Leica. I had no idea what to expect. I had read several accounts on how difficult exposing and developing Pan F Plus was in comparison to FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus, including such comments on websites that sell the stuff. I need not have worried as the results were amazing. I don’t mean the photographs per se, I mean the quality of the film, the fine grain, the dynamic range and that wonderful Ilford tone. I developed both films the same way, dilute Kodak HC-110 for 21 mins and agitating for the first 30 seconds and then two inversions every seven minutes.
Now to the Trip!
I really enjoyed using it and will again. Obviously the build quality is nowhere near that of the Leica. The Trip feels flimsy and light, the frame spacing and the back door are a little “off”. The zone focussing is easy to use, but you are not quite sure whether you have focussed on your subject. The metering is superb as also is the quality of the lens. It’s a camera you can really enjoy using in carefree shooting. An ideal street shooter for sure. It is also light and discreet, with a shutter more quiet than my M2. My wife procured the camera from…
My Trip was fully refurbished and came with a lovely green leatherette. I would absolutely recommend Trip Man.
The below photographs are test shots, mainly from the Pan F Plus roll. Pan F Plus is an amazing film and I love it. I don’t know why I haven’t used it before, I guess it was the slow speed that put me off. As a result I ordered ten more rolls. I have also included two screen shots with side-by-side comparisons of HP5 Plus and Pan F Plus shown at 50% (1:2) zoom in Lightroom. I exposed the HP5 Plus at EI200 which lowered it’s grain and put it in the realm of FP4 Plus. The Pan F Plus was exposed at EI50. When you overexpose and contract development or use a weak compensating developer you gain more shadow detail and lower grain at the expense of film speed. So the comparison is not absolute but an indicator. If I had exposed the HP5 Plus at EI400 then the grain would have been noticeably more. HP5 Plus at EI200 is just a little bit more grainy, and I do mean it has only slightly discernibly more grain than FP4 Plus at EI125.