Film Fun Folio #5: Agfa Billy Record and Expired Ektachrome 200

Periodically, I'll be posting scans of some complete rolls of film on here, showing both the good and the bad, and giving some basic information as well a little write up of the shoot as well as the reasons why I selected each camera and film.  Enjoy the trip! 

Feature #5:
Camera: ca. 1951 AGFA Billy Record 120 folding camera
Film: Kodak Ektachrome 200 (expired in 2006)
Locale: Oregon
June of 2015

Even a momentary fit of boredom can be both a good and a bad thing. While perusing that all too well known auction site that has certainly captured the time and money of more than a few of us hobbyists, I elected to see if I could find any 120 Kodak Ektachrome that had only expired in the past year or so.  The good news was that I did indeed find an unused roll of Ektachrome.  The bad news was that it had expired in 2006.  This seemed to be a good choice on which to do a follow up roll of film using cross-processing, since faithful color rendition would not an expected outcome anyway.  I loaded it into the same Agfa camera on which I shot the first cross processed roll, but only a few exposures into the roll, I changed my mind about developing in C-41.  After all, I had never really shot a roll of badly expired film in recent memory, and I was curious what the results might be if I just developed the results in E-6.  Even if there was a fog or cast, I was curious if the images might be salvageable with a little help from Photoshop.  It seemed like a novel experiment for me.

The result is that you will see two images for each exposure below.  The first is one that generally replicates how the actual transparency looks to the eye, while the second uses the "Restore Fading" option in the scanner to try to correct the color shift.  This will definitely be a new way of presenting shots which I myself have taken. 

1 - Portland, OR - f/11 1/200 - Given the very nostalgic subject matter, I'm actually partial to the original image above over the restored image below, though the scanner software did do a very commendable job of restoring color to a scene awash in magenta, while keeping a somewhat muted pastel palette. 

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2 - Portland, OR - f/11 1/200 - Quite the odd pair these are.  The above shot has an overall magenta cast and a wash of yellow in much of the sky, while the corrected version below tends towards cool, but is unable to remedy the yellow hue.  Meanwhile, one patch of sky leans toward neutral. 

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3 - Cape Meares, OR -  f/16 1/200 - For this natural scene, I much prefer the restored version below over the pink version above, though there is some odd grain patterns making an "A" in the sky at left that becomes more pronounced in the corrected version.

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4 - Columbia River Gorge at Corbett View, OR - f/16 1/200 - Another follow up shot of the Gorge similar to one featured last week.  The restored version is definitely the better of the two in my book.

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5 - Portland International Airport - f/8 1/200 - I actually like both versions of this image, though the above one with the vintage look would have been a bit nicer for me had the American Airlines plane been wearing the older paint scheme.

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6 - Somewhere - f/8.8 1/200 - For this one, I'm partial to the unrestored version.

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7 - Fulton, MD - f/8 1/25 - Hideously overexposed and suffering from camera shake, neither image is at all good, but at least the unrestored version lacks the blotchy yellow sky of the enhanced version. 

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8 - Washington DC - f/11 1/200 - Finishing on a better note, a skyward view in the Nations Capitol actually looks a bit palatable once the colors have been restored.

Thoughts: A surprisingly fun roll, the magenta cast manages to capture a nostalgic feeling on more than a few of the shots on the roll, while the restored versions, while not quite color-accurate, are actually pretty amazing renditions of what technology is able to do.  It was strange seeing shots I had taken only a month ago, and having them look like they were Ektachrome shots from the early 1960's with fading issues.  That said, I'd be game to giving this a try again at some point in the future as a creative aside.    

In addition, despite my tendencies to relegate this old Agfa folder to projects that don't demand an excessive amount of accurate rendition or exposure, this camera has repeatedly proven that its Agnar lens can produce some surprisingly sharp images, when working within its "Lo-Fi" confines.  I may have to give this camera another more serious project.