First Friday of the Month - The District HipstaPak

Hipstamatic’s First Friday of the Month this year falls on July 4th, America’s Independence Day for American citizens and while tropical storm Arthur makes landfall into North Carolina, downing trees and rattling homes with category 2 howling winds, Hipstamatic users will be relived to learn that this months HipstaPak is a Black & White film.

The Hipstamatic community has been waiting a very long time for a new Black & White film and their wishes have finally been answered with the T. Roosevelt 26 film. Just in case you were wondering what the 26 stood for, it is because Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was Americas 26th president (1901-1909) as well as the youngest at that time. He also received a Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations of the Russo-Japanese war.

Accompanying the film is a mid-19th century style lens, appropriately named for Americas 16th president, President Lincoln, fashioned in appearance like a penny coin with a warm copper casing dated 1865 and holding a small bluish grey lens. Only thing missing is a nice cherry wood view camera case with copper fittings.

So how does this 44th film and 41st lens hold up ?

Though daylight is still another seven hours away, I add Lincoln and T. Roosevelt 26 to my ‘Favorites’ along with another America HipstaPak, which comes with the Americana lens and two films, US 1776 and Blanko Freedom 13.

I felt it only appropriate and patriotic to merge the new HipstPak, The District and America HipstaPak for a film test, especially since America HipstaPak comes with one Black & White and a color film, allowing me to see how the Lincoln lens behaves when paired with a color film. I also opted using the Lowy lens, as it is Hipstamatic’s sharpest lens and see how the T. Roosevelt 26 film stacks up.

At the last moment I also decided to test The District HipstaPak with the TinType SnapPak from 2012 that has been hugely popular, thinking that the C-Type and D-Type Plate film would make a good pairing with the Lincoln lens, while maintaining historical simulation. Concluding the film/lens tests by applying the more modern film with T. Roosevelt 26 film and turning the calendar a quarter century back by using the Tinto 1884 lens.

                    My test combinations

          1: Lincoln Lens + T. Roosevelt 26 Film
          2: Americana Lens + T. Roosevelt 26 Film
          3: Lincoln Lens + US 1776 Film
          4: Lincoln Lens + Blanko Freedom 13 Film
          5: Lincoln Lens + C-Type Plate Film
          6: Lincoln Lens + D-Type Plate Film
          7: Tinto 1884 Lens + T. Roosevelt 26 Film
          8: Lowy + T. Roosevelt 26 26 Film

                    Post Production Notes:

No post production edits or enhancements were applied. Photographs were resized and assembled using Photoshop.
When the images were uploaded to Google’s Picasa albums for storage, a few of the photographs lost the trademark of The District’s blueish tint. After several attempts trying to fix the issue, the problem persisted. Where the photograph is an issue, the caption will be mark with this symbol †.

Lincoln Lens + T. Roosevelt 26 Film 

As you will see, the T. Roosevelt 26 film is borderless, something which is preferred and surprisingly there are none of the usual anomalies, likes blurring, smudging or other special effects to distract from the image. The outcome of this combination is an image with slightly faded bluish-grey tones, similar to newsprint or prints in books dating back to the first half 19th century. 

Highlights almost contain no detail, while shadows and dark areas also lack much detail. By no means is this at all unwelcome, especially since the scope of todays film/lens test, is to maintain a historical perspective.

Americana Lens + T. Roosevelt 26 Film

The Americana lens has scattered soft edging that is intruding into the image, as other parts are relatively in focus. The lens has no effect on the films tint. If an antique look with imperfections and softness is desired then this would be one of your combinations to consider.

Lincoln Lens + US 1776 Film

The US 1776 film has imperfections that is similar to when film was not washed properly or the water was contaminated, since the entire area is covered in a random stippled texture. This becomes visible when an area has a certain percentage of grey. 

By looking at the left image, upper right hand you will see that it is noticeable. Regarding the right image, what one assumes as the texture of the flower is actually the texture effect that US 1776 film is noted for.

Lincoln Lens + Blanko Freedom 13 Film

By joining the Lincoln lens with Blanko Freedom 13 film, we see Lincoln lenses provide a touch of saturation. Also the detail in the highlights hold up well. 

Lincoln Lens + C-Type Plate Film

Maintaining the historical focus with this combination, we see the Lincoln lens works very well with C-Type Plate film, causing colors to be soft and moderately desaturated and giving the image either the look of early color photography or an image that once was hand colored but now they have faded over the years. For me this was my favorite combination for the Lincoln lens.

Lincoln Lens + D-Type Plate Film

An alternative pairing to the early color film of the C-Type Plate, this combination renders the scene slightly in warner greys due to the lens and because of this, highlights appear to hold better detail. Blacks are not black but more a deep soft brown and in medium to dark show more of a reddish brown grey. This variation in tones is pleasing for this combination.

Tinto 1884 Lens + T. Roosevelt 26 Film

While one certainly can say that any historical accuracy in using the Tinto 1884 with T. Roosevelt 26 film is far fetched, it is at least an exercise in the improbable. Yet the moody blueish tones of the T. Roosevelt 26 film replicate nicely some of the old tintypes, as if the metal has started to permeate through the image and making this a very good combination.

Lowy + T. Roosevelt 26 Film

I conclude this months Hipstamatic’s First Friday of the Month film/lens test to see how the T. Roosevelt 26 film responds when paired with Lowy lens. A professional sharp lens, capturing every fine detail and nuance from its subject. Making this also an excellent pairing for mainting detail in the highlights and in the shadows, while having rich blue-blacks.

Two sets of random sampling using
Lincoln Lens + T. Roosevelt 26 Film combination

So what is the verdict, The District HipstaPak has its good points when paired with  C or D-Type Plate film, or the Lowy lens. I did give the Lincoln lens a try with Blanko BL4, Sussex, and Shilshole film, I found the reddishness of Lincoln dominating a little some of the colors when using Sussex or Shilshole film.

Obviously one would need to try The District with far more other film and lenses in the Hipstamatic arsenal to find other potential combinations one would consider useful, apart from the three I felt were excellently suited for each other. 

The District HipstaPak in the end is rather limited in its range of usefulness, other then replicating very well the first one hundred years of photography. Though I also have noticed when good lighting is present, with strong shadows and highlights, The District combination worked very well. 

The District HipstaPak is indeed a very moody combination and I look forward in finding the right subject matter and lighting conditions in which the Lincoln lens and T. Roosevelt 26 film will shine.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

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