infra red film


Decisions, decisions… Amongst a lot of 9 rolls of film I recently bought were these two rolls of rare Kodak Infra Red 35mm film - one colour slide, one black and white. I paid a good price for the lot, and bought them with the intentions of selling on either just the colour or both rolls of film. I am now faced with a dilemma as I know the chances of me sourcing this film again are slim, and I would love to shoot some colour/B&W infra red at some point, and from what I understand there are few (no?) better films than Kodak High Speed Infrared or Ektachrome EIR to do this with.

However, the set backs are in my cameras. The one camera I could most successfully use the infra red film in is my Kiev 4, not known as the most reliable camera, with frame overlapping and an awkward shutter system. My preference to for the Kiev is based on my selection of lenses (Jupiter 12 35mm and 50mm (Helios F1.8 and Jupiter 8 F2), and my preferences for using range finders with filters. The filters is another set back, there does seem to be a selection of cheap filters, none of which seem to fit any lenses I have and are potentially of dubious quality, however in the most part they seem fairly expensive, from around £20 and up.

My SLR options would provide a reasonable set of options of lenses; OM mount Zuiko 24mm and 50mm; EOS 19-35mm Cosina zoom. The OM option wouldn’t be anymore expensive than the Kiev, however the Eos lens has a very wide fitting (72 or 77mm) and would require a more expensive filter and the Eos has various infra red unfriendly features, which would require shutting off if possible, though the Cosina at 19mm would look particularly lush with infra red I imagine. Both SLR options present their own difficulty - shooting through an near opaque filter, so either focussing and framing before attaching the filter, or guestimating focus and using an external finder (extra expense and potential wasted frames). Both range finder and SLR option, probably mean lugging around a tripod, the process of shooting infra red is going to be much slower than my usual system.

The next set back would be what to shot? I already think that my photography is clichéd - infra red photography has its own set of clichés, does it justify the cost to just fall into those clichés or do I wait patiently for original ideas to spring up, something which I am struggling to do already? Do I wait for the one day I own better gear, potentially ruining further already expired film?

I anticipate the answers, if any, will be split between “Man up, buy some filters and shoot the film!” and “Sell me it!” My current thinking is to sell the film, buy some cheaper infra red film and suitable filters and shoot it without the guilt of ruining such precious emulsion. But now I’ve just opened a whole new area of guilt - is the person who finds the buy it now price first or who wins the auction most deserving? Should I find another way to sell the film other than eBay?