Washi Z Film Review

By Paul McKay

Our Washi Z review combines the community's comments, recommendations, sample images and feedback to give you an excellent overview of Washi Z film's strengths and weaknesses!

Produced for Analogue WonderBox subscribers in November 2021 but helpful for everyone wanting to learn more about this unusual 'vegetation surveillance' film 😊

A 'normal' Washi Film

Washi Z is a film from the brilliant French company, Film Washi. This is one one of the first 35mm films that they produced, with Lomig Perrotin being the genius creator behind the brand. We love getting to talk to Lomig about how his various films came to life, and when we asked him about Washi Z he described it as one of the most 'normal' films in the Film Washi catalogue.

It is great to bring in the knowledge of the film's creator as well as the experiences and reviews of our customers and the film community. Lomig is a wonderful human being, a brilliant film photographer, and also generally brilliant! So definitely reach out to him if you ever have any questions about one of Washi's films.

All of the sample images are from Lomig and have been taken across his wedding, honeymoon to Acores and some of his travels to America for a workshop he did in Dallas in 2019.

Film Review Washi Z| Lomig as groom

(c) Lomig Perrotin- Lomig looking very smart at his wedding

Vegetation Surveillance Film

So, what did Lomig say about Washi Z? Washi Z is a film that was originally used for vegetation mapping. Washi films are all hand re-spooled industrial films, with this film being used for taking aerial photos of vegetation. Planes would fly over an area with a camera, to collect data of the scene by taking photos. After the film had been developed (obviously before the days of digital), these photographs would be analysed by experts to determine what kinds of vegetation was in the area- trees, shrubbery and that kind of thing. This data would have huge geographical, geographical, agricultural and military relevance, and there would be lots of people who would be interested in what the ground was covered in, i.e. oak or fern. But the problem here, especially from a distance, is that a lot of black and white films would see a forest as lots of very similar greys. Which obviously makes it harder to analyse data.

So, what was needed was a film that can distinguish subtle shade differences between the greens in the vegetation, and that is where Washi Z comes in. A vegetation surveillance film- normal? sure...

Film Review Washi Z| Lomig USA satelite shot
Film Review Washi Z| Lomig sky scraper shot
Film Review Washi Z| USA landscape road

(c) Lomig Perrotin

Near Infrared

Washi Z is able to clearly distinguish between different shades of green. You will notice near infrared, it is very good at giving contrast and separating different shades in the image, where as a lot of other black and white films will just give you a 'blanket' grey, which can make the image look very flat.

So what does this mean? Well if you're planning on doing some aerial vegetation mapping yourself and finding out where all your neighbours trees are, well this is the perfect film for you! But more importantly Washi Z's ability to separate green tones will make a huge difference if you're going to shoot landscapes- from the ground (you don't have to be in a plane for this!). So if you're looking at a landscape with very subtle contrast differences, on Washi Z it is likely to pop a lot more.

Film Review Washi Z| Lomig USA desert

(c) Lomig Perrotin

Lomig recommends using a dark red filter with Washi Z, which is a good landscape tip when using black and white films (check out our blog on filters below!). In particular for Washi Z- the sky will turn a lovely dark colour and the filter will help pick out all the detail and shade differences in the vegetation.

(c) Sandy

Film Review Washi Z| Lomig landscape and benches
Film Review Washi Z| Lomig graffiti shot
Film Review Washi Z| Lomig waterfall shot

(c) Lomig Perrotin

Landscapes to wedding photography!

Lomig says Washi Z is quite a flexible film, in fact he even used it to capture his own wedding! Lomig, being the creative master mind that he is, re-loaded disposable cameras with his own film (how cool is that?!) and left them on the tables at his wedding for his guests to capture the day. He said he chose this film firstly because he thought it would be cool and fun and secondly because this film can cope with the simple settings that a reloadable disposable cameras offer, i.e. flash on or off.

Film Review Washi Z| Lomig wedding washi z disposable cameras

(c) Lomig Perrotin

Washi Z is ISO 400, so it starts at a pretty forgiving place anyway but can also flex very well and bring beautiful results in a variety of lighting situations, hence why Lomig's wedding shots worked so well! The combination of the film being very forgiving, and its ability to provide great tonal separation between greys in an image means that Lomig can recommend it highly, and we quote for "overcast British weather", which is a very fair dig at our weather, especially in the winter months. But load up this film whack on a red filter and aim for those subtle greys and you will be amazed at the contrast you will get, and of course in bright sunlight this effect will be even more brilliant, but on a grey day this is a great film to reach for.

In Summary

Washi Z is another wonderful and unique film from the Washi brand. It's vegetation surveillance origins makes it perfect for picking out those subtle differences in grey tones, and paired with a red filter it will make for some even more beautiful and contrasty landscape shots. One customer described it as producing a "... lovely crisp negatives with a lovely tonal range." Washi Z is also flexible- as Lomig has shown in his variety of photos, so this high speed film is a great one to grab for many occasions. Happy shooting!

For full tech specs, more reviews, and community sample photos then head to the product pages as below:

Ilford Pan F Plus Film 35mm B&W ISO 50 - Analogue Wonderland

Film Review Washi Z| Lomig USA road scene
Film Review Washi Z| Lomig vegetation sample shot
Film Review Washi Z| Lomig hillside landscape shot

(c) Lomig Perrotin

If you enjoyed this Ilford Washi Z review and found it informative then check out our other WonderBox film reviews here: https://analoguewonderland.co.uk/blogs/film-review

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