Posted on January 18 2021
Our Washi D film review covers one of the most interesting films that have made it into the Analogue WonderBox Film Subscription so far: a 35mm black and white film originally used in the Russian aerospace industry!
From Military Planes to your Camera
Film Washi is the self-diagnosed 'Smallest Film Manufacturer in the World'. Run out of a storage facility in France by a lovely chap called Lomig - they take bulk rolls of interesting and niche emulsions from around the world and cut, sprocket, and roll them ready for easy shooting. They also do some fascinating work with hand-painting light-sensitive emulsions directly onto Japanese paper, but that's another story 😊
(c) Film Washi - sample image of Washi D
Washi D is rated at ISO 500 which is an unusual rating that reflects it's origin as a 'non-standard' emulsion. Clearly there was no need for the Russian military scientists to worry about whether the film was compatible with consumer cameras, so they built the emulsion to their own exact standards.
In reality you won't notice much of a difference if you expose at ISO 400 - but it's worth noting that for a truly accurate experience then manually over-riding your camera's settings is the way forward.
Results and Practical Considerations
This film will give you strong contrast and moderate grain. In his review Mark says "I put a roll through my Olympus XA and I was blown away. Amazing contrast with little grain, sharp and soft in perfect balance. If the exposure is wrong then it produces interesting results! Now one of my favourite B&W films."
There are two other things to bear in mind when you're shooting Washi D 35mm.
Firstly - this film’s backing is very thin. So if you’re home developing then don’t panic when you start to load the reel, but it will be trickier than usual to get started! Lomig recommends that if you’re really struggling you can sellotape a small leader of ‘normal’ film to get it going.
The second thing is that the plastic backing is transparent. So our old friend ‘light piping’ can come into play - just like with Let It Snow last month, load this film in dark and take a couple of blank exposures at the start to burn through any light leaks that crept in.
(c) Jeff Hicks
Here you can download the official Washi D data sheet with developer recommendations and technical detail.
Washi D 35mm is one of the most interesting and rare films featured in the WonderBox so far. If you take it's unusual physical properties into account then it will delight you with equally interesting photographs!
For full tech specs, more reviews, and sample photos then head to the product page as below:
If you enjoyed this Washi D review and found it informative then check out our other WonderBox film reviews here: https://analoguewonderland.co.uk/blogs/film-review