Film Friday: Snapping Summer with Agfa Ultra 100 by Ibraar Hussain

Snapping Summer with Agfa Ultra 100

by Ibraar Hussain

Dear Steve,

I’ve been enjoying myself this last year, and experimenting with different camera’s and formats; mostly my iPhone 5 and Hipstamatic, but also my Canon 700D, but mostly I’ve been enjoying photographing for my own pleasure, working on composition and trying hard to make things look and feel right to me.

I always find myself coming back to my old friend, my trusty Contax G2 – a camera I can use without thinking as it’s so intuitive, and such a pleasure to handle and use, and so reliable, and a camera which I prefer over any other.

I went to Barmouth in Southern Snowdonia in Wales this summer for a week, and shot a few rolls of Film with my Contax G2. Barmouth is a lovely secluded Sea Side town, at the southern end of Snowdonia. A dreamy place, on The Irish Sea dominated by the Mawddach Estuary, golden sand, the harbour and the wooden barmouth Bridge.

My Velvia and Sensia slides have yet to be scanned, but I took along one precious roll of Agfa Ultra 100 – a punchy and highly saturated print film which is very rare nowadays. It is quite grainy, but has an old world look and feel and obviously false colour which I think is perfect for Summer Holiday snaps. I have sourced quite a few rolls of Agfa Ultra 100 and Agfa Ultra 50 in both 120 and 35mm, and am using them sparingly.

These Films have long been discontinued, I prefer the ISO 50 version, but the ISO 100 version isn’t half bad.
Anyway, I submit a few snaps which I hope you can publish, as an ode to long gone Agfa Ultra 100, a Summer Holiday Film, where reds are really RED and the colour reminds one of a sunny seaside holiday and dreams of childhood.

Only snaps, but I adore this Film
Agfa Ultra 100
Contax G2 with 45mm Planar, 90mm Sonnar and 21mm Biogon
B+W Polariser
And a nice hot summer in Barmouth

CNV000271 CNV000218 barmouth2 beach CNV0000411 barmouthknots CNV000120 CNV000113

19 Comments

    • Charles!!!

      The 45 on the G is the planar which is far superior to the 45 tessar on the SLR!!

      So be careful! Get the 50 planar 1.4 for the slr . The 45 tessar is a fine old Skool lens but never in the same class as the g 45 planar

  1. I’ve got a brick of this in the fridge, need to find the right day to pop a roll into the FM3 or the Bessa.

  2. I was a fan of Agfa Ultra 50 in the early 1990’s. Seeing your photos here remind me why I liked the film so much. Thank you!

    Hmm…I wonder if there is an Agfa Ultra 50 film simulation sitting out there somewhere, waiting for me to find it…

  3. Ah, those nostalgic ‘picture postcard’ shots again!

    Incidentally, I’ve been using the compact Contax G2 lenses on a Sony NEX, with a ‘Techart’ adaptor: the connection to lenses is a bit awkward; it may take three or more tries to get them aligned and properly slotted in, but you then get the usefulness of the very small auto-focus Zeiss G (Leica-like) lenses on a digital body. (The adaptor has a bit too much projection into the light-path to make it viable with all G2 lenses on a full-frame body such as the Sony A7. The NEX cameras use the slightly smaller APS sensors.)

    The adaptor has a teeny motor inside to turn the lenses’ focusing screw (powered by contacts from the camera body) and it – correctly – reads the camera’s own focus info to deliver extremely sharp – these are Zeiss! – images.

    The beauty of this adaptation is that (1) the lenses will auto-focus, just as they do on the G2, but on a digital camera ..although rather slower than on the G2; (2) the Contax G lenses have -w-i-d-e- apertures (f2.8 and f2) providing shallow depth-of-field, and are also usable – if the autofocus can manage it – in very low light; (3) having no AF motors inside the lenses (and no stabilisation or other hardware) the G lenses are very light and tiny, with very wide apertures when compared with other AF lenses on, say, an SLR, though not as light and tiny as Olympus’ 45mm f1.8 for the smaller micro four-thirds sensors. The G lenses are similar to, but mainly smaller and lighter than, equivalent manual-focus Leica M lenses.

    So the combination is like having a tiny pocketable auto-focus APS-size Leica M8, or a Ricoh GXR with APS-size wide-aperture autofocus lenses.

    Many thanks again for the evocative holiday postcard images, Ibraar and Steve.

  4. Mmmmmm…. I love film posts! I like the color of this film. It looks a lot like old Kodachrome from Nat Geo back in the 40s and 50s with the high contrast and saturated reds.

    I would love a Contax G2 + 45mm. Unfortunately, everybody else seems to want one too, so the prices are pretty steady, haha.

    Thanks for the post – I love seeing rarer films! I’m heading into Seoul’s Chungmuro film district this afternoon to stock up 🙂

  5. Wow, Double post!

    Steve, I sent you another article a few weeks back, about evening light – thought you’d have posted that!

    Anyway, thanks guys, I’m off to the Himalaya and Karakoram on Saturday week, so expect some Rolleiflex 6008i and Contax G2 shots of Mountains, HUGE mountains (Nanga Parbat, Rakaposhi, K2, The Ogre etc) and The Baltoro and Batura region! I’m damn well excited and my camera’s are primed!
    Films to be taken: Kodak e100vs for Portraits and travel shots in the G2, Agfa Ultra 100 in the G2 too.
    Agfa Ultra 50, Fuji Velvia 100 in the Rolleiflex 6008i.
    Agfa/Rollei pan 25 BW in the Rolleiflex, Fuji FP-3000B Polaroid Film in the Rolleiflex along with the colour FP-100c.

    🙂

  6. I’ve never had the chance to use this Agfa film. And these images from Ibraar really shows what I have missed out on!

    Best regards
    Huss

  7. Oh well, a second opportunity to compliment the photos and say how much I love my G2 and my stash of Agfa Ultra.

  8. Great photos! These saturated reds remind me of Martin Parr. Skintones lean towards pink. This film certainly has something special.

    By the way, that trainbridge looks familiar. I recall seeing a program about it, not sure what it was. There was something unique about it.

  9. Agfa film used to be my favoutite in the old days before people persuaded me that slide film was for serious photographers. It is a film you must use very selectively as you have done here. Your images remind me of summer and holiday postcards. They are excellent images as well. In the days of film -we had so much choice -now so little ? I tend to use portra when I shoot colour. At least shooting in film can make your work look different as the digital stuff all looks very similar. So here is my advise for what it is worth -Get out there and shoot some film -do a special project and see how it looks-you may surprise yourself.

    Best Wishes

    • You are correct! Sorry about that double post. It appears that this article was still in my que to post even though it was already posted. Arg! Anyway, I will leave it up and post another one in a few 😉

  10. Great “snaps”. Warm colors, a little grain, inviting scenes … nice to be hit by a bit of nostalgia this Friday.

  11. Ibraar is an incredible photographer. I have been following his work since the old contaxg.com days. Never a dull shot always something that captures my attention. Especially with the G2. If you want to see more of his great work look here ibbz.zeissimages.com

  12. great pix–wish i still had my G2, AND my Voighlander Bessa…sold to get digital equipment, seller’s remorse these years later…keep up the film shooting

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