I backed the Alfie TYCH half-frame film camera on Kickstarter, and have finally gotten around to trying it out. Here are a few of the shots I'm happiest with, from a recent trip to Glasgow. Ilford 400 film. #Film #StreetPhotography #BlackAndWhite
It has been quite a long while since I posted about photography on my blog (I’m sad about that, when I remember that when I started writing here, the tagline for the site was “photography, technology, life”), so let’s change things!
Back in 2022 I backed a Kickstarter campaign for a half-frame film camera with switchable lenses – the Alfie TYCH. I remember that one of the things I noticed about the project is that the creator Dave Faulkner is based in a place I used to live… beyond that, I have dabbled in film from time to time, and I was intrigued by the flexibility of switching lenses and the idea of making a film “last longer” considering the cost. It is not a very cheap entry point – it’s not a disposable 35mm camera, and for the price it is also not an SLR or DSLR – but I went ahead and backed the project, as I liked the idea.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when my TYCH arrived… I didn’t have an immediate cause to break it out, until about a fortnight ago when we went on a short trip. My reward enabled me to choose some film with the camera, and I picked up some Ilford black and white rolls. First impressions: the camera itself is dinky – it fits pretty much in the palm of a hand/in and out of a coat pocket, so it is great for street photography. I’m not going to do a full-on review here – firstly I don’t have my camera to hand as I type this; secondly, I’m not a film camera expert; and finally, there’s another good review over here. Go read that – I thought it was good!
So, why am I writing about it, if not to fully review? Well, to share some thoughts and personal observations.
- The TYCH is a nice little camera – as mentioned, it fits in my pocket, so it was super handy on a trip where I got to spend most of a day to myself wandering around and exploring Glasgow (a city I haven’t visited, it turns out, for about 15 years – I knew I’d been there back when I worked at IBM, but it turns out it must have been pre-Foursquare/Swarm or TripIt recording of my travels… Gmail’s memory stretched back further)
- 35mm film is pretty expensive – I’m seeing prices around about £20 for a 36 exposure roll (without really shopping around), so stretching that to ~72 images is a nice trick.
- … however, I hadn’t really connected it with the fact that you essentially have 2 portrait-format images in a landscape-format full frame, so those times I turned the camera sideways for a portrait shot, was basically redundant.
- it took me some time to get used to getting the wind-on right with the TYCH – there’s a small white indicator that shows up as you wind, and I missed it a lot when I was starting out with the camera.
- I played it pretty safe for the first film, given I was getting used the camera: I basically stayed with the default lens and ISO throughout the roll. When I wanted to finish it off, I was back in the studio, and most of the pictures I shot indoors suffered from that – not thinking about focal length, ISO and exposure resulted in more unsuccessful images… lesson learned on that.
- I haven’t needed to have film developed for years! Fortunately, the review on Austerity Photo made me aware of the existence of Photo Hippo here in the UK, and they did a great job of getting my photos back to me online quickly. Thanks, team!
That’s all, really – I posted a few of the shots on Mastodon, but here are some more – I’m definitely not going for a Pulitzer prize for photography, but I’m learning, and enjoying the TYCH. I’ve done the smallest amount of post-processing in Adobe Lightroom, primarily to crop and level as needed. As with the images I posted on Mastodon, there’s an accidental-but-nice double exposure in this set, which I’m quite happy with (and I’ll also happily recommend Cafe Wander as a great spot for breakfast in Glasgow, while I mention it).
Finally, here’s one of the usable images from indoors at the studio – taken during the Wimbledon Art Fair a couple of weekends back. More to come on that, shortly. You can also follow our studio on Pixelfed.