Interview: Top 10 Film Gear Reviews with The Phoblographer

Interview: Top 10 Film Gear Reviews with The Phoblographer

(118min, 107MB)
Episode 27 - Banner-v2

We sit down for a one-on-one interview with Chris Gampat, Editor in Chief at The Phoblographer. We learn how The Phoblographer has become one of the biggest sources for photo news and gear reviews in the industry. We discuss his “Top 10” film gear reviews.

Launching the Phoblographer was no easy feat for Chris Gampat. Graduating with a Bachelors in Journalism at the peak of the Great Recession, Chris had difficulty landing a full-time job, despite his numerous internships and impressive GPA. After working for B&H as a social media coordinator, he decided to launch his own website: The Phoblographer. The site first started as a blogspot page and 4 articles. It has now grown to having millions of visitors with access to more than 11,000 articles on photo news and camera gear reviews.

In our interview, Chris tells us about all of the cameras he demos, only to leave us full of G.A.S. Despite all of the camera equipment he reviews, he always finds his way back to shooting film. On his site, we go through his “Top 10” film camera gear reviews you can find on his website.

The Phoblographer’s Top 10 Film Camera Gear Reviews

10. CineStill bwXX Film (35mm)

Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

We both love this film. Most notably known as Eastman Kodak Double-X 5222 rolled into 35mm canisters at CineStill, this emulsion is famous for its use in full-feature length movies such as ‘Schindler’s List’. In this review, Chris pushes this emulsion to ISO 800 and it results in some punchy black and white images. Read his full review here.

9. The Leica M4-P

Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

I’ve never had the chance to shoot the Leica M4-P. However, I do know this camera is very much coveted by those that get their hands one one. Many photographers that do shoot Leica swear by this camera and in many cases will prefer the non-TTL M4-P rather than the TTL M6. Chris’s review leaves me salivating over one.

8. Mamiya 6

Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

I thought about getting this camera for a hot minute. I ultimately sided with the Mamiya 7 since it is known for being the ‘mini 4×5 camera.’ However, If you’re a huge fan of 6x6cm (square format) cameras without having to deal with a TLR, this Mamiya 6 is for you.

7. Pentax 67

Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

Let’s all agree with one word to describe the Pentax 67: mammoth. This camera is known to cause earthquakes when the shutter fires. I’ve seen amazing results from this camera but its sheer size left me looking at the Mamiya 7 as the alternative. Interestingly enough, I didn’t know there are a couple leaf shutters available for this camera which help get past the ludicrously fast 1/30 sec. sync speed.

6. Ilford XP2 Super Disposable

Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

Hopefully you’ve gotten through the worst part of your G.A.S. Let’s bring you back to Earth a little with the Ilford XP2 Super Disposable Camera. This neat little camera is perfect for the remaining photo labs because this camera processes black and white film in C-41 chemistry! Despite having a plastic lens, this camera is incredibly versatile and yields some surprisingly sharp images.

5. Pentax Spotmatic

Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

Ok, we’re back to talking about Pentax. If there’s anything Pentax is known for, it’s for their durability.  This fully mechanical, all metal camera is incredibly reliable and strapped with a solid m42 screw mount lens, you’ll be on your way to taking some amazing images for less than $100.

4. Minolta Maxxum 7 (Minolta a7)

Chris-Gampat-The-Phoblographer-Minolta-Maxxum-a7-review-product-images-8-770x514 (1)
Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

Arguably “one of the best film Alpha mount cameras” according to Chris. This auto-focus, deceivingly digital looking, film camera has a complex honeycomb metering system and a stunningly fast autofocus system.

3. Lomo’Instant Square

Image Courtesy, Chris Gampat, The Phoblographer

We both believe instant film deserves some respect. Hopefully photographers will understand that instant film gets a bad rap because manufacturers have not put good optics in its cameras. The Lomo’Instant Square is a step in the right direction. With glass optics, the Lomo’Instant square creates sharp images on integral film that is slightly larger than a 6x6cm negative. If only Lomo gave us photographers a bit more control and expand the auto features to something a bit more manual.

2. Lomography RedScale 50-200


Ok, this is a weird emulsion. I have a roll but I just don’t know what to shoot with it. Chris’s review of the emulsion gives me a few ideas. Now, I just need to feel extra moody and go for the cover of a dystopian novel.

1. Kodak Portra 800

portra 800 low-res-1

Chris and I agree, this is one of our favorite emulsions to shoot. Different from Portra 160 and 400, Portra 800 is formulated on the older Vision2 stock. While Portra 160 and 400 are on newer (and arguably better) Vision3 stock for digital conversions, there is something about Portra 800 that gives it very pleasing tonalities that digital presets just cannot match.

Music Credit: Johan Lilja – The Improv

Bill Manning

Host and Executive Producer for Studio C-41

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