A quick set of mixed photos from the last month or two.
I like the organisation in Setup, and surprised by the range of the Kodak Portra in Bed and Breakfast doing from dark indoor to morning bright outdoor.
First up is a Rollei Chrome CR 200. Not overly impressed and not overly forgiving, it does have some likeable browns and reds when the exposure is right.
Second up is the CineStill 50 Daylight X-Pro. which, unlike the other CineStill is calibrated for shooting outdoor at daylight as opposed to indoor with low light. Much better first impression of this one and looking forward to shooting the next roll — skin tones and blues in particular seem great.
Last one is an Adox Color Implosion 100 which gave a few interesting shoots, such as the dreamy toning in East Paris. Cute film though perhaps also a bit demanding and picky.
Unlike the black and white films I’ve shot so far, the Ilford XP2 Super 400 (together with the Kodak BW400CN) are meant for standardised machine processing in C41 chemicals. People claim that the quality suffers a bit, but it is a lot easier to just drop it off at the developer’s and ask for prints than locating (or turning your kitchen into) a darkroom!
A bit disappointingly, the prints have less contrast than I’d normally go for in either scanning or making prints in the darkroom; perhaps simply due to me picking the same cheapest print option that so far has worked fine for colour prints, yet it takes some of the motivation away (and makes you wonder what the colour prints would look like in a premium print). On the other hand, the negatives seem to contain a lot more detail than the prints show, so as such there might not be much lost going with this film, despite not having struck printing gold — and some prints are better than none I suppose.
As for the shots themselves, I think Behind the Shop, The Lucky Middle, and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont turned out well. I really like the light in Scooter Light and the scenery in View on Montmartre was simply spectacular.
CineStill takes Kodak film used in the cinema industry, splashes on chemicals to adapt it to C41 processing, and rolls it onto 35mm spools. Apparently best suited for indoor low-light scenes, it took a few months for me to finish my first roll.
I find the results so-so to be honest, mostly because they are underexposed and look more pale than anticipated. I believe I exposed it correctly as a ASA 800 film, yet didn’t ask to have it pushed during development — CineStill themselves mention that this is a possibility, and from what I’ve seen here it might also be my recommendation.
Not all is lost though, and had Midnight Walk just had a bit more exposure it might have reached what I was expecting. Also somewhat like the colours in Marina, at least enough to want to try out the daylight calibrated version of the film, the CineStill 50Daylight — more to come on this.
Another black and white night film finished, push-processed at ASA 800 up from 400. Underexposed but with a few good results.
I consistently get the exposure wrong for night scenes, shooting around EV3-5; with a fast f/1.4 lens and a Kodak T-Max 400 shot at ASA 800 this should give me a comfortable minimum of 1/30s shutter speed to compensate for shaking. Yet looking at the negatives, most scenes on this roll required at least another stop to be properly exposed. As I’ve mentioned before though, it’s mind-boggling how much information is still in the negatives, and how much of it can be extracted by my mid-range Epson V600.
I like Midnight Hook-up for the empty atmosphere and corner romance; being underexposed is perhaps even adding to the picture here. Likewise, the sharp contract needed to pull anything from Piggyback fits with the blur and mood of the picture (this was not what some might call an artistic choice; I simply did not want to stop walking while taking the shot). Finally, I also really like Midnight Metro, and wonder if I did not get a fair amount of mood for free here by using an analogue camera.
July has been a busy month with work and visits, but perhaps because of the latter I also managed to finish three films with a mix of your typical tourist photos, and whatever kind of photos it is that I tend to take when out on my own.
The first one is a Kodak Portra 400, and as always it’s the forgiving hero delivering great colours even when the exposure is sure to have been a bit off. Skin tones, greens, sky — all is good. All but one are from Paris (Fête Nationale and Le Tour), with the last one being from my brother’s gymnasium graduation (congratulations again!).
Next up is an Ilford Delta 100 Professional. I still can’t tell the difference between this one and the Kodak T-Max, not least because so much is determined during scanning, but perhaps this will change when I eventually make prints.
And last but not least, a Lomography X-Pro Slide 200. Although surprisingly the colours are quite different from the first one (perhaps because I used a different printer) the result is still pretty good when the exposure is right — take Educating or Hanging Around for instance.
On the other hand, it is clear that the film is not nearly as forgiving as the Portra, and both underexposure (High) or overexposure (Expensive District, Wineyard, and Blue Shades) leads to an unpleasant purple tint — the best example perhaps is Scholastique (Smiling) and Scholastique (Looking) where the latter seems to be correctly exposed, and the former was deliberately given one stop more.
My first roll of Fuijfilm FujiChrome Velvia 50 invoked mixed feelings. At first I was tempted to say that it was a bit disappointing, yet in reality it’s perhaps more a question of finding the right scene for the film.
Searching around I found high praise of the film online, not least some great shots on Flickr. However, the film is among the most expensive so it wasn’t until I found a good offer on a batch of almost-expired films that I went for it. Add to that a more expensive development and it really has to be worth it, slide film or not.
Perhaps the mistake I made was to shoot it as a general-purpose film, including scenes with city-scape, street, and nature (sky at least). For instance, based on Old English it doesn’t live up to it’s price tag: the print is okay, but not something you couldn’t get with much cheaper film. Hogwarts likewise, though here there might also be an element of poor metering on my part (however still showing somewhat poor latitude). In general, for most photos on this roll my guess is that I would have preferred them on Kodak Portra or Fujifilm Superia.
But, and this is key I think, when it comes to blue (and to lesser extend green), the film is unmatched! Look at Sunny Side for example, or Hôtel de Ville, A Green Spot, Fit, or Scholastique (In the Rain) — I would not expend to see that from the above mentioned films, not at that level of saturation.
I’m guessing of course, but for the next roll of this film I’ll focus on nature, with plenty of sky, and a mix of greens and reds.
A few weeks ago I was heading for a week-long conference in Copenhagen and figured I’d only bring the Nikon FM as my only camera, and the practical 28-70mm lens as my only lens. And since this is a slow lens I went with a fast film: a Kodak Portra 400.
It had been a while since the last Portra, and even though I’d halfway declared it my general-purpose go-to film, I’d also kind of forgotten how good it is, perhaps thinking it a bit boring even after all the adventures into Lomography films and cross-processing. Fortunately the prints brought a very happy surprise! Perhaps it plays a part as well that I’ve switched back to my old (and more remote) printer after the inconsistent prints from the Precisa 100, but in the end I really like the result.
While the above film was shot within a week, I also recently finished a Kodak Portra 160 that’s been in my Olympus OM-1 since last autumn. And although it’s apparently against recommendation to let a film in a camera for that long due to light leaks, radiation, heat, and what not, this indicates that the advice should be balanced against the increased quality of the photos when you are more picky about releasing the shutter!
After the somewhat successful experiment of pushing a Kodak T-Max 400 to ASA 800, I decided to try another pushed to roughly ASA 1600 instead — both to see what the result would be, but also as another attempt at capturing the romantic night streets; I mean, who doesn’t dream of getting a shot such as Brassaï’s Watchmaker? Continue reading
As disappointed as I was when I learned that the X-Pro Chrome from Lomography was not out of stock but in fact out of production, as surprised was I when an email popped in about a month ago saying that their other slide film, the X-Pro Slide, was now back in stock. I soon after grabbed a copy from the store, shot it, and went to pick up the prints today.
So I’ve gotten wiser since my surprise with the X-Pro Chrome. I now know that X-Pro stands for “cross processing“, and that this means using different chemicals during development than those originally intended. Handing in the Lomography film the other day was hence less shameful since I now understood what the woman behind the desk was saying and could respond with “you’re absolutely right, it’s a slide film for E6 processing, but would it be possible to have it developed in C41 anyway, for effect?” — won’t dwell too much on whether that’s cool or nerdy though.
I was a bit suspicious about the outcome for at least two reasons. Firstly because I’ve since learned that the X-Pro Chrome might have been a repackaged Kodak film of unmatched quality, and secondly because both the seller and various online galleries hinted that the photos will have a strong citrus tint. In the end though, they turned out much better than expected and I’ll probably head to the stores for some more soon.
Again I like the vivid colours, especially the orange/red shades as in Dissidi, Red and White, Child’s Play, and Fake Roof. The blue sky in most of them is not amazing, but looking at the negatives it might have been because I over-exposed too much. Lastly, what happened in Weird Red remains a mystery for now, as no extra filter was used nor was the lighting different.