my first post on APUG.
Having recently returned to using film after approx. 6 years - I'm looking for any sound advice about film choice.
The only film camera I own is a Nikonos V - I've begun shooting action surf shots and after my first couple of shoots on KODAK VR 400 (fortunately found on the back shelf of a local supermarket) - I've gotten the photography bug again (even though I shoot for a living).
The film, as I say got me out of a hole, early one morning - I'm pretty certain there will be better quality emulsions out there - but before I purchase, all help appreciated!
Here is a typical shot i'm trying to capture - admittedly the light on this day was stunning - but as a rule of thumb - I'm looking at a 400 for my day to day use. (This produced a decent 1/1000 at 5.6) - as i'm sure you'll appreciate the shutter speed is vital and the aperture helps (focusing based on manual distances) - and when surfer charging at you, it's quite hard to keep the correct distances.
Ultimately I would shoot Slide - however it is fairly expensive to buy and dev - so I figure after the quite nice results from the 'consumer' film that there must be some beautiful and 'slide quality' equivalent films out there???
Technology must have advanced!
Realistically 400iso - and fine grain would be ideal (sadly they all claim fine grain)...
...so any real, hands on advice for similar shots - possibly in more overcast light, but with the ability to handle both beautifully.
All advice welcomed.
Try Fuji's NPZ; 800iso truly fine and flexible.
I shoot it at 800 or 400 almost interchangeably, 1600 or 200 when I need too, just develop normally.
I like Fuji NPH, now it's called 400H
Colors aren't too muted and the grain really isn't bad at all even in 35mm. I'd rate it @ 320 though. It will deal with harsh sun pretty well.
If you could go slower Reala @ 80 treats blues really nicely but if you're zone focussing it's probably too slow.
I really like 400H as well, but honestly 800Z doesn't have much grain for 800 and you could probably use the extra speed. 800 Portra is also very nice. In my experience Portra is a little redder and 800Z is a little bluer. You might prefer blue for these surfing shots.
I used to shoot a lot of skateboarding and found Superia 800 quite good in overcast light: it gave a little punch to the colours and helped no end with keeping the 1/1000 shutter speed. I typically shot with a fisheye at f5.6 or f4.
I haven't used the Fuji films recently, so I can't speak to them. I do like the Kodak color negative products, however. The Kodak consumer and professional films are all excellent. I find the consumer brands (Gold, VR) a bit harsh, but you seem to use those qualities well. I know professional photographers who have standardized of the Kodak consumer films and who use them very well. You might look into Portra 400 VC also. It retains the vivid color but with a bit less contrast and maybe slightly less saturation.
I'd go for a 800 speed film, such as the Fuji 800Z. its a great film, with great colors, nice grain(not invisible by any means), but depending on what you're looking for, you might be in for a bit of experimentation.
I'm personally a Kodak fan though, the 160vc/400vc/ portra 800 films are what I run through my cameras. so, pick up a few rolls of each, and test them out. Some of the Kodak gold(200 pushed to 400) are quite nice, IMO. I went through a full semester of school shooting nothing but the Gold 200, and no one, even the teacher asked what I was shooting on, just commented that they really liked it.
its also cheap(well at least here in the US, not sure about in the UK)
Thank you all for your replies.
It almost goes without saying that testing is the only way to really understand what works for my particular situation.
I'm off to order some 800Z and 400H first - testing both in various conditions.
I'm the sort of person who would 'test' both films under similar lighting conditions (and then devved at the same time) - sadly it's not very practical - being cold and wet doesn't make for the best conditions to change film on a reef!
Again thanks to all for your replies - i'm looking forward to the learning and above all the anticipation and enjoyment this little film camera has brought back to my photography.