Anything in 35mm is going to look good compared to 110!
Originally Posted by Truzi
Seriously though, "new" Portra 400 (i.e. the stuff that came after 400NC/400VC) was a big step up in resolution and colour fidelity and that happened maybe 5 years ago. I strongly recommend you give it a go, and some Portra 160 too if you want the same excellent colour accuracy with even more resolution. Ektar is even finer again (finest colour film there has ever been - it can be hard to print manually because it's difficult to see the grains under a magnifier!) but has very high saturation. It's good for landscapes but bad (IMHO) for portraits unless postprocessed digitally.
Fuji also makes some colour neg but you should really try some Velvia while you can. Can't make prints from it except digitally, but you can look at the chromes directly and/or project them. They're like little colourful jewels of perfection all in a line.
I'll assume you don't do your own processing/printing at this point and therefore ignore B&W options. But it's easy and worth considering if only because it costs about $1/roll for processing - see the FAQ in my signature.
I'm sorry, I should have specified I was referring to color negative film, though it applies to black and white as well.
I used to avoid 400, but don't think I need to anymore. I still prefer 100 (and Kodak Gold 100 was my favorite consumer film for pictures with people in them).
Oddly, I've found myself drawn to black and white the past few years. Perhaps it's because I'm beginning to see photography as more than simply capturing a moment.
Color is still my medium of choice, but I've gained a greater appreciation for black and white, and have been shooting it more than in the past. Last summer I included black and white film on my vacation, which is something I'd never have done before. Both capture equally valid, but uniquely different, representations. I also suspect the more B&W I shoot, the better I will become with color as well.
I have shot Portra in 35mm 160, but have some Portra 400 in 120 I picked up from Loomis Camera in Elyria, Ohio. (They closed in October.) I've only an old Holga 120 format (purchased long before the "Lomo" thing started) and probably should not wait for a good medium format camera to fall in my lap, lest the film expire.
I've shot some Ektar in 35mm and quite liked it. I've also had great experience with the "new" Velvia 50. These two films, however, have taught me I really need to get better. The images I took were quite good, but I can see that more experience would make them great.
Coincidentally, I'd been shooting some black and white the past few years for exactly the reasons you mention.
Originally Posted by polyglot
Since 2010, due to a bad experience with a large pro-chain in my area, I've slowly been working towards printing and processing both B&W and C-41 (and maybe some ECN-2 in the future). It's taken longer than I intended, but I am almost there, and will be doing C-41 this year. Also, the wonderful information here on APUG has shown me that color is not that difficult to hand-process.
I do have some equipment, and over the past few years I've processed some B&W in the bathroom; 35mm, 120, and 4x5 negs from a lousy pinhole I made from a cigar box. I've yet to develop the Harmon direct-positive paper I exposed in the pinhole box.
I have some fresh B&W paper and chemicals (and expired liquid paper developer - it was cheap, so if it's useless it's no great loss). I just received a Rollei Digibase kit, which is waiting for me to expose enough color film to not waste it. I still have to work out a tempered bath - I'm an aquarium heater away from processing color. I know I will mess up as I learn, but as I say; In chess, you don't learn by winning. I don't want to ruin good film, but will need a baseline. Thus, I will include a roll of fresh C-41 with a few expired rolls each time I run a tank.
When Loomis Camera in Elyria closed last October I picked up a couple Vivitar 356 enlargers for about $15 each. Both work, and I'm keeping the "spare" for parts. Not professional units, but they will suit me fine for a while. I'm now a chemical kit and box of paper away from color printing.
It has been a long time since I printed B&W, so I will try to get up to speed there before printing color.
Last edited by Truzi; 01-13-2013 at 06:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
What happened? It all got better!
And no magenta aftertaste!
Truzi, I was a bit like you -- I mostly shot in colour, and only dabbled in black and white. And then I joined APUG and now it's almost completely the reverse! I do have to admit though, I find it better to shoot one or the other, because thinking in black and white is a little different than in colour, and I don't often get the results I want if I shoot both simultaneously (which I end up doing anyway). In any event, Fuji, Kodak, and Ilford all make great films and you can't go wrong experimenting with all of them until you can narrow it down to a few that you like. For me it's a 100/400 combo for black and white (Fuji/Ilford), slide (Fuji), and colour neg (Kodak).
And don't worry about shooting expired film in your Holga -- that's a very popular aesthetic right now!
BTW, welcome to APUG!
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Welcome - in Pro films try some Portra 400 and you may never see a reason to shoot slower film again, unless you want really intense saturation and then Ektar is the current king in C41.
Well, that is very good to hear. What I did when starting out with C41 was to expose three absolutely identical (tripod, fixed scene including white paper, all primary colours and some human skin, fully manual flash exposure, etc) test rolls with bracketing from -1 to +4 stops on some Portra. I sent one to a pro lab that I trusted, developed one myself immediately and developed the third roll about 4 months later to check how well the chemistry was keeping. They all came out identically and they all print the same on RA4. If you do a similar test, that ought to tell you a lot about how well controlled your process is.
Originally Posted by Truzi
PS: RA4 printing is no harder than B&W printing (though the colour-correcting skills are a bit different) if you have the gear on-hand. Much cheaper, too.
Thanx for all the replies and welcomes.
Although I still prefer Kodak Gold 100 in consumer film, the faster films really have gotten better and I don't mind using them. I'll be experimenting with more 400 consumer film soon. I'm sure I'll be happy with the pro stuff.
With the exception of our local Walgreen's, nearly all the other drugstores and department stores in our area carry 200 and 400 speed film.
Our Walgreen's only sells single-use cameras, despite processing a fair amount of film (perhaps because our CVS turns any print green). There have been empty spaces for rolls for almost a year. Every few weeks, however, I find a fresh 4-pack of Gold 200 on the clearance shelf for $6.99 (half price). Naturally, I purchase it.
I finally asked, and a cashier told me since "no one buys film anymore," it goes to the clearance shelf as soon as they get it in.
I don't think I should confirm this with management.
Hmm... it's been about three weeks since I visited Walgreen's.