I thought about writing a summary of the origin and significance of the Retro IR Sensitive films as an aerial mapping film. But then I found an excellent history/summary by My Favorite Lens reviewing the Retro 400S. So check it out…………
Now we take up Part II of our IR Sensitive Film Tests. Here a comparison of Rollei Retro 400S and Ilford SFX-200 (My Standard). We again applied the IR 695 filter to both rolls. We know from our previous experience that this filter adds contrast to the Retro-films. So let’s jump in………
Images on the left are from SFX-200 and on the right from Retro 400S:
We ca see the obvious difference in Contrast. But it this first image it works.
Above, the contrast in the clouds for the Retro 400S makes it more interesting to me.
In the four images below,the lighter contrast (SFX-200) allows iu to see more detail.
Agai, here I think you choice my depend on personal aesthetics. There are qualities I like in both images.
S, we have determined in both cases that perhaps the Retro Films don;t really need IR-filter enhancement. So for our next test we are going bare. I’ll be comparing the Retro 80S with no filter to the SFX-200 with the IR 695.
Why not start the Year 2021 with some film tests………..
I had casually tried some Retro 80S on the drive home from Phoenix in 2019. But I wasn’t really planning on a comparative study and my image were not in pairs. So I decide to set-up a real study comparing Retro 80S AND Retro 400.S This is Part I where I will discuss Retro 80S.
The tests were conducted using 120 film and my Mamiya-7 cameras both with IR 695 filters. Ilford SFX-200 was my standard for comparison.
All of the SFX-200 imafes are on the left, and the Retro80S on the right.
In my first images from 2019, I had used a Dark Red filter for the Retro 80S. applying the IR 695 to the Retro 80S made it more contrasty than preferred. So I thin for an future use I would recommend using just a Dark Red Filter, instead of the IR 695 for the Retro 80S film.
We arrived home safe and sound last night. After being stopped by a storm and multiple accidents in NM the day before, with clear rods and skies we decided to make the ~600 mile drive from Galllup, NM to Boulder County last night. Had some snow on the way, but less than an inch and easily drivable.
No, this wasn’t the snow that greeted us last night. This image is from a late snow last Spring. But still a very comforting view of Home……..
I finally did a proper time test (or in this case an f-stop test) for the Kodak Autographic;
I was testing the Fuji Velvia 50. Because it is a slow film I decided to try my Velvia 50 as the color film for my pre-1940 cameras, Here are the results. The f-stop range is 4, 8, 16, 32. I took two scenes. Scene 1 is a partially shaded path in a local park: Coal Creek Park.
The f/4.0 (first image) and the f/8.0 (second image) are both acceptable. The f/32 is definitely too dark, Results are similar for the stream shot from the same park.
So for the Kodak Autographic No.1 using the Fuji Velvia 50 film, either f/4.0 or f/8.0 depending on the lighting conditions. In very bright light one might consider try f/16.
As we have seen, there’s not a great difference in the color rendition for the Flowers from my Garden. Here are the final flower examples from the last roll from my Garden. I didn’t get to work much with the Poppies or Peonies because they were wiped out by a storm.
For all images the E100 is on the left and Velvia 50 is on the right. In the case of the Peonies above, the E100 is actually more saturated. And I believe that same could be said of the Iris below. Go figure……
Again, no real difference in the Torch Lilies below (genus Kniphofia).
And for the Turkish Poppies…….one can say that the E100 has a richer color.
So my Garden didn’t really tell me anything. I know from earlier Landscape work that the E100 seemed Cold. And Flowers from the Mayo Clinic Cactus Garden were off color also for E100. My last roll of film comparison will be landscapes from the Snowy Range of Wyoming. I will be using a warming filter, so we’ll see what difference that makes. And a surprising choice for my color film going forward……
The Irises display more of a difference, being both richer is color and truer to the colors I saw. You’ll have to trust me on that. I had intended to make Portra 400 images for all the garden shots, but that camera malfunctioned. However, I do have some Portra 400 35 mm images. One posted ant the end for comparison. As before, you’ll have to make your choice based on which color balance you prefer.
We will start with Yellow Irises, since we did see a difference in the Yellow Tulips:
As before, the E100 is on the left and the Velvia 50 is on the right. You can see the richer saturation in the Velvia 50. Something that we are expecting.
Varying the contrast and brightness had no affect on the absolute color, which is what we are interested in here.
Now we move on to Purple, which was a color that Velvia 50 favored in previous examples:
As before, E100 on the left and Velvia 50 on the right…….
For me, the Velvia yields a more attractive color and is closer to what I saw. Now let me tell you a little secret. Once in a Physics experiment in college, it showed that I tend to see a little bit into the UV spectrum. That is probably why the richer purples appeal more to me.
However, if you want truer color I think we have to get out the Portra 400 (below). Again, I think it is an aesthetic choice…….
There was so much discussion after my first posting, that I’ve moved up the Film Test Series. You seen what the Owls had to say………Now we’ll move into My Garden for the next three comparisons, and end with a road trip.
For all image sets, E100 is the first image (here the top)………Velvia 50 the second image (here the bottom). I love these dark purple tulips…….
I’d say these are too close to call………
You may notice some fuzzy focus. We’ve had a lot of wind lately. Impossible to find a still day.
E100 on the Left……Velvia 50 on the right.
So theTulips didn’t prove to be much of a test. Only the red and yellow Tulips show a definite difference. Next we’ll see what the Irises have to say…….
I typically use Ilford SFX-200 as my IR-Sensitive film. When I started, I used it with my darkest red filter:
But now I use my IR-695 filter:
Recently I’ve had two IR-sensitive film come my way: Rollei Retro 80S and Washi-Z. Let’s start with the Rollei film. Because of my positive experience using the 695 filter, I tried this with the Retro 80S. It resulted in interesting but very high contrast images:
Compare this to T-MAX 400 with a Dark Red filter (sorry that’s the film I had in the other Mamiya-7 at the time):
Here a direct comparison of the same scene, SFX-200 and Retro 80S, both with the IR-695 filter:
Can you tell which is which? The Retro 80S is the upper image, the SFX-200 is the lower image. The SFX image preserves the fine high altitude clouds better…..
I have recently read an article on the Retro 80S, where the author only used the dark red filter. @EMULSIVEfilm also has another recent article comparing Retro 80S and Retro 400S, again both using the dark red filter. So now I’m going to embark on a set of side by side Retro and SFX images making, using only the dark red filter. Can’t wait to see what happens……
Continuing with the Showdown that I started a few days ago. I’ve been using E100 over a year. I’m midway in a film showdown between Kodak E100 vs Fuji Velvia 50. I had always preferred Kodak in the past, however, after some 35 mm experiences last year I had doubts. I had always used E100GX, a warm toned film of the old generation. The new film was based on a colder version E100G. But to be fair, I decided to do some formal color test comparison. This is Part, I am comparing four images of the Owl Mural made with four different films: E100, Velvia 50, Portra 400 and Lomo 800. For the direct comparison of the E-6 films I used my Mamiya-7’s; the Portra was exposed using a Mamiya-6; and the Lomo 800 was exposed using a Diana F+, for the Frugal Film Project.
First I’ll show them in pairs, then break down my critique of each one. Naturally I have selected my personal favorite for the Header image above.
Left: Lomo 800; Right: Portra 400. I made no adjustments for tone or contrast; only cropping to make them comparable in size. All of the image were exposed on overcast days. The first comment I can make is that both C-41 films are truer to the actual mural colors. The Portra 400 has a richer color tone which I would expect for the lower ISO film. But you have to admit that the Lomo 800 is very good, especially since it was exposed using a plastic camera. The winner here is Kodak Portra 400:
Now for the main event, E100 (left) vs Velvia 50 (right):
Fuji Velvia 50
As one would expect, the E-6 films have a more saturated color. Not quite a natural representation. But in my lifetime experience with film (going back to childhood) I’ve mostly shot E-6. As a field scientist back in the pre-PowerPoint days, I needed to show my information in slide presentations. So that meant E-6 films. In my earlier professional days I used ECN films. When that was discontinued I switched to Kodak E100GX.
If you read my earlier experiences with E100, you’ll be able to decide which one I prefer. I simply find the E100 too cold. So the Winner here is, Fuji Velvia 50. I enjoy the richer and brighter blues and purples……
So these are my two favorites. I can accept either one depending on what I am trying to demonstrate. Which one do you prefer?
Fuji Velvia 50
Stay tuned, right now I am continuing the side-by-side testing of these films as my Mamiya 645’s take a tour of my flower and vegetable gardens. I’m going to give E100 every possible chance to show me something that I’ll like.
And I may do a follow-up Road-Trip landscape comparison. In that case, I’ll see if a warming filter makes me feel better about the new Kodak E100.