— EMULSIVE (@EMULSIVEfilm) February 21, 2020
I waited with baited breath, as they say, for results from early E100 Film Testing. Always reliable, I delved into the EMULSIVE Review, which compared various exposures, by processing at EI 100, 200, 400 800. At first glance I like the EI200 images, so I started by comparing EI 100 vs EI 200. The Cameras, my nearly identical Minolta X-700 with Tamron 28-200 zoom lens, which I’ve used for a number of side by side film tests:
I took a second look at the EMULSIVE results after reviewing my own tests, and can’t believe that I didn’t see the EI 200 images were colder. Also, the example scenes were not typical subjects that I would have photographed (the exception being flowers). I had fears about the new E100 because I new that it was based on E100G, which I had always found to be too cold. I always used a warming filter with the old E100G. The long gone warm tone balanced E100GX had been my favorite.
So my results, E100 @ EI 125 (following Galen Rowell’s recommendation) on the top and EI 200 on the bottom. All of the photos are the original raw scans with no adjustments of brightness, contrast or levels and no warming filter:
The Cathedral Rocks in Arizona, I tried to get the same perspective, but there is a slight difference. Below viewed from a distance:
And zoomed in:
Note the color of the Red Rocks and the Soil. Since I frequently shoot Red Rocks, I’d like them to have the truer Red of the EI 125 images. Below I’m showing the EI 125 exposed a +1 stop. It probably offers a truer color rendition:
It’s probably time for me to test E100 with a warming Filter vs. Portra 400. I’ve found Portra 400 to be an acceptable color film for my current use. I’ve also been spoiled by the wide latitude of exposures that a C-41 film allows. Since I mostly shoot B&W now, I’m not sure that E100 has enough zip to bring me back to E-6. But I’ll wait on a final E100 choice after the 120 is available. I’ll test that vs Portra 400.
Similar issues with PAN 100 as I had reported for PAN160. All images here have been significantly altered for brightness and contrast in Photoshop.
Arizona Skies have been generally more interesting than in Front Range Colorado. Back in colorado that dead blue sky that frequently shows itself is anathema to Photography.
I have my favorite films and I ask myself whether it is worth the time to learn about new films? My favorite B&W: Kodak T-MAX 400, Ilford SFX-200 and I when I want less contrast Ilford Delta 400; I also want to spend some more time with Ilford Delta 3200. My Favorite Color film for now is Kodak Portra 400; I am presently testing the new Kodak E100. So I have 3 main films (bold); one that I use under certain conditions (bold italic and posted image below); and two that I am experimenting with (plain text italic).
So I posted a Survey on Twitter and asked the followers of both of my Blogs to add their comments. The Twitter Survey ran for a week with the following Results:
Most of my blog followers are also on Twitter, so their votes are included above. I agree with the survey results: 48% of you say 3-4 films and 23% say 1-2 films. Total for less is more: 71%. So most of us agree that you cannot be an expert with dozens of films. My husband said that his answer was 5+ films. He really likes to find special films for special circumstance and does more experimentation than I do, which is a film multiplier. @donkittle on Twitter wrote to me supporting different films for different situations also. I typically shoot 3-4 different types of scenes/subjects. So following this approach may explain why I only need/use 3-4 film types. And I think that most photographers in that 71% are doing the same, typically shooting select films for their preferred subjects and no more.
I am open to experimentation on a limited basis, or using a certain film according to the conditions if I know that it will perform better (Delta 400) than my usual B&W (T-MAX 400). We should all consider new films from time to time. But film testing is time consuming, and I think that my days of trying new films are pretty much over once I’m done testing Kodak E100. If I like the new E-6 film, then it will largely replace Portra 400, since ISO 100 films are better for travel (i.e. they survive possible airport X-ray mishaps better; also some film travel tips here and more here). But since I already understand Portra 400, I can pull it off the shelf when I need it. And although I don’t like the color balance of Portra 160 for my landscapes in general, I can recommend it for Pinhole Cameras. So another case of a special film for a special case.
Now lets consider some Favorite Films of Famous Photographers. I’ve tried researching this on the WEB. Lot’s of discussion of gear (cameras, lenses, etc), but very little on Films used by the Famous. So isn’t Film part of your Gear? Isn’t that why we choose certain films for certain circumstances? Hey, if you become famous, please include preferred Film Types in your Gear…….. Here’s what I found after a few hours of searching for a some of my Favorites who considered the Film a part of their Gear:
I realize that it may be harder to find this information for deceased Photographers. But if you are still alive, please let us know what type of film you most recently used (even if you have switched to digital).
A Final Thought from the Weston Interview linked above:
“…..If you use a film long enough, you get to know its characteristics. I don’t use a meter, I just know the light…..”
As part of my Arizona Project, I am testing some films. Some completely new, like Silberra PAN 160 and PAN 100; and films new to me like Ilford FP4.
Silberra is a new Russian film that has been in development for 10+ years. I backed it in Indiegogo. Today I’m posting results from my journey around the Phoenix area: Below, Four Peaks……..
I’ve discussed on my Photo Diary, some problems that I’ve experienced with Silberra Film (and similarly with Ferrania P30). My main problem was controlling the contrast and exposure. All of the images here have been adjusted significantly in PhotoShop. I am largely a T-MAX 400 + Ilford user (especially SFX-200).
So I am posing the question here (also on Twitter as a survey): How many types of film is it possible to be an expert user? I like supporting new films, but I’m really into getting my best results that can also be printed in the darkroom without a tremendous effort in manipulation.
Print your comments here and I will include them in a future article: