Tag Archives: Kodak Portra 400

Results of Film Expertise Survey and My Personal Thoughts

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).

Fern_Canyon4

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:

Survey_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…..”

 

 

 

 

 

Film Expertise?

I have posted this on Twitter.  But I wanted to give my followers here a chance at answering this question too.  In the future I will write an ‘article’ here on my feelings and the results of my survey.  Here it is:

How many films is it really possible to be an expert at using?

While here in Arizona, I’ve been testing various films that I hadn’t used before (e.g. Silberra, Ilford FP4, the new Kodak E100),  In most cases for B&W I use Kodak T-MAX 400 and Ilford SFX-200; for color I’ve settled on Kodak Portra 400 (pending my results for E100).  I know these films well, and I usually get the expected results.  When I experiment with new films, the results are up in the air.  Yes with my ‘expert’ films I made early mistakes but worked through it. Now I wonder if it is worth the the time to learn about MORE films or stick with what works?  So let me restate the question:

What films do you use and how many do you feel it is possible to be an expert with?  Please leave a comment or vote on Twitter @AnalogPhotoBug, and look for the future article.

Kodak T-MAX 400:

KEJohnson_Convent
The Symbol of My Journey

Kodak Portra 400:

Carhenge2

Ilford SFX-200:

CragsView2

The Story: Wyoming Cloud

Taken from the same location along the Roadside in Wyoming…….The joy of having two Mamiya-7’s, allowed me to make these images literally seconds apart.

strikingcloud

I was testing Kodak Portra 400 (as my new color film) and looking for good opportunities to make a few images with Ilford SFX-200.

wyoming-cloud

But more importantly I saw this cloud in the distance and we pulled over so I could capture the Image.  I Imagined the Image first. I would probably adjust the brightness/contrast for the B&W image to bring out more of the detail that you can see in the color image, because I know that detail is there……..I’ll repost once I’ve done that.

Alternate 5-Frames: Carhenge

5 Frames of Kodak Portra 400, Exposed @ ISO 320 (6X7 120 Format) by Kathleen E. Johnson

On August 21, 2017, thousands of people converged on Alliance, Nebraska, as one of the prime Solar Eclipse viewing locations in North America. NO you are not going to see eclipse images, but a bit of Americana I had heard of (probably on 60 Minutes as a child), but never thought that I would visit: CARHENGE. We thought about stopping by on Eclipse Day, but the traffic proved unmanageable.

The following November, we had an opportunity to return to Alliance and made our visitation. It was a lovely, sunny, November day.  And walking amongst the Cars, it proved much more photogenic than I had expected.

It seems like ages ago, but in 1990 I had an opportunity to visit the real Stonehenge. Those photos were terrible, so you’ll never get to see them here. But I can say the advantage of Carhenge is that it’s a true life-size model that you can walk around and experience as the Ancient Ones may have done at the real Stonehenge. And it has become a focus for sculpture built from car parts. But that’s another story…….

The camera was my favorite Mamiya 7 with the 43 mm lens. All exposures @f/8, and shutter speeds of 1/125 to 1/250 to capture details in the shadows. In my experience Portra Films have a wide exposure latitude. At ISO 320 color saturation is more true to life than Portra 160. I’ve settled on Portra 400 as my color film.

P.S Okay you can see my Eclipse Images on film HERE.

Surprisingly Photogenic

Last Fall we stopped at Carhenge.  It was a lovely, sunny, November day.  And walking amongst the Cars, it proved much more photogenic than I had expected.

See all the photos from my trip to Carhenge Here.

See Updated Post for Alternate 5-Frames Here.

Happy New Year!

Wishing Us All a Better 2018.  And Starting off the Year with Dignity:

Dignity1

Dignity of the Earth and Sky overlooks the Missouri River at Chamberlain, South Dakota.  A Tribute to Native America Plains Culture.  She has a FaceBook Page.  And More about the Sculpture here for those not on Facebook.  AND more of my photos (All Film of course) HERE.