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.
AGH, what a fiasco. I had this interesting image and wanted to make a print to go over my fire place mantle:
You’ve seen this one before. But, over time with the proofs from the drum scan changed my tastes after they showed me a different option, and I wanted to move in a different direction:
But the Print Specialist didn’t want to work on it anymore. My husband suggested that my order wasn’t important enough (i.e. not enough income) to make it worth their while. I worked on the Drum scan myself a bit, but wasn’t making easy progress:
You can see I have quite a bit to do before it looks like the professionally done image. Then I read this Scanning Article on EMULSIVE and decided to do a little experiment of my own. I mostly learned that drum scanning a 35 mm negative is a waste of time…….So I tried a hi-resolution (6500 dpi) scan with my Epson Perfection V700.
And Mike’s Camera Store in Boulder, Colorado, was willing to work with me. Then the lockdown happened and although my order had been placed, I had to await the re-opening to get it. Now placed over my Mantle:
And a smaller version in my Office, which I may end up giving away……..Both wall portraits were taken with my Mamiya-7 on a tripod using Portra 400 film.
Mike’s now has me as a permanent customer for color printing……..
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.
I have to admit that I was disappointed with early my 35 mm E100 results. I felt that the film was cold and realized that it was based on the old E100G, a film I only used with a warming filter. My favorite of the old Kodak E-6 films was E100GX, the warm toned film. I used it extensively in Patagonia and mourned its loss. You can also check out our first Patagonia Calendar.
But I digress. Let’s get back to the purpose of this study: Kodak E100 versus Fuji Velvia 50. After my E100 doubts I happened upon this old Velvia 50 image of Boreas Pass and thought about a comparative test:
So I set up my two Mamiya 6X7’s for the test. There was one difference: The Velvia 50 camera had a 43 mm lens and the E100 camera had a 50 mm lens. We can debate if that makes a difference, but for Showdown Part II, I’ll be using matching camera set ups. So hold your argument for later.
Here are the side-by-sides: Think about which is which and I’ll tell you at the end.
Details regarding what I learned from this Owl are discussed in my next posting…………
In all cases the top image is Kodak E100 and the bottom image is Fuji Velvia 50. There were no adjustments made to color balance. You may note that the Velvia 50 images are more color saturated and have some purple or pink in the sky. The E100 is less saturated and has a colder sky. Now it’s up to you. Which do you prefer? Keep in mind that this is an overcast sky. So I’ll add one more pair. I wanted to capture my purple house, but in the morning the house was too dark. But you can see that with a clear sky the Velvia 50 (bottom image) has the saturated blue sky:
The snow is still holding that purple cast in the Velvia 50 image. E100 has a truer presentation of the snow. Comments, perspectives appreciated.
Next, we’ll take a look at my Garden Flowers using my Mamiya 645’s both with 80 mm macro lenses.. Since I have something blooming all summer, I’m shooting two rolls of each film throughout my gardening season, and I’ll post as I go……..