Film stock lightning round

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by nelmur, May 1, 2016.

  1. My high school only offered digital photography courses. By the time I became interested in taking my own photos in college, I jumped straight to digital. (I had a Nikon D40x, for those interested).
    For my 25th birthday, I decided to buy a film camera–a lovingly used Olympus OM-1. I did it partly for fun, and partly because I figured that I'd learn some fundamentals that I'd skipped in jumping straight to digital.
    All of this is to say, for the past four years, I've experimented with a variety of film stocks—and have definitely found some that I gravitate toward more than others—but haven't ever heard from other, more experienced, film shooters what they like and why.
    For my first post here, I thought I'd list a handful of films I have used and/or heard of, and ask for you all to fire off your thoughts—this is what the internet is for, right!? Nothing too detailed, just qualities to expect in images (contrasty, likes lots of light, fine grain/heavy grain), and maybe some best practices for those of you who have shot with them (i.e. experiment with pushing it).
    Ok, here we go!
    • Kodak Portra 400 (I have shot with this, and like it a lot)
    • Kodak Portra 800
    • Kodak Ektar 100 (also like this)
    • Fuji Velvia 100
    • Fuji 400H (have heard I should try it if I like Portra 400)
    • Ilford HP5
    • Ilford FP4 (this has recently become a favorite of mine)
    • Ilford Delta 3200
    • Ilford PanF 50 (limited experience, prefer FP4)
    What others should I know about?
  2. When I was young and couldn't afford color, my favorite was Panatomic-X in Diafine at EI 250, though later they rated it at 160, which is probably closer. Also, Tri-X in Diafine at 1200 or 1600.
    At that time, my father mostly used Kodachrome-X, and later Ektachrome-X. When I could afford color, starting in college years and about when E6 films came out, Ektachrome 64 and later 100, sometimes 200 or 400.
    After kids were born, one camera with Ektachrome and one with Vericolor III, the predecessor to Portra 160. Slides mostly for scenic pictures while traveling, prints for people pictures, such as growing kids. Over the years, the price of prints has decreased, especially if you consider inflation, but even if you don't.
    All in all, my three favorite are Panatomic-X, Portra 160, and Ektachrome 100, but only one of the three is in production today.
    PanF+ is fine, but doesn't get the EI increase with Diafine that Panatomic-X does. (Though 160 might still be stretching it.)
  3. Portra 400 is amazing for an honest rendering of the scene, coupled with really low film grain. Fuji 400H has a different look, but it will have more grain, especially in skies. Kodak kept improving their films when Fuji sat back from more investment.
  4. While I love the professional color films like Portra, Ektar and Fuji 400H, I am always pleased and usually shoot with the
    lower cost consumer films like Kodak Gold 200, Ultramax 400 and Fuji's Superia 200 and Xtra 400.

    Your choices of black and white films are very good ones.

    I also use Olympus OM cameras. I have been using them since 1975 and never wanted to switch brands. I have dozens
    now. 😎
  5. Here's part of the answer, taken from your own post. For ASA 100 colour, Ektar; and for ASA 125 B&W, FP4. Try faster emulsions to see which you like. This is a pretty subjective business and I don't think anyone can help you.
  6. Pan F+ is an interesting film; it is fine grained and sharp. I like it developed in Rodinal. With that combination it will show every wrinkle and blemish on your subject it is best used on people with very good skin or good makeup. When I shoot it, I usually use flash to compensate for the slow speed of the film.
  7. Velvia 50 often has a much different (IMO, better) look than Velvia 100. Shoot it on a tripod in soft or golden light and be amazed.
    Provia 100F has similar hues to Velvia, but with less saturation and contrast. Very fine grained and pushes excellently to 200.
  8. Thank you all for the responses thus far. I will certainly be exploring some new types of film based on your recommendations. It's also nice to hear that I've already used—and like—some of the types of film you all enjoy.
  9. In B&W, I do like Ilford HP5+ and Delta 100, but you should also try Fuji Acros. It's ISO 100 (I usually meter it at 80). I can't really explain how it's different, but it is. And it also has very little reciprocity failure. Exposures need to be into minutes before you have to add more time than what was metered - quite handy if you want to do night shots. I liked it much better in Ilfosol S, but that has been "improved" and called Ilfosol 3. I now use DDX.
    And if you like these in 35mm, you should consider looking at a camera that takes 120. Many are just slightly bigger than an average DSLR, but the bigger film is sweet.
  10. I'm a black and white large format shooter. For
    pay gigs I use Kodak Tri-X. For art show stuff,
    gifts, photos for scanning, etc I use either
    Ilford Delta 100, FP4 or HP5. If I'm just
    practicing, teaching, or experimenting I use
    Arista EDU 200 (fomapan clone) because it is

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