India and Nepal in January -- film recommendations

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by Farkle-Mpls, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. Hello!

    The past few years I've set aside my digital cameras to travel with a film camera. This time, either my Canon EOS 1v or my Leica M-series (M7 or MP). I can shoot Agfa CT Precisa 100 (have about 40 rolls frozen) or Portra 400 (used before -- loved it but doesn't really "pop") or Ektar 100 (a bit finicky, depending on lighting, but nice "pop" when lighting and exposure are correct). I don't want to carry a bunch of different types of film: just one. What are your recommendations and why? Most of my shots will be outdoors and I've been told to expect a lot of direct sunlight.

  2. What are you planning on photographing?

    I'd pack Velvia if I were only focusing on the buildings and landscape, and Provia if I were going to be photographing people.

    To be fair, the times I've photographed Indian and Nepalese folks with Velvia their skin tones seemed to hold more so than with Caucasian folks, but Provia still renders them better.

    Aside from that, you honestly don't have a huge number of options in color film these days. 10 years ago, I'd have suggested Portra 400 VC or UC or even, as much as it pains me to say it, Ektachrome E100GX.
  3. I would suggest just using what you prefer. I did an Asia trip some years ago and used almost all Fujifilm Sensia 100 and was very happy with my results. If I was doing it now, I'd probably use Provia or Agfa CT Precisa. Somehow I just don't think a film like Kodak Portra is best for the colours of Asia, but I personally think Velvia can overdo it sometimes too. If negative film was important, I'd choose Ektar. But like I said, I think this ultimately comes down to personal preference.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  4. Ok ... let me refine this a bit. I'll take lots of photos of people (outdoor activities), buildings, market places and maybe some urban centers. I can shoot the Precisa, which despite it's rather modest reputation as a rebadged Fuji consumer film, I've always liked (handles mixed lighting well) or I can shoot Provia which in my experience is a subtle difference or Velvia for a bit more pop. So, I'd be interested in people's opinions on the topic as well as the Velvia 50/100 question.

    Please also consider "scan-ability" as I'm traveling with a group of young people who WILL want electronic copies of my photos. (They are mildly disappointed the 5D Mk IV and M240 are staying home.)

    Thanks for the continuing discussion.
  5. There is only one Velvia :)

    Let me just say that there's a reason why I go to the trouble of either buying seriously outdated(and cold stored) RVP sheet film or paying the $1/sheet mark-up it costs me to buy RVP-50 from Japan.

    With all of that said, I do tend to use RDP-III when I need a more general purpose reversal film. They both have their place, and even though I'm an RVP/RVP-50 nut I'm more likely to carry RDP-III when I'm going to be doing anything other than strictly landscape or otherwise scenic(non-people) photography.

    As far as scanning goes, I don't think there's anything that scans as nicely as the current generation of Kodak negative films. I agree that Portra is a bit dull, but if scanning rather than printing or direct viewing is the top priority either it or Ektar is a natural choice. That's not to say that the Fuji films don't scan well, but it definitely takes a lot more effort for me to get a good Velvia scan than even a Provia scan, much less Ektar or Portra.
  6. For the outdoor shots in direct sunlight, really nothing beats Ektar, unless you want to show slides on a projector. Color negative film has much more dynamic range than slide film. However, because "most" will be outdoors in sunlight, you will pay a price for the indoor shots. I think you ought to put Ektar in one camera and Portra 400 in the other. You don't want to lose once in a lifetime shots because you didn't have the right film.
  7. See, now there's is the problem I was trying to avoid: two cameras. However, Tony-S, I cannot argue with your logic -- I just don't want to schlock two cameras around my neck ... (and this is why we shoot digital!)
  8. Perhaps the compromise is to take one camera and mostly Ektar but also a couple of rolls of Portra 400?
  9. I would find it difficult to use one speed. When I visit Tokyo with film, I used Fuji Superia 400 a fair bit...alongside Ektar 100 and Dleta 3200. If you think the lighting is half decent, Ektar 100 will give you the pop you want. But with uncertain lighting, Portra 400 does well rated at 800 without pushing....and is fine grained at 400, 200, or 100 without issue.

    As much as I love film, I always bring a digital body as well.
  10. I would bring an SLR and a good point and shoot camera. You should always have a backup camera just in case.
  11. FWIW, some films like those made by Fuji, for example, have a different color balance to the versions sold in India than those sold in Europe of the USA. They are set to enhance darker color skin tones. When I was in India a year ago, however, I confess that I did not find any place selling film

    jt99|1 likes this.
  12. I had an opportunity to visit India a few years ago and I was in a similar dilemma. I brought a digital and a film camera with several kinds of film to test and I can say that Velvia rules them all. India (and I’m guessing Nepal) are very colorful countries and when it comes to film choice I found that Velvia 50 and 100 were perfect for capturing those colors. Granted you can achieve a lot with digital too, most likely more than with film, but I found out that my best and favorite images from that trip were shot on film. I brought Velvia 50/100, some discontinued Fuji slide film in ISO400, Portra 400/800 and I have to say that Portra did not please me much at all. I guess it’s good for portraits of white folks in the northern hemisphere but not for such exotic and colorful destinations. You can see the whole set here and most photos have descriptions with film and camera details (India). I am not sure where you’re going to develop and scan slide film here in Minneapolis area. My experience with local labs has not been very satisfactory in the last few years and I mail all my film to a lab on the west coast (I can provide you with the lab detail later if you’re interested). The Twin Cities film scene is in poor condition these days and the labs reflect that too (expensive, inconsistent quality, lack of good scanning options, etc... unless, of course you go with Big Al’s).
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  13. Thank you for all your comments -- Velvia! Ugh. I can understand the reasoning (I say Ugh only because I don't have any fresh stuff), except in 120. FWIW, I have gotten decent results having The Camera Shop in St. Cloud process E6 for me recently. By default, I would still go there unless there is a compelling reason to shop around further. STRIC -- Have you tried them (I have to assume so since they are the only E6 lab in Minnesota now). I may see if I can get some Velvia 100 at National Camera at some crazy price. I don't think B&H can get it to me before I leave Saturday ...
  14. RAGHU -- thanks for the tip on BLR C41! Although I fly in and out of Bangalore, I won't be there more than 24 hours before I fly out: not enough time to get the film processed and scanned.
    raghu_kuvempunagar likes this.

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