Opinions, please: new Kodak films

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by melvin_bressler, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. Anyne have much experience with the new Kodak films, color neg.,
    positive, and B/W? I mostly use PX 125 and TX 400 for B/W and ES
    100 for color. I currently have about 6-10 rolls of each. Any
    recommendations for when I run out. I shoot mostly people shots,
    indoors and out, and reserve color for static scenes, buildings,
    scenic stuff. I have never tried Portra B/W. Is it any good?
  2. If you have your negs printed on a minilab machine with color paper and the lab's machine has a dedicated Portra channel (I use a pro lab that does--at least as long as there are 1 or 2 wedding pros still shooting film!)you'll get good results with either Portra B&W or B&W+ which is the identical emulsion done up in 24-exp rolls and marketed as a "consumer" film.

    However if your intent is to have the negs printed on B&W paper (I've got another pro lab that does that)then T400CN is much better.

    Otherwise the look of these films is so close as to be identical. Good sharpness and very fine grain (of course, they're not Tech-Pan!)with a very long tonal gradient/contrast range. Shoot it at EI 320 for best results, unless you know your mechanical shutter is running a tad slow, then shoot it at box speed. You do *not* want to underexpose these films *at all*. They grain-up and it's next to impossible to get neutral cast on color paper if you do.
  3. What the man said. I like Portra B/W. The look is different from TX, but has its own appeal. It has a l-o-n-g tonal scale which looks very pretty in contrasty light. In flat light, it looks a little muddy. The lab I take mine to does an excellent job printing it. Soon I'm going to try scanning it and ink-jet printing.

    There has been some controversy on this board about exposing Portra B/W. I have always shot mine at 320 (an old superstition of mine that 400 marked film is always 320 anyway) and had good results. Some people say you can and should underexpose it. Others have told me what Jay said. I wonder what's the truth?

    Good luck.
  4. <<Some people say you can and should underexpose it.>>

    It's color neg film, if you underexpose it it goes grainy and muddy. Manufacturers used to rate film conservatively, you had 1-2 stops under and 3-4 stops over. Now they seem to rate them at the fastest speed that gives decent results, that lets them fudge a little and bolster the claims that faster films of today are better than previous emulsions. A 400 speed of today looks as good as a 100 speed film of five years ago because it *is* a 100 speed film of 5 years ago--they just cut out the underexposure latitude.
  5. The logic some people expressed for not overexposing, which I can't evaluate, it is that the dye clouds expand and kill sharpness.

    I have no idea what the truth is -- I haven't tried either over- or -underexposing it; I just shoot it carefully at 320 and it looks very nice, good shadow detail, and highlights very resistant to blowout. Really like the wide latitude.
  6. Melvin, The Kodak 100-G and 100GX films are excellent. I was using 100VS, but the sharpness, brilliant color and even finer grain shoed me the way. If your happy with Plus-X and Tri-X, I'd stay with them.
    Happy snaps,
  7. When I want anything faster than Reala 100 I'll grab a Kodak Portra every time. I travel too much to soup anything, and access to anything other than C-41 can be difficult in places I've been like Algeria, northeast of Mongolia, Burma, Cambodia, and northern Thailand.

    Type of Portra depends on the situation.
  8. Is it true that the 400 BW+ film you buy at walmart 3 rolls for 9 bucks is the same as the Portra BW that I have to pay 8 bucks a roll for at Wolf
  9. The best on-the-road processing was in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, eh?

    I got to use different films than C-41, as well, eh?.

    And, best place to Leica shop (with Calgary). I probably picked up half my gear there, eh?.

    And one of the best places to shoot: Banff and Jasper being near, eh?.
  10. <<Is it true that the 400 BW+ film you buy at walmart 3 rolls for 9 bucks is the same as the Portra BW that I have to pay 8 bucks a roll for at Wolf>>

    If it's "Kodak B&W+" then yes, it's virtually the same as Portra B&W. But don't forget B&W+ are 24-exp rolls and Portra are 36-exp. Adjusted for # of exposures, B&W+ would be equivalent to $4.50/roll, a little more than half the cost of Portra. That's pretty much standard with all consumer emulsions vs their "pro" twins. And in the case of B&W C-41 film, the old horsecrap about "optimum color balance and ISO" of pro films just doesn't have any meaning.
  11. <<The logic some people expressed for not overexposing, which I can't evaluate, it is that the dye clouds expand and kill sharpness. >>

    That's true if you overexpose a full stop or more (yes, you'll get a "printable" neg like the books say, but the sharpness will suffer). But about a third to a maximum half-stop overexposure tightens the grain and doesn't affect sharpness at all.
  12. Jay...<p>
    Just to make you repeat one more time :)
    Kodak Portra 400BW is the same as this:
    <img src="http://www.kodak.com/global/images/en/consumer/products/film/bwPlus400Box.jpg">

    If so, that's great, I actually like that film a lot and have some Portra 400BW on its way in 120 format. Can't wait to try that out.<p>
    There's really no difference besides the exposure count?
  13. One question--those of you who are using the Porta B/W film at 320--when you get it developed, do you have them change anything?? If they just process it as they normally would, then I will have to try it.
  14. Danielle:

    Don't tell your lab anything...shoot it at 320 and then drop it off. They'll develop it as though it were 400 and you're all set.

    And you probably should run a test. Shoot 1/3 of the roll at 250...1/3 at 320 and 1/3 at 400. Compare the results and then you'll know what you should rate your film at in the future.
  15. Thanks, Dave, I appreciate the advice!
  16. Danielle,

    Tell the lab not to run any auto-compensation too.

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