Recommend film - touring Europe in Dec

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by vinodkutty, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. This type of question probably grates on the nerves of old-timers, but
    I just need a quick check.

    When I'm not travelling, I tend to shoot mostly social events indoors
    and outdoors. I'm not picky -- tends to be Fuji Superia Xtra 200/400
    or Reala. I can't remember now which my last roll was, but I found the
    grain a little distracting in indoor shots. I usually have the film
    processed and scanned then stored on a CD-ROM, in addition to
    obtaining prints.

    It's only when I travel that I'm more concerned about the film, as
    I'll want to have something more tangible to remember. I'll be
    traveling through Europe for a month and I've been reading up films. I
    found some reviews at (
    ), and I also skimmed through this:

    I only have one body (F80s) and my best lens is the Nikon 70-200mm
    F/2.8 VR. I'll also take a 28-80mm f3.3-5.6. I'd like to pick one or
    two films to take with, and I'm thinking both Kodak Ultra Colour 400UC
    and the Agfa Optima Prestige 400 Pro would be good choices. With one
    body it won't be practical to take more setting-specific film.

    I'll be doing a wide range of shooting: streets, buildings (inside and
    out), people, art works, sunsets/sunrises, food, open-air markets,
    vineyards, etc. I'm hoping to take a light tripod as well if I can, as
    I love the colours at dawn/dusk. So I figured the above films would
    give me a lot of versatility and good results. What do you think of
    the above two in this regard?
  2. These films will perform the same in Europe as they do in the U.S. Just kidding. Its just that there are endless 'I'm going to (name planetary location here). What film should I bring?' questions posted.
    I have more experience with the Agfa 400. It seems punchy but has noticable grain. At least to me it does. Why limit yourself to one speed of film? Consider bringing some other varieties. You may encounter scenes where it is worthwhile to shoot a whole roll to get one awesome picture. You can still go for the quicker grab shots the rest of the time.
  3. The Kodak 400UC is a nice general purpose film. Low in grain and with quite a bit or
    "punch", which makes it nice for those overcast days you are likely to encounter. I actually
    just shot a roll here in the fog with my "new" Nikon SP and the stuff was, as usual, very

    If you can stand the speed Agfa Ultra 100 makes for a nice winter film.

    Enjoy your trip!
  4. John: Yes, I felt some hesitation as I typed that, since I noticed quite a few similar questions in the archives. I think the main reason for saying "I'm going to X" is to convey some sense of the type of locale (i.e. more urban/city rather than say a tropical forest :cool: ). Besides, who wants to vacation close to home ? :cool:

    I will probably take a few rolls of other speeds, but I wanted to pick something for the bulk of my trip.

    Which Agfa 400 was grainy? The Optima Prestige 400 Pro ? I've heard the Vista was more noticeably grainy.
  5. The Optima but don't read into my comment too much. I am used to 100 speed film and am probabably being influenced by that. Maybe bring both types.
  6. Dear "V",

    400UC would be a great overall choice. It has (just barely) edged out Fuji NPH (another great choice) as my current color 400 favorite. I have had machine prints with poor skin tones, but hand prints of the same negatives look great. Very fine and even grain as well. Right now you can download a coupon from Kodak for a $10 rebate on a 5 pack. (

    If you want to bring a slower film for a sunny day, Reala or 100UC.

    Neal Wydra
  7. I thought I could shut up until this post ends... but I can't.

    In completing VK's, my question actually is addressed to all relatively experimented photographers, who still ask "what film should I...". About in the middle of the last century, when I started photography as a hobby, there was only one type of film which was considered very sensitive, a 400. When enlarged to say a 9x12 postcard size it gave an intolerably high grain for almost any end result of 35 format. Therefore, everybody used exclusively film of sensitivities rarely exceeding 160. Lately, film manufacturers came up with technologies capable for making comemrcially even 1600 (I saw it in ACME!) films.

    My question is: seriously, why are you guys puzzled? My feeling is that you may be supposed to use such films (over 200) only if you enlarge less, i.e., if you jump to a larger format, and even there, with a lot restriction.

    On the other hand, maybe there is just a tendency to buy "the newest thing". Afterall how can manufacturers survive if they don't sell (every junk they make). I worked for almost a year with a 3200, in night surveillance of lighted areas, the grain is like a sieve, however you can easily still make the difference between a car and a cat...

    VK, my advice, if you care to take it, is to totally forget about the 400 for standard format, just stick with 100 and under, as it was just posted. If you want more sensitivity you should get a medium format camera (which will give you incomparable better results anyway).

    the rookie
  8. VK, my advice, if you care to take it, is to totally forget about the 400 for standard format, just stick with 100 and under, as it was just posted.
    Sounds like more of the 'print films are all the same, and only slides films are different' rant. Next, V K is using a rather slow zoom and likely not going to carry a tripod around, so 100 speed print film isn't very practical. Next, there aren't many 100 speed print films left on the market worth shooting, save for Fuji Reala, which is not the most ideal film for overcast conditions. Superb all around film otherwise.
    Kodak UC 400 is the best all around all purpose 400 speed print film, and I'd strongly recommend using it over Agfa anything. It's sure the heck a better film than Agfa Prestige 400 and can likely hold up against Agfa's 100-160 speed print films given Agfa hasn't spent more than $10 on film R&D the past 5 years.
    I could give a flip about the Agfa films in general, unless you plan on scanning. Photographic labs, at least in the U.S., are going to be dominated by either Fuji or Kodak infrastructure, and when you drop that roll of Agfa film off the lab tech is going to select a random Fuji/Kodak film channel to print it on. Stick with UC 400 - great film.
  9. << Sounds like more of the 'print films are all the same, and only slides films are different' rant.>> Actually what I mean is that ALL films are the same.

    In my argument I do forget one thing, and I probably gotten it wrong all together: the lab work is understood as constant, automatic, Frontiered, Noritsu-ed. In that case, of course Scott (and many others) is absolutely right: there is a lot of film types out there. If you start however "fiddling" around in the darkroom (which just a few of us do, especially with color, and fewer really know what they are doing) you may say there is not a lot of variety of film at hand, just grainy and less grainy, because only the silver image pattern truly gives you the painting canvas.

    the rookie
  10. Well I love Agfa's 400 speed; however, I think Scott has a good point that unless you know your lab will treat it properly, you might be better off with UC 400, which is also a great film.

    The exception to this is if you are going to have your film processed and printed in Europe. iF you are than Agfa is a perfectly safe choice, it is a much better known, and widely used film there.

    With either film you will probably be happy. I like UC but prefer Agfa. It's largely a matter of taste.
  11. Doesn't matter where it's processed. Kodak papers are significantly more popular in Europe than the U.S., in which case UC 400 wins over Agfa again.

    I'm sure the few remaining Kodak managers willing to fight for putting R&D into good film like UC 400 appreciate the middle finger you just gave when you prefer to use a film made by a company trying to dump their film division (Agfa). UC 400 is a better film in every single technical aspect than Agfa 400 Prestige Pro.
  12. Thanks everyone for your input. It's good to hear several differing opinions. I'm going to buy a mix of films (100 + 200 + 400), but the majority will be the Kodak 400UC.

    I'm treating this as an opportunity to learn, and the best way to learn is to experiment :cool:

    Neal: Thanks for the pointer to the Kodak rebate ... that will certainly help my wallet. Hopefully I can use it for more than 1 set of 5.
  13. If you take Agfa film with you, please stay away from the Vista consumer serie, they are NOT nice. Agfa's pro-films are a very good choice though.

    You're saying that you'll be doing a wide range of shooting (streets, buildings (inside and out), people, art works, sunsets/sunrises, food, open-air markets, vineyards, etc). In that case i would also take some 800 speed film just in case the light level drops very low (like in some bars or restaurants at night).

    Tip: If you're happen to visit The Netherlands and the city of Rotterdam; 'Foto Klein Professional' photo store has a wide range of films available in their shop. It's located in the city centre only 300 meters from the central train station.
  14. Scot,
    Calm down.
    I know KOdak papers are more populat, but it is still true that most European labs have enough experience with Agfa to print it well, unlike American labs where, as you say,they just don't see it much. As for "a better film in every way" that's subjective. I will grant you that it is easier to get UC printed well, and it is a much less grainy film. I just happen to like the look of Agfa's product. And giving Kodak "the middle finger" is really bizarre. In fact I mentioned that Uc is a great product. I"m sorry if my preferences don't fit the company you like better (although I got the impression you didn't like Kodak). I use lots of Kodak pruducts, including UC of whjich I have ten rolls in the fridge. And as for Agfa dumping their film. It's dumped < There is a new company handling it and that gives me some hope. And I will always buy the film I like. Saying I should support Kodak because they spend more on film. Is like telling someone not to vote for a third party candidate. I pick the film I like. No matter who makes it. If Gfa films are someday no more then I'll stop, but whys top before then if I like it? There is no better or worse film. There is the film that gives you the look you want.

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