Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only) Review

Over the past years, Fujifilm has been discontinuing films of all kinds, Astia and Fortia for professionals, the iconic black and white Neopan 400 and 1600 and even the consumer Superia 200. However, the Japanese market is a completely different story,  Fujifilm has a complete line of films, widely available not only in specialized stores but also in convenience stores. One of them is the Fujicolor 100. Do not be confused with this film, is not the discontinued Superia 100 [CN] or the Fujicolor Industrial 100 業務記錄用, is a totally different film, only available in Japan. Without getting too technical, a quick look at the data sheet will show us the differences between these films

charts

Name Fujicolor 100
ISO 100
Developer CN-16, C41
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36, 27, 24

Single roll or three packs.

DX coding Yes
Availability ★☆☆☆☆

Only in Japan

IMG_20180214_114052_HDR

I was lucky enough to be able to visit Japan in 2018. Even though I brought several rolls of film, I was planning to go “film hunting” in the famous Yodobashi camera store. However, during the film morning in Kyoto, I was able to find some of the films  I wanted in a small store by the Fushimi Inari temple, so I just went for it. Although that day I was already loaded and decided to keep the Fujicolor 100 for another day trip.  I loaded it into my FM2 and paired with my 28mm f2.8 -50mm f1.8 traveling combo.

IMG_20180214_114240_HDR

The first thing to notices is that reds are not as bright as with other reviewed Fujifilm films, instead of bright red the color obtained is more crimson. Slightly darker but really intense, I would say that is less distracting than bright reds.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-022

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-011

Same with the blue hues, I would say they are slightly less bright than in real life, the statue was quite bright blue, and in the picture I feel is more teal looking. But, that looks great on skies, even under harsh light, the Fujicolor 100 keeps so much of the blue tone in the sky.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-012

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-009

Greens have a yellow tonality, same like I found in cheaper Kodak emulsions. Definitely not a bad thing, I love the brownish Kodak palette, but it definitely looks different from the classic greenish ting found in other Fujifilm films.  Same with yellows, they are less bright yellow and more ocher.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-004

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-023

I also shot a few portraits, with natural light and also with direct flash. Surprisingly, the film was great. I tend to not like Fujifilm films for portraits, since they tend to create a red tone in fair skin tones. Not only in the results I obtained, but also other photos that I found on-line, show a slight low contrast, that works well with portraits. With both, lighter skin tones and darker skin tones, there is a slight yellow cast, that could be also easily removed in post-production.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-024

RED: Average Colour R:212.0 G:150.0 B:76.0

BLUE: Average Colour R:76.0 G:149.0 B:175.0

YELLOW: Average Colour R:230.0 G:210.0 B:13.0

GREEN: Average Colour R:192.0 G:209.0 B:96.0

You can take also a look at this article on How do I measure the colors?


JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-029

I was really hesitant when I first bought this film, I tried similar films before like the Industrial 100 or Superia 200. Both of them were marketed equally to the Japanese Fujicolor 100, same customer target and “good rendition” of colors. But, I was fairly disappointed with the results of those films. However I was taken aback by the results, the color rendition is not great, it really does not reflect the colors from the scene as it happened. Nevertheless, the film has character, it has an amazing color palette, really characteristic, a little bit yellowish, undersaturated but that stills retain lots of detail with a minimum amount of grain.

Personally, the biggest drawbacks of this film for me are availability and low ISO. The low ISO factor is definitely subjective, I tend to prefer the 200-400 range, so I would go for the brother of this film the Superia PREMIUM 400, similar emulsion. It’s also available only in Japan, but with a couple of stops more of sensitivity. The other drawback would be availability, I’m currently based in Taiwan, so for me is just slightly more expensive than other films. It can be easy to find on Rakuten (the Japanese Amazon) in 27 and 36 exposures. For around the price of a roll of Kodak Ektar or Portra 160. However for people in Europe or America, the price of a three pack, can skyrocket to more than double of a pro film.  Even I loved this film, I don’t think is worth the price tag including the shipping.

YES ⇑

  • With good light conditions is a great, balanced film for every situation
  • I like it for portraits, low contrast,  low grain but retains high detail.
  • If you like its own character and color palette.

NO ⇓

  • If you have to pay a massive extra for shipping, there are other options as good as this film.
  • If you look for high fidelity and true to life colors, I would choose another film for product or landscape photography

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with the Fujicolor 100


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AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 Review

The Agfaphoto CT Precisa 100 is a 35mm slide film, daylight balanced and rated as ISO 100. This film rivals directly with the Fujifilm Provia 100 F, but depending on the store, but generally presents a higher price tag.

First, a little bit of background, this film is not just “Agfa” is “AgfaPhoto”. Agfa film and cameras were once prominent consumer products. However, in 2004, the consumer imaging division was sold to a company founded via management buyout. AgfaPhoto GmbH, as the new company was called, filed for bankruptcy after just one year. Nowadays, Lupus Imaging & Media has the exclusive global rights to manufacture and sell films, single-use cameras and analog cameras under the AgfaPhoto brand.

agfa-logo-300x300

So, the iconic rhomboid logo found in old cameras like the “Optima” and film like the Chrome RSX was substituted by the new round logo of “Agfaphoto”.

AGFA_Photo_Logo

In the same way, this film is the “Agfaphoto CT Precisa 100” not the old “Agfa CT Precisa” discontinued in 2005. Manufactured initially by Ferrania, and nowadays by FujiFilm.

Name AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100
ISO 100
Developer E-6, AP-44
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36
DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★☆☆

In “Lomography” stores and online.

IMG_20170819_145941_HDR

The Afgaphoto CT 100 precisa is a slide film, that means we will get a positive colorful strip, instead of the common negative film.

negativevsslide

The benefit of slide film is that we can get a clear image of the colors capture and we will be able to correct the scanned image,  and we can also use it in a slide projector (not so useful nowadays…). It will give us the correct tone that we captured that day, and we will be able to adjust or editing accordingly, a problem often found is that we will archive this slides and then forget how was the light or situation that day. The biggest inconvenience is that slides are less forgiving then negatives.  A slight over or underexposure will give you a too dark or bright image. Negatives have a much more wider latitude, something similar to the digital dynamic range, it will give us much more room for error.

My idea for this film was to shoot landscapes, so I took it through a trip around Spain.  The Nikon FM2 paired with a 28mm and a 50mm was the perfect setup to capture the vivid colors and blue skies that I found in the south of Spain and the Pyrenees.

IMG_20170806_175058_HDR-01

IMG_20170819_145855_HDR

The first thing to notice is that the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 gives amazing and saturated colors, especially blues. But, the overall images lacks in contrast. Is actually not a flaw, the scanning is flat, but retains a lot of information, even in the shadows with minimum grain. That means that with a 30 second edit, you will obtain a crisp image with lots of detail. In this review all images are unedited.

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -008-2

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -008
Before and after doing a basic tune of the image

As mentioned before, the blue tones in AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 are amazing, they are really vivid and deep.  In the first picture of the fisherman, we can see that from the very top of the sky to the seashore, the picture retains all the shades of blue. Simply exceptional.

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -014

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -024

Greens are more bleached than blues, they lose vibrancy compared to the blues. Like I mentioned before, we a few edits, it will provide a great image but just the scan without any edit shows a muted green tone. I added a comparison with Ektar 100. We can see that Ektar has more latitude (like digital dynamic range) but definitely is less sharp than the CT 100.

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -005-2

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -029

Film - Pyrenees hiking - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -030
Same time, place, camera and lens but shot with Ektar 100.

The whole warm palette, although is not well represented in this pictures is a medium point in between the vibrant blues and the washed out greens. IT can be more accentuated through editing, but is really balanced and true to color. Reds a little bit more than yellow. But, in any case really pleasant.

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -038

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -034

I also decided to use this film for a series of portraits, as I keep mentioning during the article, it just needs a little bit of editing, with an extra “pop” to look great, here is an example:

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -010-3

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -010-2
Above, unedited scan. Below, re-framing and changing a bit shadows, blacks and contrast.

Other portraits with and without flash in different skin tones. I’m not a fan of slide film,because it is very easy to completely blow up or darken the background, wasting an opportunity for a nice portrait. The film is great, the skin tones are really natural and look really true to color, with natural light and direct flash. Under controlled lighting, I’m sure it can deliver excellent results. Just using the light-meter in my camera I got tricked with the reflected light and under-exposed this portraits for at least one step. One of the reasons I prefer negative over slide, it is much more forgiving.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -013

  • RED: Average Colour R:195.0 G:105.0 B:105.0
  • GREEN: Average Colour R:92.0 G:108.0 B:101.0
  • YELLOW: Average Colour R:148.0 G:121.0 B:107.0
  • BLUE: Average Colour R:54.0 G:60.0 B:88.0

You can take also a look at this article on How do I measure the colors?


In conclusion, the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 is an excellent performer. The film here in Asian can be only found in Lomography stores. Therefore, I was really surprised since many of the examples that I found on-line are shot with “Lomography” cameras or developed in cross-process, all the pictures I found were kind of blurry or with funky colors. Nevertheless, the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 was great, really sharp, retaining a lot of detail and with a surprising latitude for a slide film.

This film would be amazing for landscapes, portraits, macro or product photography. All the kinds of photography that need extra time in the darkroom or Photoshop if you have a more hybrid flow and you edit on your computer. It’s a shame that this film is not available in 120mm. Those massive slides would be amazing!

SPAIN - Alicante Beach Escorial - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Agphaphoto CT precisa 100 -023

This film is definitely not for me, one of the reasons why I shoot film is to spend less time editing pictures. Shooting negative film I always obtain great pictures without the need of any editing other than occasional cropping and some scratch removal (in older negatives). That’s why I wouldn’t love to use this film as my standard. I also prefer negative films in the ISO range of 200-400, faster and more forgiving, but definitely far away from the quality offered by the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100.

YES ⇑

  • Landscape, product photography, portrait.
  • If you plan to work with those negatives after shooting.
  • Clean, grainless, extremely detailed image.

NO ⇓

  • If you don’t have the time to shoot carefully, you can’t just load the film and shoot.
  • Portraits or situations with strong light contrast.
  • It can be hard to find someone to develop this film, ask your local developer before invest in buying this film. You might consider Ektar 100 or Portra 160, easier to find and to develop.

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!

Lomography CN 400 Review

Lomography is a company with which I have a love-hate relationship. I hate the over-hyped cameras at exorbitant prices, making simple toy cameras and the  “Don’t Think, Just Shoot”  a luxury that only a few can attain. However, I really appreciate that a company is still interested in promoting the use of film as a medium to allow artists to express themselves, bringing back old film emulsions and formats and creating a community of sharing their ideas and creations.

DSC_0221

While I would never buy a “La Sardina” or a LOMO LC-A 120 for double the price of a Bronica, the film option actually doesn’t seem too bad. A pack of three “Lomography CN 400” is very similar in price to buying three rolls of Ultramax 400 or Superia 400. So I decided to give it a go, and surprisingly I loved it!

Name Lomography CN400
ISO 400
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm (Pack of 3), 120mm (Pack of 3)
Exposures 35mm: 36

120mm: Depending on format

DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★★☆

logo_lomography

IMG_20170402_161036.jpg

Lomography is believed to be an old Kodak emulsion, specifically the Kodak VR 400. Old emulsion doesn’t mean that the film is expired or old discontinued film that would give irregular results. It is a new fresh film with an old chemical emulsion. The Kodak VR was replaced in the 90s for the Gold Series, the VR 200 is believed to be the current Colorplus 200. The Kodak VR 400 was really popular in the 80s. For that very reason, the Lomography CN 400 gives this really cool vintage feeling, with really vivid and contrasting colors.

 

I took these three rolls camping around Taiwan, Spain, and Southern France. I normally like high-speed films, and especially with changing light, different weather conditions and a slow 24-120mm f3.5-5.6 the Lomography CN 400 pairs perfectly with this setup.

There is a major issue with this film. When shot at box speed (ISO 400) the film came surprisingly underexposed, although the colors were vibrant and intense, the shadows and dark colors were totally lost. Shooting overexposing for half a step, setting ISO 320 on your camera, will give much more natural colors, still vibrant, but recovering much more detail from shadows and more pleasant colors, especially if there are people in the picture. So, personally, I do not recommend shooting at box speed, I recommend to always overexpose, for at least 1/2 step, even a full step if you are planning to use it for portraits.

[FILM] TAIWAN Camping jingshan MAR2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400023
Shot at ISO400
SPAIN - Alcazar Segovia - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Lomography 400 -015
Shot at ISO320 (Overexposed 1/2 step)

Blue tones are beautiful at any exposure, at iso400 will give very radiant and vivid light blue colors, the slightly overexposed brilliant blue tones will become more natural. Here is an example of the two different kinds of skies that we can obtain with the Lomography  CN 400.

[FILM] TAIWAN Camping jingshan MAR2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400026

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400023

Same goes for the red tones, they are bright and vivid when overexposed, like the pillars in the bottom picture of the temple. However, when shot at box speed, the red becomes shiny and kind of fluorescent, like the lanterns in the picture of the door at the top of this review.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400003

Yellow tones, although, are not as bright as blue and red. They give really strong golden  tones (more like an egg yolk). Describing the hue as such might seem like an unpleasant color. However, actually taking a look at the pictures, like the one of the lantern or the train in the bottom, I felt that it was somehow pleasant.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400031

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400004.jpg

Green tones are pleasant, they do not stand out for being too bright like blues or reds, but they are also not washed out. I wouldn’t use this film as a primary choice for landscapes, but this film was not oriented to shoot landscapes anyways.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400010

[FILM] TAIWAN Camping jingshan MAR2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400014

SPAIN - Alcazar Segovia - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Lomography 400 -003

Ultimately, I shot different portraits in different lighting situations of some friends with  lighter skin tones and darker skin tones under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. You can click to enlarge this gallery.

 

 

The skin colors are surprisingly natural, considering that the Lomography CN 400 is not a portrait film per se. I like this film more than other cheap alternatives like Superia 400. Definitely not better than Portra or 400H, but definitely really good results for the price, especially under natural light.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

SPAIN - Alcazar Segovia - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Lomography 400 -011

RED Average Colour R:206.0 G:105.0 B:71.0

GREEN Average Colour R:139.0 G:152.0 B:72.0

BLUE Average Colour R:77.0 G:112.0 B:144.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:224.0 G:168.0 B:57.0

You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?


 

This film ticks all the boxes for me, cheap, easy to find (most big cities have a Lomography store, otherwise online.), high-iso without a crazy grain and, most importantly, it gives a really interesting color palette, very colorful and vintage at the same time. It is different from the Portra 400 or Fuji 400H pastel tones that we see so often online. It is more in the range of Kodak Ultramax or Superia 400.

 

 

I’m surprised but not afraid to recognize that Lomography has done a great job marketing this film. It is the perfect film for their cameras, colorful and with a great latitude, underexposing or overexposing it will give exceptional and splashy results. If you like compact cameras, it pairs perfectly with the small aperture that they have, independently of using flash or not. If you use an SLR/Rangefinder it can be your everyday film too, since it adapts well to any situation or light that you may encounter.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400018

There are a couple of drawbacks, you have to buy a three-roll pack. If you just want to try out this film, or you just need it for a special occasion, you have to buy the complete box. In my opinion, it has to be Overexposed, I would never shoot this film at 400 again. Minimum ISO320 or 200 would be the chosen speed, making this film a little bit slower in real use.

YES ⇑

  • For daily use, load it in any kind of camera and expect great results, harsh light, flash, it will resolve pretty well for its price
  • Great latitude, perfect for any kind of camera (including their own Lomo ones)
  • Bright and vivid colors, can make picturesque images even in dull spaces.

NO ⇓

  • Not the best for landscape, grainy and not bright green colors.
  • It has to be overexposed, so not a real 400 ISO.

 

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with the Lomography CN400.


 

 

 

Kodak Ektar 100 Review

The Ektar 100 is one of the films from the professional color negative films offered by Kodak. Along with Portra series: 160, 400 and 800,  that are more oriented towards pastel shades and softer skin tones, Ektar is a more saturated and vivid film than any other in the Portra family. More oriented towards product photography and landscapes, intense colors and smooth grain as promised in the film data sheet:

“EKTAR 100 Film is the world’s finest grain color negative film. With ISO 100 speed, high saturation and ultra-vivid color, this film offers the finest smoothest grain of any color negative film available today.”

IMG_20170818_165520_HDR

Name KODAK Ektar 100
ISO 100
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm, 120mm, 4×5, 8×10.
Exposures 35mm: 36.

120mm: Depending on the format.

4×5 and 8×10: 10 sheets pack.

DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★★☆

I had some rolls of Ektar sitting in my fridge for a while, waiting for a good opportunity (weather/location)  to shoot. A trip to the north of Spain, Pyrenees, and south of France was the perfect place to take this film out. Hiking, grass, high mountain, and blue skies sound just right for Ektar.

Ektar is a high contrast film, that’s why it will work great with older cameras and lenses, maybe even too contrasty with more modern lenses. With the ones I brought to this trip, Nikkor 28mm Ai and 50mm f1.8 Ai, especially shooting with nice bright light, I had no problem getting high contrast and lots of detail in almost every image. However, is always interesting to know that there is a film in the market that will help us to compensate the lack of contrast that we can find in older lenses.

imgFilm - Pyrenees hiking - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -008

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -010

Taking a closer look to colors separately, we can quickly appreciate that Ektar gives a more vivid blue, red and green. That means beautiful skies, vivid foliage, and sunsets. A bit more problematic with skin tones, though.  The blue in the facade of the store was kind of faded, and even so, we obtain a vibrant color in the final print (or scan).

Film - Pyrenees hiking - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -020

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -039

Reds, with a small shift to brown characteristic from Kodak, are also vibrant and intense. Ektar is also a great film for nature and macro, It will render punchy images that call the attention of the viewer. Green tones are slightly less vivid than reds/blues but definitely not washed off.

Film - Pyrenees hiking - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -022

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -012

Yellow tones like the other colors are vibrant and vivid, however, I noticed that with really harsh light, light yellow tones become slightly darker, and the darker yellow tones switch to a brilliant light brown. It creates really vivid images, however, for my personal taste, makes the picture “too surreal”. For green foliage, like in the pictures on top,  it can be maybe too distracting, but I’ve seen examples of photos taken in the desert and autumn scenes,  the result is just stunning!

Finally, I tested this film in some portraits, with some friends with a lighter skin tone (Maggie) and darker skin tone (Jorge) under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. You can click to enlarge this gallery.

 

Ektar is definitely not marketed as a portrait film, it is a saturated color film that can distort the natural skin tones. In my case, more than the famous red-pink skin tones that we get from Ektar, I got a bit strange orange cast. Ektar wouldn’t be my choice for a proper portrait session, however if color is part of your composition, or an element of the portrait you are taking, definitely it will create stunning images. It can be also easily  desaturated and corrected in post-processing.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -026

RED Average Colour R:220.0 G:112.0 B:95.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:251.0 G:209.0 B:99.0

BLUE Average Colour R:99.0 G:134.0 B:174.0

GREEN Average Colour R:147.0 G:181.0 B:109.0

You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?


Kodak Ektar is a great landscape film, it makes more sense to me in other formats than 35mm. If I were using a medium format camera, this would be definitely my to-go film. It is contrasty, produce sharp-saturated images. If creating colorful compositions were colors are the main object of the picture, I would also choose this film. Grain is really fine in 35mm and almost inexistent in bigger formats.

A key point for this film is: light. During a blue sunny day, Ektar will deliver stunning colorful images, would absorb every tint of light and convert it in a nice colorful composition.

It wouldn’t be my main choice for portraits, it doesn’t mean is bad for portraits at all. Just a quick search in any social media and you can find amazing saturated portraits and scenes, colorful streets in India, vibrating big cities. It would be my choice for a sunny hiking day, for a landscape outing (with tripod, filters etc.) and for street photography.

Ektar is not too expensive, considering that the closest “professional” quality film that you can get is slide (Velvia). The hassle of developing E-6 and dealing with the low-latitude might be a factor to choosing Ektar over any other film.

 

YES ⇑

  • Landscape photography
  • If you shoot also medium and large format and want to keep consistency in your work.
  • Product photography
  • Any situation full of light, day a t the beach, streets, hiking etc.
  • Compositions were color is the main element.

NO ⇓

  • Natural skin tone portraits
  • If you look for a peaceful, desaturated and low-contrast situations.
  • Low-light situations, I’d rather get a different film than pushing Ektar.

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!

 

Fujifilm Fujichrome Provia 100F Review

Fujichrome is the Fujifilm product line that carries the color reversal films (also known as positive film, transparencies or slides). A few years ago there was an extensive line of Fujifilm slide film, however, after the discontinuity of the Astia, Sensia and Fortia, only two remaining series hold the fort, Provia and Velvia.

Unlike with other films, there are several reviews on-line for the Provia 100F, especially from the early 2000’s. These are professional films, with a professional niche of customers that do research in advance and share their opinions. Therefore, it will be some reviews comparing it with Astia and Velvia and praising how good was this film when converting it to digital. This review will be more informal, less technical and just clarifying some points of this film.

Provia100FRDPIIIBoxFront

Name FUJIFILM – FUJICHROME PROVIA 100F
ISO 100
Developer E-6
Available formats 35mm, 120mm
Exposures 36 in 35mm, Depends on the format for 120mm
DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★☆☆

The first thing to notice is that is a slide film, that means it’s positive, not negative, what is the difference? A negative stripe of film will look something like that:

Filmstrip

While slide, or positive film looks like this :

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100029-2

The benefit of slide film is that we can get a clear image of the colors capture and we will be able to correct the scanned image,  and we can also use it in a slide projector (not so useful nowadays…). It will give us the correct tone that we captured that day, and we will be able to adjust or editing accordingly, a problem often found is that we will archive this slides and then forget how was the light or situation that day. The biggest inconvenience is  that slides are less forgiving then negatives.  A slight over or underexposure will give you a too dark or bright image. Negatives have a much more wider latitude, something similar to the digital dynamic range, it will give us much more room for error.

Personally I also found harder to find a place that develop slides (or E-6 development process) properly. While with negatives (C-41 most commonly) there is no problem at all.

In conclusion, either because you really know what you are shooting with, or because you randomly or accidentally bought some of this film to try it out, without getting too technical, in a more informal way, let’s see how this film responds.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100005

Greens  and reds are the most true to color, balanced and natural that I’ve ever seen in a film. Very consistent and not excessively contrasty. Red tended to lean more on a brownish tone than on bright red, but that makes it even better as a portrait film, giving a really pleasant skin tone. That make it great to play with editing, slightly flat images give lot of room to add a personal touch.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100025

Blues are little bit particular, giving a pastel tone specially under bright light conditions. Most of this films were shot in overcast days (Taipei’s weather…), but the days that the sky opened, it really gave beautiful pastel tones. I understand why this slide film is one of the favorites for landscape photographers.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100022

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100013

Grain is almost inexistent, This picture was taken with strong backlight and even so, no grain or weird color shifting, it gave a really great image. You can see how much detail was retained even in a 200% crop.  Making the film great for portrait, landscape or product. The only problem found was a really strong glow (or halo) but I believe that was during development, First I thought that it was the scanner, however after looking carefully the film, I can feel it in the film itself, therefore, I believe it was a mistake or old chemicals used in the development. Not related to the film itself or the camera/lens/scanner combo.

noise bee

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100006

I decided to use this film to for a set of portraits, with light skin tone and a darker skin tone. The film is great, giving really natural skin tones for both of them. It would behave even better in a controlled-light situation, like a studio, or using a couple of reflectors. I’m not a fan of slide film, because as you can see, for a couple of casual portraits, not taking much care of the background lighting, or the general light, it was very easy to completely blow up or darken the background, wasting an opportunity for a nice portrait.

 


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100017

  • RED: Average Colour R:153.0 G:107.0 B:74.0
  • GREEN: Average Colour R:97.0 G:119.0 B:78.0
  • YELLOW: Average Colour R:166.0 G:168.0 B:86.0
  • BLUE: Average Colour R:65.0 G:69.0 B:106.

You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?


 

In Conclusion, Provia 100F is an excellent film. Compared to the other Fujichrome series, Velvia seems to be more contrasty and with more vivid and saturated colors. Provia 100F is a perfect flat film, for a natural look, in the blue/golden hour you will obtain beautiful blue/golden tones. I would definitely use it for a controlled situation, like a portrait, or product photography. If you are in the mood for grabbing your backpack, tripod, set of gradient filters and your shutter release cable, you will enjoy this film so much.

However, this film is NOT for me, for two big reasons:

It doesn’t make any sense to me to use this film in 35 mm, If you go through the struggle of using slide, measuring the light, paying more for developing, more expensive than negative, etc. Why stop in 35 mm? Shooting it in 120 mm, giving you a massive slide that you can scan with tons of detail makes more sense to me. It is a shame that other slide film  like the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 does not offer other formats.

I really don’t like positive film, it gives you an amazing slides to work with and admire in the light table. I prefer negative film, cheaper, it gives you much more room for mistake. I don’t really mind the grain, in fact, I love it! I would rather load a 200-400 ISO negative film, close the aperture, and enjoy more the shooting without worrying too much about the exposure. If I had to shoot on assignment with film, I would go for Portra, Ektar or 400H, excellent films, easier to shoot and cheaper too.

YES ⇑

  • If you need maximum color fidelity  and great detail.
  • Landscape, product photography, portrait.
  • If you are a control freak and plan every shoot carefully.
  • If you plan to show the slides, slides are easier to read than negatives.

NO ⇓

  • If you don’t have the time to shoot carefully, you can’t just load the film and shoot.
  • Portraits or situations with strong light contrast.
  • It can be hard to find someone to develop this film, ask your local developer before invest in buying this film.

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!

 

Adox Color Implosion Review

The ‘Color Implosion’ is the only color film in from the German manufacturer Adox. Nowadays, Adox produces a small range of specialized films, mostly B&W, as well as photographic paper and chemistry. Generally, I take a look at the manufacturer’s web and they will describe their film with statements such as “lowest grain!” or “natural tone skins!”, just normal marketing stuff. However, Adox is really realistic about their film characteristics, I really admire that, that’s why I will use their own description because is the best one to introduce this particular film:

“Color implosion fears the grain of an 800 ISO film combined with the effective speed of a 100 ASA film.
On top, we pre-treated it so the color coupling system partially collapsed.
With this grain and these light desaturated colors, no one will think that you are still shooting digital.
Welcome to the world of unpredictable truly analog results!
Color Implosion is an experimental film designed to give you unpredictable truly analog image experiences.
This film is not intended to be a “proper” print film.
If your results are dissatisfying please check your negatives first and do not judge by a print or scan.”

ADOX_150_50-Kopie-1024x585

Name Adox Color Implosion 100
ISO 100 (Rated 100, but meant to be shot from 100 to 400)
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36
DX coding No (Careful if you plan to use it with your compact camera)
Availability ★★☆☆☆

On-line and specialized distributors

 

As we read in the own manufacturer’s description, this is not a normal negative film, do not expect true colors and a natural palette. That sounds at least interesting to play with. After testing a couple of rolls of this film, the results and the feeling that it gave can be summarized in three sentences

  • Bursting reds
  • Overall yellow cast giving a vintage feeling.
  • Blues are an unpredictable outcome, mostly resulting in turquoise.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200034

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200020

I recognize that I was not really aware of this “bright and explosive reds” before I shot these films, otherwise, I would have created some compositions with red as the main element, I’ve seen some really cool examples online like this one of flickr-logo Mackee_Lee:

14776199527_9de614a299_z

Reds look a little bit brownish, but that doesn’t make them off. They actually really pop in the picture. Films like the Superia line or the Industrial 100 業務記錄用 (Reviewed here) give really bright and nice reds too, however, I found that sometimes can be a little bit distracting and take the attention from your main subject. The Color Implosion matches the palette and reds look great in every picture.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200016

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200031

Yellows are not especially bright, and greens blend with that yellow creating a yellow cast all over it. However, I’m not saying that in a bad way, this film is not meant to be a landscape or portrait film. As the manufacturer states, it will aim for a 70’s summer style. The yellow cast really gives a good feeling in the pictures, the man walking in the path could be easily an old photo from a 70s magazine. Same for this picture taken at baishawan (白沙灣) beach in Taipei.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200011

Surprisingly, my favorite part of this film was the rendition of the blue colors. The next two photos, were taken in the same place (Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei) at the exact same time. Trusting the meter of my Nikon FM, and a Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai. we can see how different those two photos are. It will give a range from dark turquoise to yellowish-blue. Unpredictability was one of the words that I used to describe this film and certainly is one of the characteristics that makes this film interesting to play with, or awful if you really expect even and easy to foretell results.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200024

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200025

Finally, I tested this film in some portraits, with some friends with a lighter skin tone (Summer) and darker skin tone (Michelle) under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. You can click to enlarge this gallery.

 

Not much that we can conclude from this samples, the skin looks too yellow and unrealistic but… that is the point of this film, isn’t? The yellow cast affects the whole picture. That’s why, even the colors in the picture don’t match the real ones, in its own way they look great, natural and with a really cool retro vibe. Only issue… the grain, say goodbye to any details, the ‘extra large’ grain will devour them.

Talking about the grain, Adox does not try to hide the large grain in the film”The grain of an 800 ISO film combined with the effective speed of a 100 ASA film”. Well, isn’t that like saying the fuel consumption of a truck and the speed of a moped. After all, There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The drawback of large grain also helps for that organic and retro feeling that looks great, so, the point here is using the right film for the right occasion and enjoy the particular hues and color shifts.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200010

Testing this film at different ISOS

ISO 100:

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200030

ISO 200:

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200029

ISO 400:

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200028

This film is to be shot at different ISOs and we can see why the difference on only one stop is massive in the outcome of the image. ISO 100 will give us the most balanced of them, giving soft and pleasant yellow mid-tones. ISO 200 is my personal favorite (I shot most pictures at ISO 200) bringing the turquoise blue and fading a little bit the yellow. At ISO 400 everything shift backs to YELLOW the blue tone disappear and green become lighter. If you see the pictures I took at the beach, you can feel that they are tremendously yellow, it was a sunny day and I overexposed the ISO 200, that’s why everything has this cast all over.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200002

  • RED Average Colour R:207.0 G:133.0 B:85.0
  • GREEN Average Colour R:144.0 G:194.0 B:100.0
  • BLUE Average Colour R:70.0 G:133.0 B:159.0
  • YELLOW Average Colour R:235.0 G:211.0 B:96.0

You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?


 

Summarizing, go for it if you want to experiment with film. It is really fun to play with, even though it sounds hipster, this film definitely gives an organic feeling and color shifts that can not be achieved with digital. Even the camera is not DX coded, you can load it on your compact and it will have ISO 100 by default (quite often).

In my opinion, like with many other films, it is a bit difficult for me to get them to Asia. If I were in Europe, it definitely worths the try 6-7 Euro, but considering the shipping cost, it is expensive for me. To experiment I often use 10years+ expired Solaris or Kodak Gold film. But, if it’s accessible to you, definitely is worth the try.

CAREFUL when you bring it to your local developer or scan it, let them know that the weird colors are on purpose.

YES ⇑

  • If you want to experiment with film, something fun, different
  • For a vintage feeling, at any ISO the retro vibe is all over it.
  • Even for a pro shoot, or some fashion or cool style clothing shoot. It will give you an outstanding different feeling. Just be aware of the unpredictability of this film.

NO ⇓

  • If you don’t like grain or you are looking for the highest detail
  • It will difficult to have two rolls that look the same, so if you look for uniformity, this film is not for you
  • Landscape or portrait. (Really subjective this one, it depends on what you are looking for)

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!