Amazing couple of days running dozens of different developer tests all with 400TX… love the look of the grain and depth of this film! In the end I came back to an old friend but with a new twist. Diafine is back in my life in a big way! Diluted 1:1 and used as a one shot developer it is spot on in my JOBO with very nice grain, great tonality, no processing issues and best of all a usable EI from about 100-1250 (the chart shows 200-1600… I think 1600 is a bit on the edge for my works but is totally usable in a pinch. So again, in a JOBO speed is 4, temp does not really matter but I ran at 75F, Dilute part A and B 1:1… I did 3.5 minutes in each followed by a 2 min wash with water then fix (box time), clear (box time) and hang to dry…. easy as pie!
Of course an advantage of Diafine that I have written about here before is that many different films can be souped at the same time which is a huge time saver. Diafine negs are a bit flat and do requiere an “S” curve in PS to make me happy but I am now quite happy indeed. I will post links to Diafine articles I have written and a great one from a friend Sandy King from View Camera.
My suggest EI…. 800.
Viva la Revolution– Stephen
All images shot with a Leica MP with a 35MM Summicron ASPH… on Film!
as for articles here… there are a lot!!!! Just type in Diafine in the search box and enjoy!
Also please note these were just quick scans (first set) as I am leaving tomorrow for a week of shooting but the final scan (last image) is quite nice and shows the real potential for this amazing combo.
So I very recently got a Leica MP Black Paint a la carte with a matching black paint Leica 35mm F2 ASPH Summicron… Nice! But what film? I’ve been shooting a lot of 4×5 film recently, mainly Kodak 160 Portra and there is NO way a 35mm negative was going to give me the tonality or depth of color that I had grown acustomed to. So what to do?!
Here are the results of my first tests…. Kodak 400TX processed 1:100 at 68F for 20 minutes with gentle agitation every 3 minutes. The negatives when scanned on my Imacon scanner at 6300 dpi were fantastic- I love grain! I made a test print at 28″ x 40″ on Canson Aquarelle 310 on my Epson 9900 using the BW mode and it was spot on. But…. was it perfect? No. Since this first test I have run many others and now feel that a bit more agitation is needed, perhaps one gentle inversion per minute. I also have ran a test with D76 1:1 using my JOBO and the results were quite nice but the grain was not as crisp as the Rodinal.
So today I am running one last test as I am leaving tomorrow for a week of shooting from FL to VT (will mainly be shooting 4×5 color but want the Leica for my reportage work.
My test today will use PMK developer which I used a lot back in 2006-2007 and I remember how amazing the never ending highlights were…. more as that test concludes.
As I said others options do exist and many with a better build quality and additional options, however, anything to keep film and LF alive is cool by me! Ive been shooting a lot of LF in the last few months… but more on that and a review of some LF films and processing options in a few weeks.
When Kodak released the Portra 400 a few months ago many of us speculated that a new Portra 160 would be just around the corner… and guess what? Kodak has announced today that Kodak Professional Portra 160 will be released starting in March 2011 in: 35mm, 120/ 220, 4×5 and 8×10… fantastic!!! Click on the audio-play button to listen to a 13 minute in-depth review of this new film (I tested 120) and be sure to look at the sample images provided below while listening to the audio… What a nice way to start the week!!!
Viva la Revolution- Stephen
Please click on the images below to see larger versions of each.
1. The film looks fantastic! The latitude is much better and I like the feeling of the film file much more.
2. The test was very good. It would have been even better if the film scan was done on a higher resolution scanner like say an Imacon. This would have also leveled the field a bit as the RAW processing done to the digital file corrects a lot (but apparently not enough) and the film image was stuck with a relatively middle of the road scan on a Fuji Frontier SP-2500. It is a shame that the scanned image had to be upsampled (due to the scanner resolution limitation) as this film has a lot of subtle detail that a higher quality scanner could have showed optically.
3. I would also like to hear their thoughts regarding a side by side print analysis say at 2 or 3 different sizes… the proof is in the print!
4. The digital wins in the high speed test but the film is still quite good.
In the end will this article sway any true blooded digital shooter to consider film…? I don’t think so, as there will be a myriad of excuses on the RAW conversion technique or other BS that really does not matter. It is a good solid test and it confirms once again the many strengths that film and the hybrid workflow provide for the working creative photographer
Click on the audio play button to listen to this quick post on reciprocity correction for the New Kodak Portra 400 film. In a nutshell: double and triple everything beyond 1 second and you should be spot on.
Yes Virginia, good cheap film does exist. Click on the audio play button to listen to my thoughts on new approaches and needs for film in this figital / hybrid world.
The test images below are Fuji 400 Superia X-Tra which is a fantastic film and is readidly available at only two bucks (24 exp)… that’s $2 Dollars, 1.51 Euro, 1.28 United Kingdom Pounds, 167.94 Yen… about the price of a cup of coffee!
And for those of you who want even smoother results here is an example of the portrait of my wife (same file as above) that has been processed through Imagenomic Portraiture Photoshop Plugin at default settings and then faded back to 50%… very nice!
This review was passed on to me this morning and thought it would be of value to readers here on FR… his tests confirm what my posts here on FR did but he also tested the new Kodak Portra 400 at 6400 and 12,000 with very usable results… check it out:
The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, Fourth Edition is a must-have for every serious photographer… period. An earlier edition was a constant resource for me while at RIT and now this newer edition is my Xmas gift to myself this year… it is expensive but well worth it. It is quite thick and full of very useful content on just about every photographic topic imaginable from film to digital and beyond… and if the heat bills get too high this winter I can burn it to stay warm… or my wife could throw it at me to knock some sense into me or perhaps I could learn something about this wonderful medium we all love… either way it will be my constant companion for the dark winter months here in VT. Be sure to add this gem to your holiday wish-list today!