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.
Just finished a great trip to Cape Cod with my oldest daughter. Many wonderful conversations about film and exposure and getting her comfortable using her “new” Rollei 35S. It was very interesting watching her tune into the light and it’s subtle changes and thinking about how it would look on film- she was much more engaged to the whole process than when I see her shoot with a digital camera. Yes I am very proud!
Leaping Outside The Box: Reimagining Photography by Stephen Schaub
Rutland, Chaffee Art Center – 7 p.m., Chaffee Downtown, 75 Merchants Row, (802) 775-0356
Photography is dead… at least the photography that has existed since Joseph Necephore Niepce made his first exposure in 1826; the same photography that led so many into the darkroom of trays and chemistry; the same photography that our grandparents used to produce endless carousels of slide shows on Kodachrome.
So what is next? Photography has always been in the throes of change and evolution since its inception and this transformative, gut-wrenching period is no different. Photography- as our collective nostalgic memory remembers it-is dead. The future promises to expand our definition of what a photograph will be.
After quite a while working with my Cuboid camera I asked Matt Abelson of Abelson Scopeworks if a turret with 6 scopes would be possible to retrofit to my Cuboid while maintaining the ultra wide 25mm focal length… all I have to say is that it is spot on for my artworks and damn does it look nice!!
With the custom SELECTASCOPE option I have the choice of F196 – F32 with a Zone Plate at F45! The varying degree of sharpness and the option of overlaying different levels of sharpness on the same negative through multiple exposure is a creative A-Bomb…. ART Bomb that is!
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.