The wonderful colors and tones of film

After quite some time shooting digital, I am back on film. I’ve been shooting slide film (mostly Velvia) and I just need to shoot a couple more rolls in order to send them to the lab. That will take a couple of weeks so for starters I am posting today images shot with the recently introduced Kodak Portra 160 Professional (which I can develop very fast at my local lab).

I loaded it on the Leica M7 an shot the entire roll with the Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5. This is something I do often with the Leica, just take one lens with the, and its usually the 15mm. As I have written repeatedly, having only one lens (and the 15mm is a specialty lens) makes me search for specific subjects and be very concentrated. It’s also liberating not having to decide which lens I will mount all the time.

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(Leica M7, Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5, Kodak Portra 160 Professional)

Every single time I scan a film after a long period of shooting digital I am really amazed by the unique look of it. It’s very different from a digital image and its a look that I still like far more than digital. I find the color and tone transition absolutely wonderful even with 35mm film.

Scanned at 4000dpi with my Coolscan 9000 I get an image at about 24 megapixels. Of course this cannot be compared to a 24mp digital sensor which will show greater resolution and a far more clean image but as I’ve said, its a completely different look. I have long ago stopped comparing film with digital at least in terms of resolution and cleanness. The grain on film plays a significant role in the way it looks (especially when printed) and its one of the characteristics that differentiate it. Now, many people will prefer the clinical look and 100% total clean image that a digital camera can produce at low ISO, I just happen to prefer the opposite.

Also, one thing I love is how film records color. It seems more natural and smooth and the same goes for tones, especially highlights. To conclude, I find it more interesting for my personal taste.

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(Leica M7, Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/4.5, Kodak Portra 160 Professional)

The new Portra 160 has a great dynamic range and does very well in contrasty scenes. It also scans very easily and although I will always be a fan of the older VC version, I am happy that a new emulsion is available for film shooters especially now that more and more films are discontinued. I rate it at ISO 125 which seems to work good.

I am currently shooting a Kodak 400 Professional with the Leica M7 and the Voigtlander Skopar 21mm f/4. It’s really strange how the 21mm in many situations seems not wide enough since I got used at the super wide angle 15mm !!! I will probably post images form this roll next week if I go for a photo trip this weekend (with film I only shoot subjects that present a real interest for me and that’s good since I get a very high percentage of keepers per roll).

Enjoy the rest of the images.

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(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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