Saturday, May 30, 2015

First Look at Rollei's Digibase CN200 Color Negative Film (35mm)

I always love to try new films, especially color films. The Rollei Digibase line of films have been on my list of interesting films to try for a long time, but I was always turned off by their relatively high price. However, as Kodak's prices have continued to increase, I've been looking harder at alternatives.

Currently, a roll of 35mm Portra 160 is just shy of $8. For me this is an untenable price. A roll of 120 is "only" $5.50, and I'd rather shoot medium format in most situations! 35mm for me is a "fun" format for casual shooting.

Comparatively, from most retailers the Digibase CN200 35mm film costs $13 for two rolls. $6.50 per roll to me is still a bit pricey - but by importing the film direct from Europe I am able to shoot this film for much cheaper! So I decided to give it a shot and ordered a large quantity directly.

I ordered this film a while ago but I finally got around to trying it out a few days ago - and it's really good! The colors and tones were lovely, the grain was not too harsh, and it scanned really well.

Kodak Portra (160) and Ektar I always find to be too blueish/cold and I always try to use a light warming filter. In late afternoon shadow I find it really hard to use without an 85 filter. Much to my delight the CN200 was really easy to manipulate in scanning/editing to get the colors back to a neutral balance in that situation. Warm sunset light rendered wonderfully and was also easy to manipulate if I wanted to tone it down (or up).

Shadows were nice and open and could be pushed up fairly well, though the grain started to ramp up when I did that. The ISO rating of 200 is probably a bit optimistic. I will probably shoot it at about 125. I might have to try pushing this film if I want faster, but that's uncommon for me.

Best of all, while I have a lot of issues with color banding in the sky when scanning most color negative film, this exhibited none of that.

Frankly my initial thought is that this film is better (for my usage) than any negative film I have used!

Nitpicks: The polyester base is very thin feeling and a bit difficult to work with in the darkroom, loading onto the reels. The beginning of the roll had some light leaks (possibly light-piping, which I have read about in regard to this film) in the sprocket area, but only the very first shot did it spill into the frame a bit. I'll pop off an extra dead frame at the beginning of a roll to fix that. Other than that, the grain definitely is a bit more pronounced than the latest-and-greatest Kodak film, but it's not so bad as to be obnoxious. In medium format, I imagine it would be a complete non-issue. It might be about what Portra 400 looks like.

If the Euro keeps dropping I might order a bunch of this stuff and stash it in deep-freeze, and buy as much 120 as I can afford. I'm looking forward to trying out the similar CR200 (positive) film next, as well as experimenting with cross-processing both types.

As I shoot more of it, I might post additional comments.

All the images above were shot with my Leica M6 and either 50mm f/1.5 Zeiss Sonnar (Contax mount) or 3.5cm f/3.5 Nikkor (S-mount) with corresponding Amedeo adapters.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Meagan's Graduation - Summer 2015

My girlfriend Meagan is finishing up her Master's in Higher Education Administration. She was walking in VSU's graduation ceremony, so I took a few images of her, her friends and family, and us with my Linhof Master Technika and 15cm f/4.5 Voigtlander APO Lanthar or 250mm f/5.6 Zeiss Sonnar, on Fuji 160S. I used one reflector camera right:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A New Experiment - VLOG #1

Recently I purchased a GoPro video camera and Meagan and I took it out to Reed Bingham last weekend. I was just playing around with it, making sure I knew how to use it. She took some video of me shooting some film.

I am thinking about starting a "VLOG" to go along with this written blog. We'll see how it goes.

Here is the video:

Here are some of the images shown in the video, all on Provia 100F:


Monday, May 18, 2015

Late Spring Catch-Up 3

Still catching up here...looking back in my archives I noticed that I've shot 4 rolls in the last month or so with my Linhof 70, but I haven't posted any of them. I am a lot more deliberate with the Technika, and since it's medium format I kept shooting several rolls over the course of several trips and ended up with a variety of landscape shots.

First are some images from Langdale Park, again while it was raining in March:

After the rains, the far recesses of the park were flooded again. A couple of days later I took these:

And also a couple of color shots:

To finish off the roll, I took this image of some flowers on my porch:

More later!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Late Spring Catch-Up 2

I mentioned in the last post about the rains we had this Spring. One of those days though, I caught the clearing storm right at sunset out at Grand Bay. The fire tower that stands at the end of the boardwalk trail is especially nice for sunrise/sunset images and probably the highest unimpeded view you could find in Valdosta.

This evening I brought along my Shen Hao 6x17 and 72mm XL. I shot a few images on Plus-X:

We got to the fire tower and then I shot a roll of Portra 160 of the clearing storm;

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Late Spring Catch-Up 1

March and April were really busy months, and May has been a bit crazy too, so I'm catching up on some old photos I took during that time.

First are some moody photos during some of the stormy and overcast days we had in March. Most of these are with my Nikon SP 2005 and either a Nikkor 2.5cm f/4 or Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Heliar (with F-S adapter) on T-Max 100 or Tri-X 400, though the first few are with my Leica M6 and Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 (Contax mount + adapter):