Blog by Jonas Soderstrom – Gothenburg, Sweden
Hi! I recently found the Film Photography Project site and read the many Kodak “New” Portra reviews. I considered it a challenge and rushed out to buy a roll myself so I could join the testing and write a FPP’s blog! I purchased with the Kodak Portra iso 160 in the 35mm format.
Film was bought Friday after work and shot the following day. I have to admit, I was kind of excited trying out the new Portra 160. I usually shoot expired film, so this was a bit fancy for me!!
My first impression was that it looked a lot like Kodak Ektar (the grain was definitely smoother though)! I enjoyed the colors with this film…very natural looking if not a tad muted. I can image it’d be great for portraits and I was quite pleased at how it treated skin tones. In my opinion, it has a broader spectrum for registering different skin tones and I could really see the variation from shot to shot.
For how and what I was shooting, I don’t feel it handled highlights as well but I really enjoyed how the film treated shade. I’ll probably expose my next roll at iso 200 instead of 150.
All in all I’m quite pleased with the film. I’ll be sure to try out the Portra iso 400 as well and maybe I’ll return to the 160 for portraits with more controlled light and a medium format camera. I bet it’d be great for studio work!
1973 Konica Auto S3 also known as Konica C35 FD in Japan.
(side note: Konica Auto S2 and the normal c35 are both cameras worth considering as well!) The S3 is of the same mold as Minolta 7sII, Revue 400se, Prinz 35ER and Vivitar 35ES – all made with the same chassis by Cosina and finishing touches by those camera brands. Feels like a real precision machine in my hands – even though the small build could have you thinking otherwise. The black anodized body is looking stellar, same as used on the Leica M5. It wears beautifully, showing a graceful ageing.
Equipped with a sharp, semi wide bright eyed Hexanon lens (38mm f1.7), the one thing that stood out for me (besides the praised lens) was the ability to use flash so easily with it. Just set the G.N. number and (as you focus) the camera will do the rest. much easier than having to read off the back of the flash for every shot to see what f-stop and shutter speed is needed for every distance and film. It also has the function so you can see the meter in the viewfinder with an extra bar to compensate for backlight. Say you want to take a portrait of someone standing with their back against the open window and you still want the pond with the ducks outside to accompany the shot – no problemo! Sadly, this particular function does not work on my camera and seeing as they’re quite rare, spare parts are hard to come by (though I’ve seen some on ebay).
Did I mention that it’s a shutter priority camera? Might seem backwards for some but great if you want to use the effects of motion blur with good control. It uses 1.35V EPX-675 Mercury Battery but can easily be replaced with hearing aid batteries (LR44 1.5V batteries) or as I did, I ordered a replacement battery from WeinCELL.
Camera and Film Combo
I’m liking the results! The lens definitely has what it takes to shape the nice grain of the Kodak Portra iso 160 into nice and detailed shots. I particularly like the out of focus areas as the smooth grain really makes the blur something special. When I use the film again I think I’d like to use a longer lens to get more separation with the depth of field. The film is thus recommended for bokeh lovers.
I’m just a film crazy guy who saw the possibilities with photography when I stumbled upon the Holga and its expressive characteristics. Buying an all manual Smena 8M to cut down costs on film learned me the basics of aperture, shutter speed and iso and later the potential of the depth of field, motion blur and grain from the same.
From the Smena 8M it’s been hello GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)! I think I have around 30 cameras in different states of functionality. My favorite cameras are the Holga (still!), Yashica 635, Konica Auto S3, Contax RTS, Vivitar PN2011 and the SX-70 Sonar. I mostly shoot cityscapes (instead of landscapes), weird things, abandoned buildings and I’m trying my hand at street from time to time. I’d like to shoot more people but I’m kind of shy. Besides the FPP site, most of my internet time goes to flickr and the Film Wasters forum.
WeinCELL, makes new versions of defunct battery types: http://www.weincell.com/
Cameraquest – a good site for camera info: http://www.cameraquest.com/kons3.htm
My flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonasfx/