Recently, I open up my mailbox to see a message by none other than FPP’s Michael Raso with a roll of film that I had never seen or heard of before, Kodak’s ProFoto XL 100. I was given instructions to test it and review it.
Under ideal conditions, I’d have a number of rolls to get the true feel of the film. You know, a chance to give the film some real abuse. After all, what little information I’ve found on the film says that it was designed to keep well at room temperature rather than refrigerated. Also, it boasts “excellent latent-image keeping characteristics” (meaning that it holds up well while it’s waiting to be processed.) The official publications also say it should be comparable to Kodak Gold.
Well, as you can see below, the canister itself had me thinking it was a different packaging of their Ektar 100.
Anyway, while that roll of Ektar I’m holding was destined for my Olympus Stylus Epic, I decided to put this ProFoto XL roll in my Nikon FE2 and just walk around town with my 135mm f/2.8 lens. I set the ASA to 100 and kept everything on automatic exposure. I felt that I should have some fun walking around with this roll of film than shoot some boring shots of the same subject at tons of different ASA settings.
Now, it’s hard to get a real handle on the film’s color palette, since so much of the film’s color depends on how you scan. I use Vuescan software, and then I fine-tune the colors in Adobe Lightroom. So who knows how much of the final image is the film talking and how much is my brain correcting for what I want to see. But what I can say is that the negatives (which I had processed by Sharp Photo and Portrait) were far easier to scan than the rolls of fresh Kodak Gold that I offered to scan for a friend who was new to shooting film photography. I’ve seen other people around the ‘net with examples of ProFoto XL exposures that were much more saturated, so I might eventually try re-scanning these negatives, or simply boosting the saturation in post-processing.
Overall, though, I think the color on this film is excellent, and while it’s no Portra, and not quite as brilliant as Ektar, I think there’s no reason not to pick some up if you can get a good deal on it.
Right, enough yakking… on to the pictures!
Read Part 2 of our Kodak Pro Foto XL review HERE !!
Kodak ProFoto XL 100 is available right HERE in The FPP Store