These images are from a 36 exposure roll of Kodak Professional Portra 160 35mm Color Negative Film that I shot on a recent beach trip. The first roll captured on my Minolta X-700 and MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 was Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100 35mm Color Transparency Film. I prefer the look of the image shot on Kodak Portra 160.
One of my concerns while shooting this roll was whether I had set the ISO correctly on the camera. The Minolta X-700 film-speed ring has marks between numbered ISO graduations, but no numbers are printed at the markings for ISO 125 and ISO 160. I didn’t bring my reading glasses with me, and while Bhavna tried to help, her eyes were not much better. I hoped I set the ISO correctly. I was also very nervous about loading the film, which I kept in my bag and under my seat until needed, in the bright sun.
I might have used the programmed auto-exposure (AE) mode – the “P” setting – for a few of the shots. With the camera set at ” P ” and the MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 lens at its minimum aperture of f/16, the X-700’s program selected the aperture and fastest practicable shutter speed giving audible beeps to warn against motion blur. I discovered that if the lens is not set at the minimum aperture, the “P” will blink as a warning. This bit of information is important. According to the manual, “although exposure will still be correct unless an over or under-range LED blinks, the program’s range will be limited so that it cannot accommodate brighter subjects.” I was at the beach on a bright sunny day. I didn’t have room for error.
While the X-700’s P mode is ideal for general picture-taking when all you want to do is compose, focus, and shoot, I felt comfortable using the aperture-priority auto-exposure (AE) mode. Many of the images were capture in aperture-priority AE mode with the lens set at f/8 most of the time. The Minolta X-700 automatically set the step-less shutter speed.
It’s interesting that when posting scans of film, I am always writing about events that happened weeks in the past. The turn around time for 35mm film developing and scanning from the Darkroom is about two weeks, and I think that is considered quick. I know that the quality and ease of use of 35mm film1 can’t match that of my Fuji X-T2, I admit to enjoying the overall process.
- For film to match or exceed the quality of modern 35mm format digital cameras, you need to shoot medium to large format film. ↩