NOTE: I’ll begin this experience report with a brief disclaimer. It’s been less than two years since I’ve returned to shooting 35mm film after switching to digital photography over 20 years ago. I’ve inundated myself with as much film education as possible between web articles and advice from experienced film shooters. But, with my former experience way in the past and limited recent experience, this review is coming from a relative novice point of view.
UPDATE 25 January 2022: I bought an Epson Perfection V600 scanner, scanned the slides myself and compared my scans against the ones from The Darkroom. See below.
A few weeks ago, Bhavna and I took a day off from work in the middle of the week and spent a day down the shore at Avalon Beach. We had a wonderful time. I recently purchased a gently used Minolta camera kit from an elderly couple in Lambertville who downsized. The kit included Minolta X-700 35mm film camera, an MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 lens, and two speedlights. Along with my Fuji X-T2, I brought the XD-11 and a few rolls of colour film.
Bhavana wanted to walk along the beach, so I grabbed my Fuji X-T2 and captured a few shots using Ritchie Roesch’s Kodak Portra 160 film simulation settings. I also had 35mm film rolls each of Kodak Professional Portra 160 Colour Negative Film and Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100 Colour Reversal Film in my camera bag. I thought it might be fun to expose some film and compare the digital and 35mm film images. I grabbed the X-700 and loaded the Kodak Ektachrome 100.
After two weeks of waiting, the film has finally been developed and scanned by The Darkroom for download.
I have no experience with Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100. If I remember correctly, I had my aperture at f/8 for all of the captures, same as on the Fuji X-T2, and shot in aperture-priority mode, letting the Minolta choose the shutter speed. I may have been so excited that I ignored my camera settings. Looking at the EXIF data from the Fuji X-T2 images, I see that I had set the X-T2 to f/8 at ISO 200, and the majority of the digital photos were captured at 1/1000 sec or faster. The Minolta X-700 has a maximum shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. I had exceeded the limits of the Minolta X-700, and the frames should be overexposed. However, they appear underexposed. I’m not sure why the structures appear this dark. I admit my ignorance in this regard. Exposing this roll of 35mm film was humbling. I think I know what I’m doing, but there is still much to relearn.
I also didn’t expect this much grain. I am not a fan of grain in colour photography. Grain can give a black and white film image an edgy “end of the world look” or add intensity to a photograph captured on a miserable wet wintry scene. But grain in colour images feels offensive. I’m not too fond of it.
I admit I am disappointed. The scenes looked sharp and vibrant in the viewfinder on the Minolta, but the scanned negatives appeared dull. I could blame my tool, but that’s not how my mind works. This failure is all on me. But now I know that I need to be aware of ISO and aperture limits and perhaps use the Sunny 16 rule to gut-check what the camera tells me.
I enthusiastically enjoyed shooting the Minolta X-700, and I am anxious for another opportunity to return to the beach and try again. But maybe with a cheaper roll of film.
If you shoot film and Fuji X-T2, you may want to check out Ritchie’s film simulation recipes. He has an excellent Kodak Ektachrome 100SW Film Simulation Recipe.
Anyway, here are the best of the images. If you can compare film versus digital simulation, some subjects are nearly identical to the SOOC photographs from the Fuji X-T2. The only adjustment made to these scans is for horizontal correction. I have a tilt.
|Name||Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100|
|Lab||The Dark Room|
|Software||The Dark Room|