Kodak Portra 160 Color Film | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm F:1.7

It's interesting how when posting scans of film I am always writing about events that happened weeks in the past.

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 in as much film education as I could find 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.

These images are from a 36 exposure 35mm roll of Kodak Professional Portra 160 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.

While shooting this roll, one of my concerns 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 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 essential. 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 captured in aperture-priority AE mode with the lens set at f/8 most of the time. The Minolta X-700 automatically sets 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 turnaround time for 35mm film developing and scanning from the Darkroom is about two weeks, which 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.

Name Kodak Portra 160 Color Film
Type Colour (negative)
Native ISO 160
Format 35mm
Process C-41
Lab The Darkroom
Scanner The Darkroom
Software The Darkroom
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160
26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Portra 160

  1. For a film to match or exceed the quality of modern 35mm format digital cameras, you need to shoot medium to large format film. 

Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm F:1.7

I enthusiastically enjoyed shooting Kodak Ektachrome 100 film in my 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.

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.

roll of Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100
17 February, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR

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
Type Colour (reversal)
Native ISO 100
Format 35mm
Process E-6
Lab The Dark Room
Scanner Noritsu
Software The Dark Room
Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100 | Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7
Woman walking on sand at Avalon Beach
Wednesday, 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100
Wednesday 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | f/8.0 | ISO 100
Wednesday 26 August, 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.7 | f/8.0 | ISO 100

Isolation Photo Project : Day 157 : Avalon Beach

Kiran changed her mind about attending the first sophoremore semester on-campus, so we quickly made other plans for what was supposed to be the move-in day.

Despite months of planning by students and Oberlin College, at the last moment, our daughter Kiran decided that she was not attending on-campus classes for the fall semester. I think it was the last bit of paperwork with the college that did it. She had to fill out a form with her plans in case she fell ill to "COVID-19". She realised that Oberlin, OH is an 8-hour car ride from home and if she was infected and we had to bring her home, we could not quarantine here inside our car. She did not want to risk infecting us. The news reports about infections breaking out on colleges and universities were probably another push. Tuesday afternoon after a last-minute scramble of phone calls and emails, we quickly made other plans for Wednesday, the day we were supposed to travel to Ohio.

Bhavna and I left home around 8 AM and drove down the shore to Seven Mile Island in Avalon, a borough in Cape May. We arrived at the Avalon Community Hall around 10:30 AM and bought two beach passes. We found a spot near the pier to set up our beach chairs, table and umbrellas and sat down to start our day of "doing nothing".

I brought my Fujifilm X-T2 and XF27mmF2.8 lens, and a vintage camera kit, my Minolta X-700 35mm film camera loaded with a roll of Kodak Gold 200. I captured a few test shots on the Fuji X-T2. I was not too fond of the results from the colour recipe I usually use. It just felt too warm and contrasty. The sky was mostly clear with a few clouds, and the scene was brightly lit.

Kodak Porta came to mind perhaps because I had a roll of Kodak Portra 160 in my bag. Fortunately, Ritchie Roesch has two film simulation recipe for Kodak Portra. Because of the abundance of sunlight, I chose his Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation recipe. It took seconds to lookup his recipe and configure my Fuji X-T2.

In between long stretches of doing nothing; just sitting staring at the sand, surf and passers-by, I took to capturing beach scenes on my Fuji X-T2 and Minolta X-700. It was fun. I love the sound of the shutter of the Minolta X-700. I shot in aperture priority mode.

Around 1:30 PM, Bhavna and I packed up our beach gear and went for lunch at Sandbar Village, an outdoor restaurant. Of course, I ordered a Maine lobster roll and a beer. We regretted that we hadn't done anything like this before and why we hadn't visited Avalon before.

After lunch, we returned to our previous location on the beach for more sitting around and doing nothing.

I completed the 24 exposure roll of Kodak Gold 200 quickly and then loaded a 36 exposure roll of Kodak Portra 160 colour film. Bhavna wanted to walk the beach. I quickly completed the roll of Kodak Portra 160. We returned to our seat and sat down for another stint of "doing nothing". I loaded a roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100 slide film.

Then Bhavna wanted to walk the beach in the other direction. Surprisingly, I finished that roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100 as well. Bhavna was bemused that I was having so much fun taking photographs on an almost 40-year-old film camera. I was surprised as well. Of course, my excitement could turn to disappointment once the film is developed, and I download the scans from the Darkroom.

Around 5 PM, after we had our fill of "doing nothing" we packed up and went home. We enjoyed our day of "doing nothing".

Bhavna, window blowing in hair, Beach Scene
Bhavna | 25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Bhavna walking on Avalon Beach Boardwalk
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
View from Avalon Beach Boardwalk
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Avalon Beach Street
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Bhavna, Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Feet, Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Couple walking Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Couple walking to dock Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Man sleeping under umbrella Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seaweed Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Bhavna Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Food
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Couple Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Surfers Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seagull Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seafull Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Young Woman Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Chair Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Foot print Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seafull Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Sea shell Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seagulls Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seagull Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Woman Walking Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
People Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seagull Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Life Guard Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
People Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Dock Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Life Guard Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Bhavna Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene Life Boat
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene Life Boat
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Seagull Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Life Boat Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Life Boat Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
People Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Life Boat Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Life Guard Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
Beach Scene
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation
X-700 and film rolls
25 August 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation

Submitted for the 100DaysToOffload project.