Finally, I have convinced myself to try out the famous Kodak Ektar film, so I loaded a roll into my beloved Olympus OM 4 Ti. Unfortunately, the camera had other plans and the electronic circuits gave up at the middle of the roll.
In the end, I ended up rewinding the film and I loaded into the good old mechanical workhorse Yashica TL super. This process, however, leads to 2 consequences. Unsurprisingly I have got some nice double exposures, but most importantly I bought a bit worn Leica M2. At least I won’t have problems with the electronic parts of that camera.
I still haven’t given up the hope that the Olympus can be repaired at some point, but I generally lost my trust in these old electronic cameras.
The Ektar, on the other hand, is truly a gorgeous film which delivers everything that is written on its box. It is smooth, high resolution with fine grain and with rich deep colors and high contrast. My scanner is absolutely unable to extract all the possibilities of this film. I am very impressed by this film indeed, however, I find it not the best suited for portraits as it is too vivid. But it is only my impression based on less than a complete 36 frames roll so I might change my mind.
I am definitely going to experiment with the Ektar, but from now most likely with my “new” M2 and with a ZM Sonnar.
My last post about portraits (Portraits round 1) featured black and white photographs. Black and white often help simplify things by skipping the colors and thus resulting in a cleaner image focused more on geometry, composition, and effects of light and shadows. Many times this monochromatic approach emphasizes important properties which would have been otherwise overwhelmed by the chaotic world of colors and can be greatly beneficial. While I love the more abstract nature of the B&W images, I also admire the emotional power of the colors. Sometimes a photo just works better in color.
I am quite fed up with the long, cold and dark winter here so now I am starting to see and use some colors. Besides this post is a post about portraiture it is a small celebration of colors hoping that spring will come soon.
Unfortunately, I had less time to take pictures recently, therefore this selection is composed of my old works exclusively. The photos are taken in many different locations and seasons using various films and lenses but with the same old Pentacon Six of mine.
Color negative film
If you want to take portraits in color, negative film is probably the best choice. It is usually less prone to exposure issues than positive (dia) film so it can accept slight over or underexposure without serious problems on the final image. Also, these films are not as contrasty and vivid as most positive films (except Kodak Ektar which I have never tried so far) so the images are smoother and it is often a good point in the case of general portraits.
It is also very easy to make black and white images out of a color version so you have the flexibility to change your mind during post-processing.
Color positive (dia) film
Positive films are generally recommended for natural product and architectural shoots. At least this is what I have heard a lot. But of course many uses dia film for portraits as well. For example, the famous photographer Steve McCurry used to shoot on positive film and took fabulous portraits like the Afghan Girl.
I personally like to use these films for portraits because of the character and the fact that they have the finest grain ever. But this is true that lights and shadows have more contrast, the exposure must be bloody accurate and overall you have to be very precise to achieve a good result. In addition, it is not too easy to find a lab where you can get it developed especially if you shoot medium format or bigger.
At the bottom line, I think it is still worth to shoot positive films regardless of the subject because the view of the developed dia film makes you happy as a kid at Christmas for sure. You get the final (not inverted) image. Because it gets visible by the light passing through the film rather than reflecting it. That is why dia has a huge dynamic range which makes the experience (in my opinion) kind of better than reality.