For the fourth series of images from our Easter photo run I used 35 mm Kodak UltraMax 400 colour film.
In the past I had always opted for Fujifilm Superia Xtra 400. This had always been my “go to ” film for colour, however with Fujifilm discontinuing the Superia film line I had to choose a replacement. Having used Kodak in the past with good results I decided to get a couple of rolls of the UltraMax 400. I use 400 ASA (ISO ) film because it is very fine grained and a medium speed, which means lower light values can still yield results without resorting to a flash. I chose 36 exposure film because the initial film price is marginally more expensive the 24 exposure but develop and scan costs are exactly the same at $20.00 per roll.
Initially I had some reservations about this film as I had seen the odd negative review from other film users, but I’m happy to say that this was not worth worrying about. After viewing both the scans and prints I had done I can report that the Kodak film is as good and perhaps even better than its Fuji counterpart. It appears to have finer grain than the Fujifilm, appears to be more sensitive in low light areas and has excellent colour balance with the colour appearing very natural and very much how it looked on the day, without the “Fuji Punch” we often find with the more vivid colour profile of the Fuji films.
Even better however is the quality of the image after scanning the negatives. Most colour film tends to have a slightly washed out look to the images, very much like the flatter look you get with RAW files from DSLR’s. This is very simple to edit, indeed if you edit your scanned images very much along the line of how one would process a RAW image the process is almost identical. I will build a colour profile in RAW Thereapee for future use with this film that will incorporate some basic process steps. This will speed up batch processing which can be applied prior to any major processing steps.
On the left below is the original scan and on the right is the slightly processed image.
The original looks slightly washed out and the image isn’t level. The image was straightened and lightness was dropped a few points and a slight increase in saturation and contrast were also adjusted. Thats the sum of the edit steps for this image and the following pair below.
All these images were shot using the Pentax MZ-6 and the Pentax 28-90mm which for a budget lens is a better than expected performer and even with its plastic construction never felt fragile when mounted on the camera. I will include this short clip for those interested. Just for reference I bought the Pentax MZ-6 for $45.00 with this lens about 3 years back off of TradeMe. In following articles I will discuss processing and print options. You can view the unprocessed, scanned images in the Galleries section, feel free to download and process the images and send me your results.