This time around I will show some pictures of the first roll of analog color film I shot after re-starting analog photography. Until that point I had shot around 3-5 rolls of black & white. I had gotten some good results but also a lot of not so good ones, with blown out highlights or subjects placed too far in the background to de distinguishable. I liked the look of analog but I was also very aware of its limitation, which at this point had more to do with my abilities than the film itself.
My outlook on the capabilities of 35mm film cameras drastically changed with the first roll of color film I shot.
The first roll is Fuji C200, which I decided upon after a lot of research and comparison with Kodak’s offerings. The colors and look of C200 seemed more to my liking. The roll is shot with my Nikon FE and a 50mm 1.4 if I remember correctly. I may have been the 1.8, but I think it is the 1.4.
So what changed in my head when I saw the images from this roll?
Suddenly I see that 35mm film can match the quality of digital. To a lot of people this will not be surprising. But the images I had shot up until that point were more stylistic, had more feel and character, but sharpness/quality-wise they fell short of digital. The main reason for this is my lack of abilities with the film and not the film itself. But suddenly looking at the scans from Fuji C200 I can see the “full potential” of analog film. They match the sharpness and “quality” of digital but on top has the look and feel of film.
I was blown away.
Not to say that every image is breathtaking – because they are not – but a switch flipped and I can see the full potential. One of the images below also hangs on my wall at home.
This is the second image on the roll and the one that opened my eyes. I absolutely adore the sharpness, detail and tonality of this image. The subject might not be the most interesting, but I can enjoy the rendering of the film. When I saw this I was seriously hooked.
What I had struggled with on black & white, namely object in the distance being indistinguishable, suddenly worked. The portrait orientation photo of the cabin here is a good example. It would have been better if I had framed it slightly different, but the quality of the image is very good and leaves no question as to what the subject is.
I really love these images of boats on the beach. The quality is exactly as I want it. The warmth and tonality is spot on, there is grain, the colors gives of a nice vintage vibe. I am hooked!
The last one of the green boat is the one I have framed and hanging on my wall. In my opinion it is one of the best photos I have ever taken. The only critique I have with it is that I should have waited either until the foam of the wave had taken up the entire width of the frame or disappeared. I find it a little bit distracting covering only 2/3’s of the frame.
Finally I will show two images of boats in icy waters. I include them because even on a full overcast day I still really like the colors coming out of Fuji’s C200. All the images above was greatly assisted by good light but these are shot on full overcast days and still came out fantastic to my eyes.
Reading (and writing) this gives off the impression that from this point on I shot color and Fuji C200. But actually I did not. I have shot some additional rolls of C200 and even just put in a new roll today writing this as it re-sparked my joy with C200.
But the far majority of analog film I shoot is black & white. I enjoy the look of black & white more. It is a lot more difficult – at least for me – to produce as good results with black & white as I can with color. I just really enjoy the process of learning that craft.