How Certain Films Look

Last fall I took a short walk up the Lamoille Lake trail from Road End. I really wasn’t prepared for a long hike, and since I started rather late in the afternoon I didn’t actually go very far.

I had brought my Vivitar V3800n 35mm camera complete with its Vivitar MC 50/1.7 lens loaded with a 24 exposure roll of Fuji Superia 200 color film. Even though I didn’t go far, it was a beautiful fall afternoon so along the walk up the trail I exposed the entire roll film. I actually came back with a few nice images (which I really should print.) I picked one for this post. I don’t know that it is the best of those that I created that afternoon, but it does help make my point, so I decided to use it. Additionally it happened to be handy to upload from my laptop.

Most people know that black and white films have certain looks. The gritty, grainy, documentary film look of Kodak Tri-X is probably the most famous of the examples I could cite. A few months ago I did an extended review of JCH Street Pan 400 black and white film in the form of a post on One of these days I’ll have to move the gist of that review onto this website.But, before I wander to far afield, lets get back to my point.

Color films seem to have different looks as well. Fuji’s ISO 200 consumer color film seems to produce a beautiful, lower contrast, almost painterly look. I really like it but I really have not spent enough time using it to decide whether it produces this look because of the way I use it, or if the way I develop it has a bearing on the look. For most people C-41 (color) film processing is pretty standard so the expectation that developing could have an effect on the look of the print seems a bit foreign. But I think it does. Temperature variations, changes in agitation, brand of chemicals used, can all have an effect. Of course, not everyone develops their own film so if you give your color film to Wal-Mart, who then sends it out to a lab. At least that is the way it is done at my Wal-Mart. Yours may be different.

Anyway, back to the point. Over the next few weeks I intend to go about with my Pentax K1000 and take photographs using various color films. I will start with Fuji 200 (because I have quite a bit of it to use) and then move on to other color films that I have lying about.

So, without further ado, to kick this project off, here the photo already mentioned that was created using Fuji 200 color film.


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