I picked up a copy of Stephen Shore’s American Surfaces some weeks ago, and so I shot some Shore-inspired plates of food from time to time during the trip. Most often, I just had one camera with me, but a couple of times, I had the presence of mind to get shoot both cameras and see how the films handled.
First up: Kodak UltraMAX 400 (L) and Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 (R).
Mom’s tile is green, sortof an evergreen color. The Kodak got it close, but only with great torturing of the RGB levels. It also didn’t handle the mixed lighting too well (early morning sun from the left, and “daylight balanced” cfl above).
The Fuji Superia handled the mixed lighting admirably, but missed the floor, and with very little levels fun.
I started running low on film by the second day, and so picked up some Fuji 200, so next up, Fuji Superia 200 (L) and Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 (R).
Even thought it’s frame 0, without the mixed lighting, both did fine, no color balance issues at all. The 200 was a bit closer straight out of the scanner (with an curves inversion and white balance set to the base in Capture One Pro 9). The 400 took a bit more work.
In these limited circumstances, it looks like the Fuji stocks win, but, really, all of the consumer films are fine right now. Sure, I love Kodak Pro Image 100, but the current Gold 200 and UltraMAX 400 stocks are marvels of modern chemistry, and while we’re not living in a golden age of choice, at least we can walk into any drug or general merchandise store and pick up some good film that’ll do just fine in a variety of situations. The consumer stocks may be a bit more saturated and contrasty than the pro films, but they don’t curl like the pro films and they’re much cheaper and more readily available.
Shots on Kodak stock took a bit more work than ones on Fuji, and were generally oversaturated for my taste, but both were easy to process in Capture One Pro. I developed all the rolls in a day and a half, and processed most of the 9 rolls in only 3 evenings. That’s fast! It’s often one or two evenings for one roll.
Let’s try to be thankful for what we have. Let’s try to support local film sellers as often as we can, especially the small shops, but even the big retailers, and let’s get out and shoot!