#Neopantastic! (Battle of the 35mm Nikkors)

This is my first time shooting Fuji’s excellent Neopan Acros 100. Given the cost of it, especially relative to, say FP4+, I might never have tried it if not for the #Neopantastic! event on Twitter…  In order to give it a proper test, I decided to pit the fully automatic $2 Nikon One Touch 100, with it’s sharp-as-anything 35mm f/3.5, against the much newer FM3a, perhaps finest small 35mm camera Nikon ever made, with the well-enough regarded Nikkor 35mm f/2 D attached to the front.

Just for fun, I also used two different developers: D76 1 + 1 for the One Touch; Rodinal 1 + 50 for the FM3a.

Who won, do you think? Any bets?

The best thing to come out of either roll was this great shot of the Hanabibti on our way to a party one night. Just check all the tonality variation in there: black, white, and virtually every possible shade of grey, with a pleasant roll off of shadows and highlights. MashaAllah.

In general, I tried to shoot the cameras in tandem, first one camera, then the other. I wasn’t always successful, and given the fully automatic nature of the One Touch, it wasn’t always possible to focus on the same things. The 35mm f/2 D also benefited from filter rings: it wore a #8 Yellow filter for most of the week, and that likely contributed something. Exactly what the filter contributed, I can’t say, because I set exposure compensation on the FM3a to -2 while shooting clouds one day, and then forgot to set it back for about half the roll. :facepalm:

That’s the One Touch 100 on the left, and the FM3a on the right. (I’ll follow the same convention for the remainder of the a/b shots.) Both were taken through Caroline’s skylight while speeding down the highway one afternoon, and I’ll have more to say about her at some future date.

So let’s get into some comparing and contrasting…

A street corner near my house:

I quite like the underexposed Acros. It’s so contrasty and gritty, but still clean and crisp. I wish I was better at resetting things, paying attention to various dials and settings, and etc., but I’m really quite pleased with how the Acros handled the underexposure.

Next, some shots around Studio Arts Dallas. (I was by there for another reason and decided to park and walk around for a bit: some people at a nearby bank and dry cleaner gave me some funny looks, but I’m glad I did.)

Again, I’m loving the contrast from the underexposed Acros, but I also appreciate the tonality and smooth smooth grain in the properly exposed shots. They’re a bit flat, a bit boring even, but then I did virtually no post processing on them. Had I messed around a bit in Capture One, I bet I could get something really nice from the film, but once I saw the lovely drama I got from straight scans of the underexposed roll, I didn’t really consider doing much more on the computer (and have been busy with other things lately).

I failed to produce any 1:1 crops to check grain from the different developers. Oh well. That just means a follow-up might be in my future…

A vine we’ve installed on the side of the garage, and that is in dire need of some training:

This was right at the end of the One Touch roll, and I accidentally chopped off a bit of the frame… Oh well. I like the crop and the flash lit things up very nicely. I’m once again impressed with the $2 camera, for $2, it can’t be beat. Really, it probably can’t be beat for $22, not in these hands, anyway.

At the same time, though, I like the ability to manually focus and select apertures, even if the result isn’t quite the best it could be. At least I had managed to reset the exposure compensation dial by the time I got around to shooting the vines.

And that’s the end of the a/b shots, so here are a few random ones. First up: the One Touch 100.

And now a few from the FM3a.

And if you peer through the leaves, there’s the first Celebrity this year… the tomatoes are coming out early, thanks first to God, and then to the great veggie patch relocation. (I saw some photos of tomato plants, in cages, with red plastic wrapped tightly around them… I wonder what that does? I should ask.)

I did more post work on this one than on any of the others, mostly to try to get some of the drama from the underexposed shots into this properly exposed one. This is one of those occasions where I know there was a shot there, but I just didn’t quite find it…

I like the Acros, especially underexposed: the grain is clean and there’s good tonality at box speed and under 2 stops; at box speed, it’s a bit boring, maybe, kinda flat, but underexposed a couple of stops, it sings; I noticed a bit of cupping when it dried, but a night sandwiched between the solid wood top of a bookshelf and Magnum: Contact Sheets took care of that; and it’s easy to develop, and with decent results from both D76 and Rodinal.

Grain
Character
Handling
Processing

Overal, Fuji’s Neopan Acros 100 gets 4.1 stars in my rating system. I might have to shoot it a bit more often, though I have plenty of slower black & white film in the fridge at present.

I think I’ve now shot all of the 100 speed modern emulsion films (TMAX, Delta, and now Acros). I hate TMAX 100. I shot a roll or two of Delta 100 but never shared any shots from them, I just wasn’t happy enough with anything. I might dig up some best shots from the three and do a little comparison, if only for my own amusement, but not before I finish up the roll of Ferrania P30 I loaded up last night…

What do you think about the Acros 100? Any tips on developers or getting the best out of it? Any thoughts on it vs TMAX and Delta? I think I’ll take these questions over to the effbook, to the new Emulsive: Film Photography Chat group… just when I thought I was out, they dragged me back in. I hate the effing effbook, but I’m liking the new Emulsive facebook groups. Go check out Photo Chat group and its sister buy/sell/trade Camera Detox group, and join in if you think you have something to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *