For a really long time, the Nikon F100 was the best buy if you were looking for a Nikon film SLR at a good price that was compatible with most modern lenses. But then people discovered it, and like everything that gets discovered, the price got ruined. The Nikon FM2? Yeah, they’re really expensive now. It’s no secret second hand film cameras are on the up and up when it comes to prices and sales. Not only that, but they’re pretty. Well, most of them are. In the case of the Nikon N80, we’ve got the camera designed to be more consumer oriented and a step down below the famous Nikon F100. But for everything a professional photographer could want or need, it’s highly capable. And unlike digital cameras, all you need is some sharp film, good glass, and a lot of light.
Of all the color negative films Lomography sells, my consistent favorite has to be Lomography Color Negative 800. As the company’s highest ISO color negative film, you should expect to get good colors and some amazingly warm skin tones if you’re into that sort of thing. The film is designed for photographers who need a fast film for a variety of reasons. In some ways, I find it to be in-between both Kodak Portra 800 and Fujifilm Superia 800. Where the latter was the bread and butter for photojournalists for years, Kodak Portra 800 is instead meant for portraits in low light–but I’ve seen it capture some stellar Northern Lights photos. Lomography Color Negative 800 on the other hand works pretty swimmingly for both.
I’ve been testing and using Lomography Color Negative 800 on and off for the past few years in a variety of cameras. I can say with all certainty that it’s probably my favorite alternative to CineStill 800T when shooting at night.
The Mamiya 6 is a camera that I’ve lusted after for many years; and when the opportunity to get one with two lenses for an absolutely unheard of price, I knew that I needed to spring for it. As one of the few great compact interchangeable lens rangefinders that use medium format film, the Mamiya 6 is in my mind one of the most perfect square format cameras ever made. While some may pledge allegiance to Hasselblad and other to Bronica when it comes to SLR cameras, still other will stand by some of the best TLR options on the market that shoot 6×6 format. In many ways, I want you to imagine a Leica M series camera but bigger and plastic. On top of that, this camera is collapsible and has a few features to it that could be considered quirks but in other ways are fail safes.
If you’re the type of photographer that needs a compact medium format shooter the way that I do, then there is almost nothing better.
For some odd reason, I first picked up Ilford HP5 Plus because I was told it would be the perfect film for street photography. Why was I told this? I’m honestly not sure, but besides the work that I’m doing with film this year in 2017, I haven’t shot with Ilford HP5 since 2012. I’ve always had more of a liking for Ilford Delta and Kodak Tri-X; but my tastes have evolved over the years. Ilford HP5 Plus is a low contrast film–one that I’d like to equate to Kodak Portra 400. In fact, if you’re shooting in black and white then I’d like to call Ilford HP5 the Kodak Portra 400 of black and white film. That’s bound to either make you fall madly in love with it, or run for the hills looking for something else. Personally I think it’s fantastic for portraits, but when it comes to street photography I prefer something more raw, gritty, and contrasty.
With Lomography Lady Grey 400 Black and White film, photographers have yet another choice for black and white film photography. Indeed, the look that it delivers is also something pretty special. It’s not quite Ilford Delta, not at all like Kodak Tri-X 400, doesn’t even work like Agfa APX 400 and looks nothing really like Ilford HP5. Instead Lomography repackages film from FomaPan for Lomography Lady Grey 400, but earlier emulsions were apparently Kodak T-Max 400. The film has been on the market for a number of years now and has received not only a revamp but also more and more praise as we’ve delved deeper into the analog film photography world. With that said, I can say with confidence that Lomography Lady Grey 400 can be used to get great effects by many photographers out there for a variety of reasons.
This is an update to tell you we’ve finished reviewing CineStill 800T in both 35mm and 120. Our CineStill 800T Review has been updated accordingly. Besides obviously being a larger format of the film, we find CineStill 800T to be more forgiving with actual daylight. CineStill 800T is a tungsten based film and for that reason I believe it to be best for indoor usage and nighttime photography. It remains, in my mind, to be one of the best color films out there at the moment.
For the uninitiated, CineStill 800T is a tungsten film. It’s more or less Kodak Movie Film that was reformatted for C41 film processing. And it clearly delivers a look digital can’t give us.
Fujifilm Superia is oddly enough considered a consumer film. Why? I’m not exactly sure–especially considering that it wasn’t so long ago in history that every photojournalist swore by Superia 800. But nevertheless, Fujifilm Superia isn’t considered to be one of the more professional grade films as something like say Fujifilm Pro400H. But if you head into various Flickr and Facebook groups, lots of photographers still pledge allegiance to Fujifilm Superia. The film comes in a variety of speeds including ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800 and ISO 1600. In some ways, you can perhaps liken it to being a bit like Ilford Delta–except that it’s color and from Fujifilm.
But one thing is for sure, if you want great general use film, Fujifilm Superia is a fantastic option.
When you work with a film like Kodak Portra 160, you get a pretty fine detailed film designed to be used more or less with controlled lighting. Though interestingly enough, I’ve personally had much better results working with many other films using controlled lighting and instead found that this film is one of the best to be used with natural light. Designed for skin tones in portraiture, Kodak Portra 160 has a very muted color palette but not as pastel as Fujifilm’s Pro 160 NS–its closest competitor which is now discontinued. Like many other films, it is available in both 120 and 35mm. But if you’re reading this website, then you’re probably only using it in 120.
I’ve been using Kodak Portra 160 for years; and even though I prefer to work with 400, 160 is surely a nice film in the right settings.