film: Kodak Portra 400 color
Our first roll, including shots from Collioure, Barcelona views swing, Casa Vicens and home.
On September the hubs surprised me for my birthday with a new old film camera, the Pentax k-1000, and a getaway to Collioure, a town in the south of France. If you haven’t read about our trip to this charming coastal town you can jump to this blog post, but today the story is quite a different one. We start a series that will include our adventures using this camera and film, it will be like watching the side B of our stories but also I see it as a personal project to challenge myself to learn how to better use the camera.
Let’s talk about cameras, photos and the (complicated – to me) analogue world!
The Pentax k-1000 is a 35mmm reflex camera from Japan that dates from the 80s-early 90s. It has interchangeable lens, but mine already comes with my favorite focal, a 50mm 1:7, so I’m not planning on buying another any time soon. The lens has a manual focus which for a digital trained gal like me is already a big challenge to conquer. To focus there’s this microprism system, which means that you have to turn the focusing ring until you see your subject sharp inside the focus ring, otherwise it appears like multiple mini dots. Depending on the conditions it’s not easy to 100% assure that it is sharp instead of dotted, not… at… all. In fact, we thought that most of our roll would be out of focus, and although some of them are, I am quite proud of how we were able to work it out!
The rest of settings are quite straightforward: speed and aperture. Nothing new because we always go fully manual on digital too. Still there’s another setting to carefully consider, the ISO (ASA for film cameras). In the film world the ASA is set by the roll you are using, although you can also play with the ISO/ASA parameter in your camera to trick it.
I’m not a total newbie to analogue because I used to shot film using my LC-A+ camera, although I feel like it. The LC-A+ was much easier to use, since you were only able to set the ASA and the distance to the subject limited to 4 options (less than 80cm, 1m, 3m, more than 3m) while the camera computed the rest (mostly everything, ha!). I already played with the ASA but never with the rest of settings.
Daniel bought the camera through ebay and we weren’t sure it was working properly, I’m glad to report that it seems to be in an OK form. However, he have detected that most of our photos were highly underexposed (pitch black, ha!).
We developed the film at Carmencita Lab, a place in Valencia (Spain) that receives worldwide praise by analogue wizards bloggers. Since it is quite near to our home we (shyly) tried it, even though our first roll did not match their usual clientele high quality standards, ha! The service was super good because after developing & scanning they sent a list of comments and recommendations for our next roll. They made us notice that the photos were very underexposed, thus we had lost a lot of quality & contrast because during the scan process they had to increase the exposure & brightness.
I need to overexpose the shots so I will:
- – Let the camera believe the ASA is 100 when using another Kodak Portra 400
- – (alternatively) Set the ASA correct and overexpose all shots
Which of the two methods will work better? Would you go those 2 steps (from 400 to 100 as recommended by our lab) or would you make several attempts, like maybe doing the same shot setting a 400 ISO and overexpose, then 200 ISO and expose normally, then a 100 ISO and expose normally?