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12-10-2007, 02:50 PM   #1
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Film Recommendations

I just bought me a zx-5 off of ebay. I should have it Wednesday or Thursday of this week. I normally shoot outdoor scenery and was wondering if anyone can recommend the type of film to get? Since I'm outside I'm thinking a ISO 400 will be fine. But I'm not sure what brands are out there or anything else. Oh and the camera is coming with a 20-80mm lense and a 30-200mm lense with a 2x teleconverter.


12-10-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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Outdoor scenery: slow ISO color or black and white. Use a tripod, shoot in the early morning and late in the afternoon. 400 may work but if you are going to have them printed go for slower. Be sure to shoot a few rolls of inexpensive film before you start getting serious, get to know the camera first.
12-10-2007, 06:42 PM   #3
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When shooting film I use black and white exclusively because color is better with digital, in my opinion. Personally, I like Kodak Tmax 100 and Tri-x (ISO 400) for shooting outside. There have been other threads on this very topic in the past, so you might do a search.
12-10-2007, 07:35 PM   #4
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Generally I would recommend something slower than 400. However, for low light, nights, cloudy days and interiors, I love Fuji Superia 800. Great stuff, very lovely grain, nice colours with good saturation, and still kind to skin tones.

For sunny day landscapes, I LOVE Kodak Ektrachrome 100VS. Very similar is the Elitechrome 100. Under sunlight, both of these films explode with colour and are richly saturated. They hold a lot of detail, so the best scanning you can get will be needed. Or, pop the slides into a projector and get ready to be wowed.

I just picked up a roll of Kodak Ultra Color 100UC. Supposedly also a very nice saturated film, but this is negative (C41 processing.) Haven't tried it yet, it's been too cloudy in T.O. This might be a good choice for you if you don't have an E6 (slide) lab close by.

If you do any portraits, you can't go wrong with either Kodak Portra 160 or 400. Now THAT is a look you can't easily get in digital. The highlight handling and the skintones are amazing.

For black and white, I don't think you need to spend much to get good results. I like grain, so 400 speed is good. I can still find good deals on AGFA Silvertone 400 (usually $2 a roll.) For finer grain and richer blacks, I like Ilford's Delta 100. I also have a roll of Pan-F to try -- 50 ASA, really fine grain. The amazing thing is Ilford doesn't charge an arm and leg. Their B&W films are a bargain for such a specialized product.

Let us know what you try and what you like!

Samples: Fuji 800, Ektachrome 100VS, Delta 100, Elite Chrome 100

Last edited by filmamigo; 10-23-2015 at 07:22 AM.
12-10-2007, 08:05 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input everyone. For the next couple of months I will be having these developed and put on CD's for me so I can post them on my website. Till I can find me a scanner for slides and negatives.

12-10-2007, 10:47 PM   #6
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Those are nice cameras, I have a zx5n, and I really like it. Although I preferred my SP1000, over the years it got much too difficult to focus and I had to go to autofocus to continue taking pictures.

I'm reminded of an article that appeared in one of the photo magazines many years ago, not quite sure which one.

They tested several brands of film including Kodak, Fuji, Agfa, along with several store brands. As it turned out, one of the store brands had one of the highest rated films. Agfa turned out to have a low rating.

The problem with this was, it was the same film.

They used a local developing company, and as it turns out the processing has more to do with the film than you might think. The strength of the chemicals used differed in such an amount that you could develop several rolls of the same film and get a wide range of results.

This also applies to the printing process. Remember you can always have your pictures reprinted, but you can only have the film developed once.

This can be a problem when selecting a film brand.

If you're not doing it yourself make sure that you have a company that replenishes their chemicals properly, so you can get consistent results. Try that brand of film and let several different companies develop it before you decide if you like it or not.

Also note the time of day have a lot to do with what speed film you use.

When I am shooting outdoor scenes I base my film speed according to the available light and just use my years of experience on which to use.
When starting out I recommend you use the following criteria, you can modify it as you gain experience to suit your style of photography.

Morning and evening, bright sun, 200 - 400

noontime, bright sun, 100 - 200

Cloudy days, 400 and depending on how dark the clouds are 800

Deep woods can be very dark, 800 - 1600 depending on the available light.

There's no magic number when choosing film speed, it's all about available light and lens aperture + shutter speed needed.

Landscapes with calm wind will allow you to use a slower film speed. But you will not be able to stop the wings of a hummingbird, if you do not have the available light.


I also should mention, the film speed noted above is intended for summer. Spring and fall may have less available sunlight. And Snow-covered winter scenes will have less sunlight, but there will be more reflective light available. This means that the film speed may change with the seasons.

This makes it necessary to be aware of the available light while you are shooting.

A great landscape photographer in the US, " Ansell Adams ", (I hope I spelled h this see to be should just for a few weeks away is yes and yes and you is an element in is more of a life for you high-security areas in the field of criminal Justice name right) had a great knack for judging light. One of his most famous pictures was taken on his way back from a photo shoot, he came across a town with a cemetery in the foreground just before dusk. He quickly took out his camera set it up and took the shot without taking any kind of light readings at all. He simply used his own experience with the camera equipment to judge the light, and it came out beautifully. Although i can judge the light pretty good, I can't come near that level.

Hopefully if you pay attention to the available light, you can come closer to being able to do this than I can.


Last edited by joe1955; 12-10-2007 at 11:40 PM.
12-10-2007, 11:35 PM   #7
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My personal preference for portrait film is the Fuji 160. I still have a couple of frozen rolls for that occasion. My next door neighbour is expecting, and I will probably do the new baby shoot for them. I will have a really difficult time convincing myself to use the digital rather than the MZ-S and the 160.

For landscapes and wildlife, I compromise on Fujichrome 100. I do not use the pro versions because of the need of refrigeration. My trailer has only a 3 cu ft fridge, and SWMBO insists that there be room for food in there.

If I am "out for the day" I will use Fuji 400 print film. Good all round, grain is ok, colours acceptable. It doesn't punch like slide film.
12-11-2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbrowning Quote
I just bought me a zx-5 off of ebay. I should have it Wednesday or Thursday of this week. I normally shoot outdoor scenery and was wondering if anyone can recommend the type of film to get? Since I'm outside I'm thinking a ISO 400 will be fine. But I'm not sure what brands are out there or anything else. Oh and the camera is coming with a 20-80mm lense and a 30-200mm lense with a 2x teleconverter.
There are lots of different kinds of film for different purposes. I mainly shoot slide film for scenery. I would recommend using ISO 100 speed film (or slower) for the best image quality and smallest grain. Fujichrome Velvia 100F gives excellent results, and Velvia 50 was just re-released and should give excellent results as well. I just picked up a couple of rolls of Kodak professional Ektachrome E100 VS but I haven't tried it yet. Kodak Kodachrome 64 gives excellent results and can still be processed by Dwaynes Photo in Kansas (A trusted name in photo processing for over 50 years - Dwayne's Photo). However, Kodachrome doesn't look as good when scanned as compared to Velvia. So if you're thinking of scanning, go for an E-6 process film like Velvia. Use a tripod for all landscape shots for sharp results.

I don't do much with black and white, but it is a good choice if you want to do your own darkroom work. Once again, slower film gives better results. Kodak T-Max 100 has a very fine grain structure and has given me good results- much sharper than 400 speed films. If you do want to use a 400 speed film, I'd choose T-Max 400 over the older and much grainier Kodak Tri-X. There are several other B&W films but I haven't used them so I can't recommend anything. There are also B&W films that use conventional C-41 color negative chemistry, so can have it processed at your local drug store or mini-lab.

I haven't shot color negative film in years, so I can't comment on current negative films.

Last edited by GaryML; 12-11-2007 at 09:14 PM.
12-11-2007, 12:50 PM   #9
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Man oh man. Now I really can't wait for the camera and lenses to get here and the weekend to come around. Oh and by the way here is the auction that I won. PENTAX ZX-5 AUTOFOCUS W/FAST TAMRON 28-200 + 2X + MORE! - (eBay item 280178775640 end time Dec-09-07 20:00:00 PST)

Does anyone else use this camera or have any info on it. I tried for the pz1 and the 5n but they were a little bit out of my price range since this one also comes with some lenses and teleconverter.


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