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04-02-2015, 03:23 PM   #1
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Film for your Pentax K1000

Hi all,
I love my Pentax K1000 - it's forced me to learn so much more about photography than just shooting with a DSLR. Yet I'm wondering what film I should be using. I have been using Fuji 200 or 400 ASA as that's what I've found stocked in most places. The resulting shots are grainier than I would want. Can I improve them by using a different film or is it a case of me keeping on with improving my photography.
Thanks for your help!

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04-02-2015, 03:45 PM   #2
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Grain can depend by exposure, development and by film. The picture you posted is nice and the grain makes it feel very 80s, so I wouldn't consider it bad, however you didn't specify WHICH film you used, just the ASA.

There are very fine grain film, FujiPro400 is an expensive example, Portra 160 is another one, both are relatively difficult to find, but if exposed and lightmetered well they give outstanding results.

In B&W I miss the Kodak BW400CN, some of the pics I've taken were completely grainless and put digital scans to shame.

Then of course we have to define how much grain you consider tolerable...are these pics grainless enough for you?












Last edited by Cuthbert; 04-02-2015 at 03:54 PM.
04-02-2015, 03:52 PM   #3
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I find rating the fuji films 1/3rd stop over their box speed - 250ISO and 500ISO - helps with their clarity. As for other films, try Kodak Ektar 100 or Portra 160, which are delightfully fine-grained. In black and white, try Ilford PAN F Plus - only 50ISO but really really sharp and detailed. Try it on a sunny day and be amazed.

FWIW I agree with Cuthbert about the above picture - the grain contributes to its quality. I'm glad you're enjoying your K1000, keep shooting and don't start looking at lenses on ebay, it's a slippery slope

Here are a couple of Ektar 100 examples, which stand up pretty well even in web quality:



04-02-2015, 04:42 PM   #4
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Exposure has a lot to do with grain. Set your light meter to 2/3 stop or 1 stop slower than the listed speed of your film, and you will, on average, notice much less grain in your photos.

Nicely exposed reversal film can also appear to be grainless. Here's Velvia 100.



---------- Post added 04-02-15 at 04:44 PM ----------

I'd also say that, in your case, your image could be "pulled down," i.e. the overall brightness can be made lower. The reason I say this is that your subjects are wearing black, but it doesn't appear to be black. And their faces are showing as blown out. In the scanning process, if this had been brought down, I believe you would see less grain, because your shadow areas would be more black.

04-02-2015, 05:37 PM   #5
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Higher exposure, slower film or maybe go to a bigger format?
04-02-2015, 07:56 PM   #6
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Three observations. . .

1. Film grain isn't automatically bad.

2. Kodak Ektar 100 is great.

3. If you really want superior results, go to medium format.
04-02-2015, 09:04 PM   #7
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Ektar 100 is excellent--I have been using it for decades (originally Ektar 125, then Royal Gold 100, and now Ektar 100) and it is extremely fine grain and also wide DR. I would add you may want to expose any color negative film at 1/2 to 1 stop more (as mentioned above), although I find the Ektar/Royal Gold does fine at iso 100. The only finer grain as far as I know was Ektar 25, which is no more.
04-03-2015, 04:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
Three observations. . .

1. Film grain isn't automatically bad.

2. Kodak Ektar 100 is great.

3. If you really want superior results, go to medium format.
4. Machine scans often introduce artifact that looks like grain.

QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Ektar 100 is excellent--I have been using it for decades (originally Ektar 125, then Royal Gold 100, and now Ektar 100) and it is extremely fine grain and also wide DR. I would add you may want to expose any color negative film at 1/2 to 1 stop more (as mentioned above), although I find the Ektar/Royal Gold does fine at iso 100. The only finer grain as far as I know was Ektar 25, which is no more.
Sorry, but when it first debuted, Kodak was very careful to explain that Ektar 100 had no shared heritage with the earlier films beyond the name. Grain (tabular) is very fine and color saturation is excellent, but my experience has been that it is sensitive to exposure. Over/under may result in color shifts and/or color-specific changes in contrast. Think uncorrectable magenta cast, unnatural lipstick reds, and such.*

That being said, I do love Ektar 100. I was an early adapter and even won a prize from Kodak for one of my photos. A couple of my favorite Ektar 100 reviews:

Boring looking, but accurate, by Roger Hicks at Rangefinder Forum
kodak ektar 100 film

Not so boring, but a little more hype
Kodak Ektar 100 review, by Lewis Collard!

...and mine on this site. The second is an exposure text (spoiler...the outcome of the thread discussion was no more than 1/3 to 1/2 stop overexposure with this film)
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/45448-kodak-...irst-roll.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/66735-ektar-...2-2-stops.html

Oh...and my 15 minutes of fame courtesy of Kodak
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/117983-my-fi...utes-fame.html


Steve

* There were a couple of other early users that posted some photos with horrific reds. How about this one from Javier (jgredline)? (From this nice long thread with many examples: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/8-pentax-film-slr-discussion/57486-ektar-...old-100-a.html)




Last edited by stevebrot; 04-03-2015 at 04:50 PM.
04-03-2015, 04:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
Grain can depend by exposure, development and by film. The picture you posted is nice and the grain makes it feel very 80s, so I wouldn't consider it bad, however you didn't specify WHICH film you used, just the ASA.

There are very fine grain film, FujiPro400 is an expensive example, Portra 160 is another one, both are relatively difficult to find, but if exposed and lightmetered well they give outstanding results.

In B&W I miss the Kodak BW400CN, some of the pics I've taken were completely grainless and put digital scans to shame.

Then of course we have to define how much grain you consider tolerable...are these pics grainless enough for you?










Thanks - this is the kind of quality I'm aiming to achieve. I've been using Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia because it was the cheapest but happy to pay a bit more for quality images.

---------- Post added 04-03-15 at 04:36 PM ----------

Thanks everyone. Going to look for the Ektar film - any online recommendations for purchase? My local camera store has Ilford film, is it worth trying?
04-04-2015, 04:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emjaysworld Quote
Thanks - this is the kind of quality I'm aiming to achieve. I've been using Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia because it was the cheapest but happy to pay a bit more for quality images.

---------- Post added 04-03-15 at 04:36 PM ----------

Thanks everyone. Going to look for the Ektar film - any online recommendations for purchase? My local camera store has Ilford film, is it worth trying?
Ilford is just B&W, they make many different film, one of them is a "fake" B&W (C41, processed as colour), the XP2, it's cheap to buy and process, fine grain, not as good as the old Kodak BW400CN but still decent, my pic of the Millenium bridge is taken with XP2.

For the real B&W they offer Delta 400 (very fine grain, delicate to process) and HP5+ (easier and more grainy, in a good way).

This is a shot taken with a Canon F-1N, 50 mm f1.2 and Delta 400:



This is HP5+, taken with a K1000 and K55mm f2.0:



Notice the mild grain of the HP5+ (that I like in that pic) and the fact that the watch shot with Delta400 is razor sharp (no grain) but the bokeh is slightly grainy (that I also like)...grain can also depend by focus.

For the Superia, I don't like the colours of that film but I never noticed it's grainy, yes Portra and Ektar ARE more expensive but they are superior film, FujiPro is also astonishing in terms of grain but it costs an eye in your head.

Also, take into account that Ektar is no good to shoot people because it's an heavy saturated film that makes skin colour of white people VERY reddish, I don't have many human models so I use myself, this is me according to Portra400:



This is how Ektar "sees" me:



Similar light conditions and both excellent cameras and lenses.

Since you're into denim that's another example of well exposed and well processed Portra400 with an LX and a 55mm f1.8, I think with Ektar the blue would have look bolder:


Last edited by Cuthbert; 04-04-2015 at 04:23 AM.
04-04-2015, 11:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emjaysworld Quote
The resulting shots are grainier than I would want.
As far as I know, a typical scanner can not resolve the dye clouds in color negs (there is no silver grain in these C41 films)

I think what we see are artifacts in color of interference between the variations in dye in the film and the resolution of the scanner. Sometimes it gives a mottled appearance.
I find the ugliest is in the sky, particularly in evening or morning.

As mentioned by others, using a lower iso is the best.

I have some 35mm Fuji s-800 and I am now exposing it at EI 400 to try to improve the sky appearence. I think the slower exposure helps a bit, however I will be reverting to iso 100 and 160 films after I use all the iso 800.

Here is a late afternoon photo with the Pentax MX ( sorry no K-1000 here although I would like one!) and the SMC Pentax 1:2.8 24mm , using the Fuji S-800 at EI 400. This 35mm neg was scanned at 6400 dpi and downsampled by 4 to make an image about 2200 pix wide.
https://app.box.com/s/u3rk3hdboejh57x2h6fv85e57us7yz8f

For comparison here is the same scene with Kodak Ektar 100 on 6x7 format using a Graflex with a Graftar 1/4.5 103mm, set as metered by the MX.


This 6x7 was scanned at 3200 dpi and downsampled by 4 to make an image about 2200 pix wide.
As shown, the medium format with the Ektar shows much better sky, The artifacts are a lot less apparent on 1:1 at normal viewing distance.
https://app.box.com/s/vq8fdpayuvs516vh52cw61rpeavgyzwj


Anyway I think you are doing well with your K1000, based on the one in your op.
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