Underground Adventures.. Part 2

This post will conclude the two-part “Underground Adventures” series, and will be dealing with four different types of film, most of which I was rather unhappy with. If you missed my last post, please go back and read it before continuing any further. The films I will be discussing today are Ilford XP2, Natura 1600, Fuji Press 800 and Superia 1600.

Out of the three color films I shot this day, I was generally unimpressed by all of them. The only one that showed any promise in this particular setting was the Natura 1600, which I had ordered from Japan. If you are interested in trying this film out, and don’t mind paying upwards of $10 a roll after shipping, it can be found here, at JapanExposures.com. This film seemed to have less grain than the Superia 1600, and better colors (in my opinion) than both of the other color films. The only problem with this film that I encountered was that it automatically rewound itself after 12 exposures, on a 24 exposure roll. After development, sure enough there were 12 unexposed frames. I still don’t know if it got stuck and tricked my camera into thinking it was at the end of the reel or what, but this was a little disappointing. The first two pictures from the following gallery are from the Natura.

The other two color films, the Press 800 and Superia 1600 weren’t terrible of course, but didn’t really leave me with any flattering images. Granted this was one of the first times I had shot high speed color film, but in retrospect I would have rather gone with my 5D for the color stuff, or just stuck with all black and white films. The rest of the images in the gallery were taken with the Press 800; the first two with the 12-24, the third one with the Sigma 50, and the last one with the 70-200 f/4L. None of the shots from the roll of Superia were keepers.

This next roll was one of my favorites from the night. I am constantly impressed with Ilford XP2 every time I use it. For the longest time I had always figured that if I was going to shoot black and white film, that I was going to shoot real black and white film, and leave the C-41 process stuff to all the lazy photographers. Well after being convinced by a friend that I should try it at least once, I was blown away. I love everything about this film, from the incredible sharpness, dynamic range, lack of grain, and yes, the convenience of dropping it off at a one-hour photo for development. It’s definitely not a replacement for “real” black and white films, but its uniqueness has certainly earned itself a permanent spot in my photo bag. All of the images from the XP2 were shot with the Sigma 50, except for the last one which was shot with the 12-24.

This concludes my “Underground Adventures” posts for now, and as usual if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will be more than happy to answer them.

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