I Shot a Roll of Kodak Pro Image 100
Back in December last year, Kodak kindly sent me a few rolls of Pro Image 100. While most of them went your way during the Christmas giveaway week I ran on Instagram, a few rolls stayed with me to finally try out this new film.
I’m saying “new film” but that’s not true. Until recently this 35mm color film was not familiar to most Europe and US based photographers as Kodak was keeping it for the Asian market. That’s no longer the case and we can now find it easily in 5 rolls packs for around 35$.
As any other slow speed color film, it gives best results when there’s plenty of light available so I kept it cool while waiting for better days to come. Didn’t took long for spring to knock at the door here in the south of France (yes, we like to bring up that we live in a sunny place 😋), so in mid February we went out for a walk around Antibes with a roll of Kodak Pro Image 100, my Leica M3 and an abused 5cm Elmar f2.8 (more on that later).
This was also the perfect opportunity to practice my Sunny 16 skills and get familiar with this M3 recently acquired.
Kodak advertise Pro Image 100 as a Professional film, with great skin tones rendition, saturated but accurate colours. For me in terms of look, it’s the perfect balance between Kodak Gold and Ektar: a little cooler than the warm Kodak Gold and not as saturated as Ektar. But what stroked me about this film is how it renders blue tones. Pro Image 100 captures perfectly all the shades from deep to light blue.
You can also trust Kodak when they claim that is has “outstanding flesh-tone reproduction”. This is not Portra 400 of course, but for about half the price, Pro Image 100 is an excellent alternative for anyone who wants to shoot portrait on film on a budget.
Portrait is not really my thing but once in a while I like to capture of moments with family and friends and it does a great job at doing that. Skin tones look neutral and natural which not always the case (wink wink Ektar)
They mention that it doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated and is made to resist warm or humid environments. It also features excellent latent image keeping capabilities, meaning that unlike slide film, you don’t need to rush and get it developed (or keep it cool) once the roll is exposed. This makes it the perfect film to bring on your next summer holidays! But that doesn’t mean you should leave it cook inside your car during all summer. It’s still film after all and Kodak recommends storing below 21°C (70°F).
About the abused lens mentioned earlier, would you believe me if I told you all of these were shot on a +60 years old lens with haze and eaten by fungus? I wouldn’t !
When buying this 5cm Elmar f2.8 I knew that it had some light internal haze. It didn’t bother me at the time since I only wanted a lens to see if the M3 was suited for me, before investing big money on the mighty 50mm Summicron. What I didn’t knew at the time was that it had also suffered from fungus eating internal glass elements and leaving lines.
Between haze and fungus marks, I’m quite surprised and impress by the results. This should have resulted in a loss of contrast and sharpness but that’s not the case at all, except maybe this last shot below which was the only one from the roll showing heavy flare.
Apart from that one shot the lens still performed very well and that made me realise that I may not need a Summicron after all! Sure the HD scan from my lab Nation Photo helped in getting crisp details and great colour rendition but the lens is also in for something.
I’ll conclude this post by thanking Kodak for sending over these test rolls and of course my guys at Nationphoto.com for processing it for me! If you ever need a great mail order lab, definitely check them out. Now they even offer prepaid labels for all EU based customers so you don’t need to pay shipping when sending film to their lab, how cool’s that??!!