5 Frames… With Agfa Vista Plus 200 (EI 200 / 35mm format / Nikon F3HP) – by Will Hopkins

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I’ve been shooting film for a couple years now, ever since inheriting some cameras and expired film. Over the past year, though, my interest and desire to explore has really exploded. Getting out of my house to capture an adventure on film has become more enticing than sitting on my couch watching TV.

My friend Kristen, a fellow photography enthusiast and my regular model, told me about the Beach art installation in midtown Detroit, so we decided to go and document our experience. I shot Kodak Tri-X 400 in my Nikon F3HP with a Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AI lens pushed to 800 thanks to forgetting to change the ISO dial, and then wanted to follow it up with a color film to capture the dreamy, diffuse light in the installation.

I had a roll of Agfa Vista Plus 200 in my JCH film case for just such an occasion. I’d heard amazing things about the film stock, maybe a little too much hype, and wanted to try it for myself. With plenty of black and white shots in the bag, it was time to try something new. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much based on most of my experiences with Kodak Max, which just feels too warm for me, and since it was supposed to be identical to the dirt cheap Fujicolor 200.

When I got the scans back, I was completely blown away. Even in shadowy parts of the installation, the grain remained fine and skin tones came out beautifully. I found that the color reproduction was accurate to my memory of the scene, which is my usual frustration with color films. I plan to stock up on the less expensive sibling emulsion, Fujicolor 200, for my color photography needs.

While I’m likely to keep shooting primarily black and white film, I’m glad I have a go-to color film stock to rely on. And you can’t beat that price!

~ Will

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