5 Frames… With Kodak Portra 400 (EI 400 / 35mm format / Konica Hexar RF) – by Trinh Le

These photos were shot on my last trip to Japan during the cherry blossom season. Japan held a special place in my heart and I have always wanted to capture its beauty on film, especially since acquiring the Konica Hexar RF months ago in mint condition.

Previously I have shot Kodak Portra 400 alongside with another digital camera of mine; however, this trip was shot entirely on film. I liked how the Kodak Portra 400 rendered colour of the cherry blossoms – pastel pink without being oversaturated. Shooting with this 20-year-old film camera allowed me to put aside the plethora of features on modern digital cameras, and focus completely on capturing the perfect moment.

As this is an automatic film camera, once you load the film roll, the camera will do all the hard work for you. It even has an Auto Exposure mode – all you have to do is select the aperture, adjust the composition, and have fun shooting! What I like best about the Konica Hexar RF is that it features Leica M mount, so I can make use of the wonderful line up of Leica M, Carl Zeiss ZM and Voigtlander lenses.

Most of the time, I bring my trusty Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 lens. The colour rendition of this Leica lens is crisp, rich and aesthetically pleasing. What’s more, the camera’s shutter speed can go as fast as 1/4000, which can be a blessing if you want to shoot at f/2 on sunny days. However, the viewfinder of Konica Hexar RF is relatively poor compared to its German counterparts. It’s not bad, but it struggles in scenes with complex backgrounds or lighting.

~ Trinh

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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

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  1. Some of the images do not seem to be in focus. This could be the result of scanning them to digital and/or displaying them on the website. I don’t know.

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