First, let me say that the Nikon F4 gets no respect. I am just going to lay that out there. Okay, so now on to the film. All of my film problems can be traced back to The FPP. They were talking about some of their bulk films and how easy it was to roll and how it actually reduces the cost and waste.
You roll however many frames you want, reuse the cans, etc… Christmas rolls around and I get a kit of 100′ of Ultrafine eXtreme 400, 25 metal reusable cans, and a Legacy Pro Lloyd loader. I have never heard of Ultrafine before but who cares? I am going to load some film and go shoot. Ultrafine is cheap. Like, seriously cheap film. $39.95 USD gets you a 100′ roll levels of cheap!
My hopes were not high for the film. I expected Arista EDU levels of obtrusive grain (sorry Arista fans, it just is not the film for me) and softish contrast. No good. What I discovered, however, was amazing. This film is not grainy. It is pretty damned sharp. It is not soft and lacking in contrast. It is punchy and full of glorious black and white contrast. It is, bottom line, a fantastic film that punches above its weight. I have shot it with portraits. Wide and telephoto. Details. Walkabouts. Everywhere. It has never failed to deliver crisp results.
The shots here are all with my Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-D, with and without an orange filter, using my F4. So, can anyone tell me why the X in eXtreme is capitalized? I still do not know. What I do know is that I have already rolled and am in the process of completely rolling through my first 100′ of it and have a fresh 100′ in the freezer waiting. What’s more, is that next to it is 100′ of ILFORD Delta 100 Professional and Pan F 50 and I will roll and shoot the eXtreme before I roll and shoot those.
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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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