Over coffee, at the Photographers Gallery in London, my friend Matt delved deep into his camera bag and passed a roll of Kodak's Pro Image 100 across the table. 'Here try this, I think you'll like it'. he said.
Pro Image is not a new film it was released in 1997 but it is new to the European market and to me. According to Kodak, it is a medium speed colour negative film that has accurate colour, good saturation, pleasing skin-tone and good underexposure latitude. All that and it is part of a welcome trend, that of increasing film stock availability from Kodak and others.
So a couple of weeks later shooting with Natasha on a sunny October afternoon, I loaded my CONTAX S2 with the Pro Image. Using only a Zeiss 85mm ƒ1.4 Planar lens I shot half the roll on a very bright beach with little shade. The other half in a wooded copse. The trees filtered the strong sun into bright pools of light in deep shadows. I quickly wound through the entire roll by spot metering from Natasha's black dress less two stops.
Developing the film in my usual way using Fuji X-Press C41 chemistry I found scanning straightforward with very little post-processing required. ISO 100 was perfect for the light conditions on the beach. In the copse, it handled the extreme light and dark really well too. Pro Image has a stronger colour palette than Portra 400, but still subtle and certainly not as punchy as Ektar 100. The resulting skin-tones are indeed 'pleasing' and together with its fine grain and detail it clearly is an impressive portrait film and a good budget alternative to the Portra range.
Model: Natasha Bush