A Photo Walk in the Carneddau Snow with Kodak Film Ektar 100 and Portra 400

A Photo Walk in the Carneddau Snow with Kodak Film Ektar 100 and Portra 400

We don’t get much snow round these parts, so it was definitely fun trying to figure out what film to take when we did.

This was a reasonably easy walk up onto a lowly hill – Moel Faban – but one that provides ample rewards for little effort. I needed some landscape shots of the jacket for a review for Mud and Routes, and I was quite happy with how some of the shots turned out.

Some were perhaps, not so good. I knew I was pushing the limits taking shots into the sun and wanted to see what I’d get and the Tamron Adaptall 2 zoom lens (Tamron Adaptall (09A) 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5) was a bit of an unknown quantity as well. 

Curiously, these films were developed by South Sun labs. That lab is actually on the lower slopes of these mountains and is around 3km as the crow flies from where these photos were taken, so as local as you can get!

Some of my favourite shots are below, but the 35mm shots have been chosen to contrast with the medium format shots and I’ve put together a direct comparison between Portra 400 and Ektar 100 at the end of the post, but just for fun as they’re far from being a scientific comparison (35mm vs 6×4.5)

How did the Ektar in the Fuji GS654W turn out?

There was plenty of light for the Ektar 100, something quite important as I tend to shoot this camera at around f/8 or higher. I can hardly focus using the rangefinder, so I basically focus it the same as on old folding cameras – I whack the aperture up and hope for the best. I was surprised I managed to get the close up image right, but the focussing was definitely off on the Carneddau ponies.

I may well be tending towards favouring the use of Ektar for the mountains, along slide film of course. Had my usual lab been processing E6, this would have been a roll of new Ektachrome 100 which I’m itching to try out! I’m going to have to send it process only, and hope the positives don’t get lost on the way back to me.

What about Kodak Portra 400 in a PENTAX MV-1?

The results from the roll of Porta 400 on the PENTAX MV-1 with a Tamron Adaptall (09A) 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 are certainly different to the Ektar 100! Don’t look closely at the focus, the new lens was a bit fiddly and the hands a little cold.

The lens also gave some funky effects, so I don’t think I’d use the lens in challenging light again. Some of the images I rejected, showed less pleasing effects of the sunlight, though that’s probably on me for not using the lens hood. I think I’ve been spoiled shooting modern glass. Having said that, I don’t completely dislike the effect in small doses, but unlikely to like it enough to swap lenses on the mountain!

I’ll say again that I’m quite partial to the little PENTAX MV-1, and I’ll have to write a love letter / review about it very soon. I’m hoping that it aces the next roll as well, as I’m still not sure from some of the rejected shots if the uneven exposure was definitely from the lens or from some shutter issue.

How does Ektar 100 and Portra 400 compare head to head?

This is just for fun, but you can see the difference below!

My main takeaway from this is that I’m not wasting my time with medium format film, but the colour rendering of both films is quite distinct. Only very minimally ‘tweaked’ in Lightroom. It’s far from a scientific comparison, as I’m not yet sure of the image quality from the Tamron Adaptall (09A) 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5.

Comparing Ektar 100 to Portra 400

And another comparison shot.

Comparing Ektar 100 to Portra 400

I may run a full head to head, but I’ll need images taken under the same conditions – which would mean shooting them in an ETRSi and swapping the film back as needed. At the very least, I’m not going to use an unknown lens for the test!

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