Kodak P3200 Old and New

When Kodak announced it would re-release P32000 I was excited. I had only shot a very expired roll of the film last year and the results weren't great. You should expect that from a high speed film that has been out of production for over a decade. I also wanted to know if shooting a true 3200 speed film was a better option than just pushing 400 speed film. 

My original roll of P3200 came out insanely grainy and I underexposed quite a bit. A good rule of thumb is to add 1 stop to every 10 years a film is expired for black and white and 2 for color. High speed films, anything over 800 ISO, degrades even faster so an extra stop is good. A golden rule to negative film is overexposure hurts a lot less than underexposure. I shot at 1600 and wish I shot at 800 to get better results. 

Now armed with a fresh new roll of P3200 I could now see how the film was supposed to work. I planned on using it at night in a tattoo shop and exposed for 3200. I was pretty happy with the extra stop it gave me, giving me F2.8 at 1,125th indoors. When I got the scans back I was a little disappointed to see that I had underexposed a little, and the exposures were pretty thin. 

The images turned out fine and I liked the look. When pushing HP5 this to 3200 the contrast increases greatly but P3200 gave a  very mellow range of tones. The grain itself was subdued and in all the images I made that day the grain didn't stand out, good or bad. Having more dynamic range at 3200 is a real strength of P3200 and a really good reason to have an emergency roll around. 

Kodak P32000 is a film to to shoot in pretty dark scenarios and need to keep contrast and grain low. Pushing 400 speed film is going to be more economical in the long run but you can't subtract the contrast you add by pushing, if you have a way let me know. I'm also excited to see a niche film like this get its due again. While P3200 won't be in constant rotation for me it is still a very specific tool that does its job well. If I'm ever shooting portraits by moonlight it's my first choice. 

My Favorite Films

I like to try new things and new places but once I find something I like I make it into my routine so I don't have to think as much. It's the same with restaurants, cameras and film. Here are some of my current favorite films and why I love them so much. I'm going to focus on color, contrast and saturation. The titles are also links to purchase the film so if you're interested in supporting this page feel free to pick up some rolls.  

Fuji Superia 400

I'm a bit sad that Fuji is pulling back on it's film production but at the very least they created some great emulsions and supported them as long as they could. I love Superia 400 because you can get it at anywhere, it's a bit oversaturated and handles greens and reds in a way that stands out. It's what sold me then and always brings me back. 

Kodak Ektar 100

Ektar is known for being a great landscape and travel film and it's been Kodak's de-facto successor to Kodachrome. I love the way it handles reds and borders on over saturation. Ektar is versatile as well, you can overexpose a lot and get away with it. Images with Ektar have a very pleasing and natural color palette as well. 

Ilford HP5

I had messed around with a lot of black and white brands but once I tried HP5 I knew I had found my look and have stuck with it since. I push HP5 to 1600 because I shoot indoors and that increases contrast and grain. It gives my images a really specific look and feel that work well with the tattoo content. It's also very affordable and Ilford hasn't shown any signs of slowing down it's production. 

Kodak T-max 100

T-max 100 is little less edgy then HP5 and versatile as well. I don't shoot a lot at ASA 100 but this is the film that made me love black and white. Images have a classic feel and look. Kodak has shown restraint with contrast and their is a lot of gradiance between black and white. 

So those are my current favorite films. Since this was so fun to write and cull through my images I'll do a larger post on all the films I've shot with some quick quips and examples. Let me know if there is a specific film you'd like to see me cover. Have fun shooting!