5 frames with...

5 Frames with Kodak Pro Image 100 – By James Greenoff

April 9, 2019

I’ve been in a committed ménage à trois with Ilford HP5 and Kodak Portra 400 for the last few years. There have been dalliances with others but these were one or two roll stands. I’m a pretty lazy when it comes to film. Most of the time I shoot Portra and take advantage of its wide exposure latitude, (it covers for slapdash metering in cameras that have no meter). It also converts to black and white nicely, has an attractive grain structure and all in all, does everything I need it to do, hence the lazy.

Last summer Kodak Alaris announced that a film that had been widely available in the ‘rest of the world’ for ages would now be available in the UK. This means that while Pro Image 100 isn’t going to be a new film for a lot of you, I shot my first roll back in October. (I traded something for it, probably a roll of Portra).

I figured that I should try and establish a baseline for its performance and so ditched my usual testing technique of just bashing away and seeing what happened. In this case I dropped it into my Canon EOS 3 which is one of my few film cameras with a solid metering system. (I should therefore get ‘properly’ metered shots without sacrificing spontaneity).

The colour is great, saturated but not overly so with glamorous and filmic skin tones. It has a pleasing balance of grain and clarity and handles contrasty light and shadows, it scans nicely too.

I immediately bought a 5 pack and loaded the Leica, this time to use it like I’d use it. This tested the love affair. The nights were drawing in, and I was hiding indoors to escape the cold. The ISO 100 film languished partly exposed in the Leica, waiting for a combination of subject and light, during which time my son threw my 50mm across my studio, and I bought a 35mm f/2 which I haven’t focus adjusted. Lazy.

Being so used to shooting Portra, I’ve grown used to the associated expense. As a result I’ve found Pro Image 100 to be refreshingly cheap in comparison.

The results are glorious, with greater pathos and tone than I’d normally expect at this price point. I want very much to get cracking on some summer reportage and to see how much latitude I can take. Now that the light is coming back to the UK the ménage à trois has, for the moment, given way to polyamory.

T with the Yellow Shoes – Canon EOS 3 – EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Delivery / Collection – Canon EOS 3 – EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Bark – Canon EOS 3 – EF 35mm f/1.4L USM II

Storytime – Leica M4P + 7Artisans 35mm F/2

Cantilever – Canon EOS 3 – EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

jamesgreenoff.com

Support & Subscribe

35mmc is free to read. It is funded by adverts. If you don't like the adverts you can subscibe here and they will disapear.

For as little as $1 a month, you can help support the upkeep of 35mmc and get access to exclusive content over on Patreon. Alternatively, please feel free to chuck a few pennies in the tip jar via Ko-fi:

Become a Patron!

Learn about where your money goes here.
Would like to write for 35mmc? Find out how here.

20 Comments

  • Reply
    eric
    April 9, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Nice captures. Composition, interest, color : great !
    I like this film. I shoot mostly with M3.

  • Reply
    Martin Hugh Henley
    April 9, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with this “new” film. Like most readers, I think the stunning image of “Little Miss Yellow Boots” will be enough to convince anyone to try this out. Cheers.

  • Reply
    Bernhard
    April 9, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Really nice colorful pictures.

    Regards Bernhard

  • Reply
    P
    April 9, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    I have one Pro 100 lying around for months, never quite got to use it, but i think you convinced me to load it into one of my Prakticas and see what come out ot it!! Thanks for the article!

  • Reply
    Crispin
    April 9, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I really like the Storytime image. But what makes it stand out? The light/time-of-day or the old-fashioned lens design that gives that soft, warm look?

    • Reply
      jamesgreenoff
      April 9, 2019 at 1:46 pm

      I do too, I love the way the window light picks out the boys face reflected off the book, the confluence of angles, and the vague timelessness of the colour – it works, (it’s one of the few I nailed on roll number 2) –

    • Reply
      Alvaro
      April 9, 2019 at 1:48 pm

      Pro Image generally has a soft, warm look. It’s not that far from Portra’s look!

  • Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    April 9, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for the nice review? But what is ‘pathos’ in regard to film?

    • Reply
      jamesgreenoff
      April 9, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      I’ve always considered film to have a connected and emotional look and feel, as opposed to the hyper-reality of digital photography. Colour film captures colour in way that is reminiscent, intertextual and that references other photographs, it has a ‘feel’ or ‘feeling’ – Perhaps I’ve used the term incorrectly here, but that’s what I was trying to convey –

      • Reply
        Kurt Ingham
        April 10, 2019 at 2:42 am

        Great – thanks again!

  • Reply
    Miguel Antonio Gonzales
    April 9, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Great review, as someone who’s also been committed to certain rolls (hp5 and superia for me) this is something I’m definitely looking forward to try.

  • Reply
    lori_brooks
    April 9, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Nice! I’ll have to give it a go sometime. I’ve just bought a 100′ reel of Vision3 500T, So I need to burn through some of that before I get more color film.

  • Reply
    Adrian
    April 9, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Beautiful and engaging compositions – well done! Clearly you got on well with your new bit on the side:-)

  • Reply
    Nigel Haycock
    April 9, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Nice. Just as I was thinking Portra was my preferred colour film (once I’ve shot my current film stock) you show me this… hmmm guess I’ll have to try it out myself.

  • Reply
    J W
    April 9, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Need this film in North America now!

    • Reply
      Michael Raso
      April 10, 2019 at 12:13 am

      Pro Image now at the FPP on- store in the US.

  • Reply
    Manu
    April 11, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    It´s a lovely film, here in south america is the cheapest film you can get, and i have to reccommend to you, it pushes real nice even at 1600!

    • Reply
      jamesgreenoff
      April 11, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      I’m going to have to try that 🙂 – Thanks –

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.