Neopan Acros 100 had always been one of my favourite film stocks, right up until it was discontinued about two years ago. Acros 100 was contrasty, rendering rich blacks and accentuating the dramatic and the moody in photographs. It is a tabular grain film like Kodak T-Max 100. Like Kodak’s T-Max films, Acros 100 was eminently pushable, and its grain is so fine as to make images almost indistinguishable from digital without looking close. When Fujifilm announced it was going to release Acros 100 II, my expectations were high.
I have the privilege of travelling for work to the Central West of New South Wales twice a year. After hours are typically my own, and I usually take those opportunities for photography. The night after night of clear and dark skies out there are wonderful for star gazing (though I can never help thinking of the heartache of the drought ravaged farmers praying for rain clouds). I usually shoot digital for very low light photography, such as astrophotography landscapes. There is really no other easy way to get a landscape at EV-5 and the Milky Way core above both acceptably lit and sharp in a single frame capture.
OK yes it’s cheap. Fuji C200 is one of the cheapest 35mm colour films on the market. But if Portra 400 was the same price as C200, I’d still pick the Fuji most of the time. I’m not a Portra 400 hater, and I don’t want to bag it. It’s an incredible film. Beautiful soft colours, very low grain, bucketloads of dynamic range. It’s a tick in almost every box.
My first exposure to Neopan 400 (Professional/Presto) was in the work of one of my favourite film photographers; Walter Rothwell. When I first discovered his work I wasn’t too interested in the medium the work was produced on; the content was powerful enough to keep my interest away from questions about film and gear. However when reading up about his process I was fascinated by the almost romantic way he described his first experiences with the film type, as well as his satisfaction when he started processing in D76.