City: Hong Kong
Location: Tsim Sha Tsui
Camera: Leica M2
Lenses: Summicron 35mm f2 IV
An alternative for Black and White Film Shooters?
I am always so excited whenever there is new film launched in the market, so I picked few rolls of JCH Street Pan 400 out of curiosity. I pre-assumed that this film is just a normal black and white film with high contrast and little details. But after the film was developed by lab. I was happy with the result and decided to try few rolls more. I spoke to the lab about it and they said the film base is similar to Rollei/AGFA, very thin and top and bottom unexposed areas are transparent after developed.
Film type: Black and white
Character: High contrast with fine grain structure
The Reborn of a Surveillance film
JCH Street Pan 400 is not having a newly invented emulsion, it is an old discontinued surveillance film that was made by AGFA. In 2016, Bellamy Hunt from Japan Camera Hunter decided to bring this film back to life. JCH website mentioned that It has high sensitivity to red lights, and it is optimal for different weather conditions and under low light environments.
Contrast and Greyscale
The contrast of JCH Street Pan is fairly high at box speed. But it helps to bring out the mood with such contrast level keeping a great tonality. It has rich greyscale, but not as broad as Kodak Tri-X and the tone is great for street photography which performs really well under different weather conditions. So you don’t have to worry about getting a grey and flat result on a cloudy day as other black and white film needs more sunlight and push the film to get the same tonality.
Compare JCH Pan 400 with Kodak Tri-x, ilford HP5 (Grain, Contrast, Mood)
I would describe JCH Pan 400 is a film between Tri-x and ilford HP5, a mixture of both. JCH Street Pan 400 is characterised by its fine grain structure. It is not as grainy as Tri-X or HP5 and the grain structure is similar to HP5. It can easily render the mood that I want at box speed. However, to get the same mood with HP5 or Tri-X you have to push the film to ISO800 or even 1600.
R09 One Shot (Rodinal) 1 + 25 10:30
R09 One Shot (Rodinal) 1 + 50 22:00
R09 Spezial / Studional 1 + 15 8:30
R09 Spezial / Studionial 1 + 31 17:00
Rollei Supergrain 1 + 12 7:00
Rollei RLS (ISO 200/24°) 1 + 4 14:30 (24°)
Ilford Ilfosol 3 1 + 3 5:00
Illord ID-11 / Kodak D-76 1 +1 10:50
Ilford Perceptol 1 + 1 10:00
Kodak HC-110 B (1+31) 5:00
Kodak X-Tol 1 + 1 17:00
Tanol (ISO 200/24°) 1 + 1 + 100 19:30
T-max Dev 1+4 at 20c 9:00
Source from JCH Website
What cameras/gears did I use to take the images?
Leica M2 with Summicron 35mm f2 IV
Where to buy?
Name: AgfaPhoto Vista Plus
Film type: Colour Negative
Character: Sensitive to red colour, saturation is high
ISO 400 is the perfect box speed to shoot under different conditions. Since my beloved Kodak Super Gold 400 has already been discontinued. I need to find a replacement for it. I tried Kodak Portra 400 but we didn’t really work out. I always have the impression that the Agfa Vista 400 is cheap with low quality reflected on its price tag. But I was totally wrong to have this impression to it. Why? Let me explain with the follow points.
Sharp colour and fair sharpness
“RED” is the first impression of Agfa Vista, at the same time it is the signature. It has great skin tone reproduction which I am quite surprised. I love how it can enhance my presentation on street snaps. When I do photo walk in Hong Kong, I always wanted to bring up colour as one of the key matter in my content. Agfa Vista 400 helps me a lot with bringing up the sharp colour rendering. Also, it is great to use under different weather as other film cannot really bring up the right mood when the weather is bad. And normally I will just shoot with black and white film immediately when I knew it is going to rain on that day. Frankly speaking, I like it more than X-tra 400 or Superia Premium 400 because it doesn’t has the Fuji green tint. I like it presented in warmer tone like the Kodak film and it is cheap in price. Sharpness is fair, not so sharp compare with Kodak Portra 400 but you couldn’t ask for more with such price.
Even though they stated it has fine-grain structure on their website. But I think their grain formation is a bit coarse. When you compare other film with ISO400. Agfa’s grain is less appealing. I find Fujifilm Superia Premium 400 and Portra 400 are much better in grain structure with more consistent and smooth grain particles.
Why do I prefer Agfa Vista 400 than Kodak Portra 400, Fujifilm Superia Premium 400 and X-tra 400?
Based on my experience of using these films. The main reason I love Agfa is that it has wide exposure latitude that makes me achieving consistent result under different lighting environment. Whether it is sunny or cloudy, it maintains great grey balance. However, for Fujifilm Superia Premium 400 and X-tra 400, when you use it on cloudy day and lack of sunlight, the mood will be more depressed. So I would describe Agfa Vista as a happy film, it absorbs colour and present it in high saturation. On the other hand, the thing that I like Agfa Vista more than Kodak Portra 400 is that I can get better tone in various environment, such as landscape, portrait even though the grain is not as fine as Portra 400. But all these characteristics shape the Agfa Vista 400 to be an all -rounded film.
City: Hong Kong
Camera: Leica M2
Lens: Leica Summilux 35mm f1.4 FLE ASPH, Summicron 35mm f2 IV pre-a
Film: JCH Street Pan 400
Bright Sunny day with a roll of JCH Pan 400 to do some city snaps in Wan Chai District.
Name: Rollei Vario Chrome
Film type: Positive Slide
Character: High saturation with warm tone
Vintage feel and Warm tone
Rollei Vario Chrome is a daylight highspeed colour reversal film with good sharpness. The warmth produced from the film depends on the environment that you use, the brighter the sun is, the warmer the picture will be. Besides, I discovered that it is quite similar to its brother, Rollei CR200 slide film. Except that CR200 tends to be more attracted to green or blue colour. Rollei Vario Chrome tends to be more sensitive to yellow and orange colour. Also, it has strong orange cast in it and Vario tends to has a more vintage looking.
All of the sample images was taken on a dazzling day.
Quite special when you look at it again and again
At first, I was attracted by its fancy packaging and the beautiful film cassette. After the film was developed at my local lab. I was shocked looking at the slides, even Mike, the owner from Colourluxe lab also has his jaw dropped. Both of us were thinking why is it so warm? Few days later when I look at it again and again, I think it is quite special and distinguished from my other images.
Which ISO speed to shoot at? 200? 320? 400?
The box speed is at ISO320. But offical website mentioned that the ISO speed is ranging from 200 to 400. The concept is that if you use it at ISO200, it will be slightly overexposed and achieve with lower saturation. At ISO400, the image will be slightly underexposed. So you can follow this rule to set the ISO to determine what kind of images result you would like to have. In my opinion, I like it at ISO400, exposure is similar to other positive slide film.
200 – 320 ISO: Lower saturation (preferable for scanning applications)
320 – 400 ISO: Higher saturation (preferable for slide projection)
Source from macodirect
What lenses did I use to take the images?
Leica Summicron 35mm f2 IV pre-asph