The first time I shot some ISO 100 Kodak film in the streets of Shanghai, it was the professional grade and comparatively pricey Ektar loaded in my Yashica Electro rangefinder.
The results, some of which you can see here, weren’t bad. Very vivid and, as is promised on the box the film comes in, pretty low grain.
This time, I went out with a different combination. The lesser-spotted Kodak Pro Image 100 in a Canon Sure Shot AF-7 point and shoot.
Even with a basic camera and cheap ISO 100 colour film though, we still had the most important thing behind us. The good light of a sunny day. The photographs you’re about to see wouldn’t have been possible without that.
A little more on this cheap ISO 100 colour film
One thing it does have in common with Portra 400 is that it comes in 5-roll boxes. Some shops will break these up and sell you individual rolls but you’ll always save a little bit buying the whole pack instead.
Depending on where you live, Pro Image might be a film that’s relatively new to you. That doesn’t mean it’s an actual new film, though.
It’s been out there since 1997 but only in Latin America and parts of Asia. It wasn’t until 2018 that it became officially available in Europe and not until 2019 in North America.
I’ll reserve full judgement on its quality and qualities for my upcoming review of it. For now, all I’ll say is that it looks more like one of Kodak’s consumer gang than one of its bona fide professional bunch.
The importance of a good camera vs good light
If this post and the images in it are somehow your first exposure to Kodak Pro Image, it’s worth pointing out that they were shot – in the nicest possible way – in a certified shitty camera.
Not that I mind that personally. If I only wanted to use the best camera I have all the time, I’d never go out with this Canon point and shoot. And that would mean missing out on the fun I get from doing so.
It also provides a good opportunity to talk about a particular factor for when you’re doing your own photography. To talk about what’s more important to you and the quality of your work.
Looking for good light before interesting subjects is something I mention a lot, like in this post here, but what about the light versus your camera?
If you could choose, with the simple aim being to come back with some aesthetically-pleasing photographs, would you rather take an SLR out on a dismal and overcast day or a basic point and shoot on a bright and sunny one?
Perhaps the ideal is somewhere in the middle but I know which way I’d lean. If we had 100 imaginary points to spend on a good camera or good light, I’d certainly be using more than 50 on the latter and less than 50 on the former.
Shooting street photography with an ISO 100 film
It seems to me a lot of the more commonly recommended films for street photography are the ISO 400 monochrome ones. Some even have the clue in the name, like JCH Street Pan or Street Candy ATM.
Colour or monochrome is a stylistic choice that we’re not going to cover here, but the ISO question is something we could use to fill out this post a little.
If you’re not sure what it’s all about, you can read this guide and learn. But a quick one-sentence explanation would be that a lower ISO film needs more light, which will mean slower shutter speeds when there isn’t enough of it.
That in turn can mean blurry photographs, which you probably don’t want. So when you’re shooting in environments where the light is ever-changing, a higher ISO is a good safety net.
That brings us nicely back to the cheap ISO 100 colour film I shot here and a reassurance that you can do the same. If you’re concerned it’s too low an ISO for street photography, don’t be. That’s easily negated simply by giving it enough light.
And because light is important for good photographs, only being able to use this film when the light is good just increases your chances of making good photographs with it.
Not that I’m proclaiming the photographs here to be good, of course. But I’m sure yours will be.
Wrapping up this cheap low ISO film post
Okay, so perhaps trying to freeze a moving rollercoaster with an ISO 100 film in a point and shoot was a little ambitious. But I suppose it also demonstrates what’s possible and what isn’t.
Capturing people moving at walking speed, i.e. walking, should pose no problem in good light. Capturing moving vehicles likely needs a faster film or a camera with a faster shutter speed. Or both. Probably both.
Overall though I’m pretty pleased with what this first roll of Kodak Pro Image 100 gave me. I can tell you too that it’s probably a better film than is represented here, shot as it was in the cheap old Sure Shot.
I shot another roll in my Yashica Electro to give it a fairer chance to shine, and the results from that are full of depth and colour. I’ll publish those as soon as I have time, although you can see some of them on this full Pro Image 100 review.
For now though, maybe click around a few of the other film photo essays that I have got done. Or if you prefer to see what you can get out of a roll or five of Kodak Pro Image yourself, why not go pick some up from B&H Photo, from Amazon, or from Analogue Wonderland.
- Outstanding flesh-tone reproduction, color accuracy, and saturation.
- Intended for room temperature storage.
- Excellent latent-image keeping characteristics.
- Printing characteristics similar to those of Kodak gold films.
If you found that post useful, why not take a look at these others to stay inspired or learn more about some other films I’ve shot and reviewed:
- My comprehensive review of this Kodak Pro Image film
- Shooting another cheap Kodak film in the streets
- Some colour street shots on Kodak Portra 400
And if you think others will enjoy this post on shooting some cheap ISO 100 colour film in the streets too, help them find it by sharing or pinning. 😀