Roll #1 Kodak Portra 400 - Minolta X570

Published Apr 9, 2018 | Maxime Siegler

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Here is the first follow-up article to "First steps back to film photography after a long hiatus: my first impressions of the Minolta X570".  There seems to be something always special when developing our first roll, so some excitement came along. Right after I bought a used Minolta X570/50 mm 1.7 (rated VG+), I quickly went to the camera store, and bought two rolls of Kodak Portra 400.   Putting the first roll inside the box and ready for action, the first roll was mostly aimed at testing the camera for possible issues such as light leak, shutter problem, light metering and exposure unconsistency.  Luckily I got a bit more than dull shots, and some good surprises came along.

First of all, the 35mm film: Kodak Portra 400.  Overall, its color signature handles skin tones very well, and colors are  accurate, and neither too saturated not too contrasty. Consequently, Portra 400 is very desirable for shooting colored portraits.  In good daylight, be ready to stop down quite a bit to reach at least 1/1000 s.  I pushed mine to one extra third of a stop (i.e., at ISO 320), but do not be afraid to push to up to ISO 100-200 or down to ISO > 400 as its latitude for overexposure or underexposure is quite superb.  In that sense, the film is very forgiving.   Rated at ISO 400, the film is bit grainier than I thought but I admit I have been (very) spoiled by the digital format for far too long.  I would rate Portra 400 as being a very versatile and multipurpose film.  One drawback though, this film is moderately expensive with a price tag of about $38 for 5 rolls (35 mm).

Enough writing now, and here are some frames from roll #1, all photos were captured using the Minolta X570 + Rokkor MD 50 mm f/1.7 (ca. $100) with Kodak Portra 400.  Film was processed via a professional photo lab (Full Circle Fine Art Services, Baltimore, MD, very recommended).  Negatives were scanned and processed using the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i Ai (scanner) and SilverFast Ai Studio 8 (software).

A couple I met at a party (shot wide open at f/1.7) | Frame 4

Baby playing with the Window | Frame 6

Pman.  Three things he loves in life (1) Food (2) Sleep (3) His Little "Cocoa" Sister (shot wide open at f/1.7) | Frame 10

Amelia | Frame 16

Sleepy Pie | Frame 20

Horse Mounted Unit on Training | Frame 23

Kat at the Lincoln Memorial | Frame 24

Washington Monument and Reflective Pool | Frame 28

Panera Advertisement (LCD panel, bear in mind reality might be quite different) | Frame 32

Disarm Hate (March For Our Lives, Washington, D.C.) | Frame 34