Dairy Queen, U.S. Route 63, Stewartville, Minnesota, November 2011
It has been quite a long while since a film emulsion has excited me. It used to be a quarterly -- sometimes even monthly -- event. But with the ascendancy of digital and the waning of film, it's become somewhat akin to listening to a favorite band's long-awaited release on vinyl.
The last time I got this excited was the summer of 2010, when I returned from Barcelona with a number of exposed rolls of Kodak Ektar 100, and found that not only was the color superior to Agfa's old Ultra 100 emulsion, but that its grain was even finer than Agfa Ultra 50. It was as though Eastman Kodak had retooled Ektar 25, but made it jump two stops without any loss in resolution.
Well, with the demise of Polaroid, I am starting to run out of their wonderful 669 and 690 Polacolor pack films I use in the Polaroid Colorpack cameras. So, preparing for the inevitable, I purchased a few packs of Fuji's FP-100C Professional pack film, which replaces Polaroid 690.
Now, while I shoot Polacolor for its obviously "off" colors (who doesn't love their loam green and cyan skies of 669 film?), I found the color way truer than even the 690 film, which was a vast improvement in color accuracy over 669. In fact, the above photo recalls Fuji's marvelous E-6 emulsions, and instantly reminded me of many transparencies I have made on their Astia and Sensia films. (The above has not been tweaked for color balance, nor for saturation).
Even more astounding was the exposure latitude on this stuff! Whereas Polacolor (in either 669 or 690) would have had lost detail and murky shadowing in the darker areas, the Fuji maintained detail in both the shaded and shadow areas.
This is an astounding find! Although this film has been around for a while, I was a Polacolor diehard. I still prefer to use it (I honestly don't shoot it for reasons of color and tonal fidelity - I use it because of -- not despite -- its flaws).
Still, I have a new snapshot stalwart awaiting me when I run out of the great old stuff, and I am looking forward to new ways of seeing the things I shoot.