After you’ve seen a few Xpro photos online, you know you just have to take a shot at it. I was really excited to try it out…. until I saw the price of slide film!!! Jiminy Jillickers, slide film is not cheap. I had heard that you could get cheap stuff at dollar stores for, well, a dollar, but no dollar store in my neck of the woods even stocks film, so I ponied up $12 for some Kodak E100 and I was off to the races (figuratively of course).
Before I go on, you may be asking what xpro is? Basically you take slide (E6) film and process it in negative film (C-41) chemicals. The results vary depending on the brand of film you chose, however in general you get super saturated colours (sky and grass) while skin tones are often pale. It is not a natural look, but it is pretty cool in my opinion.
There are many different schools of thought on how to expose the film, I’ve read some places you should over-expose, others say you should under-expose. I read somewhere (I think it was on flickr) where someone said you need lots of light for the best effect, so if it’s dark, over-expose to make sure you get the right effect. Now that I think of it, this may not make that much sense, but the first roll I took I set the ISO as stated and just let the light meter decide.
I’m quite pleased with the results, however one thing I didn’t realize was that scanners actually have a fair bit of trouble scanning xpro film. They constantly try to correct for the crazy colours. No matter what I tried, I could not get the same colour as the lab did on my prints.
Here I tried scanning as negative film:
Here I tried scanning as slide and then inversed in PS3:
And finally after giving up, I scanned the prints:
So as you can see, it’s hard to get the same affect, and while I tried all sorts of different alterations in photoshop, the best and fastest way to get the same colours as my prints was to scan the prints (kind of obvious really…). This does take away from the fun of this as I wasted far more time trying to scan it than I ever did taking the pictures!!! Anyways, now that I know, I’ll scan the prints, if I really wanted high quality scans, I’d get the lab to do it anyways.
Since I took this roll, I found 16 rolls of Kodak E100 for $30 on ebay (very slightly expired), so this has definitely brought down the price of xpro for me. All photos were taken with a Voigtlander Bessa R using either a 35mm or 15mm lens. See all my xpro shots here. Flickr Xpro group.