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film in vietnam.
Old 12-04-2009   #1
grainy_shadows
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film in vietnam.

hello

i will be going on a trip to vn mid-december for three weeks, travelling to saigon, nha trang, hoi an, ha long bay.

just want to know what are people's experience with film over there.

i currently have a 20pk of fuji reala 100 in 35mm and a farly large selection of 100/400 bw in 35mm and 120. planning to bring over a hasselblad 500cm w/50-80-150 and canon eos3 w/50/1.2 and possibly 17-40/4 or 16-35/2.8mk1

what have people's experience with the following:
- ascertaining film in saigon and hanoi - slide or neg? 120 and 35mm?
- processing film - slide/bw/neg?
- any places to recommend in central saigon or cholon? processing and camera stores.

if i was to bring over 20+20 (colour+bw) do you guys think that will be enough film for the trip? or should i stock up more on colour film? will iso100 be enough as a walk around iso or do i need faster?

also, any recommendations on gear? i have plan to use the eos3 as walk around with a wide zoom and the 50 at night. and the hasselblad to do portraits when i break-away from the group.
i am unsure on which zoom to get.
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Old 12-04-2009   #2
hans voralberg
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Hi, I'm from Vietnam so let me answer your questions

Depends on how much you shoot really, but 40 rolls is about enough. You can buy these film in Saigon (PM me I'll give you the exact address and some notes):

Velvia 100, 100F, Provia 100F, Reala, Elitechrome, Superia 100, 400, 800, 1600.
BW: Tmax 100, 400, Acros, Neopan 400
Available in all size.

I'm not 100% sure but I think in Hanoi the choice would be a bit more limited: Kodak 160s, Superias 100, 400, Provia 100/F. For BW you'll find some Shanghai and Lucky too. I'll check with friends over there and let you know.

C41 & E6 is common, but there are only 1-2 reliable labs in Saigon & Hanoi that can do 35mm & 120mm, dont even risk your film in Nha Trang and Ha Long. BW processing is non-existent, you normally have to wait 2 weeks and the quality is hit-and-miss, so save it to process back home or use XP2/BW400CN.

This time of the year in Saigon there will be slight overcast with sunny interval, so for outdoor ISO100 is more than adequate. Hanoi will be a bit darker, so go with ISO400.

I can't comment on whether to bring more colour, it really depends on your taste. Saigon & Nha Trang will have sunny days, thus make for vibrant colours. Hanoi & Ha Long will be more muted due to overcast.

For camera store, new digital stuff I can point out a few place, just dont think about buying manual or vintage cameras, most of them are ridiculously expensive and not very well kept.

With regard to gear, your choice is perfect. I would recommend the 16-35 as it's faster and you can get close, people are quite cool to be photographed as long as you're obviously a foreigner. Hassy with 3 lens might be heavy to lug around, if it's sunny you're get toasted fast, so have a look at the weather forecast.
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Last edited by hans voralberg : 12-04-2009 at 14:00.
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Old 12-04-2009   #3
Mablo
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Hi grainy shadows!

I assume you'll travel by bus as most people do between Saigon and Hanoi. Last time I was there was two-three years ago. I don't remember seeing any film shops except a few of lowest quality. Frankly, I don't think you'll find any quality film processing shop or a source of film outside Bangkok.

EDIT: Hans V. gives much better advice so ignore mine.
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Last edited by Mablo : 12-04-2009 at 14:14.
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Old 12-04-2009   #4
hans voralberg
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Mablo you traveled by bus across the country? I don't dare to do that despite spending most of my life there. We often joke that's a sure fire method for suicide (it's not really that bad but still not very comforting). Plane is the way to go, or at worst train.
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Old 12-04-2009   #5
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Hans, yes I did. You can buy cheap "open tickets" from Sinhcafe in Saigon and travel slowly day by day. This is quite popular amongst independent travellers. My first choice would have been the "Reunification Express" train but I couldn't get tickets. I still regret that being a train buff.
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Old 12-05-2009   #6
grainy_shadows
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thanks for the help, i plan to travel by plane, limited by time, unfortunately.

whats vietnam like for photography? btw i am an asian-australian, will the locals still be friendly? maybe i should say a few words of english, i cant speak vietnamese.
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