Film selection: Japan in March
Old 12-09-2015   #1
Mute-on
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Film selection: Japan in March

Hi All,

I'm traveling to Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto) in late March 2016, and seeking recommendations for film selection.

I'm taking M2 and MP with 35/2.8 Summaron and 50 Summicron (sliding hood), possibly a 28/2.8 asph if I pick one up before leaving.

I'm considering an all purpose B&W (400), a faster colour neg (400) for shaded areas and early evening, and a slower colour neg (100-200) for open daylight.

Looking forward to your experiences and suggestions.

Cheers

J
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Old 12-09-2015   #2
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If there is a place where film photography is still alive and kicking, it's Japan. In other words, it should be easy to supplement whatever you bring in case you find yourself needing more or something different.

That said, definitely do some price comparisons. IIRC, film prices have gone up a fair amount in Japan the last couple years. I.e. Portra 400 5-pack is about $37 from B&H vs. $55 from Yodobashi. Tri-X or HP5 is about $8/roll in Japan vs. about $5 in the US....

Heck, if you know any film photographers in Japan, they'd probably be grateful if you brought extra for them!

As for your actual question... I was there in early May and lucked out with great weather. But it can get dark in the shadows of buildings, etc... I'd think 400 is pretty safe all-around. And you can push the B&W as needed, too. Not sure how gloomy it is there in March vs. May...
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Old 12-10-2015   #3
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If you plan on shooting Kodak, prices may be lower where you are
http://www.yodobashi.com/ec/category...=tri-x&ginput=

I would probably (bring) tri-x, (buy) Fuji 400H or (bring) Porta 400 and (bring) Porta 160.
- Fuji has all but stopped film production, stupid and sad really....

In any case, you will probably have a look in Yodobashi camera or Bic camera, they may have some good old Fuji 100 ISO color films lying around still, if you see some, grab some ^^
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Old 12-10-2015   #4
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My favorite films that I use here in Tokyo are Neopan 100 and Kodak Gold 200, obviously a personal choice. I do have a bunch of Neopan 400 in the fridge so that's my other B&W choice. Bring what you are comfortable with...

One point that visitors sometimes overlook is that Japan does not have daylight savings so it gets dark early.... for example March 17, 2016 has 12 hours of daylight, however...

Tokyo: 17-March-2016
------------------------
05:24 - Twilight Starts
05:49 - Sunrise
11:50 - Solar Noon
17:50 - Sunset
18:16 - Twilight Ends

Have a good trip...
Casey
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Old 12-10-2015   #5
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Agreed, you have a really good selection in Japan. I can recommend Fuji Natura 1600, which you can only get there.
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Old 12-10-2015   #6
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Hi there,

I was in Japan 1 month ago and also went to Kyoto and Tokyo.
What a beautiful country.
Kyoto is magical. Could just spend days wondering around the city.
I went over with only Kodak Portra 400 and found it really well suited.
Used 2 rolls of Kodak Portra 800 which I purchased there when I went for hikes in Kumano Kodo because it was a little shaded under the foliage.
Shot a roll of Natura 1600 in Tsukiji market.

My suggestion is stick with ISO 400 B & W and colour and forget about the slower speeds.

I brought my M4 and a 35mm summicron.
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Old 12-11-2015   #7
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Thanks for all your comments and suggestions so far. I'll probably bring most of my film from Australia and add more or different (e.g. Natura 1600) in Japan.

We'll be visiting many gardens, temples and shrines, as well as wandering through the city streets, so I'm interested in suggestions for both environments and purposes. Something like Ektar for gardens in open sunlight and Portra 400 for street?

Your further insights and experiences are most welcome!

Many thanks,

J
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Old 12-11-2015   #8
Colin Corneau
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I was there last year in April. Honestly, considering film quality nowadays you really can't go wrong with 400 speed for colour and B&W -- HP5/TriX/TMY or Portra 400 (which has a really wonderful character to it).

You can push a stop for colour if need be (doubtful) or a stop or two for B&W (again, doubtful)...
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Old 12-11-2015   #9
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Thanks Colin. My only concern with 400 is that with a max shutter speed of 1/1000 (nominally), f11 or 16 gives me no DoF control in open sun or clear sky.

Perhaps a ND filter is useful, although I'd rather spend the money on film

Cheers

J
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Old 12-11-2015   #10
Tom A
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We go to Japan at least once a year. Standard film is a 400 iso bl/w (TriX, Neopan) and I usually bring some along and pick up what I need at Yodabashi Camera in Akihabara. It might be more expensive now than in Oz or North America, but t still cheap considering air line tickets , hotels etc. Never scrimp n film! Tokyo "eats" film - wherever you turn there is something to take pictures of. Koyoto is pretty special - though you get "templed" out after a while. I would stick to one speed and modern 400 iso is pretty well as good as you need. Light in Tokyo can go from bright sun to rather dark and gloomy streets.
Japan still has camera stores that stock film - maybe not in huge quantity - but Fuji is pretty well everywhere, even with their reduced line of films. You can also get good,quick and cheap processing just about everywhere (colour). For Japan I usually take at least 2-3 rolls/day per camera. Some days more.
Your lens choice is good, particularly if you get the 28 - streets are narrow and sometimes the 35 feels too "long".
Have a great time and shoot your heart out.
Key equipment is good shoes - you walk a lot both in Tokyo and Kyoto. Don't overload with equipment - it gets heaver as the day goes on! The "locals" are friendly and helpful and the food is great. Tokyo has the best transit system that I know off. All right, you do get lost sometimes - but that is part of the trip and usually results in better pictures anyway. Don't try to do too much - be prepared for some "down time" to take it easy.
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Old 12-11-2015   #11
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Tom, thank you so much for weighing in with your thoughtful comments and suggestions. Since we're going straight to Kyoto, I'll take along at least enough to get started.

Still looking for comfy shoes. A lesson well learnt!!

Cheers

J
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Old 12-11-2015   #12
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Kyoto blew my tiny mind.
And lots of my film stash.

We were in Japan for our first visit a month ago and i shot handrolled HP5 ( and a few Tri x ) at 1600 in the cities all day and all night. I also shot some Ektar in the outdoors and yes, some Natura 1600 ( it's easy to find and is around AU$30 for a three pack )

I found Tri X there pretty easily for about AU$9 or $10 to replenish my supply.

Tom makes a good point re the tightness of the streets in Japan, some big cities, but with tight corners where the interesting stuff happens.

These shots are all with an M5 and a CV color skopar 35mm.
I also took along a Canon LTM 50mm 1.4 and alternated the two pretty much half and half.

cheers, AP

* pls. excuse the thread bombing, but i'm just scanning & sorting thru these rolls now and already want to head back there.









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Old 12-11-2015   #13
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Hi AP,

Great shots. Bomb away!

Seems like I'll need Tri X or HP5 and a range of colour neg. I'm not aware of a 400 colour neg that likes to be pushed.

Anyone with experience pushing Portra 400 or Pro 400H?

Cheers

J
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Old 12-12-2015   #14
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Late March might be just the start of cherry-blossom (usually about March 27th ~ 31th in Kanto region) so be prepared for some nice colors and many crowded places, especially in Kyoto. Therefore I would reduce daily luggage to the bare minimum and bring an Iphone or similar smart-phone with halfway decent camera as my back-up camera and for the quick snap-shot in between.

400ISO film should do the trick under almost all conditions here in Japan.
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Old 12-12-2015   #15
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I have shot both Fujifilm PRO400H and PRO400...
I prefer PRO400, shot and developed at box

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Old 12-12-2015   #16
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I recommend buying some 5 packs of Fujifilm Superia 400 while you're there. You can get them at pretty much any Yodobashi store in Japan.

HERE

I think the price is quite reasonable and although it's not as good as Pro 400H it's still quite a nice film.
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Old 12-12-2015   #17
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My advice would be to take little and top up once there. That way you avoid the damage of airport scans (at least on the way out). As others have said, picking up film in Japan is pretty straightforward.

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Old 12-14-2015   #18
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Umm... what subjects will you be shooting? I've shot several thousand street photos at 400. If you're going to do sakura photos (which you might hit) then something slower (and color) would be beneficial.

Kodak is cheaper in the US, despite the weak yen. If you want to buy Provia it's no doubt cheaper there.

Quote:
My advice would be to take little and top up once there. That way you avoid the damage of airport scans (at least on the way out). As others have said, picking up film in Japan is pretty straightforward.
Why not just get it hand-checked?
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Old 12-14-2015   #19
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Also note you're not going to have a ton of daylight in March. It can make for some interesting shadows but the fact that there are only 8 sets of parallel streets in all of Tokyo means the shadows cast from the abundance of buildings can be a challenge.
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Old 12-14-2015   #20
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If you will be there during cherry blossom (late March), why not positive film like Velvia. This site or similar one provide pretty accurate forecast.

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Old 12-14-2015   #21
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Hi Mute-on, I will also be in Kyoto and Tokyo on the last week of March (March 28-April3)
and my plan is to primarily shoot color with the M240 and B&W with the M3.
Reason I'm going for color is because end of March is usually the period of cherry blossom so some color would be nice.

If I were you, shooting color film, I would bring some portra 160 and 800 or gold 200.
B&W film I'm bringing will be Neopan 400.
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Old 12-14-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FalseDigital View Post
I recommend buying some 5 packs of Fujifilm Superia 400 while you're there. You can get them at pretty much any Yodobashi store in Japan.

HERE

I think the price is quite reasonable and although it's not as good as Pro 400H it's still quite a nice film.
Yes, it scans beautifully. And is fairly cheap. I stocked up in Shinjuku. Also easily available was Fuji Natura 1600 which was great for some of the back alleys at night. Film was easily found in Shinjuku and I had a blast looking at all the options in the fridges.
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Old 12-14-2015   #23
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I'm on the Tri-X 400 for BW and Portra 400/160 for color. I'd also suggest the Kodak Ektar 100 for color, but i'm not sure if the 100 speed films are too slow for you. I find that if I can shoot 100-160 during the daytime and then swap to 400 at dusk and night photos, I feel pretty comfortable that I've got everything covered. I'm also a big fan of using one body for BW and one for Color. That way I'm covered in speed and format. Japan is beautiful that time of year. I'm hoping to get back there in 2016!
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Old 12-14-2015   #24
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so what you're saying is not to bring too many film and just by them while in Japan?
Dying to try some Natura 1600!
Do you think the Fuji 35mm 1.9 P&S is worth buying too for 330k yen?
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Old 12-14-2015   #25
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Thanks All for the useful insights and suggestions.

I'm coming from Australia where Kodak is generally cheaper than Fuji overall, so I'll probably take along Kodak Tri-X and Portra 400, perhaps some Ektar for the Sakura, and purchase Fuji as needed in Japan. I'm keen to try Natura 1600, and Pro 400H (which is exorbitant in Oz).

I'm traveling with family (wife and two toddlers) so photo opportunities may be slightly limited ... Quality over volume. Gardens, parks, temples, shrines, street and everything between is in our sights. It's a logistical challenge but it will be a blast!!!!

Thanks again for your comments. Planning is key for a family trip, so I'm most grateful for the input.

Cheers

J
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Old 12-14-2015   #26
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you'll no doubt end up here at some stage ...

* a shakey shot of yodobashi camera's film department taken while walking down the alley one night.

it's basically a separate shop in their sprawling camera/tech/complex devoted to film and processing.

it wasn't actually as exhaustive a selection as i'd hoped, but sure kept me going.

some oddities - ie kodak pro colour films ( eg: portra 400 ) were only sold in 5 roll pro-packs.

i'm sure there are some hidden film-dens with more esoteric selections in the alleyways of tokyo somewhere. i found the basics - tri-x acros etc all over the cities i visited, sometimes in stationery shops or clothes shops or train stations

AP

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Old 12-14-2015   #27
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Tom A really hits the nail on the head, as the saying goes. Never scrimp on film or good shoes!

This may be of help, too. I saw a few small galleries that had bookshops attached and could easily have spent hundreds (maybe thousands) on books...so many great choices. I love photobooks and Tokyo is a terrific place to find some unique ones.

In that spirit, this may be of help:
http://kenshukan.net/john/archives/2...ok-store-walk/
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Old 12-14-2015   #28
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Thanks guys!! I've got Yodobashi on my camera shop list, along with many others ...

Colin, I have that link bookmarked as well!

I think I'll be spoiled for choice with film, so trying to keep it simple. I don't mind experimenting a bit, but I think I'll be sticking with neg film. I need to test some unfamiliar films (Ektar, Portra) as I'm traditionally a Fuji user. I'm open to new developments, though, since I've just come back to film after a 10 year break.

Cheers

J
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Old 12-29-2015   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mute-on View Post
Thanks guys!! I've got Yodobashi on my camera shop list, along with many others ...

Colin, I have that link bookmarked as well!

I think I'll be spoiled for choice with film, so trying to keep it simple. I don't mind experimenting a bit, but I think I'll be sticking with neg film. I need to test some unfamiliar films (Ektar, Portra) as I'm traditionally a Fuji user. I'm open to new developments, though, since I've just come back to film after a 10 year break.

Cheers

J
Now most important....post some scans here when you are back
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Old 02-16-2016   #30
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Ok so I'm pretty set for film now I think. This is what's in the freezer:
Ektar X 14
XP2 X 5
Portra 400 X 10
Some other random colour neg that can stay at home.

Taking MP 0.58 with 35 Summaron and M2 with 50 Summicron, plus Sekonic 308, all crammed in a Billingham L2.

VERY EXCITED!!!!!!

Cheers

J
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Old 02-28-2016   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mute-on View Post
Ok so I'm pretty set for film now I think. This is what's in the freezer:
Ektar X 14
XP2 X 5
Portra 400 X 10
Some other random colour neg that can stay at home.

Taking MP 0.58 with 35 Summaron and M2 with 50 Summicron, plus Sekonic 308, all crammed in a Billingham L2.

VERY EXCITED!!!!!!

Cheers

J
Enjoy! And like I said....post some scans when you get back. And enjoy the food.
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Old 02-28-2016   #32
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Just seeing this now, but I'd highly recommend picking up Fuji Premium 400 while you're there. It's only sold in Japan and is essentially Fuji's equivalent to Portra. I bought 20 rolls or so while I was there and wish I bought more!

Like others mentioned (and it looks like you're packing), 400 speed works very well. If you want to shoot more wide open during the day I'd recommend a screw in 2-3 stop ND filter

Here are some samples of Fuji Superia Premium 400








Enjoy your trip!!
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Old 02-28-2016   #33
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Japan

I was there 4 months ago and I took 25 rolls of film, Everything from ISO25 to 400, I bought ISO 800 colour over there and developed it there.
I found they still had film but not as much as previous years but you should be fine. I shot majority of 100 Black and White film.
You won't be short of things to shoot.
If you haven't already put Map Camera in Shinjuku on your list of shops to visit.
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Old 02-28-2016   #34
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Scans: tick
Food: tick, tick
Fuji Premium 400: tick
MAP Camera: tick

Thanks very much, All!!

Just counting down to departure (in 3 weeks ....)

Cheers

J
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Old 02-28-2016   #35
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can you guys please recommend a lab around Tokyo (Shinjuku preferably) that can develop 120 E6 within 2 days?
instead of bringing a 35mm camera, all of a sudden I'm thinking of bringing my 124-G
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Old 02-28-2016   #36
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Also Kitamura Camera on the corner diagonally opposite Map Camera for fast on-premises C41 film developing if you'd prefer to get it developed before heading home. They have a used gear section on the 4th floor too.

I think Kitamura can do E6 with a two day turn around during the week. Not sure if a weekend gets in the way through. Horiuchi Color might be faster but you'll pay more too.
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Old 02-28-2016   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
Also Kitamura Camera on the corner diagonally opposite Map Camera for fast on-premises C41 film developing if you'd prefer to get it developed before heading home. They have a used gear section on the 4th floor too.
Thanks Jon.

I have a few recommendations for film development. I'll definitely add this to the list.

I'll be checking out their used gear section regardless.

Many thanks

J
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Old 02-28-2016   #38
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Tri-x & Hawkeye 400.
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Old 02-29-2016   #39
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I think Kitamura can do E6 with a two day turn around during the week. Not sure if a weekend gets in the way through. Horiuchi Color might be faster but you'll pay more too.

thank you! just to confirm I got the 2 stores correctly, they are the ones by the Shinjukugyoen-Mae Station?
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Old 02-29-2016   #40
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Quote:
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Thanks Jon.

I have a few recommendations for film development. I'll definitely add this to the list.

I'll be checking out their used gear section regardless.

Many thanks

J
If you make it to Akihabara, there's a small used gear shop on the main street but down a ways towards Suehirocho. I never went there as a resident but stumbled upon it literally an hour before I was heading home from my last trip and grabbed a PnS I was after (for a good price). The guy that runs it is either Indian or Pakistani (forgot) but speaks English, and will allow some finagling on some items.
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