For my first trip to Phnom Penh I decided to take along two film stocks that I had never tried before. Kodak 500T (a tungsten balanced film) and Kodak 250D (a daylight balanced film). I only had 2 days and 2 nights in the city before returning to Saigon so I walked around all day.
KIT: For this trip I used a Nikon F100 with a 50mm f1.4 and a Minox 35ML which has a 35mm f2.8. I rated the Kodak 250D at 160ASA to retain shadow detail. Wish me luck finding this film again in Saigon, try your luck at Croplab.
Scanning: The film was scanned on a Noritsu scanner and I opted for the highest resolution 16bit BMP files from Llab.
Editing: I did a batch edit in Lightroom using a tone curve adjustment to add contrast and deepen the shadows and blacks. Nothing else, no sharpening.
Overall: I’m very happy with how the 250D rendered the colours. This retro, warmer look was exactly what I was looking for - not wanting them to look like holiday snaps but still have some cinematic character. For street photography in South East Asia I would choose Kodak 250D over the colour plus line (because I prefer the skin tones and grain here) and the Portra line (a little too expensive for street photography - for me anyway). The summery, nostalgic warm look is still present without being too dominant and having pulled the film one stop the scans I got were the right mix of desaturated, flat and tastefully warm.
As the sun went down the heavens opened on both days but I refused to give up. Determined not to leave without at least one roll of Tungsten film exposed in the glorious glow of the city. So I jumped into the nearest tuk-tuk, promised the driver a good tip if he kept the plastic tarp sides rolled up and off we sped into the dark deluge.
KIT: I rated the Kodak 500T at 250ASA (probablyout of habit). I shot the entire roll with the F100 and the 50mm f1.4. On the rare occasion that there was a break in the rain I put a Godox flash in the hot shoe and dragged the shutter to 1/5s panning the camera and using rear curtain flash. It was a bit of guesswork at times with the flash exposures as I don’t trust TTL mode (not because it doesn’t work - I just don’t use it). I had a lot of fun - riding a motorcyle through traffic in the rain in Saigon is awful but shooting out of the back of a moving tuk-tuk is brilliant.
Scanning: for some reason some of the scans came out with a crazy amount of colour noise in the shadows. I haven’t asked the lab as I assume my metering was off on those frames (maybe a stop or two underexposed?) but thankfully the whole roll wasn’t affected.
Editing: again I only used a tone curve but I brought down the shadows and blacks way way down.
Overall: I absolutely love the colours that I got from the city lights and the rainy reflections at night. I was pleasantly surprised that using the flash turned out so well: the tuk-tuk’s look like they are approaching warp-speed. This was my first experience with a Tungsten film and it didn’t disappoint. I will definitely be on the hunt for more.