If you’re just getting started with medium format film photography, NYC-based photographer and YouTuber Willem Verbeeck created a useful comparison video that may help you decide on your first 120 film purchase.
In the video, Verbeeck compares three of the most popular 120-format color film options currently on the market: Kodak Portra 400, Fujicolor Pro 400H, and Lomography 400. All three will cost you between $6 and $8 per roll of 16 exposures—$19 for a 3-pack of Lomography 400, $35 for a 5-pack of Kodak Portra 400, and $40 for a 5-pack of Fujicolor Pro 400H.
Over the course of the video, Verbeeck tries each with his Mamiya RZ67 Professional, metering every film at 400 to keep the comparison fair, and sharing his impressions as he goes.
It’s a not a “scientific” test comparing grain structure or color rendition or any other “quantifiable” aspect of the three options. But if you’re considering buying a few rolls of 400 speed 120 film and you’re not sure which you would like best, you can see the kind of results you can expect from each of these three popular options.
Finally, as a bonus, he also shot a roll of expired Fuji NPH 400 at the end of the video, before going back to his apartment and discussing his impressions of all four rolls in a bit more depth.
“For me, there definitely isn’t one clear winner here. I think each of these films have a cool characteristic that makes them unique,” he opines at the end. “Personally I really like the warm tones of Portra that makes it great for shooting portraits, I like the Fuji has a very neutral and flat look to it, and Lomography is great if you want something a little more colorful and saturated.”
(via ISO 1200)