In my continuing quest for sharpness and fine grain, I finally managed to get my hands on some Konica Impresa 50. This is a hard film to find around Toronto - none of the major photo stores stock it, and even Konica Canada doesn't know of anyone who stocks it. You either have to order it from the States, or place a minimum ten-roll order.

This is the result of one roll of Impresa, so it's hardly a conclusive test. Most of the roll was taken outdoors on a sunny day at a walkathon. Other pictures were taken from my balcony and around my home.

As with any film test you see, you should take this test with a grain of salt. If you want to determine whether this (or any film) is right for you, the only way is for you to test it yourself, under the same sorts of conditions in which you plan to use it.

First Impressions

I took some shots at an EI of 50, some at 40, and some at 32. I chose these speeds based on comments such as those in this thread on Many of the shots were taken with my sharpest lens (Canon EF 50/1.4) stopped down to around f/5.6-f/8; the rest were taken with my second sharpest lens (Canon EF 28-135 IS) at various apertures from wide open to around f/8. I used the lens hoods on both lenses. Some pictures used flash - mostly as fill, but a couple of pictures used it as the main light source.

In 4x6" prints done by Black's on a Fuji Frontier, it could be pretty much any slow-to-medium film. Between the digital manipulation and the small enlargement factor, there's no reason to use this film rather than (say) a 100-speed film that gives you an extra stop. Skin tones in some pictures look a bit flat, as if someone had applied powder. I've sometimes seen chalky skin tones (similar problem, but lighter tone) on Frontier prints from Kodak Portra 160VC. There's essentially no difference between prints made from frames at 50, 40, or 32.

I scanned about half the roll with my film scanner (Canon 2710FS) @ 2720 dpi. The sharpness and lack of grain are amazing; it's obviously better than my usual 100-speed film, Supra 100. Skin tones look OK. All in all, the frames exposed at 40 seem the best. Saturation is on the low side, but this scanner tends to do that with anything but the punchiest of films.

This film, scanned at that resolution, shows something I've never clearly seen before: the 28-135 suffers from chromatic aberration. It's not severe enough to show up on anything short of rather large prints, and it's not severe enough to show up on large prints from slower films (I can't see it on a 16x enlargement from Supra 400, for example). I have shots taken at both ends of the zoom that show it; none of the shots taken with my 50/1.4 have the same problem, so I know it's the lens and not the scanner.

I'm not sure where I'll use my next roll, but I want it to be for outdoor pictures of people, and I'll find a nice picture from that roll and have it enlarged to 8x12" on the Frontier, 8x12" at a pro lab I like, 8x12" at Japan Camera (since they use Konica paper), and ~8x10" on my inkjet to see how those all work out.


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