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Shooting Samsung’s Z Fold 3 on 35mm film

I’ve been doing product photography digitally for years. I needed something fresh.

All the cool kids are doing it

Listen, I know that I’m a few years late to the 35mm film resurgence. Just look at the subscriber chart of the Reddit r/Analog community shown below.

Still, part of my job is doing product photography of the newest gadgets and devices, so I decided to squeeze in a little practice time with my Canon EOS 7 on Samsung’s new foldables.

The shots we’re looking at today were taken on Kodak Pro Image 100 in the last 15 minutes of our one-hour “content capture session” with Samsung. The first 45 minutes were spent taking all of our critical shots digitally (which you can see here).

Pro Image 100

Actually not a pro film at all, but extremely cheap.

As noted, Kodak Pro Image is kind of crappy film, but I picked it up for this shoot because I wanted to be able to blow through at least two rolls without worrying. Sadly I only had enough time for one roll!

I was able to find a lab that did same-day processing here in New York City, and I have to say, I felt like a real old-school journo turning in my shots.

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Anyway, let’s look at some images

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The first product shot on the roll. I’m using a Canon 580EX II flash and skin came out consistently overexposed in this shoot.
Here’s the same shot without the flash. I’m surprised that this came out as well as it did given the speed of the film.
I honestly can’t tell if the flash went off for this shot. I would later discover that the flash was just about out of batteries around this part of the roll.
Again, no flash. The color of this golden tray table came out super weird.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.
Alright, here’s something close to a workable shot. There’s a lot of grain, but the colors are coming across well.
A lot of product photography should be shot either with a narrow f-stop or focus stacking (on digital), but sometimes you just need as much light as possible if you want your shutter speed to be high enough for handheld shooting.
Here’s a shot where the flash was recycling or something. It looks... kinda good in my opinion.
This is the other shot where the skin tones were blown out. I reduced the highlights in post and it looks okay.
Here’s a decent shot. Everything is exposed well, the detail is there, the background is clean. All good.
Here’s another decent shot, but this time we get a nice view of the Fold 3 with a picture of... the camera taking a picture of it. Inception.
And here we go, the money shot. This one came out great.
The camera really had a hard time focusing on the curved surface of the buds, so we have to make do with a nice look at the inside of the lid.
At this point I was rushing like crazy to finish the roll, and it shows. These Flips are covered in fingerprints, dust, and I didn’t line them up correctly. Sloppy.
But then, just as the hour concluded, I squeezed out one more workable shot. Interestingly, the middle phone is green, but it’s pretty hard to tell in this shot.

Did I nail it?

Not really. I thought I might be able to skate by with 100 speed film and the flash, but a lot of product shots need more depth of field, so 400 at F/9 would have been a lot better.

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What about the review?

I do think Pro Image 100 could work for product photography in a more controlled environment. With a tripod and the flash off camera in a soft box, you could shoot longer exposures at narrow f-stops and really get something good.

Will we have time for that when we get our review units? Probably not, but a developing film photographer can dream, right?

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