The ‘Color Implosion’ is the only color film in from the German manufacturer Adox. Nowadays, Adox produces a small range of specialized films, mostly B&W, as well as photographic paper and chemistry. Generally, I take a look at the manufacturer’s web and they will describe their film with statements such as “lowest grain!” or “natural tone skins!”, just normal marketing stuff. However, Adox is really realistic about their film characteristics, I really admire that, that’s why I will use their own description because is the best one to introduce this particular film:
“Color implosion fears the grain of an 800 ISO film combined with the effective speed of a 100 ASA film.
On top, we pre-treated it so the color coupling system partially collapsed.
With this grain and these light desaturated colors, no one will think that you are still shooting digital.
Welcome to the world of unpredictable truly analog results!
Color Implosion is an experimental film designed to give you unpredictable truly analog image experiences.
This film is not intended to be a “proper” print film.
If your results are dissatisfying please check your negatives first and do not judge by a print or scan.”
Name Adox Color Implosion 100 ISO 100 (Rated 100, but meant to be shot from 100 to 400) Developer C-41 Available formats 35mm Exposures 36 DX coding No (Careful if you plan to use it with your compact camera) Availability ★★☆☆☆
On-line and specialized distributors
As we read in the own manufacturer’s description, this is not a normal negative film, do not expect true colors and a natural palette. That sounds at least interesting to play with. After testing a couple of rolls of this film, the results and the feeling that it gave can be summarized in three sentences
- Bursting reds
- Overall yellow cast giving a vintage feeling.
Blues are an unpredictable outcome, mostly resulting in turquoise.
I recognize that I was not really aware of this “bright and explosive reds” before I shot these films, otherwise, I would have created some compositions with red as the main element, I’ve seen some really cool examples online like this one of Mackee_Lee:
Reds look a little bit brownish, but that doesn’t make them off. They actually really pop in the picture. Films like the Superia line or the Industrial 100 業務記錄用 (Reviewed here) give really bright and nice reds too, however, I found that sometimes can be a little bit distracting and take the attention from your main subject. The Color Implosion matches the palette and reds look great in every picture.
Yellows are not especially bright, and greens blend with that yellow creating a yellow cast all over it. However, I’m not saying that in a bad way, this film is not meant to be a landscape or portrait film. As the manufacturer states, it will aim for a 70’s summer style. The yellow cast really gives a good feeling in the pictures, the man walking in the path could be easily an old photo from a 70s magazine. Same for this picture taken at baishawan (白沙灣） beach in Taipei.
Surprisingly, my favorite part of this film was the rendition of the blue colors. The next two photos, were taken in the same place (Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei) at the exact same time. Trusting the meter of my Nikon FM, and a Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai. we can see how different those two photos are. It will give a range from dark turquoise to yellowish-blue. Unpredictability was one of the words that I used to describe this film and certainly is one of the characteristics that makes this film interesting to play with, or awful if you really expect even and easy to foretell results.
Finally, I tested this film in some portraits, with some friends with a lighter skin tone (Summer) and darker skin tone (Michelle) under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. You can click to enlarge this gallery.
Not much that we can conclude from this samples, the skin looks too yellow and unrealistic but… that is the point of this film, isn’t? The yellow cast affects the whole picture. That’s why, even the colors in the picture don’t match the real ones, in its own way they look great, natural and with a really cool retro vibe. Only issue… the grain, say goodbye to any details, the ‘extra large’ grain will devour them.
Talking about the grain, Adox does not try to hide the large grain in the film”The grain of an 800 ISO film combined with the effective speed of a 100 ASA film”. Well, isn’t that like saying the fuel consumption of a truck and the speed of a moped. After all, There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The drawback of large grain also helps for that organic and retro feeling that looks great, so, the point here is using the right film for the right occasion and enjoy the particular hues and color shifts.
Testing this film at different ISOS
This film is to be shot at different ISOs and we can see why the difference on only one stop is massive in the outcome of the image. ISO 100 will give us the most balanced of them, giving soft and pleasant yellow mid-tones. ISO 200 is my personal favorite (I shot most pictures at ISO 200) bringing the turquoise blue and fading a little bit the yellow. At ISO 400 everything shift backs to YELLOW the blue tone disappear and green become lighter. If you see the pictures I took at the beach, you can feel that they are tremendously yellow, it was a sunny day and I overexposed the ISO 200, that’s why everything has this cast all over.
Color chart and measurement of the colors.
- RED Average Colour R:207.0 G:133.0 B:85.0
- GREEN Average Colour R:144.0 G:194.0 B:100.0
- BLUE Average Colour R:70.0 G:133.0 B:159.0
- YELLOW Average Colour R:235.0 G:211.0 B:96.0
You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?
Summarizing, go for it if you want to experiment with film. It is really fun to play with, even though it sounds hipster, this film definitely gives an organic feeling and color shifts that can not be achieved with digital. Even the camera is not DX coded, you can load it on your compact and it will have ISO 100 by default (quite often).
In my opinion, like with many other films, it is a bit difficult for me to get them to Asia. If I were in Europe, it definitely worths the try 6-7 Euro, but considering the shipping cost, it is expensive for me. To experiment I often use 10years+ expired Solaris or Kodak Gold film. But, if it’s accessible to you, definitely is worth the try.
CAREFUL when you bring it to your local developer or scan it, let them know that the weird colors are on purpose.
- If you want to experiment with film, something fun, different
- For a vintage feeling, at any ISO the retro vibe is all over it.
- Even for a pro shoot, or some fashion or cool style clothing shoot. It will give you an outstanding different feeling. Just be aware of the unpredictability of this film.
- If you don’t like grain or you are looking for the highest detail
- It will difficult to have two rolls that look the same, so if you look for uniformity, this film is not for you
- Landscape or portrait. (Really subjective this one, it depends on what you are looking for)
Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!