Film Never Die is a store based in Melbourne, Australia. They have a great selection of films, cameras (35mm, 120mm and Instant), laboratory with developing and scanning and also offer classes and workshops. Not only the physical store but an on-line store too. Film Never Die is really active in the film community and have a good amount of devoted customers and followers that interact frequently with their social media. Never visited the store myself, but If I travel to Australia, I’d definitely would arrange a visit to my itinerary and join one of their cool photo walks!
Through a Kickstarter campaign, they released IRO in 2017. They don’t have a constant stock, but rather work in batches. I got a few rolls in the second batch they produced during the pre-order, just had to wait a few weeks to get it.
IRO 200 色 is a day-balanced color negative film, C41 development with an ISO of 200. The name comes from the Japanese word “色” IRO, that literally means “Color”. There is not much technical information on the real manufacturer of the film or the technical conditions of the film, but that data is not relevant as long as we can see some real-life examples. Something cool about this film is that they had a designer (Rizki Wibisono @jekjonze) creating the packaging, something that many manufacturers neglect, but I think it makes your product way more appealing and shows that you care about it -independently of the product you are selling-. The design is simple but really cool:
|Name||FilmNeverDie IRO 200|
|DX coding||Yes (*First batch didn’t)|
Low stock, only pre-orders through their website.
My rolls of film arrived right before a couple of big trips, Hawaii and Bali, perfect locations for a low ISO film. I shot both of them with my Nikon FM2n and my two favorite focal lenghts, 28mm and 50mm.
The first thing to notice, is that IRO200 is a colorful film. The colors are really vivid, especially yellows, blues and reds. It is a quite warm colored film, and shows a slight yellow cast over most images, you either love it or hate. I definitely love it!
Yellow colors are amazing, normally when reviewing other films like Superia X-TRA 400 or even Ultramax 400, I feel that yellow is the most “neglected” color being more muted than others. But in IRO, that is not the case, yellows are vivid and punchy.
Reds tend to become more “crimson” than just pure red, maybe they are not 100% true-to-color, however that different feeling is one of the reasons why we choose film over digital. These tones, definitely give a great and somehow vintage atmosphere to the scene.
Skies are great, this film has a really high latitude (like dynamic range in digital), so it captures a great range of blue tones. They tend to be slightly yellow, particularly when underexposed. In the second picture, I was trying to capture the rain from the distant cloud, underexposing the sky. I can feel it really tinted the scene more yellow. Overexposing the film a bit, this yellow tint disappears on the blue tones, not the case on greens.
Different days, tones and exposures, but greens always show a yellow cast all over it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the feeling of this film. However, if you are looking for a landscape film, you’d do better with a film like Ektar and use IRO in your day by day or on a trip to the beach.
I also shot a few portraits, with natural light and direct flash. Portraits of friends with different skin tones to see how IRO200 would react to different skin tones and flash.
Considering that IRO 200 is not a film oriented to portraits, the skin tones are surprisingly pleasant. I don’t mind the yellow tones as much as red ones that I see in other films (Every film in the Superia line or Ektar). Using flash it helps you to get rid of that cast and creates vivid and detailed images.
Color chart and measurement of the colors.
RED Average Colour R:209.0 G:142.0 B:84.0
YELLOW Average Colour R:229.0 G:210.0 B:52.0
BLUE Average Colour R:83.0 G:149.0 B:183.0
GREEN Average Colour R:190.0 G:205.0 B:117.0
You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?
I’m always excited to see people committed to the film industry. Honoring their name, they developed a new film. Something cool is, not just an old Fuji emulsion re-branded, this film has its own character. It has really warm colors, really punchy red and yellows. Controlled grain, slightly high for an ISO 200 film, but I always consider that nowadays grain is a matter of taste more than a decisive factor when choosing a film.
One of the troubles I find with this film is the price. If you are really on a budget, is not the cheapest film around. For example:
*Update: August 2018, the new batch of IRO 200 now comes with 36 exposures
A roll of 27 exposures costs: 7.35USD, that is 0.27USD per frame. As of today, a roll of Kodak Portra 400 or Kodak Ektar with 36 exposures each costs 7.49USD that is 0.21USD per frame.
The fact that this film can be only ordered online, also sums up. For Taiwan, when I ordered this film, the shipping costs were 8,50USD and it makes the total purchase more expensive, especially since I just bought a few rolls of IRO and a few of Hillvale’s Sunny 16. Definitely upgrading the exposures to 36 would help to solve this problem. The shipping cost is not much that can be done about it. Maybe instead of buying film every month, I should buy it every 6 months to make the shipping costs less of a deal.
Would I buy it again? DEFINITELY! I love the colors, the rich palette and the vintage feeling is amazing. Would I buy it often? If I was living in Australia, or I order something from them yes. For me, unfortunately, the high shipping costs and cost per frame make IRO 200 a rare treat. I can walk into a store in Taipei and buy professional film for cheaper, or three rolls of my beloved Colorplus 200.
- Sunny days, warm colors, great results.
- Looking for a particular and different feeling in your pictures? this is your film.
- FilmNeverDie cares about the film community and this is a way to support them.
- If you dislike warm colors or looking for a “cool” palette.
- Not the best value per shot.
- The irregular availability makes it difficult to become your day by day film, especially if you are looking for uniformity in your work.
Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!