Adox Color Implosion Review

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.”

ADOX_150_50-Kopie-1024x585

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.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200034

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200020

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 flickr-logo Mackee_Lee:

14776199527_9de614a299_z

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.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200016

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200031

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.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200011

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.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200024

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200025

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.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200010

Testing this film at different ISOS

ISO 100:

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200030

ISO 200:

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200029

ISO 400:

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200028

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.

[FILM] TAIWAN Beach Taipei APR2017 Nikon FM(B) Adox Color Implosion 100 @200002

  • 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.

YES ⇑

  • 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.

NO ⇓

  • 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!

Kodak Gold 200 Review

Before I started doing these reviews, I had trouble identifying the different series of film, particularly with the economic series offered in ISO 200. If we talk about cheap color negative films in that range from the two bigger manufacturers, Fuji and Kodak, we will notice that there are two lines:

Agfa only has one option the Agfacolor vista 200, allegedly to be manufactured with a cheap Fujifilm emulsion.  Rollei has the  CR200 but is a reversal film (positive). Lomography has the Lomography X-Pro 200, but I think is more an artistic or special film, more than a normal one. Also to mention the Cine series, with the Kodak Vision 3, 250D and 250T or Fujifilm with the Eterna 250D.

So, before starting the review of the Kodak Gold 200, I think it was quite important to place it in its correspondent line, that is the best way to value the relation quality/price.

IMG_20161218_140421_AO_HDR

Name Kodak Gold 200
ISO 200
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 24, 36
DX Coding Yes
Availability ★★★☆☆

I have troubles to find it in Asia, but plenty on-line and other markets.

IMG_20170122_131315_HDR

The first cool thing about this film is that you can still find these 3-rolls pack with 24 exposures each that will make you feel like a dad in the 90’s ready for a Disneyland trip, forget about those boring bulk-pro packagings. Load the old school design roll, and good to go!

[FILM] USA christmas DEC2016 - Nikon FM (s) - Kodak Gold 200 -038

          I’m a little bit biased with this film, in particular, I love the way it renders the colors. Maybe it reminds me of childhood memories, or is just the feeling of “this is how film should look”. But as I said, this is a totally subjective point of view. I will try to write this review as unbiased as possible. I have been really lucky,  I have been able to review this film shooting daily scenes in Taiwan, but also during a winter trip to Des Moines (Iowa). For the winter colors, it looked great! carmine toned browns, and soft yellow all over, I love it!

In these two pictures, we can appreciate that reds are quite off, they don’t pop up like other films do. The Superia line from Fujifilm has brighter reds, or even in Kodak, Ektar, for example, has more punchy and saturated colors, at a different starting price though. Depending on the use for this film, that can be an advantage or a disadvantage, for daily life pictures, with plenty of skin tones and trees or street scenes, I personally like the carmine red tones, a little bit off, fading with the brown palette. However, the temple picture could use more intensity, if reds and greens were more contrasty the photo will be much more attractive, easy to fix in post-processing, however, for these reviews, the photos are exactly as they come out from the scanner.

[FILM] USA TAIWAN christmas finals JAN2017 Nikon FM(s) Kodak Gold 200 -003

[FILM] TAIWAN US portraits makiko test Nikon FM(S) Kodak Gold 200 011

Greens, behave exactly in the same way as reds, muted tones, closer to “grass green” than to “lime green”. It also fades a little bit with the brown, but again, do not think this is a disadvantage, the way colors interact with each other creates its own interesting color palette.

[FILM] TAIWAN US portraits makiko test Nikon FM(S) Kodak Gold 200 013

Blues are really neutral, and very true to color. Both the top picture of the temple (淡水天元宮 in North Taipei, really worth the visit!)  and the bottom picture of a sunset in Des Moines really captured the image showing the blue tones as real as I remember.

[FILM] USA TAIWAN christmas finals JAN2017 Nikon FM(s) Kodak Gold 200 -012

Yellows are vibrant in pictures taken with natural light. If any complaint about the yellow tones, I found out that all the photos taken between 10 am to 5 pm, with harsh light, the frames would have a subtle yellow tint. I did a little bit more of research and find out that yellow is the most sensitive layer, this review is not a scientific test, and maybe is just a choice of style, but this might explain why under harsh light (midday sun or snow)  we obtain that yellow cast.

Capturelayerssensitivity

[FILM] TAIWAN US portraits makiko test Nikon FM(S) Kodak Gold 200 006

[FILM] USA TAIWAN christmas finals JAN2017 Nikon FM(s) Kodak Gold 200 -015

Finally, I tested this film in some portraits, with some friends with a lighter skin tone (Makiko) and darker skin tone (Caroline) under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. You can click to enlarge this gallery.

The colors with natural light, shows a little bit of the mentioned yellow cast, especially in Makiko’s portrait, the fact that is underexposed with a pink background definitely do not benefit the skin tone. In another situation, this film would be more advantageous for a portrait. With the direct flash, it perfectly balanced the yellow cast and made amazing, contrasty pictures for such a cheap film.

Grain is very subtle, especially in the portraits. Correct for an ISO 200 film of its range. This crop of Makiko’s portrait shows no grain at all, I was really impressed by that! The dog’s fur is also quite clear of grain.

[FILM] TAIWAN US portraits makiko test Nikon FM(S) Kodak Gold 200 003
Lighter skin tone with direct flash

[FILM] TAIWAN US portraits makiko test Nikon FM(S) Kodak Gold 200 003-2

[FILM] TAIWAN US portraits makiko test Nikon FM(S) Kodak Gold 200 010

[FILM] USA christmas DEC2016 - Nikon FM (s) - Kodak Gold 200 -017


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN US portraits makiko test Nikon FM(S) Kodak Gold 200 017

RED Average Colour R:188.0 G:141.0 B:78.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:201.0 G:200.0 B:56.0

BLUE Average Colour R:56.0 G:128.0 B:170.0

GREEN Average Colour R:125.0 G:184.0 B:73.0

You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?


[FILM] USA TAIWAN christmas finals JAN2017 Nikon FM(s) Kodak Gold 200 -024

As a rule of thumb, I tend to like more warm colors than cold ones,  that’s why I quite like this film: cheap and with a beautiful palette of colors. After testing a few different kind of rolls, I could firmly say that this is one of my favorites, my favorite in the ISO 200 range. Pictures don’t pop up like other films, but it creates a really vintage atmosphere, with the tones a little bit washed off and a light yellow cast. I can understand that many people will not like it, but I love it!

If any drawback, this film is not easy to find in the Asian market, There is plenty of the cheaper version, the Kodak Colorplus 200, but is not exactly the same emulsion of film. Very similar whatsoever. Nevertheless, soon I will also prepare a comparison in between its direct rival in price and technical conditions (Fujicolor Superia 200) and with its cheaper brother (Kodak Colorplus 200)

YES ⇑

  • For daily use, load it in any kind of camera and expect great results, harsh light, flash, it will resolve pretty well for its price
  • Looking for a vintage feeling without falling into any forced “lomo” effect.
  • If you like to play with negatives in post-processing, being so neutral, with a little bit of tweak it can create great images.

NO ⇓

  • If you can’t stand light yellow cast in your photos. Or you are looking for a colder feeling.
  • Landscape photography, I would go for other color that would pop more the colors individually.
  • If you need a fast film you will obtain similar results with the Ultramax 400 for the same price (or even cheaper!), but with a higher ISO number.

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!

Rollei Redbird Redscale 400 Review

Rollei Redbird Redscale 400

04/12/2016

          The Rollei Redbird is a Redscale film from the “Creative Edition” of the German manufacturer Rollei.  From the name we can guess that this film is not aiming for realistic colors or pleasant skin tones. So, what makes this film special? This film follows the redscale process, for those not familiar with this familiar with this project, basically is a normal film exposed on the wrong side (backwards), this means the light you let through the shutter must first make its way through several layers until it reaches the light-sensitive one. Therefore, this film is specially designed to shoot backwards creating crazy red tones.

IMG_20161203_185842_HDR

Name Rollei Redbird Redscale 400
ISO 400
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm, 120mm
Exposures 36
DX Coding No
Availability ★★★☆☆

On-line in the major distributors

          Something that call my attention is that the manufacturer states on their site “real 400 ISO film”, however, in every review I saw on-line, every reviewer and comment says the same: OVEREXPOSE!, it seems that the film even in sunny days or with flash will underexpose every single frame, creating underexposed, grainy and ugly images. Other crazy thing about this film is the possibility to change the effect by working with the exposure times, getting more yellow hue images in faster speeds and more red under 1/30. It might be related to the exposure that the film receives. It’s my first time shooting redscale and being aware of that, I will try to shoot this film at 400,200 and 100

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -031

           Normally, I like to divide my reviews into small sections and try to analyze or just separate how different colors work. However, with this redscale film there is few room to analyze that, and even I took the normal photographies of subjects with lighter and darker skin tones and the color chart… As the name indicates we will see some kind of black and red.

Shooting at the stated 400ISO, we get really rich red color, this picture of the dog was taken in bright sunlight. We can see all the detail in the white fur of the dog,  however, when we get in slightly darker tones, for example the bag in the scooter, or the bottom part of the bike. We totally lose every detail, obviously noticing that the picture is underexposed. What a pity, I really enjoy shooting high ISO film… however shooting the Rollei Redbird you will either be forced to shoot at a lower speed or either push in develop. But, this film is grainy enough to push in develop….

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -009

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -016

If we try to overexpose the film in one step (a way to overexpose this film one step for example, is setting the ISO of our camera to 200), we get very rich red tones, in the first picture, the bicycle was in the shade and we can see it very clearly in the picture. The sidewalk still retains detail with very rich yellow~orange tones.

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -015

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -011

Overexposing one stop, definitely will give us much more detail allover the picture.

          Finally, Overexposing two steps (shooting the film like it were ISO 100) we totally fade the bright red that we had in the other previous photos. The photos are less contrasty, more brown(ish) than red(ish). They look like that “Sepia” filter from our old cellphones, definitely not my piece of cake this style, but if you are looking for a vintage feeling for your prints, is not a bad idea.

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -022

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -001

By the end of the roll, I took the camera to the countryside and set my tripod to compare the different ISO shots with similar scenarios

ISO400 

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -004

ISO200

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -005

ISO100

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -006

In this side by side comparison is summarized what I mentioned before, at a normal exposition dark reds in the sky losing all detail in the bushes. Overexposing one step we obtain bright reds and some details in the shade, and finally overexposing two steps, full detail in the dark tones and a bright yellow.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -002

RED Average Colour R:233.0 G:104.0 B:47.0

GREEN Average Colour R:238.0 G:148.0 B:54.0

BLUE  Average Colour R:153.0 G:46.0 B:23.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:234.0 G:130.0 B:48.0

See also: How do I measure the colors?


Lastly, I used the Redbird in different portrait situations, with a lighter skin tone subject (Maggie), darker skin tone (Ailton), with and without direct flash.

The film gave really inconsistent results in the portraits, so It would be difficult to actually review it… again with the same old song. Brighter situations will give more yellow tones like the outdoors picture of Ailton, while darker ones like for example the one of Maggie with the flash on and a pretty low aperture will give really dark reds.


[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -020

          In conclusion, It’s an interesting film, full of possibilities for that kind of people experimenting with film, I’m sure this kind of film will give also lot of room for creativity while developing and processing. Maybe indoors with a circular diffuser on your flash will give really a really cool dramatic effect, shooting a band or for some creative project. Definitely not my style, but worth the try. I wish we could get those bright reds shooting like an 800 film instead of a 200…

YES ⇑

  • If you want to try something new and different
  • If you develop by yourself and can fully experiment with it
  • If you want a creative effect and you plan to shoot outdoors or under bright light
  • Good for “lomographers” however, be aware of the slow speed of the film to get clear results.

NO ⇓

  • If you want consistency on your work
  • If you look for clean, grainless and detailed photos.
  • If you are on a budget. You can do your own redscale film yourself with some expired film. Check this link to know how:How to redscale?

Just for fun

IMG_20161211_145809_HDR-01

        I took a picture of that same landscape  of the tree and the cloudy ski, at ISO 200 but with a gradual filter, top being dark orange and transparent in the bottom. The result would be more interesting if I would have underexposed a couple of stops more, but it was an interesting idea actually, because initially I didn’t like the red mess that I got in the scan. However I kind of like the picture after I converted it to black and white.

 

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -003

[FILM] TAIWAN - US tamsui street yongle DEC2016 Nikon FM(S) - Rollei Redscale 400 -003-2

 

Check out the gallery for more fullscreen results of this film