Fujicolor C200 Review

Fujicolor C200 is a daylight balanced, ISO 200 film offered by Fujifilm, currently is one of the few films remaining in the Fujifilm consumer series after the discontinuation of Superia 200. Along with Fujicolor C200 the other option is the Fujicolor X-TRA 400, a similar film in the ISO400 range.

IMG_20170402_160800_HDR

When searching for more information about this film, many people wonder if this film is a re-packed Superia 200 others affirm that is Agfa Vista Plus 200. I can confirm that is not any of those, it looks similar to the Agfa, but it is quite different from the Superia 200. I believe the Fujicolor C200 is a different and low-cost Fujifilm emulsion that is cheaply produced, in order to reduce costs and keep a consumer film in the market. The main difference probably is the lack of the famous 4th layer included in Superia 200. Although C200 is introduced as the cheapest option available, I was quite pleased with the results, much more than with the Superia 200. Without getting too technical, here is how the structure of both films looks side by side.

c200 vs superia 200

Name Fujifilm Fujicolor C200
ISO 200
Developer C-41, CN-16
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 24, 36
DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★★★

IMG_20170318_161758_HDR

The advantage of reviewing a cheap film is that I don’t need to break the piggy bank to buy it, I was able to buy several rolls to try them in different lights and situations. With this film, I used my -now defunct- Nikon F100 with the 24-120mm f3.5-5.6D when hiking and camping in Taiwan. A F90x / 50mm f1.8D for the beach trips, along with the Nikon FM2 with a 28mm and a 50mm f1.8 Ais for my daily life shots, trips to the US and a trip in the French Pyrenees.

[FILM] TAIWAN camping KTV MAR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor C200007

US Des Moines Halloween OCT2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200029

The Fujicolor C200 is a really balanced film, rendering a quite balanced palette. As with many Fujifilm films, greens are one of its strongest points. Not so vivid as the Superia line, and it always rendered slightly warm green tones. Not as warm as Kodak Colorplus 200, but warmer than I remember them in the real scene.

FRANCE - Pyrenees Ariegeoises - Jul 2017 - Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200018

FRANCE - Pyrenees Ariegeoises - Jul 2017 - Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200028

Shooting at box speed gives you very natural and pleasant blue tones, really wide tonality and surprisingly this film is quite forgiving in the highlights considering its price.

FRANCE - Pyrenees Ariegeoises - Jul 2017 - Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200008

US Des Moines Halloween OCT2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200034

Reds are more muted than other Fujifilm films, films like Superia 200, or the Industrial 100 are much more vivid and intense. Definitely I prefer this muted red tones, a little bit more “red firebrick” than bright red.

FRANCE - Pyrenees Ariegeoises - Jul 2017 - Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200007

FRANCE - Pyrenees Ariegeoises - Jul 2017 - Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200004

Same as blue tones, yellow tones are natural, balanced and true to color.

[FILM] TAIWAN tamsui summer JUL2017 Nikon F100 (Problem) Fujicolor C200 -007

In addition, I tested this film in some portraits, with some friends withd ifferent skin tones under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. You can click to enlarge this gallery.

Is not a film designed for portraits, but still does a really good job. Natural skin tones, slightly more warm or magenta than they were in real life, but it can be easily solved in post (none of these pictures was edited). In my opinion, is MUCH better than the discontinued Superia 200, and better than Superia 400 shot at box speed (overexposing will solve the magenta skin tone). It wouldn’t be my top choice for a portrait session, but it definitely has the potential to be an excellent balanced walk-around film.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN tamsui summer JUL2017 Nikon F100 (Problem) Fujicolor C200 -014

YELLOW Average Colour R:240.0 G:210.0 B:56.0

RED Average Colour R:210.0 G:110.0 B:60.0

BLUE Average Colour R:68.0 G:121.0 B:158.0

GREEN Average Colour  R:158.0 G:195.0 B:76.0

See also: How do I measure the colors?


[FILM] TAIWAN camping KTV MAR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor C200014

FRANCE - Pyrenees Ariegeoises - Jul 2017 - Nikon FM2 Fujicolor C200001

[FILM] TAIWAN camping KTV MAR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor C200017

Overexposing the C200 one stop (Shot at 100 ISO) 

There is a small yellow cast over the picture, in the green tones it gets more accented than in other tones, blues are more pastel than at box speed.

Underexposing C200 one stop (shot at 400 ISO)

Blues become strong and more vibrant. However, greens become muddier and they start to fade in the shadows. Shadows become slightly greenish, really typical feeling of other Fujifilm films. I’m not a fan of this green shadows, but I saw people doing a great job doing low-key portraits and work with this technique and they look amazing. I’d rather go for a similarly-priced 400 ISO if you really need the extra speed.


Fujicolor C200 is a film that I really like. It is widely available, it is cheap, you can buy 24 and 36 exposures and the latitude is amazing, you can easily underexpose without worrying too much on burning the highlights. Grain is quite controlled for such a cheap film. With a good scanner and a few minutes of editing you can get amazing results with it. It wouldn’t be my top choice in the range of cheap films, I’d rather shoot Superia X-TRA 400 at ISO200, or Kodak Colorplus at 200 as well. But, you can’t go wrong with this film, for almost any situation.

YES

  • Daily use, load it in your camera and ready to go. It will respond correctly to any situation.
  • Experiment with it, overexpose, underexpose, all the results came out great from every camera I used it.
  • Widely available, cheap and good, what else do you need?

NO

  • If you are looking for a sharp, clean image. I felt that it can be quite muddy sometimes.
  • I wouldn’t overexpose it too much, better go for the Superia X-TRA 400 for almost the same price.

 

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


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Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400 Review

The Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400 is one of the last remaining consumer series offered by Fujifilm. It is a really versatile ISO400 film, balanced for daylight and widely available everywhere. Most of the other consumer films offered by Fujifilm have been discontinued like Reala and Superia 100 in 2009. After that, in 2017  Superia 200 and X-tra 800 (both reviewed in the past) were also discontinued outside Japan. Leaving the Fujicolor C200 and X-TRA 400 as their only consumer films worldwide.

IMG_20180510_114100

Fujifilm in Japan is a complete different story. Worldwide we see less and less films from them (leaving aside their INSTAX series). But, for the Japanese market, apart of the Superia X-tra 400, Fujifilm Japan launched in 2009 the Superia PREMIUM 400  with improved exposure latitude and optimized for Japanese skin tones (definition from their voucher) and without the 4th color layer. Alongside with the PREMIUM 400 and only for the Japanese market there is the Superia VENUS 800, different to the Superia X-TRA 800 and the amazing Fujicolor 100. Luckily, on a recent trip to Japan I could test them all, but they are quite hard to find outside the Japanese market.  This review is for the worldwide available Superia X-Tra 400.

Name Superia X-TRA 400
ISO 400
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 24, 36
DX Coding Yes
Availability ★★★★★

IMG_20180510_114531

It is a very tempting film because of its price, as of today, is the cheapest 400ISO color film in B&H. Agfacolor Vista 400 is gone and the Kodak Ultramax 400 is slightly more expensive, it is a great option for shooter on a tight budget. Price and availability made this film my top choice many times, that’s why I shot so many rolls of this film. For this review, I will include some rolls that I shot with multiple cameras, Nikon FM, F3, F4, F90x and a FM2n (My current and favorite camera). Always paired with a 28mm or a 50mm. I was able shoot it in different locations: Taiwan, Spain, Ireland in different times and lights.

[Film] SPAIN TAIWAN - boat sanxia - AUG2016 -Nikon FM S - Fujifilm XTRA 400 -026

IRELAND - Cork - Guiness AUG2016 Nikon FM Fujifilm Xtra 400 -019

[FILM] TAIWAN yuanshan street MAR2017 Nikon F4 Fujicolor X-TRA 400017

Reds are simply amazing in this film! Really punchy and saturated.  When using it for street photography, reds completely pop.  Reds can even be distracting sometimes, and they will affect some lighter skin tones (more on that later).

[FILM] IRELAND TAIWAN maria ireland taipei NIKON FM(S) Fujifilm XTRA400-004

[FILM] TAIWAN yuanshan street MAR2017 Nikon F4 Fujicolor X-TRA 400015

[FILM] TAIWAN yuanshan street MAR2017 Nikon F4 Fujicolor X-TRA 400012

Along with the red tones, greens are also really high in contrast. I really love the green in nature landscapes. Foliage looks great, even is not a great film for landscapes (lack of detail retention and grain) , is definitely a great film for a day out at the park or hiking. Shadows also tend to adopt a greenish tone, really characteristic of Fujifilm films, you either love it or hate it.

IRELAND - Cork - Guiness AUG2016 Nikon FM Fujifilm Xtra 400 -003

[Film] SPAIN TAIWAN - boat sanxia - AUG2016 -Nikon FM S - Fujifilm XTRA 400 -002

Although, not as striking as greens or reds. Blues are really beautiful and balanced. Particularly with warm light, blues are really true to color.

[FILM] TAIWAN yuanshan street MAR2017 Nikon F4 Fujicolor X-TRA 400021

IRELAND - Cork - Guiness AUG2016 Nikon FM Fujifilm Xtra 400 -015

Same as blues, yellows are really balanced and pleasing. They can come up a little bit dark sometimes. It really remind me to other Fujifilm series, the industrial 業務記錄用 , only for sale in Japan.

In addition, I shot some portraits in different lights, with and without flash.

The biggest problem that I see in this film, the ruddy skin tones. Although I praised the red tones before, I believe they are not really flattering when dealing with skin tones. Darker skin tones become slightly red, but people with lighter skin tones will become straight up pink! Since I like to include people in my pictures, this factor become decisive when choosing film. I found the same problem before with Kodak Ektar 100, great film for landscapes, but definitely not the best for portraits. This can be solved overexposing one or two stops the film, I will talk a little bit more about this onwards.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400023

RED Average Colour R:217.0 G:135.0 B:89.0

BLUE Average Colour R:92.0 G:163.0 B:196.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:233.0 G:203.0 B:55.0

GREEN Average Colour R:197.0 G:211.0 B:131.0

See also: How do I measure the colors?


[FILM] TAIWAN Jorge Taipei center DEC2015 Nikon F3 Fujifilm X-TRA 400025

I really enjoyed shooting this film. It cover all the bases, easy to find in stores and on-line, a cheap quality option. I like ISO400 films, it is really functional and not too grainy considering the speed. You can always have one in your bag, experiment with it, since is DX coded, you can also put it in your compact camera and good to go.

It is definitely not my favorite film, I don’t hate the green cast that some of the photos have. However, I can’t stand the ruddy (red) skin tones. I want to like this film more, but I like to include subjects in my pictures and I hate that everyone looks so red. Looking for information on how to solve this problem I found out this blog on How to shoot Superia X-Tra 400 , It strongly recommend to shoot two stops over exposed “Most consumer films do better with about two stops of overexposure and Fuji Superia 400 Xtra is no exception. You want to rate it around ISO 100 (metering from the shadows) if you” have enough light, which is 2 stops over box speed.” So I decided to try it myself, and shot a film overexposing 1 stop and underexposing 1 stop.

Underexposing X-TRA 400 

Setting 800ASA in your camera will underexpose by one stop. It will accentuate the green-red tones, that can give a really cool effect if you are playing with the shadows as elements, but definitely not my favorite when dealing with skin tones or detail.

[FILM] TAIWAN Jorge Taipei center DEC2015 Nikon F3 Fujifilm X-TRA 400006

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400020

Overexposing X-TRA 400

Setting your camera at 200ISO will overexpose your film by one stop. It will mute a little bit the red and green tones and will give you a more pleasant pastel tones. And Bingo! better skin tones. After this last overexposed frames, I started to like more X-tra 400.

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400033

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400 -001

In conclusion, a great all-around film that, in my opinion really needs to be overexposed for at least one stop to get the best of it. I personally would choose first Kodak Ultramax 400 or the recently discontinued Agfacolor Vista 400. But you can’t go wrong with this film. I saw some people on-line that do amazing work with this film.

YES ⇑

  • Daily use, versatile, high speed, load it in your camera and ready to go.
  • Great price! If you are on a budget, you will not be disappointed.
  • Great for wildlife and macro, greens and reds just pop!

NO ⇓

  • If you don’t like red skin tones.
  • I find the colors more pleasant when shooting at ISO100-200, so if you really need a high speed film, think about it twice.
  • It doesn’t pull well, it gets too grainy. Go better for the Superia X-tra 800.

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


Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only) Review

Over the past years, Fujifilm has been discontinuing films of all kinds, Astia and Fortia for professionals, the iconic black and white Neopan 400 and 1600 and even the consumer Superia 200. However, the Japanese market is a completely different story,  Fujifilm has a complete line of films, widely available not only in specialized stores but also in convenience stores. One of them is the Fujicolor 100. Do not be confused with this film, is not the discontinued Superia 100 [CN] or the Fujicolor Industrial 100 業務記錄用, is a totally different film, only available in Japan. Without getting too technical, a quick look at the data sheet will show us the differences between these films

charts

Name Fujicolor 100
ISO 100
Developer CN-16, C41
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36, 27, 24

Single roll or three packs.

DX coding Yes
Availability ★☆☆☆☆

Only in Japan

IMG_20180214_114052_HDR

I was lucky enough to be able to visit Japan in 2018. Even though I brought several rolls of film, I was planning to go “film hunting” in the famous Yodobashi camera store. However, during the film morning in Kyoto, I was able to find some of the films  I wanted in a small store by the Fushimi Inari temple, so I just went for it. Although that day I was already loaded and decided to keep the Fujicolor 100 for another day trip.  I loaded it into my FM2 and paired with my 28mm f2.8 -50mm f1.8 traveling combo.

IMG_20180214_114240_HDR

The first thing to notices is that reds are not as bright as with other reviewed Fujifilm films, instead of bright red the color obtained is more crimson. Slightly darker but really intense, I would say that is less distracting than bright reds.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-022

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-011

Same with the blue hues, I would say they are slightly less bright than in real life, the statue was quite bright blue, and in the picture I feel is more teal looking. But, that looks great on skies, even under harsh light, the Fujicolor 100 keeps so much of the blue tone in the sky.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-012

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-009

Greens have a yellow tonality, same like I found in cheaper Kodak emulsions. Definitely not a bad thing, I love the brownish Kodak palette, but it definitely looks different from the classic greenish ting found in other Fujifilm films.  Same with yellows, they are less bright yellow and more ocher.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-004

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-023

I also shot a few portraits, with natural light and also with direct flash. Surprisingly, the film was great. I tend to not like Fujifilm films for portraits, since they tend to create a red tone in fair skin tones. Not only in the results I obtained, but also other photos that I found on-line, show a slight low contrast, that works well with portraits. With both, lighter skin tones and darker skin tones, there is a slight yellow cast, that could be also easily removed in post-production.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-024

RED: Average Colour R:212.0 G:150.0 B:76.0

BLUE: Average Colour R:76.0 G:149.0 B:175.0

YELLOW: Average Colour R:230.0 G:210.0 B:13.0

GREEN: Average Colour R:192.0 G:209.0 B:96.0

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


JAPAN Osaka Shitennoji Market FEB2018 Nikon FM2 Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only)-029

I was really hesitant when I first bought this film, I tried similar films before like the Industrial 100 or Superia 200. Both of them were marketed equally to the Japanese Fujicolor 100, same customer target and “good rendition” of colors. But, I was fairly disappointed with the results of those films. However I was taken aback by the results, the color rendition is not great, it really does not reflect the colors from the scene as it happened. Nevertheless, the film has character, it has an amazing color palette, really characteristic, a little bit yellowish, undersaturated but that stills retain lots of detail with a minimum amount of grain.

Personally, the biggest drawbacks of this film for me are availability and low ISO. The low ISO factor is definitely subjective, I tend to prefer the 200-400 range, so I would go for the brother of this film the Superia PREMIUM 400, similar emulsion. It’s also available only in Japan, but with a couple of stops more of sensitivity. The other drawback would be availability, I’m currently based in Taiwan, so for me is just slightly more expensive than other films. It can be easy to find on Rakuten (the Japanese Amazon) in 27 and 36 exposures. For around the price of a roll of Kodak Ektar or Portra 160. However for people in Europe or America, the price of a three pack, can skyrocket to more than double of a pro film.  Even I loved this film, I don’t think is worth the price tag including the shipping.

YES ⇑

  • With good light conditions is a great, balanced film for every situation
  • I like it for portraits, low contrast,  low grain but retains high detail.
  • If you like its own character and color palette.

NO ⇓

  • If you have to pay a massive extra for shipping, there are other options as good as this film.
  • If you look for high fidelity and true to life colors, I would choose another film for product or landscape photography

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with the Fujicolor 100


Fujicolor Superia 200 Review

*Note to the reader: Generally, I will only review films that are not expired and still in production. However, during the time that I was shooting this film, prior to the review, Fujifilm announced that the Superia 200 (among other lines from Fujifilm) would be discontinued. Leaving only the Fujicolor C200 and Superia X-TRA 400.

Many people wonder why Fujifilm is discontinuing so many films recently, I think the explanation is quite simple, two equal products “35mm film”, to the same target “nonprofessional film user”, at a similar price range in the same market. It is called Cannibalization “In marketing strategy, cannibalization refers to a reduction in sales volume, sales revenue, or market share of one product as a result of the introduction of a new product by the same producer.

Fuji_Film_Logo_alt.svg
After introducing the Fujicolor C200, the Superia 200 sales were reduced for a very similar product. Maintaining two lines of production, distribution, and marketing is not cheap. I think Fujifilm decided to go for the product that will bring them more revenue. The Fujicolor C200. For what I know, C200 is cheaper to produce than the Superia line.
Most target customers will not even realize that Superia 200 has been discontinued because it is a perfect substitute “Perfect Substitute is a good that functions just the same as the good it is being compared to. An example would be Coke or Pepsi, BP petroleum or Exxon petroleum etc…

Sad but understandable, with fresh stock remaining in the market, let’s see how the Superia 200 behaves.

Fujifilm has two different consumer films in ISO 200. The Fujicolor C200, the budget-friendly option and Superia 200, the “Premium” consumer option. The Superia 200 rivals directly in price and range with the Kodak Gold 200, while the C200 competes with the Kodak Colorplus 200. The professional option in this ISO range of color negative would be the Fujicolor Pro 160NS (also recently discontinued).

The Superia 200 is a daylight balanced film, sold in single rolls of 24-36 exposures or packs of 3 rolls. Originally Superia 200 was also offered in “110” cartridges. Although all these “110” films are already expired, eventually we can see some popping up on eBay.

Name Fujicolor Superia 200
ISO 200
Developer C-41, CN-16
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 24-36
DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★★☆

Widely available but discontinued since 2017.

IMG_20160829_122228_HDR

I bought 5-6 rolls of Superia 200 and shot it in the span of 15 months. I shot most of them with my trusty Nikon FM and the -now defunct- 50mm f1.4 Ai-s that I dropped while reviewing this film in Spain. Even with different cameras and lenses, it gave consistent results with vivid colors. Saturated colors, resulting in saturated skin colors, with a slight blueish-green tone in the shadows.

SPAIN - Sevilla Far West AUG2016 Nikon FM Fujicolor Superia 200-004

[FILM] SPAIN holidays summer AUG2016 Nikon FM(s) Fujicolor Superia 200028

Reds and greens are very intense, it makes red tones and especially brown tones like the clay tiles  or the facade in the picture turn into a darker crimson tone. It definitely gives an interesting tonality to warm colors, however, it also gives a pinkish tone to skin tones that I don’t find pleasant. In almost every picture, except in those too overexposed, people in it look like if they just finished a 5K run, pink cheeks, and red shadows.

SPAIN TAIWAN - Tamsui Madrid JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Fujicolor Superia 200 -006

[FILM] SPAIN holidays summer AUG2016 Nikon FM(s) Fujicolor Superia 200023

[FILM] SPAIN holidays summer AUG2016 Nikon FM(s) Fujicolor Superia 200027

Blues are also very intense. Pictures with a blue sky or water will definitely benefit from it, tones look very deep and that helps to create really cool images. Again, in this clay tile floor, we can see the “pink” feeling that I mentioned before.

SPAIN - Sevilla Far West AUG2016 Nikon FM Fujicolor Superia 200-030

SPAIN - Sevilla Far West AUG2016 Nikon FM Fujicolor Superia 200-035

Yellows look really neutral. In this case the, cathedral was under tungsten light, and it really represents the real color. Not too bright, really appropriate and correct hues.

Ultimately, I used this film for some portraits, some under natural light, others with a direct flash. On subjects with different types of skin tone.

Like I mentioned before, in different lights it gives pinkish tones that generally are quite unpleasant. Only when the film was overexposed the red tone disappears, but at that point, we were starting to lose detail in the subject’s features. With flash is slightly better, I think this film really pairs with cheap compact cameras, with that tiny flash included.

Compared to Fujicolor C200

[FILM] TAIWAN camping KTV MAR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor C200016
Shot on Fujicolor C200

Fujicolor C200 renders much better skin tones hand down, with or without flash the tones are much more pleasant (always in my opinion) than Superia 200.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

SPAIN TAIWAN - Tamsui Madrid JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Fujicolor Superia 200 -018

RED Average Colour R:219.0 G:127.0 B:88.0

GREEN Average Colour R:170.0 G:201.0 B:92.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:248.0 G:225.0 B:85.0

BLUE  Average Colour R:68.0 G:120.0 B:166.0

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


SPAIN TAIWAN - Tamsui Madrid JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Fujicolor Superia 200 -012

SPAIN TAIWAN - Tamsui Madrid JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Fujicolor Superia 200 -011

Summing up, Superia is a well balanced film. Vivid colors, very intense reds. It really reminds me to the Fujicolor Industrial 100. It pairs very well with compact cameras, you can use the bright colors and a high depth of field as a part of your composition. It pairs greatly with an electronic flash.

The Superia 200 would never be my first choice in almost any situation. I can’t stand the pink skin tones and green shadows. Is not the cheapest, is not a high ISO film, and currently discontinued, will just make prices go higher. I would definitely go for Kodak Gold 200 in that price range. If you really like the Fujifilm color palette, I would opt for C200 instead. Fujicolor C200 is cheaper, more available and better reproduction of colors. I believe, that was part of Fujifilm’s decission to choose C200 to stay over the Superia 200.

[FILM] SPAIN summer vacation with my parents - AUG2016 - Nikon FM (S) - Fujifilm Superia 200 -018

Like I always mention, this reviews are completely subjective, based on my own taste and impressions. I’ve seen several great photos with Superia 200 online, but definitely is not my piece of cake. It’s a pity that Superia 200 is discontinued, but I will definitely not miss it.

YES ⇑

  • For daily use, daylight balanced, medium ISO, really average priced.
  • If you want a cheap film with saturated colors.
  • If you like the characteristic Fujifilm  color palette.

NO ⇓

  • I wouldn’t use for portraits, it will give pink skin tones and, do not dare to underexposed, it will turn bright red.
  • Pushing it to 400. Superia 400 stills in production and will cost you less than this one.
  • If you plan a long term project. Go for a film that stills in production, otherwise the consistency of your job will be compromised.

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


Lomography CN 400 Review

Lomography is a company with which I have a love-hate relationship. I hate the over-hyped cameras at exorbitant prices, making simple toy cameras and the  “Don’t Think, Just Shoot”  a luxury that only a few can attain. However, I really appreciate that a company is still interested in promoting the use of film as a medium to allow artists to express themselves, bringing back old film emulsions and formats and creating a community of sharing their ideas and creations.

DSC_0221

While I would never buy a “La Sardina” or a LOMO LC-A 120 for double the price of a Bronica, the film option actually doesn’t seem too bad. A pack of three “Lomography CN 400” is very similar in price to buying three rolls of Ultramax 400 or Superia 400. So I decided to give it a go, and surprisingly I loved it!

Name Lomography CN400
ISO 400
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm (Pack of 3), 120mm (Pack of 3)
Exposures 35mm: 36

120mm: Depending on format

DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★★☆

logo_lomography

IMG_20170402_161036.jpg

Lomography is believed to be an old Kodak emulsion, specifically the Kodak VR 400. Old emulsion doesn’t mean that the film is expired or old discontinued film that would give irregular results. It is a new fresh film with an old chemical emulsion. The Kodak VR was replaced in the 90s for the Gold Series, the VR 200 is believed to be the current Colorplus 200. The Kodak VR 400 was really popular in the 80s. For that very reason, the Lomography CN 400 gives this really cool vintage feeling, with really vivid and contrasting colors.

 

I took these three rolls camping around Taiwan, Spain, and Southern France. I normally like high-speed films, and especially with changing light, different weather conditions and a slow 24-120mm f3.5-5.6 the Lomography CN 400 pairs perfectly with this setup.

There is a major issue with this film. When shot at box speed (ISO 400) the film came surprisingly underexposed, although the colors were vibrant and intense, the shadows and dark colors were totally lost. Shooting overexposing for half a step, setting ISO 320 on your camera, will give much more natural colors, still vibrant, but recovering much more detail from shadows and more pleasant colors, especially if there are people in the picture. So, personally, I do not recommend shooting at box speed, I recommend to always overexpose, for at least 1/2 step, even a full step if you are planning to use it for portraits.

[FILM] TAIWAN Camping jingshan MAR2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400023
Shot at ISO400
SPAIN - Alcazar Segovia - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Lomography 400 -015
Shot at ISO320 (Overexposed 1/2 step)

Blue tones are beautiful at any exposure, at iso400 will give very radiant and vivid light blue colors, the slightly overexposed brilliant blue tones will become more natural. Here is an example of the two different kinds of skies that we can obtain with the Lomography  CN 400.

[FILM] TAIWAN Camping jingshan MAR2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400026

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400023

Same goes for the red tones, they are bright and vivid when overexposed, like the pillars in the bottom picture of the temple. However, when shot at box speed, the red becomes shiny and kind of fluorescent, like the lanterns in the picture of the door at the top of this review.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400003

Yellow tones, although, are not as bright as blue and red. They give really strong golden  tones (more like an egg yolk). Describing the hue as such might seem like an unpleasant color. However, actually taking a look at the pictures, like the one of the lantern or the train in the bottom, I felt that it was somehow pleasant.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400031

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400004.jpg

Green tones are pleasant, they do not stand out for being too bright like blues or reds, but they are also not washed out. I wouldn’t use this film as a primary choice for landscapes, but this film was not oriented to shoot landscapes anyways.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400010

[FILM] TAIWAN Camping jingshan MAR2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400014

SPAIN - Alcazar Segovia - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Lomography 400 -003

Ultimately, I shot different portraits in different lighting situations of some friends with  lighter skin tones and darker skin tones under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. You can click to enlarge this gallery.

 

 

The skin colors are surprisingly natural, considering that the Lomography CN 400 is not a portrait film per se. I like this film more than other cheap alternatives like Superia 400. Definitely not better than Portra or 400H, but definitely really good results for the price, especially under natural light.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

SPAIN - Alcazar Segovia - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Lomography 400 -011

RED Average Colour R:206.0 G:105.0 B:71.0

GREEN Average Colour R:139.0 G:152.0 B:72.0

BLUE Average Colour R:77.0 G:112.0 B:144.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:224.0 G:168.0 B:57.0

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


 

This film ticks all the boxes for me, cheap, easy to find (most big cities have a Lomography store, otherwise online.), high-iso without a crazy grain and, most importantly, it gives a really interesting color palette, very colorful and vintage at the same time. It is different from the Portra 400 or Fuji 400H pastel tones that we see so often online. It is more in the range of Kodak Ultramax or Superia 400.

 

 

I’m surprised but not afraid to recognize that Lomography has done a great job marketing this film. It is the perfect film for their cameras, colorful and with a great latitude, underexposing or overexposing it will give exceptional and splashy results. If you like compact cameras, it pairs perfectly with the small aperture that they have, independently of using flash or not. If you use an SLR/Rangefinder it can be your everyday film too, since it adapts well to any situation or light that you may encounter.

[FILM] TAIWAN hualien friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Lomography 400018

There are a couple of drawbacks, you have to buy a three-roll pack. If you just want to try out this film, or you just need it for a special occasion, you have to buy the complete box. In my opinion, it has to be Overexposed, I would never shoot this film at 400 again. Minimum ISO320 or 200 would be the chosen speed, making this film a little bit slower in real use.

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
  • Great latitude, perfect for any kind of camera (including their own Lomo ones)
  • Bright and vivid colors, can make picturesque images even in dull spaces.

NO ⇓

  • Not the best for landscape, grainy and not bright green colors.
  • It has to be overexposed, so not a real 400 ISO.

 

Check out the gallery for more shots taken with the Lomography CN400.