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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Film Never Die IRO 200 Review

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.

DSC_0232

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) 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:

DSC_0227

Name FilmNeverDie IRO 200
ISO 200
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36 Exposure

27 Exposures *First batch

DX coding Yes (*First batch didn’t)
Availability ★★☆☆☆

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.

IMG_20180205_103407_HDR

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!

BALI water temple APR2018 Nikon FM2n IRO200025

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.

BALI water temple APR2018 Nikon FM2n IRO200005

USA Hawaii FEB2018 Nikon FM2 FND IRO 200-003

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.

USA Hawaii FEB2018 Nikon FM2 FND IRO 200-018

USA Hawaii FEB2018 Nikon FM2 FND IRO 200-013

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.

USA Hawaii FEB2018 Nikon FM2 FND IRO 200-007

BALI water temple APR2018 Nikon FM2n IRO200018

USA Hawaii FEB2018 Nikon FM2 FND IRO 200-006

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.

USA Hawaii FEB2018 Nikon FM2 FND IRO 200-001

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.

BALI water temple APR2018 Nikon FM2n IRO200022

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.

YES ⇑

  • 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.

NO ⇓

  • 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!


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.


 

 

 

Kodak Ektar 100 Review

The Ektar 100 is one of the films from the professional color negative films offered by Kodak. Along with Portra series: 160, 400 and 800,  that are more oriented towards pastel shades and softer skin tones, Ektar is a more saturated and vivid film than any other in the Portra family. More oriented towards product photography and landscapes, intense colors and smooth grain as promised in the film data sheet:

“EKTAR 100 Film is the world’s finest grain color negative film. With ISO 100 speed, high saturation and ultra-vivid color, this film offers the finest smoothest grain of any color negative film available today.”

IMG_20170818_165520_HDR

Name KODAK Ektar 100
ISO 100
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm, 120mm, 4×5, 8×10.
Exposures 35mm: 36.

120mm: Depending on the format.

4×5 and 8×10: 10 sheets pack.

DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★★☆

I had some rolls of Ektar sitting in my fridge for a while, waiting for a good opportunity (weather/location)  to shoot. A trip to the north of Spain, Pyrenees, and south of France was the perfect place to take this film out. Hiking, grass, high mountain, and blue skies sound just right for Ektar.

Ektar is a high contrast film, that’s why it will work great with older cameras and lenses, maybe even too contrasty with more modern lenses. With the ones I brought to this trip, Nikkor 28mm Ai and 50mm f1.8 Ai, especially shooting with nice bright light, I had no problem getting high contrast and lots of detail in almost every image. However, is always interesting to know that there is a film in the market that will help us to compensate the lack of contrast that we can find in older lenses.

imgFilm - Pyrenees hiking - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -008

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -010

Taking a closer look to colors separately, we can quickly appreciate that Ektar gives a more vivid blue, red and green. That means beautiful skies, vivid foliage, and sunsets. A bit more problematic with skin tones, though.  The blue in the facade of the store was kind of faded, and even so, we obtain a vibrant color in the final print (or scan).

Film - Pyrenees hiking - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -020

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -039

Reds, with a small shift to brown characteristic from Kodak, are also vibrant and intense. Ektar is also a great film for nature and macro, It will render punchy images that call the attention of the viewer. Green tones are slightly less vivid than reds/blues but definitely not washed off.

Film - Pyrenees hiking - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -022

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -012

Yellow tones like the other colors are vibrant and vivid, however, I noticed that with really harsh light, light yellow tones become slightly darker, and the darker yellow tones switch to a brilliant light brown. It creates really vivid images, however, for my personal taste, makes the picture “too surreal”. For green foliage, like in the pictures on top,  it can be maybe too distracting, but I’ve seen examples of photos taken in the desert and autumn scenes,  the result is just stunning!

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

 

Ektar is definitely not marketed as a portrait film, it is a saturated color film that can distort the natural skin tones. In my case, more than the famous red-pink skin tones that we get from Ektar, I got a bit strange orange cast. Ektar wouldn’t be my choice for a proper portrait session, however if color is part of your composition, or an element of the portrait you are taking, definitely it will create stunning images. It can be also easily  desaturated and corrected in post-processing.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

FRANCE - Pyrenees Camping JUL2017 Nikon FM2 - Kodak Ektar 100 -026

RED Average Colour R:220.0 G:112.0 B:95.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:251.0 G:209.0 B:99.0

BLUE Average Colour R:99.0 G:134.0 B:174.0

GREEN Average Colour R:147.0 G:181.0 B:109.0

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


Kodak Ektar is a great landscape film, it makes more sense to me in other formats than 35mm. If I were using a medium format camera, this would be definitely my to-go film. It is contrasty, produce sharp-saturated images. If creating colorful compositions were colors are the main object of the picture, I would also choose this film. Grain is really fine in 35mm and almost inexistent in bigger formats.

A key point for this film is: light. During a blue sunny day, Ektar will deliver stunning colorful images, would absorb every tint of light and convert it in a nice colorful composition.

It wouldn’t be my main choice for portraits, it doesn’t mean is bad for portraits at all. Just a quick search in any social media and you can find amazing saturated portraits and scenes, colorful streets in India, vibrating big cities. It would be my choice for a sunny hiking day, for a landscape outing (with tripod, filters etc.) and for street photography.

Ektar is not too expensive, considering that the closest “professional” quality film that you can get is slide (Velvia). The hassle of developing E-6 and dealing with the low-latitude might be a factor to choosing Ektar over any other film.

 

YES ⇑

  • Landscape photography
  • If you shoot also medium and large format and want to keep consistency in your work.
  • Product photography
  • Any situation full of light, day a t the beach, streets, hiking etc.
  • Compositions were color is the main element.

NO ⇓

  • Natural skin tone portraits
  • If you look for a peaceful, desaturated and low-contrast situations.
  • Low-light situations, I’d rather get a different film than pushing Ektar.

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

 

Kodak Vision3 50D Review

The Vision3 50D, is a low speed motion picture film from Kodak. Motion picture film when enclosed in single-spool, light-tight cassette, can be used in normal photographic cameras. The Vision3 has a really low ISO, 50, therefore it would be recommended only for bright daylight scenes or situations in where you want to shoot portraits wide open in daylight without using ND filters. The “D” in the name means “Daylight”, this film is balanced for exposure with daylight illumination (5500K).

First thing to consider when choosing this film, other than the ISO and color balance, is its Rem-jet layer. If you never heard that word before, I recommend you to read this article first:

What is the Rem-jet layer?

Since the film has to be re-spooled. Every store or manufacturer can have a different “sticker” or appearance in the outside, so when buying this film, look for the specifications and name, more than the color or style of the film.

IMG_20170628_151419_HDR

Name Kodak Vision3 50D
ISO 50
Developer C-41, ECN-2
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36*
DX coding No
Availability ★★☆☆☆

Mostly on-line or specialized stores that also develop this kind of film.

*Depending on the re-spooling.

A thing to point out is that, for my reviews, as a way to standardize them, I always use the same cameras and lenses (Nikon F100 and