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 FM2, paired with a 28, 50 and 135mm Ais) However, for this one I was testing an amazing Olympus OM-30 for a friend, the aperture in the 50mm was stuck at f1.8. That’s why I thought a really slow film, would be perfect to try the different speeds. Being stuck at f1.8 means that focusing was a bit harder with some purple fringing and softer images. But, overall the film, lens and camera, performed flawlessly.

Capture


[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D018

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D031

If you read any of my other reviews, I normally mention that I’m a big fan of higher speed ISOS, with color negative, an iso 200-400 is the range I’m more comfortable with. Depending on the conditions of the day. In B&W I even like to go 800-1600 and enjoy the grain. I didn’t have much expectations to like this film even is quite praised online. Nevertheless, after I saw the first scanned images,  I was amazed by the quality and colors of the Kodak Vision3 50D.

This motion film is supposed to be developed in ECN-2 giving and edited later digitally, so is meant to be modified and with a high dynamic-range. Even so, developed with C-41 (allegedly it gives less dynamic range) and without any retouching, just raw scans looked amazing!

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D030

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D003

Blues are a bit on the pastel side, not too punchy, but definitely giving a lot of room for editing.

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D012

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D011

Greens are beautiful, and really true to color. In the first picture we can see how every shade of green is different, instead of just having a “mushy” set of trees and bushes.

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D007

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D008

Yellows are in the same side as the blue tones, pastel, not too contrasty, but giving a lot of room for editing. Considering how gray and dim is the sky in Taipei, I believe the Kodak Vision3 50D did an amazing job rendering this colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D005

Reds are vibrant and beautiful, they really mix well with that characteristic brownish tones from Kodak.

I noticed some yellow cast when underexposing the film, easy to correct in post-processing and not noticeable when exposed correctly. The second image is underexposed (Trying to shoot at f8 on a lens with stuck diaphragm)

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D003[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D002

Finally I tested the film with a couple of portraits, unfortunately I didn’t have the time to prepare a nice setup, slightly off colors in this photos, but really true to real life.

Due to lack an time and/or abilities, I couldn’t get any nice portrait that represents how good this film is for portraits. So, I decided to reach out for other talented photographers. Just take a look at this astonishing portraits from Matt Osborne .

Kodak Vision3 50D

Kodak Vision3 50D / Cinestill 50D

Kodak Vision3 50D 5203


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN tamkang tamsui JUN2017 Olympus OM-30 Kodak Vision3 50D014

*usually shot at f8, at f1.8 the purple fringe and softness of the lens can be distracting in this case

  • RED Average Colour R:217.0 G:167.0 B:124.0
  • YELLOW Average Colour R:234.0 G:224.0 B:129.0
  • BLUE Average Colour R:76.0 G:135.0 B:188.0
  • GREEN Average Colour R:160.0 G:209.0 B:142.0

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


To sum up, the Kodak Vision3 50D performed incredibly well. There is a slight brownish tone that I really enjoy.  Since my camera (Nikon FM2) can go up to 1/4000, the speed doesn’t worry me that much, and I would go for an iso 100-200 film. However, for people looking to shoot portraits wide open is more than perfect.

The only problem that I find with this film, is that motion film can be troublesome to develop, and generally is not worth the trouble, considering other options, very similar in price to this film. The version from Cinestill, without the remjet (What is the remjet?) will avoid those headaches, but the tag price is quite high.

YES ⇑

  • Portraits wide open even with strong light, pleasant skin tones and low speed.
  • Landscapes, it gives lot of room to edit, and is a good film to scan.
  • Grain is almost inexistent.
  • If you can find cheap developing for motion film, there are always good deals in this film.

NO ⇓

  • If you like to shoot something that requires speed.
  • Compact cameras and their slow aperture will struggle with this film, even in daylight.
  • If is difficult for you to find developers for this motion film, there are other less troublesome options.

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

 

*Thanks to Matt Osborne for participating with his picture in this review! 

flickr-logo  Matt Osborne


What is the Rem-jet (Remjet)?

REM-JET (or RemJet) is a removable jet black layer. The black coating, made of carbon particles, is located at the bottom of the film. It works as anti-halation and anti-static, it also offers lubrication and scratch protection.

Basically, every modern 35mm film has a similar structure to this one and it does not include the Rem-jet coating, the anti-halation coating is included in the film, and the need for an anti-static protection is not needed since photographic film cameras move relatively slow (max 3-4 fps during a few seconds):


Photographic_Film_135

  1. Film base
  2. Subbing layer
  3. Red light-sensitive layer
  4. Green light-sensitive layer
  5. Yellow filter
  6. Blue light-sensitive layer
  7. UV Filter
  8. Protective layer
  9. Visible light.

However,  motion picture film moves through a camera at very high speed. The rem-jet acts as an anti-static during this motion. In some cases, film speeds are extremely fast and need extra protection. The structure is something like this:

remjet explanation

Rem-jet has some very attractive properties. It is probably the most effective anti-halation backing yet made and it has some anti-static capability. It provides an improvement in both, quality and reliability over other anti-halation methods for color motion picture camera films. It is very easy to be removed in machine processing, which is how motion picture film is processed. However, its use in photography is quite different, especially relating to developing the film.  It was meant to be processed by ECN-2. Without removal of rem-jet before processing will contaminate the color developer. That, will ruin the developer solution and the person developing it will be quite angry if he/she was not aware of it in advance.

Nowadays It’s possible to find stores that develop motion picture film, but sometimes at a higher price.  A pre-soak in sodium carbonate is usually enough. You have to do it before you start the development and it only takes about 2 minutes. (*)


How to:
– Dissolve 100g sodium carbonate (calc.) in 1l water (35°C) (You can use it several times)
– Put the film in the tank
– Fill the liquid into the tank.
– Turn the tank once or twice.
– Empty the tank immediately.
– Fill water (35°C) in the tank. Shake the tank for 30 sec. permanently.
– Repeat once or twice.


 

The most common available motion picture film currently are:

KODAK VISION3

  • 5219/7219 VISION3 500T introduced in 2007. SO-219 is ESTAR-base variant.
  • 5207/7207 VISION3 250D introduced in 2009.
  • 5213/7213 (35, 16, & 8 mm) VISION3 200T introduced in 2010.
  • 5203/7203 VISION3 50D introduced in 2011.

Fujifilm Eterna 

  • Eterna Vivid 160T 8543/8643 introduced in 2007
  • Eterna Vivid 250D 8546/8646 introduced in 2010
  • Eterna 250D 8563/8663 introduced in 2006
  • Eterna 250T 8553/8653 introduced in 2006
  • Eterna 400T 8583/8683 introduced in March 2005, discontinued in July 2011
  • Eterna 500T 8573/8673 introduced in 2004
  • Eterna Vivid 500T 8547/8647 introduced in 2009

Companies like Cinestill sell this kind of motion picture film under their own brand, not only repacking and removing the rem-jet layer, but adding some chemical process, making it easier to develop in a normal store. For example:

800T The Cinestill 800T Tungsten is a re-treated [repackaged] Kodak Vision3 500T.

The only problem of this is, that removing the Rem-jet layer, we also remove the anti-halation properties of the film. Example:

use of the remjet

Light entering the film can reflect off the front or back surface of the film base and return into the imaging layers to expose them. When light spreads laterally beyond its intended boundary, an image appears to have a halo around it (halation).

The anti-halation layer prevents this by absorbing light that reaches it. The rem-jet carbon layer is conductive and prevents the build-up and discharge of static charges that can fog film. This is especially important in conditions of low relative humidity.

These two pictures are shot by myself with two different films, same conditions, same place and same light. The first one was shot in Polypan F50, a film without anti-halation layer. The second one, in T-MAX 400 has the anti-halation layer. You can see the halo and small “ghosts” next to the sources of light. That effect is the one that we will see using Cinestill films (or any film without that layer). Using motion picture film will not have this problem, but we will need to go through the hassle of removing the rem-jet ourselves or find a specialist for that.

Polypan F50

[FILM] TAIWAN fisherman wharf ravioli JUL2016 Nikon FM Polypan F50 -031

film-taiwan-fisherman-wharf-ravioli-jul2016-nikon-fm-polypan-f50-031halo

Kodak T-MAX 400

[FILM] TAIWAN tamsui emily ravioli JUN2016 Nikon FM(s) Kodak TMax400013


 

(*) I recommend you to watch tutorials before removing the rem-jet by yourself, and always do a couple tryouts in not very important rolls. This information on removing remjet was extracted from here.