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!


Kodak ColorPlus 200 Review

Kodak ColorPlus 200 is the cheapest film offered by Kodak nowadays. ColorPlus 200 is the budget option in the ISO200 range, comparable to Fujicolor C200 or AgfaPhoto Vista plus 200.  “Quality-wise” is supposed to be below the Kodak Gold 200, however, I don’t believe that is complely true. In fact, ColorPlus 200 is a highly underrated film. Even being the cheapest film around, it will give great results.

ColorPlus 200 is a color negative 35mm film,  daylight balanced (5500K) with an ISO 200. Affordable, ideal for many applications. It is a less refined film that uses an older emulsion. The old emulsion used in this film allows for images with tones that remind a bygone era.

IMG_20170608_143613_HDR

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

One of the first things to notice is that there is very few information about the ColorPlus 200, nothing official from Kodak, no data sheet or a single mention in their official channels. I believe this film is not exported to every market, that could be the reason ColorPlus 200 is hard to find in the US, compared to Gold 200. In the places I lived, UK, Spain, and Taiwan. It is definitely easier to find than any other film.

IMG_20170502_123448_HDR

When I first bought this film, I had a bad experience with the development. With my second roll, my camera, a Nikon F100,  broke down on me, leaving me with a mushed roll and overlapping images. I decided to give it a go and buy a couple of rolls more during a trip to Spain and surprisingly it became one of my favorite (if not my favorite!) films.

In here, the developing mistakes that I mentioned before are more visible. There are waves all around the frame. ColorPlus 200 was the cheapest in the shelf and I attributed it to a bad film, but indeed it was a bad lab that I used in Spain.

[FILM] SPAIN daily life - OCT 2013 - Nikon F3 - Kodak ColorPlus 200 -014

[FILM] SPAIN daily life - OCT 2013 - Nikon F3 - Kodak ColorPlus 200 -011

Blues are really vibrant and pleasant. Unlike other films that also use an old emulsion and yield very bright greenish blues, in ColorPlus 200 blues are very natural and realistic. With a surprising good latitude, even exposing for the sky, we have details in the shadows of the lake and the branches of the trees.

SPAIN - Madrid - Retiro - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 Kodak Colorplus 200002

SPAIN - Madrid - Retiro - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 Kodak Colorplus 200029

Yellows tones are definitely my favorite part of this film. Through almost every frame of the film, there is a yellow/warm cast. It makes dark orange shadows that in real life were gray/black. Same with gray tones, they become more orange, like the stone steps in the temple, they shift to a tile color hue. It can be too yellow when shot under tungsten light, but it gives a really nice vintage feeling under dim light and dark skies that I particularly love.

SPAIN - Madrid - Retiro - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 Kodak Colorplus 200021

[FILM] TAIWAN friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Kodak Colorplus 200014

Warm colors are predominant in this film. Reds can turn a little bit orange sometimes, but generally, reds are true to color and vibrant.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Kodak Colorplus 200005

Greens will also yield on the yellow side of the spectrum, slightly warmer than they were in real life. In the same way yellow tone become soft amber, darker green, like emerald tone, will become a dark lime.

SPAIN - Madrid - Retiro - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 Kodak Colorplus 200022

[FILM] TAIWAN friends visiting MAY2017 Nikon F100 Kodak Colorplus 200003

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

If I were in commission for a session of portraits, Colorplus 200 wouldn’t be my choice. However, the results are amazing for a cheap, multi-purpose film. The skin tones look great under natural light, again, slightly warm. The electronic flash blue light balances that yellow warm tone and gives really true to color and pleasant skin tones.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

colorplus200colorchart.jpg

YELLOW Average Colour R:245.0 G:224.0 B:79.0

RED Average Colour R:240.0 G:172.0 B:100.0

BLUE Average Colour R:109.0 G:124.0 B:156.0

GREEN Average Colour R:197.0 G:198.0 B:89.0

See also: How do I measure the colors?


 

SPAIN - Madrid - Retiro - JUL2017 - Nikon FM2 Kodak Colorplus 200031

This film ticks all the boxes for me, cheap, mid-range ISO, easy to find, and nice warmish tones. So, for me is a no-brainer, Kodak Colorplus 200 is my favorite to-go film. If you are a street photographer, or just want to use it on vacation it will be great. Natural skin tones, moderate grain, and good for general use. If you need a little bit more of speed, go for the Kodak Ultramax 400, same price, similar characteristics but one stop more of speed in exchange for a bit more of grain.

The only drawback is, that a film that is good for everything is great for nothing. If you are into portraits, go for a specialized one, same for landscapes, Ektar 100 would give you better results. If you have something in mind, go for it and leave Colorplus 200 for your compact camera.

 

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.
  • If is easy to find in your area, go for it! The cheapest film you can find.
  • Great film for people starting that want nice warm colors, if you prefer slightly colder tones, go for Fujicolor C200.

NO ⇓

  • If you can’t stand the warm tones, or if you are planning to use it under Tungsten light.
  • Not the best for landscape or portraits, It doesn’t retain much detail as professional films.
  • Night scenes, go for Ultramax 400, same feeling and double speed for the same price.

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

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.


 

 

 

ETERNA Vivid 250D Review

The Fujicolor ETERNA Vivid 250D is a motion picture film from Fujifilm. Motion picture film when enclosed in single-spool, light-tight cassette, can be used in normal photographic cameras.

The 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?

The ETERNA Vivid 250D is a film with a 250 ISO but with a very wide latitude, being able to be shot easily at 400-800 ISO. The “D” in 250D stands for Daylight, it is a daylight balanced (5500K) color negative motion picture film. Most 35mm films are also daylight balanced.

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. Mine was bought in “Bokkeh” in Taipei. If not mistaken, they also have an on-line store.

IMG_20161120_143626_HDRedit

Name Fujicolor ETERNA Vivid 250D
ISO 250
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.

I had a small problem with this film, one of the rolls got a little bit messed up, my Nikon FM was starting to fail, and I got several unintended double exposures. Luckily enough, the other roll in the F100 during a trip to Vietnam came out perfectly, both shot at ISO 250. When I started scanning the film, I was really expecting “Vivid” colors, some over-saturated stuff, kind of like the old Fujifilm “Fortia” However, the image is contrasty but with a little bit washed off colors, with a pastel blue tone all around. Especially in the shade areas.

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-009

Red is the color that most stands out, the red tones are vibrant and differentiate from the rest of the scene. The film is day balanced, however, the slight blue tint that I found seems to work great in night scenes too.

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-029

[FILM] TAIWAN FQ - sanxia - walkaround - Nikon FM B - Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D013

Blues are amazing, there is plenty of detail and tonalities in the transition. The skies look really vibrant and dark, same for the water. Although the blue tint also affects the black tones and make them kind of really dark blue, instead of black. Like the buildings or the mountains in these two pictures, I believe it gives a cool, cinematic effect.

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-034

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-020

Reds are great, blues too, affordable film, there’s something fishy going on here. What about greens and yellows… And that is the drawback of this film. Greens and yellows are totally washed off. Really flat colors, without any “pop out” feeling. Especially the green tones. Yellows are a bit better, but not by much.

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-011

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-007

In this picture we can feel how the yellow in the wall is a little bit better, but i think is just related to the high contrast of the situation. Still not very vibrant.

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-003


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] VIETNAM TAIWAN tamsui ho chi minh city FEB2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ETERNA VIVID 250D-004

  • RED Average Colour R:199.0 G:140.0 B:111.0
  • GREEN Average Colour R:126.0 G:179.0 B:115.0
  • BLUE Average Colour R:53.0 G:93.0 B:146.0
  • YELLOW Average Colour R:222.0 G:217.0 B:114.0

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


 

Finally, I tested this film in some portraits, with some friends with a lighter skin tone (Maggie) and darker skin tones (Ailton and Michelle) under natural light and direct flash, to see how this film reacts to different situations. As you can see, I forgot that my Nikon FM doesn’t sync over 125, and in one of the pictures, I messed up with the flash. You can click to enlarge this gallery.

 

Even giving a cold tone palette, I surprisingly like this film for portraits. It balances the natural warm color of the skin giving a really natural feeling. Again, for a film labeled as “vivid”, I was expecting more saturated colors instead of these pastel tones.

 

Wrapping up, it is a very interesting film. It has a really good latitude, although I only shot it at 250, it can be pushed a couple of stops with no problem. It retains quite a lot of detail, and most importantly those pastel, blue, pinkish tones are a really nice add to a film in the price range. Equivalents like Superia 200 (green tones) or Kodak Gold 200 (warmish tones) look quite different to this one.  I wouldn’t choose this film for the only reason that is a pain in the ass  quite inconvenient for me to ride an hour of subway to have it developed. But if its convenient for you, or you have to send it anyway. I would definitely go for it.

YES ⇑

  • For daily use, good speed and easy to push if needed.
  • Purple/ blue tones look great if you plan to shoot at dusk (tungsten lights) or in the blue hour.
  • If you can develop it easily, it can be found on-line at a good price.
  • I surprisingly liked this film for portraits, even is no Portra or 400H, it really does a great job.

NO ⇓

  • If you can’t stand light blue cast in your photos. Or you are looking for a warmer feeling.
  • If you have to spend extra money developing, I would choose any other film of that range (price/ISO).
  • Nature landscapes, always depending on your style, of course, I just don’t find appealing those muted greens in landscape photography.

 

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