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!


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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


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!

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 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


Fujifilm Fujichrome Provia 100F Review

Fujichrome is the Fujifilm product line that carries the color reversal films (also known as positive film, transparencies or slides). A few years ago there was an extensive line of Fujifilm slide film, however, after the discontinuity of the Astia, Sensia and Fortia, only two remaining series hold the fort, Provia and Velvia.

Unlike with other films, there are several reviews on-line for the Provia 100F, especially from the early 2000’s. These are professional films, with a professional niche of customers that do research in advance and share their opinions. Therefore, it will be some reviews comparing it with Astia and Velvia and praising how good was this film when converting it to digital. This review will be more informal, less technical and just clarifying some points of this film.

Provia100FRDPIIIBoxFront

Name FUJIFILM – FUJICHROME PROVIA 100F
ISO 100
Developer E-6
Available formats 35mm, 120mm
Exposures 36 in 35mm, Depends on the format for 120mm
DX coding Yes
Availability ★★★☆☆

The first thing to notice is that is a slide film, that means it’s positive, not negative, what is the difference? A negative stripe of film will look something like that:

Filmstrip

While slide, or positive film looks like this :

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100029-2

The benefit of slide film is that we can get a clear image of the colors capture and we will be able to correct the scanned image,  and we can also use it in a slide projector (not so useful nowadays…). It will give us the correct tone that we captured that day, and we will be able to adjust or editing accordingly, a problem often found is that we will archive this slides and then forget how was the light or situation that day. The biggest inconvenience is  that slides are less forgiving then negatives.  A slight over or underexposure will give you a too dark or bright image. Negatives have a much more wider latitude, something similar to the digital dynamic range, it will give us much more room for error.

Personally I also found harder to find a place that develop slides (or E-6 development process) properly. While with negatives (C-41 most commonly) there is no problem at all.

In conclusion, either because you really know what you are shooting with, or because you randomly or accidentally bought some of this film to try it out, without getting too technical, in a more informal way, let’s see how this film responds.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100005

Greens  and reds are the most true to color, balanced and natural that I’ve ever seen in a film. Very consistent and not excessively contrasty. Red tended to lean more on a brownish tone than on bright red, but that makes it even better as a portrait film, giving a really pleasant skin tone. That make it great to play with editing, slightly flat images give lot of room to add a personal touch.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100025

Blues are little bit particular, giving a pastel tone specially under bright light conditions. Most of this films were shot in overcast days (Taipei’s weather…), but the days that the sky opened, it really gave beautiful pastel tones. I understand why this slide film is one of the favorites for landscape photographers.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100022

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100013

Grain is almost inexistent, This picture was taken with strong backlight and even so, no grain or weird color shifting, it gave a really great image. You can see how much detail was retained even in a 200% crop.  Making the film great for portrait, landscape or product. The only problem found was a really strong glow (or halo) but I believe that was during development, First I thought that it was the scanner, however after looking carefully the film, I can feel it in the film itself, therefore, I believe it was a mistake or old chemicals used in the development. Not related to the film itself or the camera/lens/scanner combo.

noise bee

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100006

I decided to use this film to for a set of portraits, with light skin tone and a darker skin tone. The film is great, giving really natural skin tones for both of them. It would behave even better in a controlled-light situation, like a studio, or using a couple of reflectors. I’m not a fan of slide film, because as you can see, for a couple of casual portraits, not taking much care of the background lighting, or the general light, it was very easy to completely blow up or darken the background, wasting an opportunity for a nice portrait.

 


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN friends sakura APR2017 Nikon F100 Fujicolor ProviaF 100017

  • RED: Average Colour R:153.0 G:107.0 B:74.0
  • GREEN: Average Colour R:97.0 G:119.0 B:78.0
  • YELLOW: Average Colour R:166.0 G:168.0 B:86.0
  • BLUE: Average Colour R:65.0 G:69.0 B:106.

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


 

In Conclusion, Provia 100F is an excellent film. Compared to the other Fujichrome series, Velvia seems to be more contrasty and with more vivid and saturated colors. Provia 100F is a perfect flat film, for a natural look, in the blue/golden hour you will obtain beautiful blue/golden tones. I would definitely use it for a controlled situation, like a portrait, or product photography. If you are in the mood for grabbing your backpack, tripod, set of gradient filters and your shutter release cable, you will enjoy this film so much.

However, this film is NOT for me, for two big reasons:

It doesn’t make any sense to me to use this film in 35 mm, If you go through the struggle of using slide, measuring the light, paying more for developing, more expensive than negative, etc. Why stop in 35 mm? Shooting it in 120 mm, giving you a massive slide that you can scan with tons of detail makes more sense to me. It is a shame that other slide film  like the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 does not offer other formats.

I really don’t like positive film, it gives you an amazing slides to work with and admire in the light table. I prefer negative film, cheaper, it gives you much more room for mistake. I don’t really mind the grain, in fact, I love it! I would rather load a 200-400 ISO negative film, close the aperture, and enjoy more the shooting without worrying too much about the exposure. If I had to shoot on assignment with film, I would go for Portra, Ektar or 400H, excellent films, easier to shoot and cheaper too.

YES ⇑

  • If you need maximum color fidelity  and great detail.
  • Landscape, product photography, portrait.
  • If you are a control freak and plan every shoot carefully.
  • If you plan to show the slides, slides are easier to read than negatives.

NO ⇓

  • If you don’t have the time to shoot carefully, you can’t just load the film and shoot.
  • Portraits or situations with strong light contrast.
  • It can be hard to find someone to develop this film, ask your local developer before invest in buying this film.

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

 

Adox Color Implosion Review

The ‘Color Implosion’ is the only color film in from the German manufacturer Adox. Nowadays, Adox produces a small range of specialized films, mostly B&W, as well as photographic paper and chemistry. Generally, I take a look at the manufacturer’s web and they will describe their film with statements such as “lowest grain!” or “natural tone skins!”, just normal marketing stuff. However, Adox is really realistic about their film characteristics, I really admire that, that’s why I will use their own description because is the best one to introduce this particular film:

“Color implosion fears the grain of an 800 ISO film combined with the effective speed of a 100 ASA film.
On top, we pre-treated it so the color coupling system partially collapsed.
With this grain and these light desaturated colors, no one will think that you are still shooting digital.
Welcome to the world of unpredictable truly analog results!
Color Implosion is an experimental film designed to give you unpredictable truly analog image experiences.
This film is not intended to be a “proper” print film.
If your results are dissatisfying please check your negatives first and do not judge by a print or scan.”

ADOX_150_50-Kopie-1024x585

Name Adox Color Implosion 100
ISO 100 (Rated 100, but meant to be shot from 100 to 400)
Developer C-41
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36
DX coding No (Careful if you plan to use it with your compact camera)
Availability ★★☆☆☆

On-line and specialized distributors

 

As we read in the own manufacturer’s description, this is not a normal negative film, do not expect true colors and a natural palette. That sounds at least interesting to play with. After testing a couple of rolls of this film, the results and the feeling that it gave can be summarized in three sentences

  • Bursting reds
  • Overall yellow cast giving a vintage feeling.
  • Blues are an unpredictable outcome, mostly resulting in turquoise.

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

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

I recognize that I was not really aware of this “bright and explosive reds” before I shot these films, otherwise, I would have created some compositions with red as the main element, I’ve seen some really cool examples online like this one of flickr-logo Mackee_Lee:

14776199527_9de614a299_z

Reds look a little bit brownish, but that doesn’t make them off. They actually really pop in the picture. Films like the Superia line or the Industrial 100 業務記錄用 (Reviewed here) give really bright and nice reds too, however, I found that sometimes can be a little bit distracting and take the attention from your main subject. The Color Implosion matches the palette and reds look great in every picture.

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

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

Yellows are not especially bright, and greens blend with that yellow creating a yellow cast all over it. However, I’m not saying that in a bad way, this film is not meant to be a landscape or portrait film. As the manufacturer states, it will aim for a 70’s summer style. The yellow cast really gives a good feeling in the pictures, the man walking in the path could be easily an old photo from a 70s magazine. Same for this picture taken at baishawan (白沙灣) beach in Taipei.

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

Surprisingly, my favorite part of this film was the rendition of the blue colors. The next two photos, were taken in the same place (Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei) at the exact same time. Trusting the meter of my Nikon FM, and a Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai. we can see how different those two photos are. It will give a range from dark turquoise to yellowish-blue. Unpredictability was one of the words that I used to describe this film and certainly is one of the characteristics that makes this film interesting to play with, or awful if you really expect even and easy to foretell results.

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

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

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

 

Not much that we can conclude from this samples, the skin looks too yellow and unrealistic but… that is the point of this film, isn’t? The yellow cast affects the whole picture. That’s why, even the colors in the picture don’t match the real ones, in its own way they look great, natural and with a really cool retro vibe. Only issue… the grain, say goodbye to any details, the ‘extra large’ grain will devour them.

Talking about the grain, Adox does not try to hide the large grain in the film”The grain of an 800 ISO film combined with the effective speed of a 100 ASA film”. Well, isn’t that like saying the fuel consumption of a truck and the speed of a moped. After all, There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The drawback of large grain also helps for that organic and retro feeling that looks great, so, the point here is using the right film for the right occasion and enjoy the particular hues and color shifts.

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

Testing this film at different ISOS

ISO 100:

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

ISO 200:

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

ISO 400:

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

This film is to be shot at different ISOs and we can see why the difference on only one stop is massive in the outcome of the image. ISO 100 will give us the most balanced of them, giving soft and pleasant yellow mid-tones. ISO 200 is my personal favorite (I shot most pictures at ISO 200) bringing the turquoise blue and fading a little bit the yellow. At ISO 400 everything shift backs to YELLOW the blue tone disappear and green become lighter. If you see the pictures I took at the beach, you can feel that they are tremendously yellow, it was a sunny day and I overexposed the ISO 200, that’s why everything has this cast all over.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.