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 Superia X-Tra 400 Review

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

IMG_20180510_114100

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

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

IMG_20180510_114531

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400023

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

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

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

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

See also: How do I measure the colors?


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

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

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

Underexposing X-TRA 400 

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

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

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400020

Overexposing X-TRA 400

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

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400033

TAIWAN Mary Pingxi MAY2018 Nikon FM2 Fuji Xtra 400 -001

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

YES ⇑

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

NO ⇓

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

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


Fujicolor 100 (Japan Only) Review

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

charts

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

Single roll or three packs.

DX coding Yes
Availability ★☆☆☆☆

Only in Japan

IMG_20180214_114052_HDR

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

IMG_20180214_114240_HDR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

YES ⇑

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

NO ⇓

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

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


Fujicolor Superia 200 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Widely available but discontinued since 2017.

IMG_20160829_122228_HDR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compared to Fujicolor C200

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

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


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

YES ⇑

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

NO ⇓

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

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


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