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


ETERNA Vivid 250D Review

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

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

What is the Rem-jet layer?

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

Since the film has to be re-spooled. Every store or manufacturer can have a different “sticker” or appearance in the outside, so when buying this film, look for the specifications and name, more than the color or style of the film. Mine was bought in “Bokkeh” in Taipei. If not mistaken, they also have an on-line store.

IMG_20161120_143626_HDRedit

Name Fujicolor ETERNA Vivid 250D
ISO 250
Developer C-41, ECN-2.
Available formats 35mm
Exposures 36*
DX coding No*
Availability ★★☆☆☆

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

*Depending on the re-spooling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

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

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

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


 

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

 

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

 

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

YES ⇑

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

NO ⇓

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

 

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

 

What is the Rem-jet (Remjet)?

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

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


Photographic_Film_135

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

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

remjet explanation

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

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


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


 

The most common available motion picture film currently are:

KODAK VISION3

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

Fujifilm Eterna 

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

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

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

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

use of the remjet

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

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

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

Polypan F50

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

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

Kodak T-MAX 400

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


 

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