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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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 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


Kodak Ultramax 400 Review

         The Kodak Ultramax 400 is one of the stars at souvenir and retail stores, cheap, all-purpose daylight color negative film with ISO 400/27°. We can feel the amateur target all around the package with the stockphoto family pictures and the uses for the film, however, I love the vintage feeling of Kodak canisters with just the plain Kodak yellow. With a not-so-great reputation for his grain and yellowish skin tones, let’s see how this cheap film response in the real-life test.

IMG_20161110_160136_AO_HDR-02

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

Everywhere!

As a broke film shooter, the first thing that catches my eye is the price, a roll of Ultramax 400 is around US$4~5 making it one of the cheapest films in the shelf of the store, competing directly with (at least here in Taiwan) with the Agfa Vista Color 400 and the Fujicolor Superia X-tra, however, in almost every store, I find the Ultramax a tad cheaper than the rest, maybe a negligible difference, but interesting to point out whatsoever.

I tend to love high ISO film, I like fast and versatile film, especially for everyday use. When I don’t know what kind of assignment or situation I will find, I will load a cheap, 200-400 ISO film and close the aperture to f5.6-8, making me able to snap almost everything in focus with my favorite focal length (28mm). That’s why the Ultramax 400 really suits my needs, cheap, fast, versatile and easy to find. However, that wouldn’t be important if the colors weren’t correct or unpleasant. Even I used this film quite a lot in the past, I wanted a fresh start, even usually I buy 2 rolls for these reviews, I had some of the  Ultramax ready for some tests in different environments.


[FILM] TAIWAN - Jorge Kaohsiung - DEC2015 - Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400 -004

[FILM] TAIWAN - Jorge Kaohsiung - DEC2015 - Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400 -005

[FILM] TAIWAN - Jorge Kaohsiung - DEC2015 - Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400 -006

          First roll… In my face, I’ve found out that my Nikon F3 had the light seals destroyed… and every picture has that nasty light leak coming through the right side of the frame. However I was quite surprised to see that the colors are really pleasant and true to color. If the photos are lacking a bit contrast here, I think is because the landscape was like that, Kaohsiung (City in the south of Taiwan, worth the visit!) can be a little bit foggy in the early dawn.

Eventually, this light leaks is what led me to sell my F3 and buy the Nikon FM, I know people love the F3 but… I prefer to have a couple of LED for the lightmeter instead of the small LCD.

Decomposing the review a little bit by color, I felt that the red is really neutral and balanced. Red doesn’t pop up so much like other cheap films (Like the Fujicolor X-TRA 400 for example), in fact I would say that was a little bit off. However, I quite enjoy the feeling that gives on the skin tones (more on that later)

[FILM] TAIWAN - First week Tamsui - AUG2014 Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400 -006

[FILM] TAIWAN FQ - hiking street OCT2016 - Nikon FM Kodak Ultramax 400 -033


For the blue tones, I found something quite interesting. In harsh light it will give quite bright but normal blues, however, with the light at dusk, will give surprisingly vivid blues, maybe even too much, giving the image a slight blue tint. It can be really useful if shooting in yellow light.

[FILM] TAIWAN - Jorge Kaohsiung - DEC2015 - Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400 -007

[FILM] TAIWAN Jorge Pingxi DEC2015 Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400-019

[FILM] TAIWAN - First week Tamsui - AUG2014 Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400 -021
Some of the blue tinted images that I mentioned before.

The greens are really on point, true color, vivid, but not distracting. I wouldn’t use it so much for  shooting landscapes, however I would take this film on a hike for example, the one of the farmer is in a high mountain in Taiwan. The high ISO it let me close the aperture to f11 and still having a shutter speed over 1/250.

[FILM] TAIWAN FQ - hiking street OCT2016 - Nikon FM Kodak Ultramax 400 -014

[FILM] TAIWAN Jorge Pingxi DEC2015 Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400-015

[FILM] TAIWAN Jorge Pingxi DEC2015 Nikon F3 Kodak Ultramax 400-023
Last roll of my Tokina 19-35, The vignetting was quite noticeable, however was a surprisingly great performer.

The yellows are really vivid, in both of these pictures the subjects were take in the shade, and even so, the yellow really pops out. Even we can see clearly the yellow spots in the thorax of the spider, something that, when I took the picture, I thought it would be unnoticeable in the negative.

[FILM] TAIWAN FQ - hiking street OCT2016 - Nikon FM Kodak Ultramax 400 -021

[FILM] TAIWAN FQ - hiking street OCT2016 - Nikon FM Kodak Ultramax 400 -024

I used in different portrait situations, with a lighter skin tone subject (Maria), darker skin tone (Ailton), with and without direct flash.

 

          In the darker skin tone portraits, Ailton has a subtle yellow hue, we can even feel it in the white tile in the back. Even not annoying, we can feel that the yellow tone takes over the whites in the picture. The blue tone of the direct flash balances the picture a little bit, however, we can still feel the yellow and grain, the two problems of this film.  In lighter skin tones, Maria’s skin tone is really true to color, really balanced. Except for the grain, I really like the color for portraits.


Color chart and measurement of the colors.

[FILM] TAIWAN FQ - hiking street OCT2016 - Nikon FM Kodak Ultramax 400 -005

RED Average Colour R:221.0 G:153.0 B:103.0

BLUE Average Colour R:66.0 G:150.0 B:194.0

YELLOW Average Colour R:234.0 G:216.0 B:78.0

GREEN Average Colour R:153.0 G:210.0 B:104.0

See also: How do I measure the colors?


          After checking the results of these sets of films, I’m not only quite pleased but really surprised, I think, the Kodak Ultramax 400 is my favorite cheap film for a daily use. I love high ISO film, either to be used in a compact camera (I use the Olympus mjuII extensively) or in any other camera with a small aperture. It’s cheap, if you want to experiment a little bit with it, or just not feeling bad after using 2-3 rolls in a day, and it’s easy to scan, it gives really pleasant colors with the default settings of my scanner (Epson V600).

The major disadvantage is the grain, the grain is quite obvious, if you look at pictures slightly underexposed like the guy with the yellow pants we can see grain all over, or for example in the one with the farmer, the grain gives the picture a much more “messy” or fuzzy feeling because it gets all mixed up with the foliage and the bushes. Other options (way more expensive though) like Portra 400, or Fuji 400H will give you much better results if we are looking for a grainless fast film. For me, grain is not that important, in fact I quite like it, I feel it goes hand and hand with shooting film and the organic feeling that it gives. If I were looking for a clean image I would go for a 100 ISO or even digital.

YES

  • Daily use, load it in your camera and ready to go. It will respond correctly to any situation.
  • Use it for portraits of your friends, a party, it really responses very well to flash, balancing the yellow hue for a more neutral one
  • Experiment with it, is one of the cheapest options if you want to try your own redscale, loading it in a new camera for testing or an adapter for a medium format.
  • If you are looking for an organic, grainy, old-school feeling.

NO

  • If you are looking for a sharp, clean image. Go for an expensive option or a cheap lower ISO film.
  • If you are shooting under tungsten light, or yellow backgrounds. It can give you an undesired oversaturation of yellow.
  • Professional landscape or portrait photography.