I asked opinions about pushing consumer color films like Kodak Pro Image 100 in one of my local forums but most people said it is not worth pushing them because those are “just” regular consumer films. Anyway, I decided to experiment myself and see if I liked how things turned out. Instead of using Kodak Pro Image 100, I used Fujicolor C200 because online reviews said it has a colder tone and richer greens than the former. Other than that, to make things interesting I push processed two stops instead of one.
For this experiment, I shot the roll during a trip to Ipoh, a rich historical city that’s filled with oversaturated markets of chicken rice and white coffee.
I tried to overexpose my scenes by one stop as I understand color film tend to be less forgiving than black and white film in term of exposure latitude (correct me if I am wrong). To be honest, I had zero expectations on how the end result would look and I was worried things may not turn out how I expected. Would I overexpose them too much? Would the images become too grainy and ruin the details?
I put my worries aside and sent the film to be developed by Darkroom8 the day after I came back from the trip. After enduring a depressing week, I can say the results came out better than I thought!
Of course, grain is present but that is just the character of pushing film. Although I tried to overexpose the scenes by a stop I noticed the presence of grain is “rougher” and some details are lost if there was not enough light for the film to “soak in”. The fourth frame of the table and chairs is a good example.
After pushing, the color remains rich and natural, and the film seems to perform best when enough light is present. As for sharpness, it is not its strong point (!) but for a consumer film, I will not hesitate to use it on my next trip and push it again.
Overall I like Fujicolor C200 more than the Kodak Pro Image 100, as the former renders a richer green and a more balanced skin tone, while the latter leans to a more yellowish tone that I am not a fan of.
Conclusion: it is worth push processing consumer? After a simple experiment, I would say yes.
But, for the rest, it simply a matter of preference.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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