I have had this roll of Fujifilm Superia Venus 800 siting in my freezer for the longest time. Now considered more exotic – having only officially available in the Japanese market and the announcement of its discontinuation by Fujifilm in late 2019. Having not shot Venus 800 before, I have always been hesitant to use it. I was afraid my inexperience with the film will not bring out good results. The film then sat in my freezer and I nearly forgot about it being there.
The moment presented itself in January 2020. It so happened a climate action protest was to be held in my city. The protest would start from late noon and go all the way to the evening. Perfect, I thought to myself. I know I wanted to try shooting the Venus 800 in a range of different conditions. I loaded the film on my trusty Yashica FX3 and along with my Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 lens, off I went. I shot around 20 exposures through the course of the event – covering from late noon with harsh sunlight and dark shadows to dusk when the sunlight faded and the streetlights came on. I knew I had the range of shots I wanted.
Looking at the developed shots, I am extremely happy with the results. Compared to the mainstay Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H, the tones here are slightly warmer with a more prominent magenta cast. The overall color tones are also slightly more flat compared to other alternatives – giving it an aesthetic closer to vintage films. To my surprise, there is also a good amount of detail retained in the dark shadows cast from the bright sunlight.
For a film originally marketed for the disposable camera market, Venus 800 definitely has its charm. It turned out to be a treat for me. It is a such a shame Fujifilm is discontinuing this film stock.
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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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