When it comes to print film we all have our favorites, be it for aesthetics, latitude, how they handle some (intentional) abuse (over/underexposure, pushing, pulling), e.t.c. And I have narrowed down my list to Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Ultramax 400 and CineStill 800T as, from my own experience and preferences this specific trio covers all lighting scenarios I enjoy making photos in with consistent results.
With Kodak’s prices on the rise and the limited availability of many film stocks both in quantity and variety here in Lisbon, Portugal led me to Lomography CN 400 and to see if and how I could integrate it into work or even better if it could replace any of my current go-to film stocks.
My initial goal was to replace Kodak Ektar, as it is the second most expensive film stock from my shortlist and I can’t really get the look I get with CineStill with anything else I’ve tried. How did that go? I ended up replacing Kodak Ultramax.
I can confidently shoot Kodak’s Ektar at box speed (EI 100), pushed one stop (EI 200) and pushed two stops (EI 400) and know what to expect from it. The same goes for Kodak Ultramax as I’ve made photos I’m pleased with what I get from exposing it at 100, 200, 400, 800 and even all the way up to 1600 (pushing it in development as I go above box speed). Finally, CineStill 800T allows me to make photos during daytime exposing it at 400 (with an 85B filter), 800 and 1600 (pushing it one stop in development).
I imagine you can see a few similarities emerging here. In a word: – “Flexibility” – I can overexpose them, push them in development as per my needs, have decently looking (or “workable”) skin tones, contrast and saturation that work well for my needs and personal tastes.
Lomography’s CN 400 fit like a glove where I once held Kodak Ultramax, for cheaper and also with the option of buying it in packs of 3. Overexposing it by one stop (EI 200 – no adjustment in development times) I’d say yields better results than Kodak Ultramax in similar conditions. It tends to lean more to the cooler side than Kodak’s offering without any overpowering color shifts or cast.
Soon I hope to can share other sets of “5 Frames…” showing my results exposing it at EI 400 and EI 800.
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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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