The two most popular consumer films used today are Kodak ColorPlus 200 and Fuji Fujicolor C200. For someone new to the analog world, these two films are good for starters and often overlooked and underused by experienced amateurs because of their price. Speaking of which, they happen to be in the same price range, and are among the least expensive color negatives readily available, if you look in the right direction.
Considering all this I decided to put them into a head-to-head to see how they perform. Although they may not be the “pro choice”, for you professionals out there, I’m still happy if my little project entertained you though.
The film and methodology
I ordered the online and it cost me RMB15 and RMB17.90 per roll for the Kodak ColorPlus 200 and Fujicolor C200, respectively (roughly USD2.20 and USD2.62, plus shipping.
I used two Nikon F3 bodies, one with a Nikkor 50mm f/ 1.8 E Series lens and the other with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D. I also had a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 AF in my test kit, which I used for ome comparative shot.
I’ve noticed differences between the two 50mm lenses, as the design of the E series makes it prone to flare under direct and harsh light. But the optical design of the lenses is similar (6 elements in 5 groups). The AF-D is multi-coated, which may affect the result under certain lighting conditions, so I tried to shoot in a way that the differences would be minimised.
Since I prefer consistent and reliable results, I used a Sekonic L-358 incident light meter to measure exposure.
The film was developed and scanned in a lab with the same scanner (Noritsu HS-1800) on the same afternoon on the second day after exposure.
Let’s jump straight into the results.
Ten frames shot on each film, are shown side-by-side below. To view the images in fullscreen, click or tap an image.
Each gallery shows Kodak ColorPlus 200 on the left and Fuji Fujicolor C200 on the right
Thoughts on Kodak ColorPlus
Under the testing conditions, Kodak Colorplus 200 offers vivid yet restrained and realistic colors.
With subjects or frames that have large green or red areas, images rendered by Colorplus 200 looked mellow and firm to my personal taste. For these subjects, the colors are not as bold as other films in the same league, so it may not provide a very appealing first impression.
Thoughts on Fujicolor C200
Fujicolor C200 is rich and yeilds beautiful green tones. This extends to shady and underexposed areas.
With well-lit subjects, C200 offers a crisp and clear result. The colors look cool and clean on a MacBook Pro Retina display, maybe the Noritsu HS-1800 also has something to do with it. The colors don’t go overboard and I’m curious about how they may look when scanned with a Fuji Frontier SP-3000.
Shot in the same time, the film shows almost the same dynamic range as the Colorplus.
Final thoughts and conclusions
Well, it looks like my Nikon 50 1.8E needs a hood 😉
The two films yield different color tone on subjects under shade, as we see in this test. Kodak appears to be slightly warmer while Fuji has extended greens. Under wel-llit conditions the difference is not as obvious as long as the result are not compared side by side.
In my opinion, these features can contribute to intentionally creating different results. Let’s say I happen to have these films to hand and choose to shoot portraiture in a forest on a foggy morning, I may want to balance the mood in the organic result with Kodak Colorplus 200. If I want to lead it in a different direction, I may use the Fujicolor C200.
…or maybe I’d just shoot every frame twice as I did in this article. You know what? Wandering around with two loaded cameras, you’ll feel alive!
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