A word on: Cinestill 800T (35mm) – by Phil Harrison

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I thought CineStillFilm 800T would be a fun film to try and used my Leica M2 and Summarit-M 50mm f2.5 lens (with lens hood) to shoot a roll in and around the Manchester Art Museum, Rylands Library and the surrounds.

I thought these locations would be ideal for low level, mixed artificial light photography. For the indoors aspect, I rated the film at EI 800. For the outdoors element, I rated at the film at EI 500, exposing for shadow detail. I should not that for all my daylight photography I used a Wratten 85C gel filter (should have been an 85B but I had a C to hand).

I don’t home process, so the film was developed in C41 and scanned at the lab. As I see it, a big problem with ConeStill 800T is the loss of the anti halation rem-jet backing, as graphically demonstrated in my photo of the Rylands Library reading room below. It perfectly exhibits 800T’s unique halation effect.

Rylands Library reading room
Rylands Library reading room

The art museum photos also have halation in differing degrees. The photo of the people using their phones has a pale halation, yet the photo with the picture frames and dark blue wall has a serious halation from a window on the left.

Completely unpredictable!

Manchester Art Museum
Manchester Art Museum
Manchester Art Museum
Manchester Art Museum

Despite the halation the film managed mixed interior lighting well. Exterior photography was quite successful too, but the film is not suitable for sunny days due to those halation problems. When conditions were ideal the film was excellent, as shown in my photos of the couple by the river and the close up of the Bentley car suspension.

Couple by stream
Couple by stream
Bentley suspension
Bentley suspension

An item of note is that underexposed shadows had a purple hue. If the film had its anti halation backing, it would be excellent; the grain is very fine, the definition excellent. I could enlarge the image hugely and still retain fine detail.

Leaving halation to one side for a moment, the film has a very pleasant palette of colours with lovely skin tones and is not over saturated.

People from the Lomography school of photography looking for unpredictable and arty effects will love this film. I thoroughly enjoyed my roll of 800T but I will be staying with my favourite colour neg film, Kodak Portra 160, itself derived from Kodak’s motion picture films.

~ Phil



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3 thoughts on “A word on: Cinestill 800T (35mm) – by Phil Harrison”

  1. I find the halation is pretty much the point of the film. It’s great for cityscapes at night.

    The other problem that I find is the film is very prone to electrostatic discharge, so I need to be more deliberate on the film advance.


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