I was a Kodak Gold 200 user forever. I’m not really sure why. I think it might have been taking those purple and yellow 3-packs out of my mom’s camera bag from a young age.
Nostalgia can be powerful, but I digress…
This little test is really about discovering which readily available consumer-grade 200 ISO C-41 film best fits my needs. Your needs may well differ from mine, so this test isn’t for everyone and shouldn’t be considered “definitive”. I’m sharing my results as I believe they have some value for other people in the community and well, it’s fun.
So, I had used Kodak Gold 200 since the dawn of time and I’ve never tried Fujicolor C200. As often is the case, one day I was sitting around wondering what using C200 would be like, so I did what any person would do… I went on Amazon, bought a couple of rolls and proceeded to try it out.
The only way to really tell is to take images with the same camera and the same settings at the exact same time with the same lens, so I loaded up two Pentax MX cameras with a pair of SMC 50mm f/1.7 lenses. If I am shooting an SLR, I am shooting a Pentax and the Pentax-M SMC 50mm f/1.7 is one of my go-to lenses. I have 2 of them just to perform little tests like this. It’s lightweight, contrasty, sharp and has neutral color rendition so it’s perfect to compare film stocks.
I went on a little walk around the block, put on my headphones and burned through both rolls in about 35 minutes. The cameras were both freshly CLA’d and the meters were exactly the same after a few test shots.
I almost never expose film at box speed, so to be fair when comparing these films, I metered with one camera to determine exposure, say 125 @ f8, then I manually bracketed two stops in either direction by adjusting only the shutter speed. You never know, Gold overexposed one stop could be much better than the Fuji 200 shot at box speed or vice versa.
So here the shots, 16 pairs, 32 in total. None of them are epic, but you can definitely see the difference in film stocks. See if you can guess which one is Fuji C200 and which one is Kodak Gold 200.
Scene 01: Flowers overexposed 2-stops (EI 50)
Scene 01: Flowers overexposed 1-stop (EI 100)
Scene 01: Flowers metered at EI 200
Scene 01: Flowers underexposed 1-stop (EI 400)
Scene 01: Flowers underexposed 2-stops (EI 800)
Scene 02: Beach overexposed 2-stops (EI 50)
Scene 02: Beach overexposed 1-stop (EI 100)
Scene 02: Beach metered at EI 200
Scene 02: Beach underexposed 1-stop (EI 400)
Scene 02: Beach underexposed 2-stops (EI 800)
Scene 03: Bench metered at EI 200
Scene 04: Car #1 metered at EI 200
Scene 04: Car #2 metered at EI 200
Scene 05: Daughter metered at EI 200
Scene 06: House metered at EI 200
Scene 07: Window metered at EI 200
The bracketing made a difference, but not as much as you would think, box speed looked the best IMHO and in case you’re still curious, the Fuji frames are on the left and the Kodak frames on the right.
I noticed a few differences. The three main ones: first, I believe Fujicolor C200 has a little bit of a finer grain to it. Second, I also believe it has a more greenish bluish cast. Third, I believe it has a bit more contrast overall.
Which stock do like better? Does one shine for you under certain conditions and for certain subjects? Which of these two film stocks do you normally shoot? Finally, does anything you see here make you want to switch? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading my little comparison and please do let me know what you think in the comments section below.
After this test, I went all-in on Fuji C200. For my style of photography and typical San Diego lighting conditions, I find it vastly superior. Whenever I test or review a half-frame camera for halfframeclub.com, I load Fuji C200, set the film speed to 100 and shoot. I’ve noticed that it has significantly finer grain than Kodak Gold 200, which is a benefit when you are shooting half-frame negatives.
I have blown up some prints to 18×24 and they look great. I like the film so much I have included it in promos for camera rentals and zine releases as well. I will always have a soft spot for Gold 200 but these days, Fuji C200 is my film of choice for 200 ASA C41 film. Check out more examples at the Half Frame Club IG or the link in my author profile below!
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