Kodak and Fujifilm were the two main players in color negative films. These days Fuji is slowly moving away from analog film. Film is being discontinued left and right. There isn't a 120 color negative film in production by Fuji anymore. The only in production color negative films by Fuji are:
- Superia X-tra 400
Both are made for 35mm format and both are focussed more on the consumer market. This review is about the Fujifilm Fujicolor C200 color negative film.
C200 is a C-41 color negative film. Fuji says that it's designed for "flexibility and ease of use". And that part is true. Consumer market films are more forgiving so you can over and under expose a decent amount and still get usable results. On the other hand - the colors might not be as nice and grain can be more noticeable.
Fuji also say that the film has:
- "enhanced skin tones" that's a "perfect choice for natural looking portraits or group shots";
- "further refined sharpness" that will deliver "the kind of image quality and clarity you expect from ISO100 films".
I will be putting these to the test.
C200 is an ISO200 film. In that sense it's a Fuji equal of Kodak Gold 200 which is also a film meant for the consumer market with ISO200. The real alternative to Gold 200 was actually the Fujifilm Superia 200 but it was killed in 2017. C200 remains as the older tech version of Superia 200. Older because the Superia line of films have a 4th layer of the film. 4th layer that is said to help with color rendition. C200 does not have that.
Pricing-wise, the C200 is slightly cheaper than the Gold 200. At least if you buy them as single rolls. 3 roll pack of Gold will cost less per film than C200. There don't appear to be bulk packs of C200. In Europe at least. It might be different in other markets.
There isn't one. I remember using some of the Superia line of films but not so sure about C200.
Ever since I shot Kodak Gold 200 and liked the results I wanted to try other consumer side films. C200 is an obvious choice. I waited for it to become in stock and got some rolls. It's not a film that's always in stock everywhere. Gold appears to be easier to get.
This review is based on two rolls of C200 - shot and developed. First was shot on a Pentax MZ-5 where I used the camera to do the light metering. About 50% was shot at ISO200 and the other 50% were shot at ISO100. The other roll was shot on Leica M3 with me being the light meter. I did use a light meter from the phone from time to time as well.
The first thing that I noticed after developing the first roll was the pink / magenta cast on most of the film. Unexpected. From what I've read about C200 and what I've seen from other Fuji films - it's green shadows. Not a magenta cast. The cast is not super strong in all pictures but you can definitely feel it.
I thought that the reason for this might be a failed development process ( I process my own C-41 ). Then I shot and developed the second roll and got the same results. A slight pink / magenta cast. I was extra careful with my development. I also developed another roll after this to see if the chemicals are starting to wear off. Does not look like it - next roll ( Kodak Ektar ) developed fine with no casts.
At this point I'm not sure if the cast is a normal C200 thing or not. Maybe the film didn't play well with my development technique. Other films haven't reported issues with it though. Maybe it's a normal C200 look. The cast appears stronger on more over-exposed shots so it could be something to do with that. It's not too strong and you can also fix it in post. Something to be aware of.
Outside of any casts the colors appear natural with an extra boost in contrast and a tiny boost in saturation. There is no "vintage warm" look of the Kodak Gold 200. It's also not as punchy as Kodak Gold 200 but they are not far off.
Let's look at the Fuji claims. Firstly the "enhanced skin tones". I'm not sure about the "enhanced" part but skin looks natural and pleasing. At least caucasian skin as that's all I had on offer. When over-exposing, the skin starts to get more pink and unnatural. I would recommend keeping it exposed close to box speed of ISO200 to keep skin looking like skin. Not Pinky Pie from My Little Pony.
The other claim was "image quality and clarity you expect from ISO100 films". I'm not so sure about this one. It definitely has a decent amount of grain. Kodak Gold had the same "issue" ( in quotes because grain is not always bad ). C200 has less grain than Gold but it's there. Not sure what ISO100 film has more grain than C200 but I don't imagine there are many of those.
Sharpness itself is good and a sharp lens will deliver sharp results on film. A more professional grade film with more refined grain will yield more detail. For the most part though C200 will deliver more detail than is needed for an average human. And potentially even aliens.
I didn't recommend landscape photography for Kodak Gold 200. C200 can handle them better. It won't beat slide film or more professional grade film but together with a good lens - detailed shots are possible.
I never saw any green shadows or green photos in general as I expected from this stock. Maybe you need to severely under-expose the photos.
Fujifilm Fujicolor C200 is an interesting stock. It's different from the Kodak Gold 200. Better in some ways and worse in others. C200 is more natural whilst Gold is more "vintage" looking and punchier. I gravitate more towards the colors of Gold for typical everyday scenes. C200 is better for landscapes and people.
My biggest annoyance is with the pink / magenta color cast. Still not sure whether it's normal or not.
I'm sure the C200 will be discontinued at some point soon but until then - it's definitely a nice alternative to the Kodak Gold 200. It's worth picking up when it's in stock. More so if you don't like the look of Kodak Gold and yearn for something more natural. C200 could be right what you need.