HMMMMMMMMM you have 40£ to spend on a film for your next job. You want to mix it up a bit. What do you do? DON'T go to Boots or Snappy Snaps.. you'll end up spending 40£ on one 24 exposure box of cheap Kodak film. Seriously, if i had more resources, i'd boycott Snappy Snaps and their killing film pricing.
Blind rage over. Let's get into where you spend your cheeky film stock money. You're probably used to bombing it on Kodak Portra 400. But just like wearing the same shirt for 7 days straight, people will eventually expect (or hope) that you make a change. TREAT yoself to some stylistic exploration as Kodak Portra is such a popular look, neutral look...get yourself out there, flirt with something else rather than joining the insta-Portra homage (and that's because it's great, and neutral) but i don't grade the same every job and want to fit look and feels to briefs.
SO like my OMP's (one minute posts), here is a new format called FOTM (Film Of The Month).
This month. it's between Cinestill 50 (left photo) and Fuji Pro 400h (Right Photo). I don't want these shoot-outs to be too technical...there's loads of stuff out there for that but here's my two cents shooting them in a professional portrait environment and a more chilled out and about environment ..as you'll want both right?
Cinestill 50 is Portra on crack - it has just a little bit more attitude and feels much less neutral..it's saying something. It has a motion picture, zealy, timeless look and i think that comes from a slight tweaked blue in the skies and residual greens that sit in the blacks. Fuck, i got technical. IT'S TRUE THOUGH LOOK ^. Cinestill 50 is Vision 50D film for any motion picture kids out there and therefore it shouldn't be worlds away from Portra..but kinda just is..and i fudging love it. Hells yeah cinestill 50. It goes green when you underexpose it and i love that. Here's a few examples of it underexposed.
And here (below) it is exposed slightly over - you can see how the green rapidly reduces and you get a really lovely tone across it. There's lots of room in the shadows to push it and pull it given that it's a fine grain film and that room carries into editing. I actually prefer it to Cinestill 800T which is much more of a stylised choice for me but also a love. I think Cinestill 50 might be my new 35mm go to.
Cinestill 50 gets a 10/10 for colours, push and pull ability (i've pushed it to iso 400 happily and would consider pushing it to 800) It only gets a 6/10 for value as it's currently 12-13£ a roll for a 35mm. When it comes out as a 120mm film, it will be the only film i ever use.
OK onto FUJI PRO 400H - Available for both 35mm and 120mm. Weirdly, i barely shoot this film on 35mm. I think the grain structure bothers me at the 35mm size as it's a sharp and contrasty film. At 120mm / medium format, it's a little more open as a look that you can contrast HARD and it holds it so well. I bloody love this film.
Here are some examples. I have bashed up the contrast in all of them as it just takes it and looks better (imo) for it.
As you can see, the colours are bold and punchy, desaturated but strong in the green colours which is trade-mark 400h. It really suits a Nikon digital shooter as a film as it carries the green weighting across - just an opinion. I love the way it has a dryness to the shot and the way it has a slightly paler approach to skin tone than portra. It's for the Tim Burton fans. If you're going for a pastel look, use Portra but if you want a sharp and can-be-made-punchier film, Fuji Pro 400h is the one.
OK, so we've reached decision time and i've talked about Portra like i'm getting over a film break-up...i just won't shut up about her. But that's because it's a golden standard and these films go a different direction. First things first, i'm stoked with the results from both these films. I actually think they will remain as my two main stocks as i really love the cinestill 50 for timeless looks and the Fuji look for punchier, general looks.
BUT it is a film shoot out and i am blown away by how different Cinestill 50 makes my photography feel and how reliable it is. I may add that i was shooting it happily until 9pm on low shutter speeds and i still got amazing results out of it. It's an all day film despite the 50 iso mark.
Big love to Cinestill 50.. you are the film of the month