CineStill 800 Xpro Tungsten 35mm film user experience
By Aivaras Sidla
I’ve tested new film recently and thought to share this experience with You. Its CineStill 800 Xpro Tungsten 35mm film, I don’t remember where and when I heard about it first time, but I haven’t paid to much attention to this product, as my first reaction wasn’t big excitement. Thought that its more special effects product as some of lomography films.
I think that for me the trigger was Brett Price article “Shooting & Processing Cinema Film in a Still Camera” published in Steve’s site. Then I started to dig deeper and finally I bought five rolls to play with. So, you see Brett – you are responsible for my expenses. Joking. I’m a big fan of your work, It inspires me. You have unique style, know light well and it seems to me that you have very good sense where to break rules of composition for best results.
Basicaly CineStill 800 Xpro is Kodak movie film prepared for still photography and for C41 development process. Film is balanced for tungsten light, so It means that usable to shot indoors under inside lights. There are more technical aspects of this films, but I’ll not go into them, as there is plenty information in manufacturer website. For me it was important, that: its C41, means I could dump it to my lab as usual, its fast and suited to shot indoors – I do a lot such shooting in winter, it’s very flexible with good colours.
So, here I am after 4 used rolls, trying to draw some notes for myself and other potential users:
– Tungsten balancing. I thought that shooting outdoors should use warming filter 85B as per manufacturer recommendation, but after first roll I understood that there is no need. I dig this blue cast it delivers in natural light.
– Flexibility. It handles underexposure very good. And it’s good characteristic for fast film, as one faces low light levels with it.
– Mixed lightning. A little unpredictable, at least for me and at least from 4 rolls experience. I know more or less what could be achieved when shooting Portra 400 in various light situations, but with this film facing mixed light, means I could get something unexpected. But stated this, I can say that in all cases unexpected wasn’t bad.
– Halation effect. CineStillFilm warns that there could be red halation when sources of light are in focus. And it is true, you will see it in the pictures. I don’t fully understand how this effect arrises, and honestly, I don’t care. In some cases this effect is bad, In some cases I can tolerate it, for me it doesn’t spoil the picture (see picture of broken xmas decoration), sometimes even adds some charm (see portrait of a man). What I do noticed and it wasn’t in any reviews, that halation appears from certain strength of direct light source in the picture. In case light source is not so strong, there is no halation (see portrait with xmas tree lights in background).
– Film speed. Before shooting this film, I read that some people overexpose this film a bit, using ISO640, but I used box speed all the time and it went fine for me. Should note here, that I use spot metering almost all the time.
To sum my experience up, I can say that this film has its unique and unforgettable look. Its in grain, in colours and unique blue cast. In some cases it reminds movies look (and it should remind). I will definitely come back to it and I can honestly recommend this film for others. CineStill made a good job providing film users more choices. And they are marching on with publishing of new exiting product – 50Daylight ISO50 film, there are 5 rolls in my fridge counting their last days and waiting for proper execution (and probably next story for a different day :)).
Thanks for reading!
As usual, more could be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aiwalit/
Pentax MZ-3, SMC Pentax-FA50mm F1.4