One of the most expensive films I've ever tried; but at night it captures images as if it is daytime!
A couple of days before my trip to Macau, I was planning on what film to use. It was quite easy for daytime films; I used a couple of Sensia and Velvia. But what about at night? Macao is famous for its glitzy casinos and elaborately decorative hotel interiors that come alive at night. Using a 100 or 200 film will only make chances of getting sharp images less.
Fortunately, there was a Lomography shop near me that has got the Fujicolor Natura 1600. I read it somewhere that it was really rare, and was delighted to find it available. However, they don’t come cheap; for the price of one, I could have got 3 negatives films! I still went ahead and got 2 rolls, and eagerly packed them for the trip with my other films.
I used my LC-Wide in Macau with the other films during daytime. When evening was approaching, I could see the 2nd red LED light in the viewfinder illuminated (low light) and that is what I wanted to avoid for night shots. I quickly finished up the remaining shots, loaded in the Natura, and for the first time, turned the ISO dial to 1600. As I closed the back cover I can’t help but letting out a gleeful smile, as if a kid has just received his biggest ice-cream of his life.
I aimed around and pressed the shutter halfway to test the exposure; imagine my excitement when I only see one red light whenever I pointed! Generally, moderately-illuminated interiors and outdoors under street lights (or the casino neon lights) will surely be not a problem for the Natura. The few times when the 2nd red LED came on was when I aimed at dimly lit parks or the sky; but either way, its slow shutter speed is still manageable if you hold still enough or brace against something. Perhaps the wide angle of the LC-Wide helps too, as I can still shoot handheld at speeds as low as 1/20 seconds. Grains appear as expected, but surprisingly for me they are still in my acceptable range.
On the second night I didn’t manage to finish my Natura, hence I continue to shoot them the next morning, which would also give me a chance to test this film in daylight. I thought they would be overexposed but they didn’t, in fact they turned out brilliantly sharp and vivid. This film would do an excellent job in street photography as it will push the camera’s shutter speed and aperture to their best setting (if used with cameras with Automatic settings, e.g. LC-A+).
If you have the opportunity to try this film, go ahead! The experience you get when you have this feeling that you can shoot everything in your way is unbeatable. Of course you will have to pay for it, but treat it like a luxury once in a while; like dining in a high class Italian restaurant on your birthday!