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Kodak Ultramax 400

In which our hero, on a whim, purchases a box of film on sale and is very pleased with his decision. Or, Kodak Ultramax 400 is a fantastic film for all occasions!

I found myself perusing the film shelf at a local store. In little city – midwest – America the film scene is dying slowly like an animal struck on a country road in the night.

This day I was looking for cheap film to DIY redscale. Any old 35mm 400 film will do, even the generic. However, this little shop had their Kodak stock on sale. It was priced at a dollar below the generic stuff, so I decided to go with the fancier film. When I got home, three rolls of the film were flipped for redscale. The last, for some reason, was left in tact (which will play a crucial role later in the story).

Per Kodak’s informative page concerning their film, Ultramax 400 is: “The ideal film for great pictures in all conditions.”

So, this last roll of film that wasn’t redscaled ended up being used at my sister-in-law’s wedding. I shot some after the ceremony. It was beginning to get a little overcast (which I’d noted from checking the weather and anticipated, thus choosing the 400 vs. a roll of generic 200) but figured with my Diana Mini cloudy setting I would be ok. It was ok, as you can see from the samples below.

Lacking the Diana’s proprietary flash or hotshoe converter I was unable to get any flash shots at the reception that evening. So, the next day I still had shots left. My wife and I went for a picnic and flew a kite. We got some wonderful clarity shooting on a nice sunny day whilst flying a kite about.

The last roll of 400 speed film I shot was an expired roll of Fuji. The colors turned out fine, but the shots were quite grainy in comparison to the Kodak (examples below).

However, what really blew me away with the Kodak Ultramax 400 were the redscaled shots. This was the first type of film I’d redscaled and the results were superb: rich contrasty shots with vibrant reds and yellows and oranges. Each picture seemed to burn like an ember.

The first three shots in the previous set were shot late on an overcast afternoon. The second three were shot during the early afternoon of a sunny day. You can notice by just the two types of conditions the images color slightly differently. I personally like both results.

I think the Kodak Ultramax 400 is a great film that every lomographer should have in their bags. It works well in limited light, bright sun, as well as redscaled. Granted it can get a bit pricey, but if you can catch it on sale it’s well worth the buy.

written by rrohe

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