Honestly, being a huge fan of the inexpensive Lucky 200 among color negatives, I seldom use the film under review. But the few times I did, it did not fail my expectations in producing images of vivid colors even in low light condition and even while in transit.
As far as I can remember I never bought my Fuji 160 Pro films fresh from the Fuji store. Instead I got them through an online seller once by mistake. He sent me the wrong set of films and instead of returning them I just bought a few of what I really wanted and paid the additional cost. On another occasion a roll came as bonus film after buying a camera from another seller during the early years of doing lomography. I have to confess my penchant for slides, black and white and redscaled films over the regular color negatives. I love my photographs to depart from the reality that I see through my eyes. I don’t want them to look like exact replicas of reality (which digital photography does a lot) but rather creative interpretations of it. I know that this preference can mean spending more instead of spending less if I opt for color negatives. Well, I buy expired films more than fresh ones and even do redscaling films myself to economize. The good news is that after four and half years of exploring analogue photography I now have greater respect for color negatives as true reliable and money-saving canvas for my artistic vision.
I am basing my review of Fuji NPS 160 Pro on a roll I used with the LCA+CL plus the wide-angled lens when I visited the area near the New Bilibid Prison – the national penitentiary – which is located in the city where I live. I should give you a brief description of the conditions when the shots were made to give you enough information to base your own judgment of this review and the film itself.
It was an afternoon that started sunny but by the time I was shooting this roll, the sun hid itself already behind the clouds – a condition that made walking around more leisurely comfortable but worried me if the film would work well with that sun-shy afternoon. Some of the shots were taken from inside the jeepney where light condition was much lower than outside. No flash was used as I did not want to distract the passengers inside the public utility vehicle or blind the motorists on the road. I kept my fingers crossed, hoping my film would be forgiving with these external factors that like John Malkovich’s character in Dangerous Liaisons said: “It’s beyond my control.”
When I finally received the processed films and scans of my shots, I was preparing for the worse. Seeing the shots turned out well for the entire roll was definitely beyond my expectation – indeed an unlikely surprise. I knew the LCA+ did a wonderful job (no doubt about that) but the film I believe had a fair share of the credit, too.
Considering the low light condition at time of shooting, this color portrait low ISO film still managed to produce fine grain images of vivid colors. I noticed the colors were a bit intense – the black was really deep darkness which contributed an aura of mystic in the shots while the yellows, blues and reds all seemed to come alive. The greenish tone of the shots for me is reminiscent of Precisa. I definitely love the slide-like quality of the shots I got from this humble color negative. The fact that it was already expired, this film really worked miracles given the unfavorable situation.
Writing this review has made me realize that I should be using Fuji NPS 160 Pro more often. Hope this film will not suffer the same fate as Sensia and other amazing films that have been cut from production due primarily to economics. My wish is that Fujifilm will keep producing it so it will remain available and accessible for many lomographers and analogue enthusiasts. I don’t know about you guys but I better scout now for sale of this gem and try my luck if I can score a roll or two.