Fuji Professional 800 is a high-speed, low-grain versatile wonder. I’ve given it a whole bunch of situations to tackle, and it always gets good results. Well worth keeping some in stock – you never know when it could come in useful.
When I was first given a Supersampler, I read the ‘ALWAYS USE 800ISO FILM!’ warning and went a bit overboard. Basically, I grabbed boxes of near-expired Fuji Professional 800 on the cheap. Lots of them. I figured that if I had a camera that could only use 800ISO film (which, of course, I now know to not be strictly true), I should grab as much of it as I could, as cheaply as I could. And, for a long while, it was all I used in my Supersampler, and I was pleased with the results.
Bright daylight gave it beautiful, rich, vibrant colours, and despite it’s 800ISO rating, it very rarely looked overexposed, even though I had no control over the fixed speed and aperture of the Supersampler. Yet, at the other end of the scale, even grim, murky, cloudy days were exposed reasonably well. Colours were obviously considerably more muted, but the photos still came out better than I thought they would.
Later, when I obtained an Actionsampler Flash, I found much the same – whether indoors with the flash, or outdoor in various conditions, Fuji Pro 800 seemed to do the job.
Yet, for some reason, I never, ever considered it in a ‘proper’ camera until I was heading to a quiet acoustic gig out-of-town, where I would never, ever want to use a flash. Instead, I opted for the Pro 800 in a Smena 8M.
I’m not going to lie – most of the shots didn’t turn out as well as the one above. This, however, was due to distance, not the film itself. Had I have had an SLR and a zoom lens, I have no doubt that I would have got better shots than the “tiny floating lit-up head behind a distant piano” photos I found on the roll. I believe this is what’s called a “rookie error”. But nonetheless, using the rest of the roll over the next couple of days went well, even if it was strange having to worry about having to overexposure at the Smena’s highest settings of f16 and 1/250. The best bit, however, was being able to shoot indoors, sans flash, tripod and cable release, and getting shake-free shots!
So, overall, a fantastically versatile film, well-suited to pretty much anything. But it has one more trick up its sleeve…
Redscaled, it becomes a vivid red beast. None of this subtle hint of red you get with some films – just complete over-saturation of reds and yellows! Just be careful when loading it backwards into the canister – its high speed means even the tiniest amount of light causes flares across your unexposed film, so check your darkroom’s got no leaks!