Seeing Ultramax as something of a consumer grade film I left it alone in favor of rarer and more expensive film to play with. Finding it on sale recently made it too good to pass up on so I picked up a few rolls. Not knowing what to expect tried some out in my Diana Mini and rushed the spent film off to the 1hr lab. This is what I found.
I have to admit to being a bit of a film snob. I don’t know why and it certainly doesn’t make sense given the low quality of the cameras I put those films in but I cant seem to help it. I will forgo standard film like Kodak Gold and Fujifilm C200 and experiment with more expensive – sometimes professional – rolls of Ektar and Fujicolor Pro for example.
Recently though a local supermarket had a lot of Kodak film on sale, presumably as it doesn’t tend to sell as well anymore. Rolls of Ultramax for example previously costing £4.79 were reduced to £1.79 a roll. It seemed to good of an opportunity to get some cheap film so I bought a few rolls. I had also recently been gifted a new Diana Mini so it seemed a great film for an inexperienced Diana user to experiment with.
Film: Kodak Ultramax 400
Camera: Lomography Diana Mini White
Location: Sherwood, Nottingham
Time/Date: 12-02-2011, Noon
Processing: Asda 1hr service, scan to CD
Having previously used more expensive and professional film and enjoyed cross-processing in addition to bright and bold colours I wasn’t expecting much from this consumer grade film. First impressions were good though as a quick browse seemed to show nice bright and correctly exposed photos.
On closer inspection two features of this film became quickly apparent. This first was the true to life colours on the majority of the photos. Even through the Diana lens the colour reproduction remained accurate whilst not muted into dullness. Being used to saturated and bold colours this was a surprising yet pleasing change.
Secondly the bigger surprise was the level of red almost glowing in some of the photos. With such natural colours in other photos this came as quite a shock. As I didn’t scan the negatives myself I cannot say conclusively whether this was down to the film or the scanning process employed.
I tend not to be overly concerned with grain as the lo-fi nature of Lomography in my opinion lends itself to grain anyway but it certainly seemed well controlled and not a problem with the Ultramax.
On the whole it is definitely a film I would use again. I am a fan of xpro and saturation but natural colours certainly have their uses and until I can try some Reala to compare I’ll be more than happy to use up the other rolls of Ultramax in my fridge. If the saturated and bold reds do indeed turn out to be a feature of the film then even better!