CineStillFilm 50Daylight Xpro C-41 Review - First Hand Experience
"Load in subdued light"
On my last trip to Italy visiting Lab-Box developers Ars-Imago they had in stock CineStill Film 50Daylight Xpro C-41. As the name suggests it's a Daylight Fine Grain film rated at ISO 50 and is using C-41 chemistry for development process. I never used the film and was curious to see what it's like.
Before I get to the part on what the film "feels" like there is some information I came across regarding the CineStilFilm. I started writing this post after shooting the roll and seeing the results. My first port of call was the Cinestillfilm website where I read the spec and saw the images. There was some fairly technical information non the site, not all of which I completely understood. Then I've had a recent pleasure of meeting a fellow analog photography lover Tom Sebastiano (Instagram | Website) and we had a chat about coffee, Italy and of course photography. He shoots 99.9% film so has a lot of experience, including developing his own colour negatives.
Tom runs a blog and website full of great images so check it out, links above. During our chat I mentioned to him about my recent experience with the CineStillFilm and that I'm penning down a blog post about it to share my experience. He told me that it is actually a color motion picture film (by Kodak) used in movie production which has special coating removed to allow it to be used with still camera's. After some googling I came across a number of articles explaining what it actually is and does.
"Remjet backing free"
This was interesting as it explained why it so closely resembles Kodak colour films. In the tech specs sheet it says "Remjet backing free, resulting in a unique halation effect". That halation effect is not as desirable on moving image as it is on still image it seems. Another reason for having it removed is to be able to process the film using C-41 chemistry which most photographic labs would be able to accomodate. With REMJET backing the film needs to be processed using ECN2 process which can actually still be done even with backing removed.
"The reds were phenomenal"
Now I mentioned that this CineStill Film 50Daylight has Kodak like colours to it. And it is exactly what I felt like when looking at recently developed set of images. The reds were phenomenal in my view. I photographed client against red background as it suited the brief and when film got developed I was in love with the red tones. It is hard to replicate the same tonal range of reds in the digital file. I have tried and failed.
Film also holds highlight really well and has this Portra like feel but does have a distinct character of it's own. The whites are more creamy in my view.
There is a warning on the can "Load in subdued lighting" I clearly haven't followed that advice and because of that my first 3 frames had light leak through the shot. That added some interesting flare if you are into that sort of thing. The spec sheet does clearly say that "Factory spooled into NEW high quality Dx-Coded Cartridges" . I think that is a slight over exaggeration on part of CineStillFilm although it might also be a faulty cartridge. I loaded a fair few rolls of colour Kodak Portra 35mm film and never had that happen. Even in Morocco where light is very bright. This roll was processed by Labyrinth Photographic so I trust it wasn't their fault.
Like they say #StayBrokeShootFilM
This light leak could have been avoided if I followed the instructions which I will next time just in case. Still sometimes it's all a happy accident. Finally I want to mention the prices. Recently Kodak put prices up on all their film so it comes as no surprise that CineStillFilm is expensive. One roll will set you back €12,90, if you find it in UK it will be around the same in Pound Sterling.
List of Shops that sell CineStillFilm in UK. Only couple of places in London.
Makeup Credit: Anne-Marie Simak from MOT Models