I really love the look produced by cinema film.
Despite my various failings due to bad chemicals, I have been very happy with Kodak Vision3 500T. The only complaint I’ve had with the Vision3 film was that it was a tungsten balanced film and my outdoor usage of it has been spotty at best.
So, I recently acquired a 1000 ft roll of Fuji Reala 500D cinema film to play with. I wanted to stick with a high speed film to give me flexibility, but have a daylight balanced film instead of a tungsten one. The film is expired, but I have no idea for how long. If I were to guess, it’s probably been expired for about 10 years.
I tried out the film at Sunnyvale Baylands Park with Lady Aurora as my model. The film was loaded into my trusty Leica M6 TTL with the Summilux 35mm ASPH lens using a 3 stop ND filter since I wanted to shoot wide open. Metering was done assuming the film was rated at ISO 500.
We ventured around the park shooting in various lighting conditions. I wanted to see which situations this film would excel at.
With no baseline, I developed the three rolls of film I shot using the C41v1.1 method I used for the Vision3 500T film. After development, I came away with a lot of takeaways about the peculiarities of Reala 500D film.
- The rem-jet layer on Reala 500D film comes off much easier than Vision3 500T. Virtually all of the rem-jet was removed in the initial rem-jet wash before development and it was not necessary to despool the film and wipe it down after the blix.
- The film base seemed darker than what I’m accustomed to. This may be directly related to #3 which is…
- I need to push process the film by 1 stop (another 25% development time according to the Unicolor Kit) to compensate for the age of the film. After scanning the film and comparing shots made on film vs digital, the film shots were definitely underexposed by about 1 stop.
- The scanned negatives had a greenish color cast to them. It’s not a big deal and is easily fixable in post processing, but it was noteworthy.
- The emulsion of Reala 500D seems to be softer and more prone to damage.
Next time I develop the Reala 500D film, I’ll customize the process to take into account the easier rem-jet removal and the need to push process the film by a stop. Hopefully by adjusting the process, the next batch of film should result in better color.
This was a good learning experience, and I look forward to learning more about the unique properties of the film.