Wednesday, December 12, 2018

One Roll Review - Kodak Vision3 50D film

image courtesy of the FPP 
If you have been following the Film Photography Project or Cinestill, you have undoubtedly heard about the Eastman Kodak Vision films. The Vision3  films are ECN-2 process color negative films designed for movie-making.  Each film is designed for a particular need, and there are daylight (D) and tungsten (T) versions to impart the proper color palette and balance for the movie filming.  As they are designed to be used in cine cameras, the film has a remjet layer on the base side, to allow lubrication of the film in the movie cameras.  Remjet is a layer of mostly fine carbon.  ECN-2 process removes the remjet layer in the processing sequence.   There are subtle differences between ECN-2 and C-41 processes, and if you wish to process the Vision films you can do it yourself in a C-41 kit.  What you can’t do is send the film to a lab that does not do ECN-2.  Don’t try and trick your local lab, either. You will be persona non-grata when they realize that your roll of film contaminated their chemistry.  When you develop it yourself the best way to remove the remjet is before the processing steps, not after.  I use water at the same temp as the developer - 39°C.  I dissolve 1 tsp of Sodium bicarbonate in 500ml of water and presoak the film in it -- shaking it vigorously like a cocktail shaker.  Shake for 30 seconds, stopping to burp the gas released from the tank.  Pour out the water - it will be gray with the dislodged carbon from the remjet layer. Refill with water at the same temp and shake vigorously for 10 sec and pour out the water. Repeat until the water looks clear.  Then, continue with the C-41 processing. After the stabilizer step at the end, wipe the base side with a microfiber cloth to remove any remaining remjet.  You can elect to remove the remjet after processing, but you'll end up with more carbon in your chemistry than doing it beforehand.

Who sells it?
Cinestill has already treated their films to remove the remjet before you shoot them.  Of course, that figures into the price of their film.  The Film Photography Project Store  sells the Vision Films just as they are (in 24 exposure rolls), without any remjet removal.  That brings the price down, but you will have to send your film to an ECN-2  lab like Blue Moon Camera or do it yourself.

A while back, I picked up some Vision 50D from the FPP, and finally finished the roll in my Yashica FX-7 Super back in October.

My Results

Kodak’s Vision3 50D film is daylight-balanced for 5500K sunlight.  It’s a rather slow film at ISO 50, but the consequence of that is that it is practically grainless!  It’s a wonderful film that renders colors - especially the greens, in a very true to life manner.   I have used other Vision3 films - 100T, 500T, and 250D.  Of all of these, I like the results from the 50D the best.   There is a Flickr group for the Vision3 films.

If you look carefully at the images below, you can see some lines and markings where I didn't get all of the carbon removed before I scanned the negatives.  That can be remedied by using one the Pec film cleaning pads. Remember to only treat the base side, not the emulsion!

shade, at Knight's Restaurant

morning sun on chairs, Jones Mansion

Mural in Holly, MI

Holly, MI

Holly, MI

Bev, in shade

Adrienne, in shade

sunlit interior, Jones Mansion FPP meetup, August

window light, Holly, MI

Holly, MI

I asked Mike Raso about how the 50D fares in comparison to the other Vision films at the FPP store, and he said that the 50D doesn't get any love, as everyone seems to want the 500T.  Well, I love this film.   The Vision3 50D is a fantastic, nearly grainless color negative film with lovely color rendition. 

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