Film Reviews

ISO 50 & 100

Agfa RSX 50
Agfa RSX 100
Agfa Optima 100
Elite 100
Fuji Velvia
Fuji Astia
Fuji Provia
Fuji Sensia
Fuji Reala
Kodachrome 64
Kodak Gold 100
Fujicolor Superia

ISO 200

Agfa Optima II
Agfachrome CT precisa
AgfachromeRSX II 200
Agfacolor Plus 200
Elite Chrome200
Kodachrome 200
Fujichrome Sensia II
Fujicolor Superia 200
Kodak Royal Gold 200

 

When testing a new film you must check several factors, ISO, resolution, sharpness, contrast, and color saturation ( see below for explanations) . Compare films with same ISO ratings and types . For example, Fujichrome 100 against Ektachrome 100 slide films.

ISO International Standards Organization. Refers to film speed. The slower the number the longer a film needs to be exposed to light.
Resolution The ability of film to record fine detail. It is expressed in terms of lines per millimeters.
Sharpness The ability of film to produce clear images both in center and edges.
Contrast The ability of film to record highlight, shadow, and mid-tone in an image.
Saturation The ability of film to reproduce colors as compared with the color of the subject.

ISO 50 & 100 Films:

ISO 50 slide films are very popular as they produce very sharp, high resolution images. For reproduction of images whether in books or magazines, or if larger prints need to be made. Films in this ISO group produce finer results when compared to higher speed films. Their main draw back is that these films require longer exposures. This is not a real problem in most photographic situations except in low light or high speed photography such as wildlife and sport in which you need a faster lens or film. In this case an ISO 100 film is a great alternative to the slower ISO 50. Currently only Agfa makes an ISO 50 print films.

Film manufacturers have made great improvements in their ISO 100 films in recent years that these have become general purpose films with many photographers. With their fine grain and sharpness ISO 100s can be used in almost any types of photography. They can also be pushed one stop to gain more speed with minimum gain in contrast and loss of sharpness. If you need a "Do it all film" ISO 100s are the choice. This is true both in color slide and print films. Large blow ups can be made with great results as these films have been improved greatly in their sharpness.
Below I show some popular brand ISO 50 and 100 slide and print films. Keep in mind you should compare films of same ISO and types.

Slide films

Agfachrome RSX ISO 50: Very sharp and fine grain film , high in contrast. Good exposure latitude. A good all purpose slide film with high resolution.

Fujichrome Velvia: Extremely sharp with tight grain but very high in contrast. Excellent film for most types of photography. Can be pushed 1 stop with good results. Very high resolution.

Kodachrome 64: My favorite film for many years with great sharpness, accurate colors and extremely tight grain. High in resolution. Also available in ISO 25 version.

Agfachrome RSX ISO 100: A very sharp film which produces accurate colors with very fine grain. Very high in resolution. It is a good choice for many types of subjects.

Fujichrome Astia 100: Great choice for portrait photography with very high sharpness and accurate colors. Very high in resolution with fine grain. Used mostly by fashion photographers.

Fujichrome Provia & Sensia: With very high sharpness and fine grain structure producing bold colors this film is a good alternative to Velvia with a faster speed that can be pushed up to 2 stops. Sensia is the amateur version with the same characteristics.

Ektachrome Elite 100: An excellent choice in ISO 100 films which produces extremely sharp images with true to life colors. Can be used in all types of photography from close-ups and landscape to portrait and fashion. Can be pushed up to 2 stops.

Print films

Agfacolor Optima 100: Very fine grain with good contrast. It is a very sharp film allowing very large prints to be made. A very high resolution film. Great all around print film.

Fujicolor Reala 100: Higher in contrast compared to other ISO 100 print films with excellent grain structure and sharpness. A high resolution general purpose film that can be used for very large blow ups.

Fujicolor Superia: Improved version of Reala with better sharpness and grain. Very bold colors.

Kodak Gold 100: Extremely fine grain and high in sharpness. Produces brilliant colors suitable for any type of subjects. Very high resolution film. It is one of the best ISO 100 print films available.

ISO 200 films

ISO 200 films can be used in low light situations and in high speed photography where a fast shutter speed is needed. Current ISO 200s are getting very close to ISO 100 films in terms of sharpness and grain which has been a problem with slide films more than print films. ISO 200 print films are very fine grain and are so close to ISO 100s that I personally can't tell the difference between the two film types with enlargements I have made. With slide films however, the grainier ISO 200 films, kept me using the slower ISO 50s and 100s. The newer ISO 200s such as Ektachrome Elite and Fujichrome Sensia are getting close to the slower ISO 100s that they are becoming my choice for fast films. I recently tested the Ektachrome Elite 200 and compared the results with the Elite 100 and Fujichrome Provia 100 (my two choices in ISO 100 slides) and was amazed how close the Elite 200 matched both the sharpness and the grain of the two ISO 100 films. In the past I tried different brands of 200 speed films, but did not like the results I got from any of them. Kodachrome 200 for instance, is a sharp film but very grainy. I got better results pushing my ISO 100 films one stop than using an ISO 200 film. I'm sure in a very short time, the 200 speed films will have the same characteristics of the current ISO 100 films, and with one stop faster shutter speed, I'll be the first photographer to switch to the faster film. I'd be much happier when the 200 group can match the more popular and better ISO 50 films.

Slide Films

Agfachrome CT precisa: A fine grain ISO 200 film with good sharpness. High in resolution and medium contrast. It can be used for many types of photography including portraits.

AgfachromeRSX II: Very fine, medium contrast film that can be pushed easily with very good results. It is very sharp and high resolution. Produces accurate colors.

Fujichrome Sensia II: One of the sharpest ISO 200 films, with very fine grain and colors. It is a good all around film that can be used in sports and wildlife as well as scenic photography.

Elite Chrome 200: Very saturated film with very good sharpness and grain. Similar to Elite 100 in terms of color. Can be pushed one stop without much noticeable color shift or increase in grain.

Kodachrome 200: Very sharp but grainy. High in resolution and contrast. Produces true to life colors.

Prints

Agfa Optima II: A professional print film with high sharpness and resolution. It is a very fine grain film with great colors. Suitable for fast action photography but can also be used for fashion and portraits.

Agfacolor Plus: Similar to Optima in terms of sharpness and resolution but a bit grainier and lower contrast. A good general purpose film.

Fujicolor Superia 200: An excellent all around print film with very fine grain and great sharpness. Bold colors and high resolution.

Kodak Royal Gold 200: A very sharp film with extra fine grain suitable for most types of photography. Medium in contrast and high resolution.