“Are you shooting film in there?” my uncle Anthony asked me on the boardwalk of Seaside Heights, AKA “The Jersey Shore.” A valid question in this day and age. Digital cameras are looking more like film cameras–like my own Fujifilm X-E4–but it wasn’t the X Series slung on my arm that day, it was my Minolta SRT 100 with a Rokkor 58mm 1.4 lens and a Vivitar 28mm Auto Wide-Angle lens close by. Loaded inside was Kodak ColorPlus 200, a chameleon of films, appearing under many iterations since its debut in 1972.
A lot of people are probably wondering, “Why not Portra, Gold, or Ultramax?” Well, I never tried ColorPlus before. And if you need a better reason, it’s extremely affordable. I have an affinity for the underdog. I think Kodak ColorPlus certainly fits that bill and amongst the chaos of carnival rides, fried food, and Italian ices, I couldn’t think of a better match.
I first discovered the Vivitar 28mm 2.8 Auto Wide-Angle Lens about 10 years ago. I had recently purchased a Canon 6D and was scouring eBay looking for vintage Nikon mount lenses because I could adapt them to the Canon with a small short flange adapter. The lens made its way to my mirrorless setups. I eventually sold it and my heart grew fonder, so I found another version of it to go on my Minolta SRT 100. It’s been in my bag ever since. It’s so small and lightweight, I can’t imagine life without it. It’s also extremely affordable, for now.
Earlier in the year, I had been experimenting with Fujifilm Superia. I remember watching a documentary on the making of John Carpenters,’ “Christine” and he stated that he shot the opening scene–set in a 1950s Detroit car factory–with Fujifilm because it gave the scenes a warmer tone and a muted color palette. I heard the same thing when Barry Sonnenfeld spoke about lensing the Coen Brothers film, “Millers Crossing.” I like warmer tones and classic things. I think it is rooted in who I am, but I found the colors to be inaccurate to what I actually remembered seeing. Kodak ColorPlus certainly captures those colors accurately.
The Minolta 58mm 1.4 lens is something that I stumbled upon by total accident. I was looking for a Minolta 50mm 1.4, saw one for $35 on eBay, and quickly ordered it. The image of the lens on the listing was a little blurry, and when it arrived, I realized it was the 58mm. I almost returned it, until I started doing some research on it and realized what a deal I scored. A lot of people talk about the greatness of the Minolta 50mm 1.4 and how it’s one of the best legacy lenses of all time. From the images I’ve seen, that certainly seems true, but I love my 58mm. And when I adapt it to my mirrorless Fuji, it’s not hard to get great results (about an 85mm equivalent).
I can’t complain about Kodak ColorPlus. It cost me $6 at B&H and if you buy multipacks, it works out even better. Seeing the results from this film is a joyous experience. It captured the colors and the moments effortlessly. When I look at them, it transports me back to the beach, the boardwalk, and all those memories from that hot August day and now you can experience them too.