Film

Fuji C200 Review – A short note on my Enduring Love for this film – By Phil Stefans

November 12, 2019

OK yes it’s cheap. Fuji C200 is one of the cheapest 35mm colour films on the market. But if Portra 400 was the same price as C200, I’d still pick the Fuji most of the time. I’m not a Portra 400 hater, and I don’t want to bag it. It’s an incredible film. Beautiful soft colours, very low grain, bucketloads of dynamic range. It’s a tick in almost every box.

But the one box Portra 400 doesn’t tick for me is character. Fuji C200 is a film which oozes character. I love that it can get really punchy in the red end of the colour spectrum. And if my subject has lots of pimples or blemishes I might not use it. But if a model has red lipstick, or a red dress, or red hair I jump at the chance to let C200 run wild.

And the greens share the typical beautiful Fuji look, which makes shooting C200 in gardens or outdoors in general a great experience.

Sure it doesn’t have the dynamic range of Portra, but I’m fairly careful with my metering when shooting portraits and I try and find nice even lighting. It does have a bit of grain in the darker areas, but I like that. And in a full frame format with a decent scanner I find it a very attractive grain.

I’ve shot a bit of Kodak’s main competitor at that price point, Colorplus 200, and I haven’t been overly impressed with it. Sure its probably great for general snapshots and things, but I’d never choose it for portraits over C200.

So long live C200, which given that I’ve just penned this I’m fully expecting Fuji to announce they’ll be discontinuing it shortly…

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to see more of my photos follow me on instagram or have a look at my website.

Phil Stefans

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Enrique
    November 12, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Sin palabras……. excelentes fotografías.

    • Reply
      PhilStefans
      November 13, 2019 at 4:27 am

      ¡Gracias! ¡Aunque solo presiono un botón!

  • Reply
    Del
    November 12, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    A lovely set of portraits. I particularly like the second one and the couple on the footbridge. Thanks for posting them.

  • Reply
    Dan
    November 12, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Gold is the one from Kodak that I’d compare it too, though it gives a much more grainy look. Kodak Gold pulled 1 stop is dreamy and lush. It’s the cheapest C-41 film I can buy in Germany that I’m aware of. Works out to 1,83 in pounds if you buy it in 3 packs, I usually wait on drugstore coupons and then buy like 30 rolls.

    • Reply
      PhilStefans
      November 13, 2019 at 4:26 am

      I’ve shot plenty of Kodak Gold too, and I quite like it also. I’ve never pulled it though, I might have to give it a go. Cheers!

    • Reply
      Ben Hutchings
      November 15, 2019 at 7:24 am

      £1.83!?!?! I just had to check the date on you post, that you weren’t posting to the future from 1989…

  • Reply
    Isaac
    November 13, 2019 at 4:21 am

    The colors are beautiful! Is there a sweet spot you’ve found for rating the ASA of C200?

    • Reply
      PhilStefans
      November 13, 2019 at 4:25 am

      Cheers!. I’ve only ever shot it at 200, but I lean toward overexposing when my meter is between stops.

  • Reply
    Huss
    November 13, 2019 at 4:44 am

    Love your pics and love C200. It’s also my go-to even though I have access to other film. I also love how many others discount it as disposable film, just suitable for testing cameras they just bought..
    Any tips on how you metered?

    • Reply
      PhilStefans
      November 13, 2019 at 5:01 am

      Thanks! I generally use an incident meter (I rarely trust camera meters), set the ISO at 200 and shoot – I generally prefer to shoot in natural light/open shade.

  • Reply
    Leo Tam
    November 13, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Do you prefer c200 to superia 400? Wish superia 200 was still around

    • Reply
      PhilStefans
      November 13, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      Yeah I do. I really like the grain of Superia 400, but I’ll reach for C200 over it every time. I never shot Superia 200 unfortunately.

  • Reply
    Bent_Brent
    November 13, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Absolutely knockout work Phil. Loved this post, thanks for sharing.

    When it comes to consumer films, I’m a Kodak Ultramax guy myself. It does to blues what C200 does to reds. But your work has me ordering a brick of C200 to reevaluate.

  • Reply
    David Hume
    November 14, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Greetings from a fellow Aussie! This is interesting – and don’t take it the wrong way, but I really don’t like this film. Only goes to show how tastes differ. I read this thinking “Hmm maybe I missed something,” so I had a look through the shots and, nup – still don’t like it. I used to think C200 was OK until I shot some canola fields and there was just no way I could get the yellows to look any good. They totally turned in to a blocked up yellow mess. I do like to shoot in much lower light than your shots though, so maybe that has something to do with it. And the red in the dress of the couple shot – can’t help but think “Damn that would have been nicer in Portra” So there you go! I guess a lot has to do with how it’s scanned and what you do after that.
    Having said all this though, I am exhibiting a bunch work shot on C200 next year, so clearly I do use it! (intent there was to go for a very generic “snapshot” look) Interesting how it’s different strokes etc. All the best and no reflection on your work; just interesting how tastes can differ. Cheers.

    • Reply
      PhilStefans
      November 14, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      Cheers! Yeah I guess a lot of it is based on what we shoot and how its scanned and processed. I scan my negatives on a Noritsu LS600, and I generally only adjust the exposure and very occasionally the contrast – I don’t make any direct adjustments to colours/saturation but obviously if the contrast is dialled up or down there’ll be a flow on affect. Portra is a lovely film, but in my mind it just lacks a bit of character…a bit like driving a new car which has all the features and is quiet, versus an old one that’s loud and rattles but has that little bit of charm. 🙂

  • Reply
    David Hume
    November 14, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    I just thought of something Phil – I should have put a link in my earlier post to show the sort of stuff I mean. Here are some recent shots in 35mm.
    https://spark.adobe.com/page/6xj8yesoMVA6S/ You’ll see I go pretty heavy on the blacks with both the Portra and the HP5. I do think that people generally make too much of the film stock when so much comes down to what you do in post. I have no problem with smashing it round to get what I want – it’s either me or the standard profiles that someone else wanted, and I’d rather it was me. I don’t do my own scanning – my favourite Portra scans come from the Imacon my lab uses. The Imacon and Portra400 in 120 is just nice. Anyway – this was supposed to be about C200! Cheers

  • Reply
    Eric Norris
    November 20, 2019 at 1:34 am

    Thanks for the tip! I shot a roll of C200 with my Olympus XA, and it produced some great shots! Here’s one:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B5Duw7VF3Yi/

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