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…