On a recent trip to Melbourne, Australia, I decided to drop by several of the city’s fine analog photography shops, including Film Never Die store on Bourke Street, a stone’s throw from Southern Cross Station in the city’s center.
Film Never Die, apart from a selection of analog cameras in excellent condition, its photo lab, and film stocks, contributes to the analog film community by offering its own intriguingly named IRO200 color negative 35mm film—intriguing as iro (色) is the word for color in Japanese. I decided to buy a few rolls and give it a try.
So what is IRO200? Peeling off the label from the film case reveals that it is in fact FujiFilm Fujicolor C200. Fujicolor C200 no longer appears to be widely available in Japan, and although I might be mistaken, I suspect that Fujicolor C200 has fallen victim to one of the series of FujiFilm’s culling of its 35mm film lineup. Perhaps someone could confirm this for me. Film Never Die’s rebranded version might be the last vestige of availability of the Fujicolor C200 stock.
Color negative film has never really been my thing. I find the colors too subdued of even excellent stocks like Kodak Portra and Ektar. I have also never particularly cared for the grain that is often inherent to these. When choosing to shoot a color film, I usually reach for the now discontinued Fuji Velvia 50 slide film for its vibrant colors and fine grain. But hey, it never hurts to try something new.
I did not shoot the rolls in Melbourne, but rather brought them back to Japan, which I call home. I waited for a sunny morning in Tokyo and shot a test roll before heading off to my first business meeting of the day. Below are five frames shot with my Leica M3 affixed with a fourth generation Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 lens. In my view, the IRO branding is apt for Film Never Die’s color negative stock, but judge for yourself. There are other examples of Fujicolor C200 on 35mmc here and here.