Kodak Gold 200. An icon consumer film from the ’80-’90s. It is beloved by some and hated by others. What you definitely can’t say is that shooting it left someone indifferent. I find myself loving this film (I am not crazy about it, though), especially the warm tones and high contrast. What is even more impressive, is that Kodak Gold has a decent sharpness and fine grain for a consumer-grade film. Like that is not enough, the price for the Kodak Gold is quite cheap. Considering all of the above, the film seems a great choice for everyday use to have fun and store some personal memories.
So, if you also like Kodak Gold, you would understand my happiness when I, while being on a trip, stumbled upon a bunch of 3packs of it for a laughable price – 7.95 euro. Not giving it much thought, I bought 2 packs of the film. But then I got back home and, well, it is winter here. And Kodak Gold does not thrive in cloudy conditions. Still, leaving all 6 rolls for the next three or four months in a freezer seemed a bizarre thing to me. That is why I decided to do a little experiment – to push one roll to 400. Surely it is not a huge difference, but I wanted to have fun trying something new. The ironic thing though, both days I was shooting it there was no overcast. Despite that, my mind was already committed to the idea of pushing to 400, so I went for it.
I apologize for keeping you waiting, but I also have to write a couple of lines on the gear before showing you the result of pushing Kodak Gold to 400. That way you will have a complete perspective. I used Olympus OM-2n and Zuiko 28mm f2.8. I mostly used f5.6 or f8 and let the camera decide at what shutter speed to fire. Developing and scanning were done by a lab. I did not adjust colour or light, and also did not give any specifications to the lab on adjusting during scanning. After the photos, you can find my thoughts on the outcome.
Before сonducting this little experiment, I searched some tips or at least anything related to an experience of pushing Kodak Gold to 400. As expected, there was not much, because it is not common to push consumer film.
Anyway, photos came out more saturated, they look more punchy as the contrast is higher. Also, grain became more noticeable (but less than I anticipated). Naturally, skin colours shifted a bit farther to the yellow because of the increased saturation.
Frankly, I can’t say I did not like the results. I really appreciate some photos. Yet, I do not see myself trying it once more, let alone making a habit out of it. The thing is when I saw scans, they did not resonate with me. Not some specific shot, but the whole film overall. Perhaps, I am used to the conventional Kodak Gold look. Or maybe it is another thing that I can’t articulate properly. In the end, I am gonna stick to shooting Gold at box speed and for more tricky light conditions gonna use Ultramax ox Portra 400.
In the meantime, I do not want to discourage anyone to push Kodak Gold to 400 or even 800. Objectively, there is nothing wrong with the results, it is just my eye. Actually, I would like to encourage those who rarely or never have done it before. Because it could be so much fun to see something different from the film you got used to. For those who got hooked up on the idea of pushing Kodak Gold to 400 (or any other film) and are not familiar with how to do it, I recommend reading an article about the process from thedarkroom. It may save some of your photos from being ruined.
I use film to document the streets of my hometown (and sometimes other cities). You can find me as octo_ivans on Instagram.