I guess most of you may have heard about Silbersalz, the Kodak Vision3 motion picture film repurposed for 35mm photography. The continuing love of Hollywood kept the analog Kodak cinema business alive and a lot of directors prefer to shoot their films on the emulsion. Quentin Tarantino used it for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’, as did Christopher Nolan for ‘Dunkirk’ and Sam Mendes on his Bond outing, ‘Spectre’.
The only roadblock for still photographers came in form of the so called Remjet-Layer which backs the film and is supposed to reduce in-camera reflections while shooting away at 24 fps. This layer would spoil normal C41 developer and has to be removed at the beginning of the process. Cinestill found their own solution for this, they remove the layer of before they sell the film. The result is the halation effects you get around bright light sources.
Silbersalz from Stuttgart in Germany, went the other way, they develop the film as intended with the ‘Eastman Color Negative’ (ECN2) process. While the company was founded as a lab for motion picture film development, a lot of photographers knocked on their door asking for samples of the fabled Kodak Vision3. Soon a couple of old ladies busied themselves with spooling the film into 35mm canisters. The concept became a success fast.
Motion picture film was exposed since the 1960s like the RAW files of today, offering the amazing range of 16 f-stops. This gave cinematographers enough leeway to finalize looks and grading in the cutting room. The light-hungry Kodak Vision3 sold by Silbersalz still offers this amount of flexibility, which is the reason for the company asking you to shoot their films one f-stop over box speed.
The films come in four flavors, 050D, 200T (5500K Daylight) and 250D und 500T (3200K Tungsten). For € 59.60 you can order four rolls at silbersalz35.com which you have to send back to the lab for development and scanning (the whole process is explained on their site).
The scans are delivered in three formats and 5900 x 3800 Pixel resolution via download link, with the option to have the negs sent back to you. Depending on where you live on the planet this can be a costly endeavour. I got myself a sampler with all four films and took the daylight variants to the streets of Berlin, dialling the ASA down to 50 and 125 as suggested. Should your camera be able to read DX-Coding this will happen automatically.
This couple got excited on the Friedrichsbrücke, a touristic hotspot Berlin. They shoot film, too, at least the guy carries a Minolta.
250D at ISO 125, Nikon F3 with 80-200/2,8
Just around the corner on the museum island is the new selfie attraction of the James Simon Gallery, the visitors center.
250D at ISO 125, Nikon F3 with 24/2,8
Walking into the woods I met these guys who were amazed about the story of cinema film for photographers. Shot wide open because of the low ASA. 50D at ISO 25, Nikon F3 with 35/1,4
Gleisdreieck is another very busy area, a bit like the central park of Berlin mixed with the muscle beach of Santa Monica. 250D at ISO 125, Nikon F3 with 24/2,8
The aptly called Drachenberg (Dragon Hill, the german word for kite is dragon) sits right next to a former listening post. You can see the radar domes in the background.
50D at ISO 25, Nikon F3 with 35/1,4
It was fun to take the Silbersalz daylight films for a spin. The scans come out quite flat on first glance, but as advertised they give you an amazing amount of editing volume. While the process of sending your films to Germany (and getting your negatives back) can be expensive, the experience of shooting Kodak Vision3 is quite rewarding. I busied myself with large format this year, an ongoing adventure, and right now I walk around and shoot Bergger Pancro 400 with an Olympus Mju with a broken door, fixed with tape and Sugru. More about that next time. Stay safe, Thorsten.
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