Rene Selection 5207 – Trying out an Incredible film for my #filmstocktryouts project

By Darren Fielding

Being new to film photography and the wonderfully complicated world of film stocks, I decided, like any semi-sane human male would, to dive really deep into the thick of things and make a sort of project and resource out of it. I thought I’d try and find all the different kinds of 135 film stocks I can. (Which is a great deal easier & cheaper here in China than elsewhere I gather from others lamenting on film prices.) and share my results and findings for you and everyone else to laugh at, enjoy, find useful and anything else on Instant Gram and on here.

I have already shot a few rolls of Kodak Gold on a Vintage China-made Huaxia 822 and some Oriental Seagull 100 on a second-hand Yashica Diary, all of which I hope to share my images and thoughts on at some stage, however, currently I am far too mesmerised with the images I got back from the lab on Rene Selection 5207!

I have an obsession with photographing bicycles. This is a parking of different app based public bicycles in Hangzhou
I have an obsession with photographing bicycles. This is a parking of different app-based public bicycles in Hangzhou

They are truly magical images, and they have very little to do with my ability, and a whole lot to do with the colours and overall feeling this fantastic film stock gives me. They have a minimal to fair contrast but with a very rich warmth that fills the image, white-balance does tend towards the yellow side because of the warmth of the stock, but seems easily corrected in post. Speaking of in post, I did very, and I mean Very Little correction and editing in post. I adjusted the exposure and contrast ever so slightly on the images and added a very little tweak to highlights and shadows when I felt they were needed.

This is the top down view from our 21st floor apartment window in Hangzhou, China
This is the top-down view from our 21st-floor apartment window in Hangzhou, China

This was my first time using, my now favourite camera: The wonderful Canon F1N or New Canon F1, so I struggled rather badly with getting used to it. I fully expected every shot to be complete rubbish from this roll, but to my joyous surprise, every single image was bursting with beauty.

A mom and son looking for a place to eat in the ridiculous Summer heat in Hangzhou, China
A mom and son looking for a place to eat in the ridiculous Summer heat in Hangzhou, China

What I take away from this first roll and with the knowledge that I knew absolutely zero of how to shoot the film stock or how to use the camera is, that this film stock has a great exposure latitude. I’m certain there were many shots on this roll that I underexposed because I didn’t know how to read the built-in light meter on the camera. There were also a few (too many to admit) shots that were accidental fires as I was too heavy-handed on the shutter trying to activate the exposure meter. Like this one, which actually turned out amazing.

A Happy Accident with my heavy trigger finger trying to learn how to use the Canon F1N exposure meter.
A Happy Accident with my heavy trigger finger trying to learn how to use the Canon F1N exposure meter.
My Obsession with bicycles continues
My Obsession with bicycles continues
An ebike with old tires stacked on top of it stands at the bicycle station in Hangzhou, China
An e-bike with old tires stacked on top of it stands at the bicycle station in Hangzhou, China

The images have a certain character and quality to them that just speak to my soul and I enjoyed pouring over every single image. Even the images that were happy accidents left me with a sense of admiration and joy from this film stock. So far it is one of my favourite film stocks I’ve tested for my #filmstocktryouts project.

I’d like to point out quickly, that I am new to film photography and am still making my way on how to edit film photos and what to look for in film stocks, but what I’m bringing into film photography with me from my experience in digital photography and just creativity, in general, is that it matters more what I like and feel from my images. I create for myself first and to my own liking and tastes, after all, it is ‘my taste’.

Hangzhou Asian Games Venue - Gongshu Canal Sports Park glows in the midday sun
Hangzhou Asian Games Venue – Gongshu Canal Sports Park glows in the midday sun

I have noticed that Rene Selection Film stock does not seem to be available anywhere other than in China. It was not listed on any film database website such as Lomography or The Darkroom Lab, at least not that I could find until I added it. It is most likely very similiar if not identical to any other version of Kodak 5207 remjet layer removed and respooled film stock out there.

I am thinking of perhaps opening up an online shop to sell some mid-sized bulk boxes of the film stocks produced or found here in China as well as other amazing photography trinkets to those interested beyond the Great Wall. Let me know if that interests you.

Anyway, enough of my shameless self-promotion, (I do want to try and make some sort of living off of photography) and let me conclude by saying that Rene Selection 5207 film is a filmstock I would highly recommend anyone try and it is rather affordable (even the other versions found out west). It produces a wonderful colour palette and a warm tone with fair contrast and beautiful grain. It is currently at the time of writing my favourite filmstock so far, although I do have 8 other rolls of scans back from the lab to edit still. So perhaps I might find some other favourites within those.

For now, I’ll thank you for your time and end with a few more shots from this roll.

I love taking these shots looking up alongside buildings. Just a very different perspective
I love taking these shots looking up alongside buildings. Just a very different perspective
Crossing the street in China can be a daunting affair, but locals handle it with reckless abandon.
Crossing the street in China can be a daunting affair, but locals handle it with reckless abandon.
An older chinese lady cycles past a Porsche. i'm more a fan of her bicycle than I am the expensive sports car.
An older Chinese lady cycles past a Porsche. I’m more a fan of her bicycle than I am of the expensive sports car.
Much doge, such Beauty
Much doge, such Beauty
Find the Bee- My favourite Photo from this roll
Find the Bee- My favourite Photo from this roll

Adieu! And remember, Just Keep Making stuff!!

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About The Author

By Darren Fielding
I am a South African living in China. I make photographs, poetry and music by wandering and wondering. I often take my camera's along.
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Comments

Jay on Rene Selection 5207 – Trying out an Incredible film for my #filmstocktryouts project

Comment posted: 01/01/2024

I'm heading to China. Can I ask where you got the film? Also what other film you was easy or cheap to acted there?
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Darren Fielding replied:

Comment posted: 01/01/2024

Good day Jay. My sincere apologies for the delayed reply. I was unaware of your comment until just now. I bought this film online on taobao ( an ecommerce app here in China. The biggest in the world.) Most of my film is purchased on there. There is an immense wealth of affordable film to come by on taobao. Whereabouts in China are you? Do you have WeChat?

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Geoff Chaplin on Rene Selection 5207 – Trying out an Incredible film for my #filmstocktryouts project

Comment posted: 26/12/2023

It's good to see different film stocks and the photographers reactions to them - what they like and what they don't, and why they like something. Keep the posts coming!
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Darren Fielding replied:

Comment posted: 26/12/2023

Thank you so much for the kind words & encouragement Geoff. I have plenty more to come. Busy editing my thoughts video for KONO! Moonstruck as we speak and will be writing that article soon as well.

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Bruno Chalifour on Rene Selection 5207 – Trying out an Incredible film for my #filmstocktryouts project

Comment posted: 22/12/2023

Hi Darren, I am somewhat both admirative and puzzled by your newbie enthusiasm. It is one thing, and a good one, to start a new and potentially creative activity, which is also primarily a craft. It is another to start giving opinions and advice on topics someone does not evidently master, especially when it may make a less assertive audience spend, if not waste, time and money. Nothing can be the result of a choice, be a "favourite" anything unless it has been tested against other examples in the same category. This does not seem to be the case. Saying, for instance, you are using "magical" film stock especially when all the images you are showing display a cyan/green cast, or when you, yourself, say that the film tends to go toward yellow, may sound paradoxical. At least, allow me to say this is not convincing "magic." It would have also been informative to say that the film you are using is color negative (although, agreed color shows) and that it is in fact most probably reconditioned Kodak movie film Vision 3 5207 250D. [also reconditioned in the US by QWD and on final sale at freestylephoto.] Moreover your images have undergone two if not three treatments (with their potential consequences): 1-lab as you do not process it, and 2-scanning (plus 3-potential adjustments according to your color photography experience). Now asserting that the film has "a great exposure latitude" may not mean much: "great latitude" compared to what? In what lighting conditions? Did you actually test the latitude of the film? [it does not sound so, if you did it would be interesting to know]. And let us face it, these days, saying that a lens or some film has "character" means it has flaws in terms of sharpness, or flare, or color rendition compared to more competent and recent lenses or film. The term "character" is usually used with poor technical performances that modify expectations that one could possibly have toward something they spent their money on. It is, which is understandable, mostly motivated by cost and limited budgets. So let us start with that and say the may advantage, for instance, of the camera and the film you used are financial. [although if I may add an advice from decades of practice and mistakes, mine may help you avoid some, instead of buying several cameras (or lenses) when you can try different ones, why not invest your budget in one that you really enjoy using and that is reliable [you will save both time and money, all the more if it is photography that motivates you and not just playing with gear. Again, playing with gear is also fine but let us call it for what it is and not speak of the photographic "character" of the result which is irrelevant as it is not the main point]. As for film, trying various brands and sort of film is, agreed, part of the learning process, experience, and fun, but it may end up being costly and with results that will only historically (your history) and sentimentally resist the assault of time, of your gradually acquired experience and taste. In other words this may end up in the garbage can a few years from now, and not be seen by anyone else but you (unless you post it in someone's blog or your own). Do not misunderstand me, if all this (your trials) boost your interest and practice in photography, all the better for you, and I am glad. My comments here are just words of caution so that you do not join the cohort of YouTubers and bloggers from whom people rapidly turn away because their content is not reliable and based on too little analytical/critical tools, a shallow knowledge base, and scant practice. Do not become noise, just keep on photographing.
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Darren Fielding replied:

Comment posted: 22/12/2023

Hey Bruno. Thanks for the comment. I do not intend to become noise, I have now shot over 35 different rolls and have another 25 in my fridge and I fully intend to keep on keeping on, as is my catchphrase: "Just Keep Making Stuff".

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Bill Brown on Rene Selection 5207 – Trying out an Incredible film for my #filmstocktryouts project

Comment posted: 22/12/2023

Darren, I have owned and shot with the Canon F1-n since I purchased the olympic edition in 1984. Wonderful camera to shoot with. I recommend a power winder and Speed finder FN. The speed finder has never left my camera since I purchased it in the late 80's. It will rotate into a waist level finder for those bee and flower images. The power winder with grip makes it easier to hold and do the half button press. I'm a Portra 160/400 person myself. Best in your continued film adventure.
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Darren Fielding replied:

Comment posted: 22/12/2023

Thank you so much for the recommendation, Bill. I'm definitely going to try to get the speed finder for my F-1n. I've since gotten used to the shutter pressing and make far fewer mistakes with it. However, I'm all for mistakes and the happy accidents and learning that come with them.

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Darren Fielding replied:

Comment posted: 22/12/2023

Thanks so much for the tips Bill. And thank you for reading through my thoughts and sharing your encouragement. I'm going to try get the speed finder.

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