Kodak Colorplus 200 Colour Negative Film Mini-Review

By Tony Warren

Recently I thought I would give colour negative film a try again having used a great deal of this film type in the past, which I used to process myself in Neofin Colour chemistry. This was a very convenient kit of single use glass phials of concentrate which had snap off ends, now no longer available. Probably, and no doubt justifiably, they fell foul of no end of health and safety concerns, a nicked finger on the broken end could have been very nasty. The results were good but negatives were much redder than the usual dull orange making filtration for printing tricky in darkroom days.

Down here in New Zealand, two of the most reasonably priced 35mm colour neg films today are Kodak’s Pro Image 100 and ColorPlus 200 along with Kodak Gold. The more professional types, like Ektar, are around double the price so as an experiment and a budget friendly buy I thought I would see how the ISO 200 film performed.

Kodak Colorplus 200
Graffiti on bridge beams showing low light performance and latitude.
Kodak Colorplus 200
Wall art to cheer up a Friday afternoon.

The film

Kodak claim wide latitude for the film and my results would seem to bear this out. I wouldn’t rely on it for very relaxed exposure setting though, it can only be pushed so far. Some of the examples give an idea of the latitude available. Certainly, getting even close to correct colour is really tricky with thin negatives the way I go about it, though the built in conversions with a film a scanner would be less trying I imagine. From past experience, I must say that the best results from colour negative emulsions usually come from negatives exposed on the generous side.

Kodak Colorplus 200
Showing colour fidelity and definition possible.

Colour is nicely, but not overly saturated and realistic when given full exposure, with good definition, moderate grain, and good sharpness. Generally the film delivers very acceptable results, adequate for all but the most demanding of applications.

Kodak Colorplus 200
Natural colour.
Kodak Colorplus 200
Quite wide latitude and colour rendering.
Kodak Colorplus 200
Accurate colour. The wall art is on the side wall of the local musicians’ club building.

Out and about

I ran a roll through my Retina IIc on a walk around Dunedin including the rhododendron display in the Botanic Gardens and the urban wall art that has been encouraged, and the graffiti that hasn’t been, around the city centre and elsewhere.

Kodak Colorplus 200
Wall art commemorating early collaboration between local Maori and immigrants. Later the influence of Chinese imigrants on the local society.
Kodak Colorplus 200
Detail of previous example.
Kodak Colorplus 200
Some wall art is placed unexpectedly as you walk around.
Kodak Colorplus 200
Dunedin’s historic railway station under extensive renovation.

Post processing comment.

I was initially very disappointed with the grain until I realised that Unsharp Masking (USM) plus Clarity that I would usually apply to a digital file when processing in Affinity Photo brings out the grain to an alarming extent. I now use the High Pass filter to do most of the initial sharpening, only having a controlled effect on edges as it does, finishing off with a very light application of USM as a final step after adjustments are complete, avoiding Clarity completely. A little extra contrast can punch things up without the grain becoming too noticeable.

Kodak Colorplus 200
Dunedin is very hilly.
Kodak Colorplus 200
A good example of the colour, sharpness and latitude possible.

In conclusion.

Overall, Kodak Colorplus 200 Colour Negative is a very good, reasonably priced all rounder, not super fine grained but more than adequate for most purposes.

(Photos of the cameras and film box and digitised copies of negatives are produced with a Sony A3000 with 55mm Micro Nikkor and adapters processed in Affinity Photo.)

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About The Author

By Tony Warren
In my 60 or so years of serious involvement in photography I have seen the demise of the viewfinder, the rise of the SLR and the eclipse of them all with the meteoric development of the digital camera. Through it all, however, and above all else, the image is what it is all about so I now use film alongside digital. Whatever is the most appropriate or practical. My contributions will hopefully be useful for anyone interested in using film and also how a died-in-the-wool antique like me is continuing his life-long addiction in the digital age, using both platforms. The major benefit of an extended retirement is that I can spend most of my time nowadays with photography and writing about it.
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Comments

William on Kodak Colorplus 200 Colour Negative Film Mini-Review

Comment posted: 27/07/2023

That Retina camera with that film stock took some outstanding images...
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 27/07/2023

Thanks William.

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Daniel Castelli on Kodak Colorplus 200 Colour Negative Film Mini-Review

Comment posted: 27/07/2023

Hi Tony, I’m not a color guy, but I love urban landscapes. Well done. My favorite is the steep hill house. I’d hate to park in front of that house, get my groceries out of the car, drop a melon and have it till down the hill…
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 27/07/2023

Thanks Daniel. We learn to live with the hills of course and Dunedin does possess the Guinness World Record for the steepest street.

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Dan on Kodak Colorplus 200 Colour Negative Film Mini-Review

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

Just my personal opinion, but I think these would have been more pleasant without the artificial sharpening. From my experience film scans look best when left mostly untouched. Lovely shots either way!
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

Thanks Dan. Maybe overdid things in some of the shots a little but in the end it is horses for courses and I wanted to give the film the best press. In fact I try not to oversharpen film as a rule, especially using Clarity which can really emphasise grain. Also I don't use a scanner so the files from my digital camera always need a little help to get over the slight softness from the interpolation. Maybe it is something to do with what Ansel Adams said about finding he printed harder as he got older. At 84 that's my excuse.

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Martin on Kodak Colorplus 200 Colour Negative Film Mini-Review

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

Thanks for your insight. I do like Kodak Colorplus 200 but also Kodak Gold 200 not only because they are my favourite film speed but also because they seem to be the rare films available as 24 exp. rolls. I was a big fan of the old Agfa Vista 200 24 3 exposure rolls available here in Austria in the 1990ies. The clours in your pics are strong yet natural. Thanks for sharing Martin in Austria
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

Thank you Martin. You clearly have more experience than me with recent colour neg material. I used a lot of Agfacolor many, many moons ago, a film I really liked for its colour fidelity. Regards, Tony.

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Lance on Kodak Colorplus 200 Colour Negative Film Mini-Review

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

Great article! I love Color Plus and prefer it to both Pro Image and Gold. Honestly the results remind me of a cheaper version of Ektar, with great color and fine grain.
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

Thank you Lance. I totally agree with you and would include the old Agfacolor too.

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