Kodak ColorPlus 200 must be one of the cheapest colour negative films available at the present time, and the Nikomat/Nikkormat FTN one of the cheapest of the used SLR market offerings. This sounds like an easy pathway to colour film photography. Do the results look “cheap”? Or do they hold their own among their more expensive brethren?
The camera first – solid and reliable, with no wobbly or loose bits. Shutter speeds from 1/1000sec to 1sec plus B. Shutter speed dial surrounds the lens and is adjusted with a side lever. Easy to do – but you have to look at the indicator to be sure of the selected speed – there is viewfinder feedback here, but difficult to see on my camera.
The light meter demands a 1.35V cell if one wants to use it, but the application of the “sunny 16 rule” was all I used for these images, and the film handled that quite well. The camera works sans meter (without battery) as it is fully mechanical. The film advance is smooth and the shutter positive – except with that stupid yuppie button on top, but more about that later.
The lens on my camera was the early Nippon Kogaku Nikkor-S Auto 5cm f2, which is a seven element design pre-dating the usual Nikkor-H – six element – offering. Aperture is selected as per all similar Nikkors, but there is no feedback in the viewfinder so check. I found it easiest to set my shutter and aperture for the lighting conditions before shooting, and let the film’s latitude handle the minor variations within a frame. It is a testament to the flexibility of this film that the results reflect it.
Focusing is easy, as the viewfinder is bright and shows a central split image surrounded with fresnel screen. The lens has a silky smooth helical – and even though it has plenty of wear on the barrel, everything moves cleanly with no slop or wobble. Quite a joy to use, in fact. Since most Nikons and Nikkors work this way, there are no real surprises there.
I’ll let the images speak for themselves with minimal captioning.
The biggest delight was the response of the film under different lighting conditions. It handled everything that I threw at it easily – from bright sunlight to shadowed interiors and back-lit situations – without blocking up those same shadow areas. Colours show saturation, and are a likely by-product of the ColorPlus name, and the nature of the film itself.
As for the yuppie button, looks soooo cool, yet is soooo easy to trip accidentally after winding on. After wasting a few frames, I removed it – stupid dumb junk! (or clumsy thick fingered operator)
Kodak ColorPlus 200 on a Nikomat FTN – quality colour negative photography on the cheap – yes indeed.
Must buy some more.