Bob Nuttmann

The above featured image is shot with Kodak Color Plus 35mm film and a Minolta 600si with Minolta 50mm f1.4 lens as all the other photos in this post are.

Kodak Color Plus film is their least expensive color 35mm C41 consumer grade film.  When I went on a recent trip to Yosemite and the surrounding area I had two rolls of it in my film storage area and took it along.  This is a fairly recent offering from Kodak.  Traditionally I have used their Kodak Gold 200 or Kodak Ultramax 400 when I wanted lower cost film.  Of the 72 shots on the two rolls 68 were usable when they came back from the lab and 35 I rated 4 stars or better after editing them on Lightroom Classic CC.  And I gave 6 five stars.  Those ratings came after significant work to get acceptable images.  When I shoot Ektar or Ektachrome I usually have to edit less and many of the shots are five stars.

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Both of these fall colors shots came out sharp and the color was good after some editing.

In general the three Kodak lower cost color films, Color Plus, Ultramax, and Gold run about the same price, around $3.75-4.50 a 36 exposure roll.  I have also used Fuji C200 in this category at about the same price.  Of the four I normally get the most high star shots from Kodak Ultramax 400.  I would normally include Fuji Superia 400 in this same category, but due to significant increases in price that film is not nearly as much as Kodak Portra which is a clearly superior film.

I tent to shoot mostly landscape and botanicals (flowers, trees-leaves, plants) and don’t use film for people.  But when I do use film for people I try to put on a tungsten type filter and have pretty good success with Ultramax, Portra, and Ektachrome.

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Many of these images I also shot using my iPhone 11 Pro.  To me the final result went both ways.  Some of the digital shots were better or at least more pleasing to me and some of the film shots.  What I found a bit disappointing using this film is that I just had no “wow” moments I usually get when initially looking at Ektar or Ektachrome results or for that matter Tmax 100.

A couple of examples of “wow” with Ektachrome are these.

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This is the best shot of this scene in front of our hotel on the California coast a few months ago using my Olympus OM2n and 50mm f1.8.  I shot this same subject using my iPhone XS and Sony A7iii and the Ektar had colors, subtleties, and just felt immediately like a great shot.

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Or this beach shot.  I took some iPhone XS photos of this same beach that I like a lot but when I saw this and a couple other similar Ektar ones I just knew they were special.

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I did find that when I used a polarizing filter on the second roll that it reduced the glare on the results.  The seventh shot up of the tree came out quite good compared to digital shots of the same subject.  I find that Color Plus can be converted to black and white very effectively.  I use Lightroom Classic CC.

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So my summation is that if you can afford to get Ektar or Ektachrome or for that matter Portra you will likely get a better result with less work that my recent work with Color Plus, but if you cannot afford or don’t want to spend the money my recommendation is Kodak Ultramax 400 or Kodak Gold 200 over Color Plus.  And keep in mind to use fresh non-expired film.  I used some older film on a recent trip to Arizona and had to do a lot of work to salvage shots from some film that was past it’s expiration date.

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