Film Review: CineStill 50 – 35mm

Oct 9, 2016
3 min read

Let me present you another exceptional film : the CineStill 50 Ladies and Gentlemen !

It’s essentially a Kodak film (Kodak 5203 to be precise) that was initially used for motion picture. CineStill has modified it by removing a layer of emulsion so it can be developed in C41. The cinema world has some interesting films to offer to photographers, so if you are adventurous enough to remove yourself this layer, AKA rem-jet, you can watch the video below. For now, I prefer to leave this to professionals and support the CineStill company!

Before going forward, I’ve shot this roll with my Leica M6, the 35mm Summicron and the 21mm Super Elmar. I didn’t tried to overexpose it (as it was already difficult to shot at ISO 50) and exposed for the shadows. Now let’s see what it’s capable of !

This first series was shot indoor at the British Museum. It was bright enough thanks to this amazing glass ceiling.

When I saw those images, I was instantly blown away by the colour rendition and fine details. The last image is cropped and zoomed in x2. You can barely see any grain and the sharpness is, in my opinion, incredible. Another thing that I was happily surprised with is the dynamic range. Even if exposed for the shadows, most of the scene is properly exposed and we still have a bit of details in the highlights. One thing that I noticed though, is the kind of chromatic aberration in the brightest areas. We can see some reddish colour fringing in the structure of the ceiling but I guess it’s just how the film reacts to over exposition.

Now let’s look at few other shots taken in different light conditions.

Out of this series, my favourite picture is the one with the people walking up to the elevator. I really love of the colours rendition.

Now, let’s talk about the cons : I noticed some inconsistencies between similar shots. If you compare the two shots with the columns, we can clearly noticed a strong difference between them. I didn’t apply any sort of colour correction and they were literally taken seconds apart with the same lens. This might be because the light had slightly changed in between but it seems to make a huge difference on the final result.

Some people recommend to use a warming filter for pictures taken under overcast weather. I think this film is very sensible to the light temperature and you might have some surprises if the light source changes, even slightly.

On the other end, the last portrait turned out pretty well even if the sky was covered with clouds and my subject slightly in the shade. The skin tone is very pleasing and will certainly try again to shot portrait with (I’ll be more careful with my focusing, I promise!).

Overall, I am very pleased with this CineStill 50 and will certainly buy a few more rolls but wouldn’t recommend it as an every day film because shooting with such a slow ISO can be challenging sometimes.

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