400 Dynamic

My first roll of CineStill 400D. The D is for Dynamic and the makers claim it is a fine grain daylight balanced colour negative film that delivers a soft colour palette with natural saturation and a wide exposure latitude ...

This is indeed a cinematic film emulsion (Kodak Vision3 based technology presumably), made for stills photographers. As CineStill say, "Allowing them to maximise their creativity and produce remarkable images that express who they are as artists". Well now, that's as maybe, but what I can say is that it performs beautifully for me with my snapshot style of working in my walkabout photography and makes for striking pictures.

Latitude in exposure is the permissible change in camera exposure that can be made without a significant effect on image quality. 400D has a base sensitivity of ISO 400, but can be rated from 200 to 800 and pushed up to 3200 which makes it very flexible indeed. That ability to be underexposed by I stop over box speed without push is especially useful in a CN film as most won't tolerate this at all well without some unpleasant consequences. Mind you my usual Portra 800 is another such film that will go one stop under quite happily as well in this case at 1600.

Dynamic range in film photography, which is probably better called tonal range to avoid confusion with exposure latitude and a negative's densities (don't ask), is the film's ability when scanned to reveal a range of perceivable brightness in a scene between pure white at one end and pure black at the other measured in "stops". CineStill 400D has this in spades, indeed in this respect it is very similar to scanned Portra 400 which to my own knowledge will provide at least 18 stops of DR (I got bored testing it beyond that point and also it was so pointless). So take 400D out in high contrast scenes and snap away with confidence. It will record the stuff in the shadows and the stuff in the bright sunlight in the scene and still provide detail and all with no colour shift, way to go.

The film has rich vibrant colours, with a softer look than my usual Portra 800 but with much finer grain as you would expect. The colours and look of the film suggest it maybe based on Vision3 250D perhaps? CineStill films are famous for being made from Kodak movie films with the remjet layer removed and thus exhibiting halation (red halos round bright point light sources) and 400D is no different in this respect so be aware.

So will this film replace my much loved Portra 800 as my everyday film for my walkabout photography? Well no it won't, though I will continue to experiment with it and definitely use it for when I want to take advantage of its interesting halo effects.

✧ Jokul Frosti ✧

A space containing the thoughts, experiences, photos and collected curiosities of a walkabout photographer with a snapshot style.