Phoenix 200

... Journal Entry

First shots with Harman's new experimental Phoenix 200 colour negative film. "Something rich and strange" as The Bard would have it. This portends great things to come from the owners of Ilford I believe as they continue to develop it (no pun intended) further.

As I said in my previous post,  HARMAN's Photo Press Release stated “This is the first-ever colour film made entirely from emulsion to cassette at the HARMAN technology factory in Mobberley, a significant and incredibly exciting milestone. This quirky, experimental film produces high-contrast images with strong, visible grain and punchy, vibrant colours. It’s unlike any other colour film.” – they were not wrong!

To try out this first roll I dug out my good old Nikon F80 and with it my Nikon AF 50mm f1.4 D standard lens. The F80 for its 3D matrix metering system and its accurate AF and the 50mm prime for its decent optical sharpness (Harman recommend using quality lenses with this film as it gives 'soft' results). I set up the camera for ABC (automatic metering bracketing control) taking a sequence of 1 picture at 400 (1 stop under exposed), one at 200 ISO (box speed) and then one at 100 ISO (1 stop over exposed) with AF set a single and drive mode set at continuous. I then took bursts of three pictures each of a number of subjects at a local NT property accordingly as illustrated above, three images each of 12 subjects on one 36 exposure roll..

So, some observations. Harman say the film can be exposed at box speed ISO 200 or at 100 or 400, but that's about it. Based on the meter in my own F80 (your own camera's meter and your own technique may give different results) I would say this film is best exposed at ISO 100, certainly on a dull overcast day such as the one I used it on. To me it has virtually no exposure latitude and you have get your exposures absolutely spot on which can be challenging.

The film gives very high contrast (too much for my tastes) and overall soft looking images as they said it would. It has lots of grain as stated, which I really find very attractive. It also gives super saturated greens and reds but paler blues making it unbalanced. 


Which leaves us where? Well from my own point of view I would like to test this film further, firstly on a bright sunny day and then at night. I would also really like to see what Harman's next iteration of this film will be like and what improvements they will bring to it to make it into a "go to" photographers' everyday film stock from its current "experimental" status.


But for a company that has never made a colour film of any sort ever before and has produced this one from scratch, Harman have done exceedingly well and are to be congratulated on their achievement and encouraged to see their project to successful completion.

✧ Jokul Frosti ✧

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