It’s time for another article in our series of simple film reviews which can be read in about two minutes. These articles have all of the info that a new shooter will need to pick their film and have success shooting it. And today we’re looking at Fuji C200. With its punchy green packaging, it may be one of the consumer films par excellence available today.
At your local pharmacy, in most multimedia or camera shops, and even in supermarkets between the dairy and shampoo aisle, you might come across Fuji C200. A cheap price, fine grain, and quite saturated colors make this film a versatile and widely available option for everyday film photographers.
Some context around Fuji C200. It’s made by Fujifilm, a Japanese company which produces digital cameras, instant film, and numerous 35mm and 120 format film (black-and-white, slide, color negative). Fuji was once a dominant force in film manufacturing, wrestling market share away from the original near-monopoly which was Kodak by introducing numerous high-quality film stock for every taste and style. They once produced dozens of films for professionals and amateur shootes alike. The company lately made headlines because the brand’s last high quality “professional” color negative film, Fuji Pro 400h, was discontinued. Now Fuji only offers a consumer-level line of cheap color negative film; Fuji C200 is one, Superia is another, each at speeds of 200 and 400.
While it’s a bit sad to see Fuji abandon the products which made them so special, at least it can be said that Fuji C200 might be the cheapest film on the market ($4.99 for a single roll on B&H’s website, less than Kodak Color Plus that I profiled last week). It also often comes in packs of three, which are sold for $13.99, or around $4.66 each roll. Depending on the market in which you live, this film might be called Fuji C200 or Fujicolor 200.
Image Quality and Best Practices When Shooting Fuji C200
But enough with the history, how does the film perform? For such a cheap film, it shoots really well.
A photographer once told me that the packaging of each film indicates the strongest saturation you will obtain in the pictures. I’m not sure if this is an apocryphal tale or if there’s truth to it, but it is somewhat true that shots taken with Portra will have an emphasis on magenta tones, and pictures taken with ColorPlus will have more vivid reds (their boxes show magenta and red graphic design, respectively). Whether myth or a reality, this theory does actually apply to Fuji C200. It’s a great film to use in a sunny environment, thanks to its ISO of 200 of course, but also because it renders greens very well (and its box is green!). Maybe this is the only film to pack for your summer vacation because of its affordable price, and guaranteed colorful results.
This film is definitely not a first choice for professional work, or editorial assignment. It does the job of making a photo, but it doesn’t capture the range of details, highlights, and shadows you would want for a high end assignment. If you’re a street photographer who likes to shoot without thinking, but does think about the budget, this film could also be an option. Think of it as the best film to train with, or to pop into a point-and-shoot.
Fuji C200 also performs really well with a flash. In indoor settings or as soon as the sun starts to set, it’s imperative to use a flash with it because of its low sensitivity (that’s what that 200 ISO means).
Another advantage of this film is its universality in terms of developing. Any lab that develops C41 will have no problem developing, scanning, or printing its pictures. The film can be pushed and pulled, with many pushing it two stops to ISO 800. Is pushing worth it? Not really. The film seems to render the best results shot a box speed or 400 ISO, but with 800 it seems to lose some of its sparkle. Pictures shot and pushed this way will be muddy and bland.
TLDR (too long didn’t read)
Fuji C200 is a great film to pop into a camera for a night out, or to test the functionality of a new camera , or to bulk buy for easy everyday snaps. Its cheap price and vibrant colors make it a great film for summer, travel, and holidays. And you’re almost guaranteed to find it in any shop selling film across the world. Although it’s not recommended to shoot it for a professional assignment, there’s no reason it can’t make a gorgeous photo – in the end, it’s all about the photographer’s vision and skill!
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