Versatile, Affordable, Unique
Kodak Ultramax 400 consistently ranks as a top choice for beginners and experienced shooters (like myself). Its forgiveness in underexposure is kind to those new to metering for film and yet when pushed to it's limits by demanding light conditions, you can still pull out decent shots from this film. The affordability, versatility, and distinct aesthetic make it a compelling option for everyday shooting and creative experimentation.
Vibrant Colors and Warm Tones
Ultramax 400 produces photos with rich, saturated colors that lean towards the warmer end of the spectrum. This gives your images a nostalgic, "Kodakchrome" feel, perfect for capturing sunsets, portraits, and nostalgic everyday moments. Its cool blue tones in the shadows is counter balanced by the golden yellows in the highlights. This a complimentary color profile I'm very comfortable with!
Fine Grain and Sharpness
Despite its 400 speed, Ultramax 400 has surprisingly fine grain, especially when properly exposed. This equates to clear, detailed images even when scanned.
Wide Exposure Latitude
One of Ultramax 400's strongest points is it handles overexposure very well, allowing you to recover details in blown out highlights. I've noticed this after scanning this alongside Colorplus and Gold. This makes it ideal for shooting in daylight conditions where there are harsh shadows.
Whether you're shooting landscapes, portraits, street photography, or even motion shots, Ultramax 400 holds its own in a variety of situations. Its 400 ISO speed makes it usable in both bright and low light, adding to its overall adaptability.
Compared to Portra 400 (S$27), Ultramax 400 (S$15) is relatively affordable, making it an attractive choice for photographers on a budget or those who want to experiment with film without breaking the bank.
Limited Shadow Detail
Don't get me wrong, while Ultramax 400 handles overexposure well, underexposure can quickly lead to lost detail in the shadows. This means having to bias your metering slightly more towards the shadows just to avoid the muddy colors.
Not for Professional Use
While Ultramax 400 produces great results, it doesn't quite reach the level of professional-grade films (Portra 400) in terms of color accuracy, dynamic range, and grain finesse. However for its price point and for most casual and artistic photography, its performance is more than sufficient.
Kodak Ultramax 400 is a fantastic all-around film that punches above its weight in terms of performance and value. Its vibrant colors, forgiving nature, and fine grain make it an absolute joy to use. While it may not be the ultimate choice for professional work, it's a versatile and budget-friendly option that consistently delivers charming, nostalgic results.
If you're looking for a film that captures the essence of everyday life with a warm, retro twist, Kodak Ultramax 400 is definitely worth a try. Just remember to expose slightly more for shadows and you'll get super decent results in your scans!