Kodak Ultramax 400 – Red is his passion

Kodak Ultramax + Leica Summilux M 1.4 50 asph. | © mare.photo

The Kodak Ultramax 400 is one of the discount films and is mainly available in drugstores. The Kodak Ultramax 400 supplements the common sensitivity range with the Kodak Gold 200. Ultra stands for high color saturation and we want to know what this movie is good for.

Kodak Ultramax 400 in subdued sunlight

Kodak Ultramax + Leica Summilux M 1.4 50 asph. | © mare.photo

Kodak Ultramax + Leica Summilux M 1.4 50 asph. | © mare.photo

The Kodak Ultramax is a consumer movie that should be suitable for any simple camera. Nowadays, it is easy to edit images for the Internet so that they always look good, but we have dispensed with such editing. For the pictures shown here, we exposed the Kodak Ultramax 400 normally.

We are on a sunny day in Denmark with slightly diffused light on the beach, we find here all the colors, which one also finds on vacation. Daylight like the Kodak Ultramax 400, and that’s exactly where it brings its best results. Blue tones are rendered neutral, reds and yellows or green-yellow colors look pretty strong. Skin gets a slight, red-brownish tint.

The Kodak Ultramax 400 as a low-contrast film

The Kodak Ultramax 400 has a well-balanced contrast, with dark shadows being poorly drawn due to a lower resolution. Colored surfaces appear a bit muddy and in details very reserved, lines and edges are rudimentary. This is exactly where one of the major differences between consumer films and professional footage is revealed. Because in addition to the coarser resolution show the films from the price entry significantly less nuances is the color reproduction.

And that’s the really crux: The Kodak Ultramax 400 is actually made for cheap cameras, with fairly simple lenses. These by nature already have a low resolution. Now we have used Leica lenses for these images, which are among the highest-resolution optical lenses in their class.

Already here the Ultramax shows a reduced sharpness, which decreases again with reasonably priced lenses. Especially at the edges of the pictured objects, the lack of sharpness becomes visible. One should be aware of the fact that the shots, if not in clear sunlight (preferably at lunchtime without deep shadows) can quickly seem dull. Especially in cloudy skies. In any case, the grain is present.

Mixed light, ie different light sources in shady or dark areas, are more appropriate for the more expensive films such as the Kodak Portra 400. With Kodak Ultramax 400, the dark areas quickly appear diffuse. The true quality is less apparent on the screen than on the real prints we ordered for our impression.

But where the Kodak Ultramax 400 use

The Kodak Ultramax 400 is, when used properly, a real good mood movie. If you take the film primarily because it is cheap, you will not enjoy the results. If you use the film to create a retro effect and visualize the analog style with the perceptible grain, the Kodak Ultramax 400 is fun.

If you want to achieve striking colors with this film, especially with yellows and reds, then you can expect an overexposure of a panel. Examples could be colorful umbrellas and beach balls, colored beach towels, parties or fruit and vegetables in daylight. The development should be carried out quite normally.

No matter how, the motifs come into their own with the Kodak Ultramax, if they are photographed as close as possible and therefore correspondingly large.

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