Shooting with CineStill 800T.


A recent love of mine in the analog film world comes from the Wright brothers (no, not those guys).

CineStill originates from Kodak's cinematic motion picture film (Vision 3 5219) that has been reformatted for 35mm film cameras. Before I get into shooting with it, another notable factor is that you can use regular C-41 processing over using the old Eastman Colour Negative Process (which isn't all that lab friendly).

CineStill produce two main types of film; 800Tungsten (800T) and 50Daylight (50D). They also do a type of B&W film called bwXX and is rated at 200ASA. For this post, I'll be focusing on the 800T, as I’ve used it the most.

The main reason I'd use a roll of CineStill over some Kodak Portra is simply because of the massive latitude, super fine grain and when exposed correctly, can handle highlights whilst preserving mid-tones fantastically. Many shooters use it with this in mind and more specifically shoot with it for low light situations.

It's also gotten a pretty big following over on Reddit/ Flickr crowd for those (much alike myself) who love to shoot neon lights.

I first tested this film out in the day time, some clubs and then on Brighton Pier, to see if it really did what it said on the tin. Good news - it did!

I noticed that it performs really well for things like neon lights, and when I'm exposing it, I'll expose for the brightest part of the scene, due to it's massive latitude. It preserves shadow detail pretty well, but sometimes may need a little help in LightRoom to push some of the shadows down a bit (very rarely though).

When shooting with it, and on my trip to Hong Kong, I purchased a couple of rolls before heading down to the Nathan Road area in the early evening, to capture all of the beautiful Blade Runner-esque/Ghost in the Shell style lighting.

When shooting neon or tube lighting, I find that the best time to do so is in that time just after golden hour when you have about 15-30 minutes of available natural light left. That way, the ambience of the sun below the horizons perfectly fills in the little details, whilst you expose for the highlights of the tube lighting.

Canon A1 with CineStill 800T - Hong Kong & Japan May  2016 6.jpg

It's really worth getting a roll of CineStill if you see it at the store, just to give it a go in those low light situations like early evening shots. It's becoming really popular for portraits too, due to it's neutral characteristics and cinematic feel. It can be brought for about £9.50, so whilst seemingly expensive, it sits around the same price as a roll of Portra 400, so I'd say it's worth it for the fun of it!

I've just shot a few frames over at the Brighton Fun Fair, so I'm looking forward to seeing the results when it's back from the lab!