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  • Writer's pictureAndrej Spilevoj

35mm film review: Kodak Ultramax 400

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample images

My name and Adrew and I am a fine art wedding photographer. In the weddings I work mainly digital and medium format, but in my spare time I like testing various films and share my results with other people. So here we go... the Kodak Ultramax 400 review:

From my first film reviews I have learned that the best ISO for Autumn is 400. Especially if you live somewhere closer to North of Europe. We have had a lot of snow and rain and lots of cloudy days so testing Kodak Ultramax was as challenging as testing any other film from my past. This time I decided to help myself, so I challenged the film that had ISO 400 which allowed me to take pictures at decent speed even in cloudy weather. I looked at the sample images of this film on Google and kinda liked them - they were colourful and contrasty - exactly what I was looking for. So I picked up a roll of film in a local store and started. This time I used Olympus OM-2n which I have bought from a German man on eBay. It had a nice 50mm F1.8 lens, so I was ready for portraits, which are my main goal of this review. Just to remind you - I am a wedding photographer, so I am mostly interested in people, skin tones, portraits, details etc. I am glad that my friend has posed for me, so I could go ahead and really boost my skills in portraiture to test this film out in quite challenging conditions. I hope you enjoy the images and if you are a professional photographer I invite you to scroll to the bottom of the page to see all the technical details of the gear, prices, my personal challenges and opinion on the film.

Just to note that even though all images are raw and straight scans from the local lab - I slightly edited some to match my preference. The edited shots (on the right side) will be presented side by side with the raw shots (on the left side) so you could see both. On the bottom of the page I will show you a digital image set of the same photoshoot against film - you can decide which one you prefer more.

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400

Camera: Olympus OM-2n

Lens: Olympus Zuiko 50mm F1.8

Scan: Noritsu at FotoLabas Panevezys


The camera was bought in Germany and this was my first film with it - I was not sure if that camera is OK or it may have some problems - the light sealing foam was worn out so anything could be expected.

I missed the focus in 7 images. Sad, still learning manual. Most of missed shots were unique but I had to delete them so I lost some good memories.

Weather was so-so. It was quite wet and cloudy so I had to wait for the best options to test the film. And on the most important photoshoot of my friend it started raining :(

Personal opinion:

I like the film shots a lot. This is something I was searching for - colourful, contrasty and yet - the film. ISO 400 was very helpful at different locations and weather conditions. If I was given a choice - I would definitely go for this film. I applied only exposure and contrast editing on the raw shots and I loved the outcome right away.

Here some comparison with digital shot of the same photoshoot. The only difference - the digital shots are taken with Canon 50mm F1.2 @ F1.2:

Kodak Ultramax 400 v. Kodak Ultramax edited v. Canon 6D

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

Kodak Ultramax 400 sample image

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