Medium format review: CineStill 800T & 50D
My name is Andrew and I am a fine art destination wedding photographer in Italy (Lake Como, Amalfi). I shoot film and digital and this post is going to be about a very new medium format film - CineStill.
It has all started after I accidentally found CineStill reviews on YouTube. I was not much interested in it at first since I mostly shoot in a different style but then I thought it would be a good challenge for myself to try something new. Mostly because of this curiosity I contacted well known local singers and asked them if they would be interested in taking part in such experiment. I also contacted my lab Photolab.lt in Vilnius for some suggestions on how to shoot this type of film and they were very kind to support and advise. So I purchased both films from one very interesting store in France via eBay and the photo shoot began. For CineStill 50D we have created a short story that we decided to present in 10 shots. It was a day time but it was cold and cloudy so I was working at the edge of 1/60 @F/1.9 (Mamiya 645 AFD). The main hero was a well known Lithuanian rap singer Gabrielius Svaras Liaudanskas, I also invited the bikers and a model to play some role in the story. Funniest thing that we had the whole action shoot in front of the windows of Lithuanian Security Services. For the CineStill 800T I picked a very big concert show of a well known singer Linas Adomaitis. It was one of the most amazing shows of the year so I think this was a perfect opportunity to see what the films is capable of in darker conditions. So have a look at the results from both films and if you are interested in my personal opinion about both films - scroll down to the bottom of this page. Enjoy!
CineStill 50D and 800T
Camera: Mamiya AFD 645
Lens: Mamiya Sekor 80mm F/1.9
Location: Vilnius and Panevezys
Dev & Scan: Photolab.lt (Lithuania)
It was quite hard to work with ISO 50 on a cloudy day. For the first time in my life I used a tripod for such photography, my speed was 1/60 so I had to really capture the moment. It was a freeze motion shoot so all the shots were taken while everyone was standing still. At -4 Celsius outside this was quite a challenge.
Working at the concert had a different problem - measuring the light on the stage while staying 20 meters away from it is quite a challenge. My Sony a7mk3 has helped me a bit in this but frankly I was not sure if I nailed the exposure or not until I got my scans back.
First, don't buy the sample images on the CineStill 50D website. I am not sure how they managed to get such amazing saturation and clarity, maybe because the film indeed is amazing only on sunny days, or maybe it was fixed in post. I saw on YouTube where someone mentioned the film was not so good on a cloudy weather. So, at least in my case - I did not fall in love with this film. My lab reported that they actually liked the shots for no grain, smooth transition of the light and focus area. I am not sure about that, maybe I should give it another go on a sunny day with a beautiful model, let's wait for summer then, I will update the post with the new images whenever I get them.
CineStill 800T is an OK film, I should say. It does have almost no grain. So if you hate grain in darker locations - go for it. However, I also shot other films on the very same concert and CineStill was not one of the best, even though it was the most expensive film from the whole lot that I had. Here is my article on shooting concert on film with more samples to compare SinceStill to other film brands at ISO 800 and 1600.
P.S. this is the final product of the CineStill story shoot:
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