Kodak Gold Film Review

Kodak Gold is a consumer level colour negative (C41) film. Daylight balanced, with a wide exposure latitude, and nice saturation.

It is the film I grew up with. I think most of my family shot our happy snaps with Kodak Gold 200 and it was the film I bought (or had bought for me) when I was a kid. I think I’m somewhat nostalgic for the film.

Wide Exposure Latitude

What does a wide exposure latitude for Kodak Gold film mean? You’ll see the details in the highlights, midtones, and shadows of the picture. It tends to bring them all out. Prevents the shadows from being so dark they are crushed, or the highlights from peaking so they are blown out. Everything is toward the middle.

A ‘Finalised’ look

With any consumer film, there is a level of contrast and extra saturation that had I shot with a less contrasty, more open film, I’d had introduced later in post. It is always good to shoot with a low contrast, under saturated film with the detail in the shadows and highlights because you have more latitude to edit the picture to what you want later on. You can bring up contrast and saturation a lot easier than you can take it away. This is because details tend to disappear into the shadows and highlights as the level of contrast is increased.

The film had to have this finalised look as that is what consumers look for. They want (or wanted back in the 1980s/1990s) a certain pop to the image, easily. Also, because of the combined wide exposure latitude, it is hard to over or underexpose Kodak Gold.

In the marketing material for this film, it is claimed to have a fine grain, but I disagree with that statement when compared to other films, pro or consumer.

The saturation just gives Kodak Gold a certain pop. Shadows open. The warm tone here is because I shot this inside, when it is actually a daylight balanced film.

Sharp but not detailed

Yes Kodak Gold film is sharp. Very sharp indeed. But not detailed. This is because of the strong grain seen. It has a certain sharp look to it without detail. Fine grain carries a lot more detail, and that can be interpreted as sharpness, but at the same time grain of a certain size in camera film can render a certain sharpness at the cost of detail. It makes edges around objects look crisp.

Am I nostalgic for Kodak Gold?

Yes. I think it is the colours, the general look, it just seems to make things look a whole lot more 1990s for me. Must be the colours.

Tanunda Uniting Church in South Australia. Taken in January 2020. See what I mean about the grain? Checkout the grain in the sky.

Use Kodak Gold with a flash indoors and for most point and shoot scenarios, the results will work out with a nicely exposed, pleasing, finalised image.

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