Nestled amongst a pile of thrift store treasures was an unopened 5 pack of expired Kodak Ultramax 400 film. Snatching up expired film, wether stored well or not is something I can never pass up. I asked thee older gentleman attending the shop how much he would like for the film and he very quickly said “how about a dollar”. How can you say no to a dollar for 5 rolls of film. Even if the film didn’t work the amount of fun that could be had just wandering and shooting would be worth it. As I do whenever I get film, expired or fresh, I quickly transfer it into my dedicated film fridge at home. This is where the Ultramax 400 sat for almost 9 months before I loaded it into my favourite walk around shooter, the Pentax ME.
Expired film is one of those things that people equate with lo-fi, lo-contrast, lo-quality, Lo-mography kind of images. However my experience with expired film stocks has been for the most part pretty favourable. I have no idea how long these rolls of Ultramax were laying on the thrift store junk heap or even if the previous owners had ever refrigerated them (doubtful) but I didn’t care, I decided to shoot it at box speed anyway. The expiration in 2002 which should have told me to shoot it 1 stop slower at ISO 200, but something in me said shoot it at box speed. What did I have to lose, it was only a buck. I shot the below images between 2 locations not far from my home in Nanaimo British Columbia. The first 8 images were shot in a quaint little hippie town called Coombs, known for their goats on the roof market place. The final two images were shot in a beautiful little beach town called Parksville during the world sand castle championships that are held here each year. I think the results really speak for themselves. Kodak colour negative films are almost impossible to over expose and this film renders colours in such a way that bring you back but not too far back, if you know what I mean. For a consumer grade film the grain seemed to be decently fine and although sharpened in Lightroom everything turned out fairly crisp. Over all I get kind of an Ektar vibe from this film and I love Ektar. Will I shoot Ultramax again. Definitely! To be fair, it’s not a pro film but When I compare it to some of its peers like Fuji Superia or Kodak Gold the Ultramax wins by a landslide. If you’ve made it this far in the article leave a comment and let me know what you think of Ultramax and also what your favourite consumer film to shoot is.