Film Photography

In belated praise of Kodak Gold 200

In case you haven’t heard, the Agfa Vista line of color films has been discontinued. They were manufactured by Fujifilm, which has axed one film stock after another in recent years. At the rate they’re killing stocks, it would not surprise me if they soon exit the rollfilm business.

Agfa Vista 200 is said to have been the same stock as Fujicolor 200. I’ve shot miles of this film under both labels and they look the same to me. It is the color print film I shoot most often by far. It performs well enough for the everyday shooting I do while being inexpensive and easy to get. I can drive to my nearby big-box store right now and buy a four-pack of Fujicolor 200 for about $12.

Its potential demise provokes some anxiety. What will I do when it’s gone?

Switch to Kodak Gold 200, that’s what. It’s nearly as available and only slightly more expensive. It’s just as good.

I’ve only just decided that. For years I strongly preferred Fujicolor’s look, probably because I’m used to it. But when I take those goggles off and look objectively at the photos I’ve made on Kodak Gold 200 I find many that really please me. This is a fine everyday color film. Have a look:

Red house

Nikon N60, AF Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

Foodliner

Nikon N60, AF Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

Downtown Cambridge City

Canon TLb, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FD S.C., Kodak Gold 200, 2015

Jugs

Canon TLb, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FD S.C., Kodak Gold 200, 2015

Allied Van Lines

Canon TLb, 50mm f/1.8 Canon FD S.C., Kodak Gold 200, 2015

The Pyramids

Konica Auto S2, Kodak Gold 200, 2016

My neighbor's house

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

Bridge at IMA

Olympus Stylus, Kodak Gold 200 (expired), 2013

Flo's

Pentax H3, 55mm f/2 Super Takumar, Kodak Gold 200, 2016

At Juan Solomon Park

Kodak Retina IIc, Kodak Gold 200, 2017

Depot

Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Gold 200, 2017

Margaret

Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M, Kodak Gold 200, 2017

Grilling out

Kodak Retina Automatic III, Kodak Gold 200, 2017

North United Methodist

Voigtländer Vito II, Kodak Gold 200, 2015

Fujifilm, do what you will. Kodak Alaris appears to be committed to roll film. I’ll switch to Kodak Gold 200 and not look back.

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15 thoughts on “In belated praise of Kodak Gold 200

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    As a professional, I have nothing bad to say! I shot a lot of it in my pocket Olympus for street work back in the day, and to me, it seemed like the 100, with hardly any noticeable grain over the slower film…a win/win…sorry if it goes away…it was always on-sale too!

    BTW, for those who don’t know how Kodak “works”, they have a long standing methodology of discontinuing items NOT because they are losing money, or not making sales, but because they aren’t making the profit margins their accounts want them to make. They made one of the premier E6 films, finally, in the late 1990’s, and they discontinued all transparency films not because they weren’t making sales, or because they couldn’t get rid of 90% of the Ektachrome they were making and concentrate the few that were superior, or even that they couldn’t promote the film. It was just because it was easier to quit making it, period.

    Ditto with black & white printing papers. They let their engineers screw up the paper so much, it drove everyone into using Ilford and Agfa papers (especially people making high-quality prints or artistic prints), and when the market got small enough, they pulled the plug! Over the 50 years I was taking pictures, they DID have some superior papers, tho…

    I wait with baited breath for the rerelease of Ektachrome E-100, but it’s 6 months overdue, and then I find out no 120! The only reason I’d want it is 120….

    Kodak, whata sad mess…George Eastman would be rolling in his grave…

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    • My first wife was a pro photographer and shot Kodak Gold 100 most of the time for her personal work. She shot 200 if she couldn’t get 100. I have a precious few family shots she made on the 100 and they’re all wonderful.

      Yes, Kodak isn’t what it once was…but at least Kodak Alaris appears to have renewed its commitment to film.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Roger Meade says:

    As to Fuji vs Kodak, I would use either, so I hope at least one stays with us. Actually I would love to see an inexpensive 100 ASA color print film. I like to shoot old folding cameras and I live where we have snow 6 months in the year, so 400 or even 200 is a challenge for a camera with minimum aperture and shutter of f 16 and 250th. I realize I am in a small minority though, so I suppose I will make do with 200 ASA.

    I really like your straight forward photos of buildings. We usually ignore the mundane things in life until they go missing. I’ll bet any small town historical group would love to have a collection of dated photos taken at regular intervals that show the changes that “progress” brings. The photos could tell us about the local changes, and overall society changes too. Any good photo is an historical record of a single moment, whether of a person, place, or thing, and the truth contained in that photo may not become apparent for years, but it built in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you about the challenges of shooting anything over 100 in an older camera. Have you ever tried shooting ISO 200 film at 100? I hear that it works great. I just shot a roll of Agfa Vista 200 at 100 over the weekend and am eager to see how it fares in processing. I’m going to have it processed normally.

      Thank you for saying nice things about my photos of buildings. I do sometimes wish for more time to just document the changes in the built environment. Things can change so rapidly, and in just a few years a place can hardly resemble what it formerly was.

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  3. That’s a nice collection of color images. People these days seem to be getting good results from a surprising variety of film; some new, some rebranded. Hard to know exactly what is in the box. Cheap sob that I am, I am happy with about anything under three bucks. The real savings for me, though, is in diy C-41 processing; it only costs me about a buck a roll to process my film with the Unicolor kit.

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    • I’m much the same: I like not spending a ton of money on film. If it costs more than about $5 a roll I break into a sweat. I don’t like spending tons of money on processing either but at the moment I’m still not willing to make time to do it myself. My favorite lab has just bumped processing and scanning of one roll of C41 or BW up to $17 and it’s making me a little crabby. I have taken to running my C41 downtown to the camera shop, which processes and scans for about $8. I still haven’t made time to buy and set up Silverfast to run with my new Canon scanner — when I do I’ll have my second favorite lab process my b/w at $3.59/roll plus shipping, and scan it myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. analogphotobug says:

    If you want primarily color, non of the existing film producers are reliable. I shoot mostly B&W, but have discovered a fondness for Kodak Portra 400. So while I wait for the return of Ektachrome Professional film, that’s my color go to. As long as it still exists.

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    • I’ve shot a little Portra in my time. It’s fine stuff. I do like me some inexpensive everyday film though, and for the kinds of things I shoot everyday, Kodak Gold 200 and Fujicolor 200 work great.

      Like

  5. Gold 200, my favorite Kodak color film! I’m not worried about Fujicolor 200 getting axed anytime soon, it seems like the consumer films sell more and it’s not like they cost much on the R&D side. But when Superia and C200 are gone, it’ll be good to still have Kodak Gold around. I’m really disappointed though that I never got to try Reala, Superia, or Kodak Gold in 120 size though, it seems that I learned about them only when/after they were discontinued.

    The other ray of hope I can see is Ferrania bringing back the Solaris color negative film. And I’ll bet they’ll release it in 120 too! BTW your reds are so vibrant!

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  6. I’m still waiting for Ektachrome to be produced and then make its way over to Korea. Provia 100F is nice but too blue for my taste. Kodak E100G (RIP) had a natural warm look. And, as others have said, Fuji doesn’t seem to be interested in film any more. I joined the Ferrania Kickstarter, but who knows when that will appear.
    For colour negative film, I think I will stick to Portra 400. High quality, cheap compared to slide film, and I can use it in any situation. (Still have a couple of rolls of C200 to ‘get rid of’). That said, the colours from your Kodak Gold are very nice. I sometimes have to add saturation to Portra film because it’s rather neutral.
    I don’t remember all your film reviews, but have you tried Kodak Ektar? The grain is amazing but I can never get natural colour from it. Is it me, or the lab? Skies especially seem to go weird.

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    • I have one, maybe two rolls of E100G in 120 in the freezer waiting for a good day to use them. It was the first slide film I ever shot and it remains special to me as a result.

      I have shot Ektar! I like it for some uses. It’s good on a road trip where I shoot small town America.

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  7. Kevin Thomas says:

    A couple of recent trips to the ‘nationally known big box store’ I’ve usually bought my cheap-n-cheerful Fuji 200 film has turned up empty. Plenty of Superia 400, but as was said, I like to keep 200 speed film on hand for the more senior members of my collection. Sad… but I am working through a batch of Kodak Gold 200 and liking what I see.

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    • Well isn’t that interesting. That store is where I first bought Fuji 200 so many years ago. The canisters used to be imprinted with an ad for that store’s own film processing service.

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