When I moved in with my wife, she had a bunch of film she never got around to shooting before she bought her DSLR. Most of it was Kodak Max 400, but one roll was Kodak High Definition 400, a film I’d never heard of.
Looking it up on the Internet, people agree that this was Kodak’s Royal Gold 400 film rebranded. That film was known for smooth grain, saturated colors, and punchy contrast.
I found this film in a drawer with an expiration date in 2007, so I knew it wasn’t going to perform like new. The rule of thumb is to increase exposure by one stop for every decade of expiration, but I rated it at EI 400 anyway and loaded it into my Nikon F3. On my previous outing with the F3 the shutter misbehaved, leaving vertical light streaks on several shots. I thought maybe the camera was misbehaving thanks to having not been used in over a year. The best way to find out was to shoot a couple more rolls. My cache of expired film was perfect for the job.
The film performed all right, yielding well-saturated but slightly shifted color. A quick hit of Auto Tone in Photoshop un-shifted the color lickety split. Grain was pronounced at full scan size, though it’s hard to tell that at blog sizes.
The F3 and the HD 400 came along on our post-Christmas road trip up the Michigan Road. Here’s a block of downtown Plymouth.
The F3’s shutter performed flawlessly, thank goodness. Still, it’s time to put this wonderful camera in the queue to send out for CLA.
I gather that Kodak introduced this film as its Gold 100/200 and Max 400 films had grain that could show up on enlargements. Remember when a standard print was 3.5″x5″? Through the 90s and early 2000s the standard size became 4″x6″, and some labs let you order 5″x7″ prints at nominal extra cost.
I’ve never had trouble with grain on my prints of Kodak’s regular 200 and 400 color films. Maybe they’ve improved those films since HD 400’s days.
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