New Classic EZ400 is one of a number of films from small businesses today that is an existing emulsion with fresh branding and packaging. Sometimes the existing emulsion is commercially available and sometimes it’s not; either way, it’s fun to try these films and support these small businesses in the film community. In this case, someone else supported this small business, because two rolls of this film were a gift from a reader.
I shot my first roll of EZ400 in my Pentax KM with the 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M lens attached. The 50/2 is the least loved of Pentax’s manual-focus 50s. I love to pull for the underdog, so I try to use this lens a couple times a year. I developed the film in HC-110, Dilution B, and scanned the negatives on my Plustek 8200i scanner.
As I shot the roll, I had some trouble with the shutter hanging up when I pressed the button. The shutter did eventually fire, and at the right speed as the resulting images (as below) were properly exposed. This happened eight times during the roll. I was worried that I’d need to send this body out for CLA again — I had it done just a couple years ago. But since I finished this roll, I’ve had no more trouble with the KM’s shutter.
New Classic EZ400 cartridges have no DX code, so this film isn’t a good choice for most point and shoot cameras. A 35mm SLR or a rangefinder are better choices, as very few of them won’t let you set ISO manually.
Whenever I shoot one of these boutique films, I search the Internet to see if anyone knows what the original emulsion is. There’s little speculation about EZ400, but a couple people in forums wonder if this is Fomapan 400. These images do resemble my past results with that film, and the development times are similar. However, I’ve had trouble with lost shadow detail with Fomapan 400 at box speed, but not with this roll of EZ400.
These negatives scanned extraordinarily well. I needed to do very little to them in Photoshop beyond boosting contrast, something I do with all of my scans.
I experience EZ400 as having medium contrast with good tonality and a noticeable but not obtrusive classic grain.
I got best results from this medium-contrast film on medium-contrast scenes.
When I tried to shoot a higher-contrast scene, results were decidedly mixed. Here, the shadows are a little underexposed.
Each film has its optimal conditions, and it’s up to us to either use film that works with the conditions, or accept the results we get when the conditions aren’t optimal for the film!
I like New Classic EZ400 based on my results from this first roll. I’d use it again. It helps that it’s not expensive at about $7 for a 36-exposure roll. It also comes in a nifty lidded cardboard cylinder that ought to break down far faster than the usual plastic can.
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