Regular readers know that I like to alternate between cutting-edge and old school tech when it comes to photography. So, on the heels of my last post about using super-fast SSD drives to boost computer performance comes my review about a limited edition film that's both new and retro: Adox Color Implosion 100, "Surreal Color Negative Film".
This 35mm film was introduced by Adox just a couple of years ago. Adox is a German film company with a long, international history. Today they make a small range of specialized films, as well as photographic paper and chemistry. Color Implosion is as quirky as the name sounds, and somewhat resembles color film that was shot back in the 70s but left unprocessed and stored in a warm place for the past couple of decades before being developed - but in an artistic sort of way.
While it's nominally rated at a speed of ISO 100, you can shoot it anywhere from ISO 100-400 in your camera. (Check your owner's manual to see how to change film speed manually; simpler cameras may default to ISO 100, which will work OK.) The speed you choose affects the overall warmth of the final images. At a speed of 100, the film has cooler, bluish tones. Punch it up to ISO 400, and the color "temperature" increases - with warm, vivid reds. At any speed you select, the colors are different enough to really stand out. Besides the unusual color palette, Color Implosion features lots of bold, beautiful grain. It's seriously and unapologetically grainy!
There's nothing subtle about this film, and it's definitely not well-suited for every subject. Looking to shoot photos of a newborn baby? Color Implosion is probably not your first option for an infant. (Use Kodak Portra film if you want flattering, fine-grained portraits.) But if you're looking for the right gritty film for shooting vintage cars, old buildings, and adventurous human subjects, Adox Color Implosion may provide just the look you want.
Sure, you can probably achieve something close to this effect with Photoshop filters, but it's not the same as loading a roll of film and sending it out for processing while you eagerly wait to see the results. There's something very satisfying about the experience of creating photos on old school film that digital doesn't quite replicate.
Since it uses normal color (C-41) processing, you can get it developed at any 1-hour photo lab. If you don't have a lab nearby that still processes film, I recommend mailing your film to The Darkroom - I've always been pleased with the timeliness and quality of their work. They'll process and scan a roll for $11, and you can view your photos online as soon as they're done. As for the film itself, I've bought mine from Freestyle. At the time of this writing, a roll of 36 exposures will set you back a modest $6.99. It's not as cheap as Instagram, but it's a whole lot more fun!