I can’t quite remember my reason for buying this roll of Ultramax 400, but after starting out with ColorPlus 200, a step up in speed seemed the natural choice as I wanted a more versatile stock which I could test out in a variety of conditions.
My initial impressions from the tests I’d seen online were that this film ran relatively true-to-life colours, retaining a fair bit of highlight detail which I am always looking for. The results from my roll, however, were rather cool in temperature. I’m not sure if this was because I shooting against a bright blue sky on snowy days (and this may be what the stock is balanced for), but it seemed to lack any real warmth, at least in outdoor situations. Being 400 speed does lend it a little bit of versatility, although I didn’t really put it through its paces in low-light.
All told, it didn’t quite bowl me over.
Ultramax 400 comes across as a middle-of-the-road stock without any stand-out qualities that set it apart. I can see why this might have been popular with consumers during the film heyday, given its decent speed, affordable cost and decent colours. But there’s nothing here that urges me to go out and get another roll anytime soon.
To me, shooting film is about finding something extraordinary even if imperfections are present. Ultramax 400, while being solid, doesn’t do anything extraordinary, despite no real imperfections.
You might think differently – check out the gallery below and let me know what you think.