CINESTILL 800T – FILM REVIEW
I can trace back the very moment my bank account was emptied, and remained so, to the very day that CineStill 800T was launched! This is a film stock that I LOVE! This is going to be a fun review!
CineStill 800T was the first film released under the brand name, and is a tungsten (hence the T) balanced color negative film based on the same motion picture film used by many of my favorite films and TV shows. These include ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and ‘Inception’ and ‘Django Unchained’.
With the removal of the remjet layer on the motion picture film stock and spooled to use in 35mm and 120 cameras, it is designed for difficult low-light and artificial light conditions. By doing so, this causes halation – a red halo that you see around artificial light. I kind of like it – for me, it adds to the unique charm and cinematic quality of the film.
The film is grainy, which again, I like. If I want to shoot smooth images, I will grab CineStill’s 50D, or shoot digital. Part of the fun of shooting film is the look, so the grain just adds to that. I would say however, I find it to be grainier than something like Kodak Portra 800 – especially when I push both films to ISO 1600 at night – which I have done a lot.
It is also a lot cooler than Portra 800 – overall it has a blue or green cast depending on the light. This for me adds an almost color graded quality to the film – again showcasing that very cinematic style.
I have shot the film in daylight too – CineStill recommended using an 85B filter and rating it at 500 ISO – but I have never bothered too, keeping it at 800 and without the filter. It becomes much more green in the daylight and starts to look like the color grading from films ‘The Joker’ and the TV series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – not a bad thing!
I have shot this film in both 35mm and 120 medium format. It looks amazing in both. Many of these images are shot with the Hasselblad XPAN, or as its otherwise known as, the Fuji TX-1. This film is made for this camera! The extra wide format that reminds me of the giant cinemascope format I love in movies paired with this look is a match made in heaven.
I love shooting this film because you can continue to use it in daylight, walk into a super dark interior shop and then continue into the night and never have to change it out.
I have sent this film to be developed professionally in a lab and done a lot at home. I prefer developing it at home. This is because I use CineStill’s own C-41 kit, and there is something about that kit combination (I found the same with the 50D too) and these films that get a result that I personally love.
One thing to keep an eye on is light leaks with this film. It is very sensitive. CineStill recommends keeping the film canister, even before loading it, in a dark environment. I find with my Hasselblad 503CW, I tend to keep a little bit of tape with me to really close up the exposed film after shooting and then put it into a plastic film carrier (like the one below). I have learnt the hard way!
CineStill 800T can be purchased almost everywhere now – but the price varies a lot. In LA I get it from Freestyle Photo Supplies. In Japan, I cried as it was so expensive and I needed more because Tokyo was made for that film!
But you can get it from their own websites, Amazon and B&H in the US as well. I have no affiliation, I just want you to be broke like me!