Film Review: Kodak Gold 200 (The GOAT)

Zeh Daruwalla

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Shot on Canon AL-1 w/ 50mm F1.8

Kodak Gold is easily the most affordable film stock I’ve come across so far. Especially in the Vancouver area its the best deal on film. In a time where one roll of Fuji Superia 200 will cost you close to $15 at the local London Drugs, you can still find a 3 pack of Kodak Gold 200 for $12.99 at Walmart. (Not to diss London Drugs, they’re my go to shops for colour developing). You heard me right, thats three rolls of Kodak for the price of one roll of Fujifilm. However, there is a reasonable difference in quality between the two. Fujifilm is known for their amazing colour science across the board and their Superia film really does not disappoint. But we’re here to talk about Kodak Gold so lets get to it.

Colour Science

When I first started shooting film, for the first 3 years I exclusively shot Kodak Gold 200. In that time, I really got to know the film stock and what kind of shots would really shine with the film stock. Right off the bat, the first thing I would note with Kodak Gold is that it takes to warm tones really well, that’s gonna be anything yellow, orange, or red. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t take pictures of anything thats not these colours. This only means that the film itself gives off these warm tones, so when you take a picture of something that also has these tones, the resulting image will have a really nice rich colour profile.

Shot on Canon AL-1 w/ 50mm F1.8

Grain Structure

One of the biggest allures to film photography is the nature grain of the images. As you shoot more film, you’ll soon realize that each film stock has its own unique grain structure. Kodak Gold 200 is no different. The grain structure on it is relatively nice, it’s not too heavily grainy but in comparison with some other film stocks it does have a thicker grain to it. This means that the film grain is more apparent to the eye than say a finer grain film such as Kodak’s Portra series film. That being said, larger grain in film isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on how you want your image to look. Though I personally prefer a finer grain, a larger grain does suit some images really well. It adds more character to the image. A big downside to larger grain film however is low light performance.

In a situation where theres not much light, your ability to capture details in an image has reduced already. Now, with a larger grain film whatever detail you did manage to capture is gonna end up being a bit harder to see due to the grain. This then creates a vicious cycle as it makes the film grain look even larger than it actually is. Still, that being said, there are always exceptions. I’ve found that when you’re working in unideal situations and still manage to make it work, thats when you get the best results and really grow as a photographer.

Shot on Canon AL-1 w/ 50mm F1.8

Overall, Kodak Gold 200 is truly a viable option for both beginners and seasoned shutterbugs alike. I’ve been using it for years and I’m gonna keep using it for as long as I can.

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