Reflx Lab 200T (Tungsten) Colour Negative Film Review

Reflx Lab 200T (Tungsten) Colour Negative Film Review

Analog Film Review

Reflx Lab 200T (Tungsten) Colour Negative Film Review

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Reflx Lab 200T Newest Film in 2023
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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

World’s Newest Reflx Lab Film

Introducing the new Reflx Lab 200T is a 200 speed tungsten film, which can be processed in C-41 without the remjet layer. While Reflx Lab 800 has been my go-to for night photography, I’ve been seeking a slower film speed that still offers a finer grain. The new Reflx Lab 200T fits perfectly into this niche with its pleasing cool tones and less pronounced halation compared to Reflx Lab 400D. I previously shot a roll of CFP 200T in Taiwan; it’s a bulk-loaded Kodak Vision 3 200T 5213, and I appreciated its tones, reminiscent of the Kodak 500T. I’ve often wondered why there wasn’t a remjet-removed version available. Now, Reflx Lab has answered that call and probably one of the best news in 2023!

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

To give you a more tangible sense of the film’s aesthetic, consider that several well-known movies, such as “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The French Dispatch,” and “Midnight in Paris,” utilised Vision 3 200T for certain scenes. Though not used exclusively, these films showcase the cool colour palette you can expect. If you’ve worked with Kodak 500T or Reflx Lab 800, you’ll find a familiar look in this film. For those new to Reflx Lab or Kodak Vision 3 films, I’ll provide more details in this post to help you choose a film that suits your taste.

Kodak Vision 3 200T 5213 - Its Base Emulsion

You can refer to this post if you’ve ever wondered how Vision 3 films appear before the remjet layer is removed and they are developed using the ECN-2 process. The primary distinction between Kodak 200T and Reflex Lab 200T lies in the halo effect, or glow, surrounding the highlights. This film is colour-balanced for exposure under tungsten illumination (3200K). For different light sources, you should use an 85 correction filter in daylight conditions.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong
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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

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How to use a Tungsten film (Cool Tone)

In the realm of film photography, there are two main types of film, differentiated primarily by colour temperature: Daylight and Tungsten. The key difference between them is their colour balance. However, you can understand it this way: Most of the film you shoot with is designed based on Daylight film standards, which are suitable for outdoor conditions and sunlight’s colour temperature. Tungsten film, on the other hand, is used by film crews in complex environments where artificial lighting is necessary, to achieve the desired colour temperature.

The “T” in 200T stands for tungsten, indicating that this film is balanced for tungsten lighting. If you use this film in daylight, it will produce a cool colour tone due to its balance for 3200K. For instance, shooting during the day will result in a bluish tint, but using it around sunset will yield more neutral and slightly warmer hues. At night, under street lights, this film will render a much more neutral tone.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

Colour Tone and Signature

The Reflx Lab 200T is a remarkable choice for daytime shooting, particularly for capturing the sky’s deepest blues. Out under the open sun, colours take on a golden-yellow hue, infusing your images with a warmth that’s both nostalgic and vibrant. Indoors, the film reveals a shift towards cyan, adding a distinct mood to your photographs. It’s worth noting that in softer light, without the direct kiss of the sun, yellow and magenta tones become more pronounced, with shadows often bathed in a subtle magenta cast just like Picasso’s Blue Period.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

What impresses me most is the film’s ability to render skin tones with fidelity, staying true to the nuances of what the eye perceives. Reds, in particular, have a way of leaping from the frame, offering a pop of colour that’s impossible to ignore. When processed in C-41, the Reflx Lab 200T delivers a striking contrast and a rich tonality that stretches from the brightest highlights to the darkest shadows, ensuring that every detail is captured with clarity.

Yet, even amidst the golden hour’s embrace of the midday sun, the film retains a distinctive coolness due to its tungsten balance, set at a colour temperature of 3200K. This intrinsic quality of the 200T provides a cooler palette, setting it apart from the typically warm tones associated with daylight film. This nuanced balance offers a unique opportunity to create images that stand out with a different kind of beauty, one that’s as cool and collected as it is steeped in the cinematic tradition.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong
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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

Process difference between C-41 and ECN-2

Colour negative motion picture films are traditionally developed using the ECN-2 (Eastman Color Negative 2) process. This process includes a rem-jet removal step, which takes off the anti-halation backing layer from the film. Rem-jet is a black carbon layer that prevents light from bouncing back into the film emulsion from the pressure plate during exposure. The Reflx Lab emulsion, however, offers the flexibility of being cross-processed in the more widely available C-41 chemistry, which is the standard process for developing colour print film.

The C-41 process, typically used for still photography, does not include a step for rem-jet removal. Hence, most photo labs aren’t equipped to handle films that require this step. If the rem-jet is not removed before processing in C-41 chemistry, it can contaminate the chemicals, potentially ruining not only your film but also any other films processed in the same batch.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

For those not familiar with the difference between ECN-2 and C-41 processing: ECN-2 is designed for motion picture films and generally produces a flatter image, which is preferred in the film industry because it allows for more flexibility in colour grading during post-production. C-41, on the other hand, produces higher contrast and is optimised for still photography films.

It is crucial to inform your photo lab that the Reflx Lab film is safe for C-41 development if they are not already aware. You can also check the base of the film yourself; films safe for C-41 will typically not have the rem-jet layer and will exhibit a matte and sheen finish on the film base emulsion.

Always ensure that any film requiring rem-jet removal is processed at a lab that is aware of and capable of handling such specific needs to preserve the quality of your images and the integrity of the lab’s processing systems.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong
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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

Which ISO Should I Use?

In the Kodak film lineup, the Tungsten series is known for its tungsten light balance, and within this range, the 200 ISO films hold a special place for me. They offer greater exposure flexibility, and that’s why I’d suggest you give them a try. The 200T is particularly appealing if you prefer a film that’s not too grainy, like the Reflx Lab 800 Tungsten, which has a looser grain structure, and yet you need something more versatile than the delicate 100D, which can struggle in low light conditions indoors or at dusk.

The 200T strikes an ideal balance between film speed and grain quality. When it comes to pushing this film, I recommend a one-stop push to 400 ISO only when it’s absolutely necessary. At 400 ISO, the decision to push is up to you, but keep in mind that while pushing one stop won’t majorly impact shadows, it will amplify the noise in highlights. This trade-off should be considered based on the subject you’re shooting and the level of detail you want in the mid-tones.

Now, in its Vision 3 variant, 200T is typically rated at ISO 200. Without the remjet layer, you’ll gain more access to shadow detail and sacrifice some highlight definition. Here’s my guideline for you: Rate the film at ISO 200 if you’re aiming for more shadow detail, providing extra latitude in lower light conditions. If you’re after more dramatic contrast, especially in harsh daylight, rate it at ISO 320. This will give you an exposure latitude ranging from minus one to plus one stop. Remember, these are just guidelines, and the beauty of film is that you can experiment to find the look that best suits your vision.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, EV-1 (1 stop underexposure)
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Reflx Lab 200T @200, EV 0 (normal exposure)
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Reflx Lab 200T @200, EV+1 (1 stop overexposure)

Signature Halo and Why?

Much like CineStill films or other offerings from Reflx Lab, this particular film produces a characteristic halo glow around the highlights. This effect is typically mitigated by an anti-halation backing, a layer that prevents light from reflecting off the camera’s pressure plate (which keeps the film flat) back into the emulsion. The absence of this layer results in a glowing red halo around bright areas of the image.

From my personal experience, the halation effect in this film is somewhat subtler compared to what I’ve observed with Reflx Lab’s 400D. To my eyes, at least, it’s more aesthetically pleasing. It’s a unique feature that can add a dreamy or vintage quality to your photographs, and it’s worth considering how this visual trait can complement the mood or narrative of your work.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong
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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

Which One to Choose? 100D, 400D, 200T and 800T

Navigating the Reflx Lab film selection can be like choosing the perfect outfit for an occasion; each film has its own charm and ideal setting. If you’re stepping out into bright daylight and desire those crisp, clear details, the 100D is your go-to. It’s the low-speed, fine-grain option that’s perfectly balanced for sun-kissed scenes.

For those times when the sun is high but you’re after a bit more flexibility, the 400D steps up as the versatile sibling to the 100D, bringing a medium-speed choice to your daylight captures without sacrificing too much on grain.

Now, when the day fades away and the night takes over, that’s when the 800T becomes the star of the show. It’s my frequent companion for those nighttime escapades where I want to infuse my frames with that enchanting, cinematic vibe—those glowing lights and deep shadows that tell a story all their own.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

The latest addition to the family is the 200T, a film that’s quickly becoming my favourite for creating a certain mood. Its bluish tint during the day adds a cool, moody atmosphere to your shots, while at sunset, it balances out to capture the warmth of the fleeting light with elegance.

When choosing your film, consider the lighting, the environment, and the emotional tone you want to convey in your images. The 100D and 400D are your daylight champions, with the 400D offering a little more leniency in varying conditions. The 800T is your night owl, ready to bring the cinematic drama after dark. And for those who want to play with colour temperature and mood, the 200T is your canvas for creativity, no matter if the sun is high or just dipping below the horizon. Choose accordingly, and let your vision come to life on the film.

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong

Final Thoughts

As I reflect on the hues and tones captured by the Reflx Lab 200T, I am reminded of the power of film to not just record a scene, but to imbue it with emotion and atmosphere. The 200T is a master of mood, a film that paints the daylight in cool, contemplative blues and the golden hour in a balanced, nostalgic glow. It’s a film that invites you to play with shadows and light, to explore the nuance of colour temperature.

Whether you’re looking to add a subtle, bluish ambiance in your daytime shots or aiming for a harmonious warmth as the day wanes, the 200T is your companion. It’s the kind of film that doesn’t just freeze a moment in time; it whispers a story, it sings a mood, it dances with light. For the photographer who looks beyond capturing an image to conveying a feeling, the 200T is a revelation.

If my journey with the 200T has intrigued your interest and you’re keen to explore its potential for yourself, I’ve made it easy for you to get started. Just follow the link below to purchase your rolls of Reflx Lab 200T and let your creative journey unfold. 

Discover and Try Reflx Lab 200T Film Here

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Reflx Lab 200T @200, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 ASPH I, Hong Kong
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Reflx Lab 800
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Reflx Lab 400D
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Reflx Lab 200T
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Reflx Lab 500T (120)

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