Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Kodak Vision3 Motion Picture Film

Vision3 250D in Cincinnati

I've been testing Kodak Vision3 motion picture films. Both 250D (5207) & 500T (5219). The following is what I've learned so far about using Vision3 film in a 35mm film camera. Remember this word. REMJET.

Color film is often out of stock in-store & prices have been going up. Kodak Vision3 movie film is being discussed & marketed as an alternative to traditional 35mm color film. Several online stores / distributors sell repackaged 24 or 36 exposures or 100' bulk rolls. You can almost always tell it's Kodak Vision3 if it has been renamed with anything like 250D, Cine stock, 500T etc. in its name. The cartridges will also indicate it should be developed with ECN-2 chemistry.

ECN-2 Chemistry

If you want to buy Vision3 film it's increasingly available but not always "inexpensive" because the repackager must purchase in bulk rolls (usually 400'), re-roll the film in 35mm cartridges and label the cartridge / box. This is not without cost. There is one KEY factor about Vision3 film that MUST be taken into consideration. That is REMJET. Unless you purchase reprocessed Vision3 film from CineStill ALL repackaged Vision3 film on the market has a remjet layer unless it specifically says it's removed. 

Remjet is a black, lubricant layer on the BACK (non-emulsion) side of the film. Remjet DOES NOT affect the exposure process.

Black remjet side of test strips

However, remjet is opaque and MUST be removed before the negative can be scanned. You will notice in the photo above that the remjet is black. Even after developing the negative the remjet layer remains (unless you used a pre-bath remover). It's easy to take off BUT it can be a sticky black mess.

That's why you NEVER have a photo developing lab develop film with a remjet layer unless they specifically say they are able to develop it. It will mess up their equipment, so best to double check.

Here are a few tips / experiences / info if planning to use Vision3 film. 
  • All Vision3 film HAS a remjet layer unless it specifically says it's removed.
  • Unless the photo lab is able to develop Vision3 film (or any film with remjet) you will need to develop and scan the film yourself. Home developing 35mm film is easy.
  • Remjet is removed as the 1st (pre-bath solution) or last step (manual water wash).
  • It's PREFERRED that Vision3 film is developed with ECN-2 chemistry but can be developed using C-41 chemistry with similar results.
  • Color tones for Vision3 films are best rendered with ECN-2 & SOME ECN-2 kits include the bonus of having a. pre-bath solution included.
  • You DO NOT need to remove the remjet before exposing or developing the film.
  • If you use C-41 chemistry or ECN-2 without a pre-bath you remove the remjet layer "manually" AFTER developing the film during the final wash step.
  • Even if you use ECN-2 with a remjet pre-bath it's recommended to manually give the film a wipe down after washing. My experience is even with a pre-bath not all the remjet is removed so you need to manually wipe down the film after washing 
  • If you use C-41 or ECN-2 your developer will get "black" flakes (remjet) in it. These flakes DO NOT affect the developer quality. If you don't like them you can filter your developer with a coffee filter.
  • REMOVING THE REMJET - After developing and fixing the film you will wash your Vision3 film as recommended (usually 3 minutes under water). I then take the film off the reel and submerge it in a warm water (102 degrees F) bath with a small amount (1/2 tablespoon) of baking soda. Use enough water to cover the film completely. Baking soda or washing soda is not required but helps. Let the film sit for about 30 seconds and then the remjet will easily wipe off. I use a clean microfiber cloth or my thumb (use latex or equivalent gloves). Be careful not to rub the emulsion side of the film if possible as it can be scratched. Check the negatives after you remove the remjet to make sure you have it all off. Hang to dry. Even the smallest amount of remjet will not removed will show on your scan.
  • Clean up. With normal film I just rinse the equipment. However, with remjet you should thoroughly clean your equipment. Remjet can and will get everywhere and it's sticky. Your reels will get black / clogged. Deal with it immediately.
  • Pay attention to the type of Vision3 film you purchase. There are 2 types: D (Daylight) and T (tungsten) color balanced. ISO are available from 50 - 500. You can daylight balance your T film with an 85 filter but you need to set your ISO to 320.  Personally, I like how tungsten balanced film looks in daylight without a filter.
  • My experience is that you can push and pull Vision3 film but I would recommend no more than 1 stop either direction. 
Bottomline, Vision3 motion picture film is a viable, easy to use color film. If you home develop there is only 1 additional step. There you go! ENJOY

Vision3 250D

Vision3 250D

Vision3 250D

Vision3 500T

Vision3 500T

Vision3 500T

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