If you've been following film photography news lately, you've likely heard that CineStill has released their new 400D stock to the public. The company's aim is to provide Kodak Vision 3's cinematic colors in a more simplified format that can be processed in C41, but that doesn't mean you can't process CineStill in ECN-2. I was thrilled to receive my rolls and put them to the test.

Notice the halation on the boat's rail. It is more subtle than what 800T would produce.

One notable characteristic of CineStill film is its removal of the remjet layer, resulting in halation effects such as those visible on the boat's rail in my shots. However, when I shot a few rolls of 400D after the early bird orders shipped, I found the results underwhelming. I wasn't a fan of the grain and contrast, though I knew that processing was likely a factor. After developing a few rolls using ECN-2, the results were much more in line with my preferences. Additionally, I was pleased to see that the red halation appeared to be more controlled compared to Cinestill 800T.

CineStill 400D @ 400

Kodak Vision 3 250D @ 250

Although 400D and 250D are technically the same film, I was surprised to see how differently they rendered colors. While 250D was more vibrant and produced a more cinematic look, 400D seemed flatter and had a slight magenta cast in the shadows. However, this cast was easily correctable in post-processing. Both films handled colors well overall.

Despite ECN-2's tendency to create flatter negatives, I was surprised by how much contrast was retained while still having plenty of dynamic range. The fact that it's rated at 400 likely helps with this, as it's ideal for C41 processing. However, rating CineStill 400D at 250 or 200 will probably result in a better image, as it can help boost shadow detail and vibrance. Additionally, highlights give off a cinematic bloom effect similar to other motion picture stocks.

Kodak's Vision 3 250D appears to have naturally less contrast and more vibrance, but a similar dynamic range. Additionally, its grain structure seems slightly finer than that of 400D. However, overexposing 400D by one stop can help reduce the appearance of grain.

Overall, both CineStill 400D and Kodak Vision 3 250D are excellent film stocks, and I highly recommend trying to process any CineStill film in ECN-2 to see how the results differ. You may just find your new favorite film stock.

Mitchell Jackson