Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably have heard that CineStill's new 400D stock is finally on sale to the public. CineStill's mission is to provide Kodak Vision 3's cinematic colors in a more simplified format by making it to where it can be processed in C41. However, it does not mean that you cannot process CineStill in ECN-2. I was excited to finally receive my rolls and the results were interesting.
Notice the halation on the boat's rail. It is more subtle than what 800T would produce.
I did shoot a couple rolls of 400D when the early bird orders were shipped and I was excited to go out and test them considering that it was developed by using one of my favorite film stocks of all time, Vision 3 250D. Unfortunately, the result were underwhelming. Aside from the halation that comes from CineStill removing the remjet layer, I was not a fan of the grain and contrast. I know a large part of this has to do with how it is processed and after developing a couple rolls using ECN-2 the results were a lot more in line with my prefrences. I also was pleased to see that the red halation seemed to be a bit 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 the color profiles differed. 250D was more vibrant and rendered colors in a more cinematic manner. 400D, however, seems to be slightly flatter and has a slight magenta cast in the shadows, but that is easily corrected in post editing. Regardless, both seem to have handled colors fairly well.
Although, ECN-2 is a process that creates flatter negatives I was surprised to see how much contrast was retained while also still having plenty dynamic range. This could be due to the fact that it is rated at 400 which is ideal for the C41 processed but rating CineStill 400D at 250 or 200 will most likely result in a better image since it will help boost shadow detail and vibrance. The highlights also seem to give off that cinematic bloom effect similar to other motion picture stocks.
Kodak's Vision 3 250D seems to naturally have less contrast and more vibrance but similar dynamic range. Grain structure also seems to be slightly finer in 250D but by overexposing 400D one stop, it will help reduce the appearance of grain as well.
Overall, both are great film stocks and I definitely recommend trying to process any CineStill film in ECN-2 and see how the results differ. You may just find your new favorite film stock.