How To Shoot Kodak Gold 200 by Jen Golay

How To Shoot Kodak Gold 200 by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film
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Written by Jen Golay

If you’re just starting out on your film journey, or if you’re looking for an inexpensive, reliable 35mm or 120, color negative film, Kodak Gold 200 is for you!

Kodak Gold 200 is a consumer-grade film, meaning it’s cheap, readily available, and really hard to mess up.

In 35mm, you can find it in rolls of 24 or 36 exposures for just a few dollars, but you should always try to get it with 36 exposures because when you go to develop it, the price is the same no matter how many exposures per roll. So, don’t lose out on those eight exposures!

It also just came out in 120 format as well.

Find Kodak Gold 200 on Amazon here.

How To Shoot Kodak Gold 200 by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film

If you remember film from the pre-digital age, you probably remember or used Kodak Gold 200. That’s because, as a consumer-grade film, it was and still is found at the drug store or the supermarket.

It’s inexpensive and designed to have a long shelf life without refrigeration. So if you find some expired Kodak Gold, don’t be afraid to use it.

Being a consumer-grade film also means that it has a wide exposure latitude—plenty of room for mistakes. According to Kodak specs, Gold 200 can be overexposed three stops and underexposed two stops and still produce a decent image! This is why it’s also great for beginners.

Kodak Gold 200 Film Review by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film
How to Shoot Kodak Gold 200 35mm Film Photography Tutorial
How to Shoot Kodak Gold 200 35mm Film Photography Tutorial
How to Shoot Kodak Gold 200 35mm Film Photography Tutorial
How to Shoot Kodak Gold 200 35mm Film Photography 4

The Color Balance, Film Speed, And Grain Of Kodak Gold 200


Its colors are saturated and rich and tend to be warmer than Fuji consumer films. It also renders skin tones beautifully.

Kodak Gold 200 is a daylight balanced film. This means if you want to shoot it under tungsten or florescent lights indoors, you’ll need to add a filter or do some color correcting in post.

For a comparison between Kodak Gold and Kodak UltraMax, check out this article here.

Film Speed

Since its ISO is 200, it’s considered a rather slow film, so you’ll need good light when using it. But that also means its grain is quite fine and not as perceptible as faster films.

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This film has a fine grain, so your images will have a sharp, crisp look and can easily be enlarged.


It’s got a wide latitude and rich color saturation as well. Overall, it’s a great film to keep handy and use for travel, personal snaps, and even portraits.

According to the Kodak spec sheet, Gold is also great for portraits with flash. I haven’t tried it, but after reading that, I will!

How To Shoot Kodak Gold 200 by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film
Kodak Gold 200 Film Review by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film

How To Meter And Shoot Kodak Gold 200 

As a slower film with an ISO of 200, Kodak Gold looks best with plenty of good light. Overall though, it really does perform well in a variety of lighting situations, especially those with a lot of contrast.

I meter it at box speed or 160 ISO, and meter for the shadows or the midtones when using a handheld light meter.

Honestly, since it has such a wide latitude, I usually wing my exposures with my in-camera light meter when shooting Kodak Gold, erring on the side of overexposure.

How To Shoot Kodak Gold 200 by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film

Kodak Gold Exposure Cheat Sheet

Kodak has a great cheat sheet for exposures with Kodak Gold 200 based on the Sunny 16 Rule.

How To Shoot Kodak Gold 200 by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film

Where Kodak Gold Performs Best And Where It Struggles

I love using Kodak Gold for everyday personal work and natural light portraits. It’s also great for travel or photo walking. Kodak Gold 200 is also the perfect film to use to keep costs down.

If you like shooting in direct sunlight, Kodak Gold is fantastic for that and will still maintain details in the highlights.

In open shade, it has a soft, warm, and muted look. And in high contrast situations, it has amazing latitude to keep details in the highlights and the shadows. It creates a colorful and almost vintage style of image, reminiscent of the 1990’s.

I honestly haven’t had any issues with Kodak Gold 200, but I would suggest avoiding tungsten and florescent lighting situations unless you’re willing to use a filter, which will cause you to lose a stop or two of exposure. If that is the case, you might as well use flash.

I would also suggest getting the largest scans available to you from your lab so that you have plenty of freedom to enlarge and crop and still maintain the film’s fine grain. The inexpensive cost of the film makes this extra expense a little easier to digest.

Kodak Gold 200 Film Review by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film
How To Shoot Kodak Gold 200 by Jen Golay on Shoot It With Film

Kodak Gold 200 is a fun, versatile, and inexpensive consumer-grade film that will give you bright, saturated colors in a fine-grained film that is nearly impossible to get wrong.

It’s easy to use, lasts forever, and practically perfect for portraits, travel, and everyday snapshot. If it’s not in your film repertoire, grab some the next time you’re at the drug store, and give it a try!

Thank you so much, Jen! You can see more of Jen’s work on Instagram.

Leave your questions about Kodak Gold 200 in the comments, and if you want to pick up some Kodak Gold film for yourself, check it out on Amazon here!

Click here to read all of our film reviews!

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Jen Golay

Jen Golay is a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as Rolleiflex Cameras: Get to Know these Iconic Film Cameras! and Olympus Pen F Half-Frame Film Camera Review.

Blog Comments

Hi i want to ask on what shutter speed, iso and aperture on that flower picture you used (before the chicken image). Thanks! Hope you’ll reply

Hi Nikka! Thanks for the question. I’m not the best at taking exposure notes these days. But based on how I usually shoot, it was probably somewhere between f/1.4-f/4.0 and 1/60-1/125 of a second. I also usually use a closeup filter on any flower shots so that I can get a good closeup and still handhold my camera. I hope you find this helpful. If you have any other questions, I’m always happy to share!

Hi! Thank you for this post it was very informative. I was wondering if you overexpose your shot (shooting Portra 400 at an ISO of 200) do you tell the lab that you shot it at 200 or 400? If you tell them that you overexposed at 200, will they correct it in development and render the overexposure irrelevant, or will you need to tell them that you shot it at 200?

Thank you again for this article! I shoot digital and am just now branching into the film world and this was very helpful!

– Daniel

Hi Daniel! Thanks so much for your kind words. When I shoot color negative film, I generally overexpose it by 1-2 stops. There are several ways of doing that–one way, as you mentioned, is by rating your film at a slower speed. Color negative film can handle overexposure quite well–some up to 3-4 stops. Generally, there is no need to tell the lab that you overexposed your film. The only thing the lab could do to “correct” it would be to pull process it, meaning they would take it out of the chemicals sooner than normal. Pull processing does not really work well on color negative film. Color negative film has a lot of latitude and is very forgiving of overexposure. Many film photographers generally overexpose slightly to give themselves a little cushion because underexposure on film just looks like a muddy mess. So go ahead and overexpose your color film by a stop and see how you like it. I would recommend bracketing a roll of film to see what you prefer. Bracketing means that you shoot the same image three times: one image overexposed by one stop, one image correctly exposed, and one image underexposed by one stop. Have the lab develop as normal.

Thank you!!

Is it okay to change ISO for every shot ? I thought you’ll have to lock it in once your lod the film.

Hi! No, you can’t change the ISO of your film, but you can change how you rate your film. This means setting the ISO on your camera or light meter to a different number than what the box (box speed) tells you to do. You may choose to do this for a couple of reasons. One, color negative film can handle a little bit of overexposure, and it can produce a certain look often called “light and airy.” Some color negative films like Portra 800 and Fuji 400H are really light hungry films and do much better over exposed. So when I shoot those films, I rate my film (program my light meter) to a slower speed like 200 or 100 and meter as usual to overexposed my images. I have the lab process them normally. Another reason to rate your film differently than box speed is to add contrast. I do this when my light is just one stop darker than I need it to be. So if my film is Portra 400, I would rate it at 800 and tell the lab to push it one stop in development. Unlike digital where when you change your ISO, you actually change the sensitivity of the sensor; in film, when you change your ISO you only change the way your meter reads the light. Your film sensitivity remains the same. Also, if you decide to rate your film differently than box speed, you need to do so for the entire roll of film and give your lab the appropriate instructions for processing (push it or process as normal). The lab cannot selectively process individual frames or partial rolls. I hope that answers your question!?

This article came at just the right time for me! Recently bought 35mm camera to add to my medium format. I have now also purchased Gold 200!

Thank You

Hi Shane!
How exciting! I’d love to hear how you get on and what you think of Kodak Gold 200. Keep me posted!

Great post! When you metre at 160 – do you make any alterations when developing – i.e. what do you tell the lab or do you not mention it? And is it better to alter ISO film speed or the exposure compensation scale?

Hi Izzie! I am so glad you found the article helpful! I do not make any changes in development, and I tell the lab to develop as normal.

Hi! I’m new to film and your articles have been so helpful. Regarding bracketing a roll of film, does that mean that, for a roll with box speed of 200, I rate one shot at box speed, one at 100, and another at 400? That would mean changing the ISO wheel of the camera mid-roll. Is that ok? I got a bit confused as you advised bracketing in one comment, while in another, you mentioned that if we decide to rate our film differently than box speed, we need to do so for the entire roll of film. Hope to hear from you, thank you!

Hi Elaine! Yes, you can change the ISO on your camera or on your handheld light meter mid roll, and this is one way to bracket your shots. Rating one shot at box speed, one at 100, and one at 400 will give you bracketing of a shot at proper exposure, one shot overexposed, and one shot underexposed.

Rating the entire roll the same way is when you are not trying to bracket your shots and you are looking for consistent exposure across the whole roll. Let us know if you have any more questions!

Inexpensive? $20.00 per roll on Amazon…

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