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Kodak Gold 200 Overview: Kodak Gold 200 is a versatile consumer 35mm film with low grain and saturated colors. It has a wide exposure latitude but does look best with a lot of light. Try rating between 160-200 and metered for the shadows or midtones. It is not the ideal film for low light situations but does very well in bright sun. You can pick up some Kodak Gold on Amazon here: Kodak Gold 200 in 35mm
If you’re just starting out on your film journey, or if you’re looking for an inexpensive, reliable 35mm, 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. 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 get gypped out those eight exposures!
If you remember film from the pre-digital age, you probably remember or used Kodak Gold 200. If your childhood took place during the pre-digital age, your baby snapshots might be on Kodak Gold 200 or even Gold 400. 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.
The Color Balance, Film Speed, And Grain Of Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200 is a daylight balanced film, which 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. 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. 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.
How To Meter And Shoot Kodak Gold 200
As a slower film with an ISO of 200, Gold looks best with plenty of good light. Gold performs well in a variety of lighting situations, especially those with a lot of contrast. I meter it at box speed or 160, and meter for the shadows or the midtones when using a handheld light meter. Honestly, I usually wing my exposures with my in-camera light meter when shooting Gold, erring on the side of overexposure just because it has such a wide latitude.
Kodak Gold Exposure Cheat Sheet
Kodak has a great cheat sheet for exposures with Gold 200 based on the Sunny 16 Rule. This film has a fine grain, so your images will have a sharp, crisp look and can easily be enlarged. Its colors are saturated and rich and tend to be warmer than Fuji consumer films. It also renders skin tones beautifully. According to the Kodak spec sheet, Gold is great for portraits with flash. I haven’t tried it, but after reading that, I will!
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 if you enjoy 35mm film. If you’re hesitant to shoot film in your daily life because of the cost, Kodak Gold 200 is the perfect film to use to keep costs down. In my experience, the colors render vibrantly and richly. It creates a colorful and almost vintage style of image, reminiscent of the 1990’s. If you like shooting in direct sunlight, 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.
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 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 her website and 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!