How To Shoot Kodak Ultramax 400 by Amy Berge

How To Shoot Kodak Max 400 Film by Amy Berge on Shoot It With Film
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Kodak Ultramax 400 Overview: Kodak Ultramax 400, also known as Kodak Max 400, is a versatile consumer film for 35mm cameras with a decent amount of saturation and grain. Try rating at box speed, 400 ISO, for bold, bright colors without color casts. If overexposed, expect to see a yellow color cast, especially in skin tones. You can pick up some Kodak Ultramax 400 on Amazon here: Kodak Ultramax 400 in 35mm


How To Shoot Kodak Max 400 Film by Amy Berge on Shoot It With Film

Kodak Ultramax 400 Film Review by Amy Berge

Why in the world would I choose to write about my love for Kodak Ultramax? Isn’t that the outcast of the consumer films? I mean, it doesn’t have the same cult following as Kodak Gold or the cache of Fuji Superia XTRA400.

In fact, when I first started shooting it, I HATED it.

I had a small stash, and I dreaded loading it into my camera, just wanting to get rid of the supply I had. That’s when I began using it in my point-and-shoot cameras, because, let’s face it, shooting with those can be a bit of a crapshoot anyway.

But something amazing happened, I found out I love Kodak Ultramax 400. Like, actually love it.

How To Shoot Kodak Max 400 Film by Amy Berge on Shoot It With Film
Kodak Max 400 Film Review by Amy Berge on Shoot It With Film

How To Rate Kodak Ultramax 400

What made the difference? In the grand tradition of film photography, I had been overexposing my Kodak Ultramax 400, always rating it at 200. I didn’t like skin tones at that rating; they were too yellow (which I now know is a sign of a Kodak film being overexposed).

When I shot the film in my point-and-shoots, the DX code reading took over. This automatically rated the film at 400. Magically, I began to like my images from this stock.

Let me phrase it this way: Kodak Ultramax is a film you can (and maybe should) rate at 400. FOUR HUNDRED. In the world of film, this makes it so versatile. I shoot this film outdoors on sunny days or on cloudy days, and it’s even feasible to shoot this film indoors throughout the year.

Kodak Max 400 Film Review by Amy Berge on Shoot It With Film
Kodak Max 400 Film Review by Amy Berge on Shoot It With Film

Metering And Getting The Most Out Of This Film

Rating Kodak Ultramax at 400, I get the skin tones I want, the pop of color I love, and just the right amount of contrast. I almost always meter in the shadows, unless my subject is in full sun, then go for highlights or midtones to not get wonky skin tones.

But go ahead and photograph people, photograph landscapes, photograph pets! But try it at 400 if you haven’t liked your results, and let me know if you, too, fall in love with the outcast of the films.

How To Shoot Kodak Max 400 Film by Amy Berge on Shoot It With Film

Thank you, Amy! It’s always such a joy having Amy here on the site, and you can check out her other Shoot It With Film post on developing black and white film at home! Check out Amy’s website and Instagram to see more of her work.

Leave your questions about Kodak Ultramax in the comments, and if you want to pick up some Kodak Ultramax 400 film for yourself, check it out on Amazon here!

Click here to read all of our film reviews!

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Blog Comments

So true. I have a roll and thought why do I even have it. That’s exactly how I use it, in the point and shoot for those reasons.

I just found four 2016 rolls of this at a antique store. Great to know it will be a good film.

Cannot wait to see how they turn out! Expired film is always a fun experiment!

If i expose ultramax 400 at 200 do I get it develop at asa400?

Yes! These are both in the acceptable range for shooting Max 400. I know some even rate it at 100 and develop normally! C41 doesn’t get developed for long, so it’s uncommon to hear of people pulling it to compensate for overexposure.

I’m new to film. I’m using it on a ae-program and they all come out too yellow or too dark? Anyone know what I’m doing wrong? 🥺

Hi Juliana! It sounds like you’re underexposing the film a bit. Your light meter might not be working correctly, or there could be an issue in your settings.

If you’re shooting in Program mode and you have the ASA dial set correctly to match your film speed (for example, if you’re shooting Kodak Ultramax 400, you’d have the ASA dial set to 400), you can try setting the ASA dial lower (to 200 or 100 in this example) to try and compensate for the underexposure.

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