Fuji Superia 1600
Fujifilm Superia 1600 is a high speed colour film with an ASA rating of 1600. It's an extremely useful film stock for when a fast shutter speed is desired. It's commonly stated that it shouldn’t always be shot at 1600 (but I’ll get onto that in a bit). Prior to this- I had never heard of this film, let alone seen it, in my life. However, Sadie gave me a roll to test before gallivanting off to the West Coast so I thought I may as well try it out. If you’re lucky to find somebody selling a roll of this film, which is notably harder to find than the rest of the Superia family (200, 400 & 800), then I hope this review rationalises your expectations before you go and shoot. If you can’t find a a roll then I still hope this article is an entertaining article for you.
When I loaded the film, I was extremely hesitant, reason #1 was that I have never been a huge fan of the Fuji Superia 400 stock and #2 the grain. I knew from the get go it was going to be EVERYWHERE and I was not disproven.
One problem that I’d ran into when trying to shoot at 1600 in my primary camera (Canon A1) was that the max shutter speed was 1/1000th of a second. A lot of the time during daylight hours I was having to stop down to around f/8 which is not something I want to do for every single shot. Retrospectively- I realise that the shots I ended up taking for this test could have all been shot at the f/8 mark, but I didn’t know what I was going to end up shooting before I loaded the roll.
Saying that, this did give me the opportunity to use a camera I’d never used before, the Nikon F100 (coupled with the 28-105mm f/3.5-f4.5). Anybody that has used this camera before will know it’s a beast. It felt like a huge block of magnesium alloy compared to my A1.
Back to the film. I metered the film at the advertised 1600 although many reviews I had previously read lobbied against this and said it should be metered at 800.
If you’ve had experience and like any of the other Fuji Superia line, then you won’t be disappointed with this. It has a very similar look tending to edge toward the greener tones. The grain is definitely visible, and it is not pretty. When I’m shooting black and white I’m a sucker for grain but, in this case, it just looks like a muddy green mess. Metering at 800 MAY have helped this.
In terms of image quality, it’s good but not great. Kind of what you’d expect from what is supposed to be a cheap film stock (but due to the rarity the prices have gone up significantly). If you have got really great lighting then of course just like every other film ever created then you can get some amazing results but, as I discovered, poor light results in very muddy images.
My conclusion, if you can get your hands on a roll then I 100% recommend it. It’s definitely a fun little experience even if it isn't your usual cup of tea.
All photos courtesy of Sam Cashmore.