Kodak Vision3 500T Film Photography at Night on Contax G1
I always analogue film camera in the daytime but never try to shoot film at night before, so I decided to challenge myself with film photography at night using the Kodak Vision3 500T on the Contax G1 film camera. Probably I was pretty broke to buy any Kodak film stocks now, and I found that the Kodak Vision3 500T film is perhaps one of my favourite films to shoot with right now after. I’ve tested the motion picture film stock, strolling around the city and taking street photography photos on the weekends.
I have restocked a few expired Kodak Vision3 500T & 250D film stocks online and I get them dirt cheap. Have you heard of the Alien film’s bulk-rolled 35mm motion picture films before? I got it cheap, although it expired in 2020/2021, I am still able to get nice photos out of it when shooting at night.
Shooting with the Contax G1 at Night
After owning the premium film camera for over a month, I did most of the shoots in the daylight during the Crab Island street photography and also my second Kodak Vision3 500T film test using the Carl Zeiss Biogon 28mm T* F2.8 lens, so I just thought of shooting film photography at night with the motion picture film stock since it is the same film as CineStill 800T. This is my first experience shooting a film at night, so I was quite curious and also worried the final results for the shoot will fail, photos turn out blurred or having a problem shooting with the film camera at night.
I was worried for a while and thought I might have wasted a film roll, after sending it to Darkroom8 for film processing and told myself that well, I might fail this time. But I was so surprised and relieved after receiving the scanned photos from the lab, it turns out the photos look good to me.
In this night’s street photography experiment, I shoot with the Carl Zeiss Planar 45mm T* F2. Of course, I use the wide-open aperture at F2 and let the camera choose the correct shutter speed. What surprised me again is that I only got a few blurry shots from shaky hands or underexposed but the rest are all good. I realized my composition was a bit off when doing film photography at night because I didn’t recompose my shots and this is one of the mistakes I’ve found that I need to take note of. Some of my shots have large space on the top but still can crop away the empty spaces in the images.
As you know, the Contax G1 film camera is very fragile and I have to treat it as a ‘princess’ to me, what the hell you might ask but yes. I found some small LCD bleed after doing the night shoot, probably due to overheating because I’ve forgotten to turn off the camera after storing it in the camera bag for a few hours but now it seems back to normal after a few days.
Film Photography At Night with Motion Picture Film Stock
I never know what the results will look like when shooting night street photography with the motion picture film but I trust that the film will be able to handle it since I’ve done some research on Youtube and photography websites about the film stock. Rather than going broke shooting Cinestill 800T, I begin to like the Kodak Vision3 500T tungsten-balanced motion picture film and probably will continue to shoot with it. I challenge myself to shoot film at night so that I can know what the photos will look like, either failed or nailed.
After a night of wandering and strolling around the Petaling Street area, I started to like shooting at the Kwai Chai Hong in Kuala Lumpur where you can find many street food stalls and bars around the area with neon lights, tungsten lighting at night and there are some Stranger Things 4 light displays at night.
The next test I might try to shoot a little slower pace and will try to remind me to recompose the shot! I like some of the shot because it does look cinematic just like in the movie if it’s not street photography style. I am just wondering if compared the 1-year expired film stock with a fresh roll, will the photos look different? And what if I shoot it at 400 ISO? Will the diffusion filter with 20% density will ruin the photos?
Well, there are still many questions lingering in my mind about film photography at night. The only way to cure my curiosity is to find out by testing it. Let’s check out some of my favourite shots from the night shoot on film.
I was shooting the film at box speed at ISO 500 and trying to avoid pushing the film (yeah I know I can push film) but that will introduce more grains in the meantime underexposed the film. Why not just use the available artificial lights with a ‘steady’ hand, and keep track of my shutter speed (hmmm… trying my best to be a human tripod), I guess that works.
Final Thought, Failed Or Nailed?
It was my first time shooting a film at night, and I won’t say I have succeeded yet in this film photography at night trial & error, unlike my Kodak Portra 400 portrait shoots because I am still experimenting with the Contax G1 & motion picture film stock. Let’s stay tuned for the next film experiment project in the meantime I’ll drop all the night street photography on Kodak Vision3 500T film samples in the photo gallery.