CineStill 50D: Is the Cinematic Experience Worth the Cost?

CineStill 50 is a negative color film optimized for daylight. In fact, it is a repackaged Kodak Vision3 50D motion picture film (more information on that here) with the rem-jet layer already removed, allowing the film to be developed using the C-41 process. The film is distributed by CineStill Film. For more information about the film and other products, you can visit their website here. There is also a film for artificial light, and a 120-roll film is in the works.

CineStill 50D example Taipei residential building
Typical residential and commercial building in Taipei. Photographed on a lightly cloudy day.

I found the idea of using motion picture film for photography very appealing, and CineStill Film seemed like a simple and convenient option since you don’t need a specialized lab to remove the rem-jet layer. However, I have since discovered another interesting alternative to CineStill Film, which I will discuss in a future blog post.

CineStill 50D back side
The backside of CineStill Film is purple!

I purchased the film in Taiwan through Unfortunately, it’s quite expensive here, costing 500 NT$ (approximately 14 Euros) per roll. To my surprise, it was shipped from Hong Kong. And now I also know that films can be shipped internationally without any issues. In any case, there are no signs of damage from X-ray radiation.

CineStill 50D example photo Taipei camera shopping street
Photo shopping paradise in Taipei. Photographed on a lightly cloudy day.

Due to the very changeable weather in Taipei over the past few months, I had the opportunity to use the film in various lighting conditions. I quickly noticed that ISO 50 is quite slow. I had never used film with less than ISO 100 before and was surprised by how much light you need.

Even on a cloudy day, you have to stop down quite a bit to be able to shoot handheld. On a rainy day, it’s impossible; you’ll need a tripod. In my opinion, that’s the biggest drawback of the film. It’s really only suitable for good weather with lots of sunshine. On the other hand, ISO 50 has the advantage of producing very fine-grained results, and even in bright sunlight, you can shoot with an open aperture to get a lot of bokeh.

Example Photos

CineStill 50D example photo Taipei
The beautiful architecture of Taipei: Taipei World Trade Center. Photographed on a cloudy day.
CineStill 50D example photo Taipei
Street scene in Taipei Beimen. Photographed on a lightly cloudy day.
CineStill 50D example photo landscape Taipei
Landscape and cityscape on a cloudy day.
CineStill 50D example photo Taiwan coast
Candle Stick Rocks on the northern coast of Taiwan. The photo was taken during sunset, but it was cloudy, so there was no red sky. I had to support the camera on a railing to capture this shot.
CineStill 50D example photo rainy day
The only photo I could take without a tripod on a rainy day.
CineStill 50D example photo sunshine
Finally, a photo with bright sunshine and blue skies.
CineStill 50D example photo bokeh
Here, you can see the advantage of using a slow film. The photo was taken at f/2.8, and the shutter speed was not too high for my camera.
CineStill 50D example photo sunshine
In bright sunlight, the film really showcases its full potential.
CineStill 50D example photo sunshine
Sun, blue sky, and the colors look fantastic.

My conclusion about CineStill 50D

Will I use this film more often? Probably not. Firstly, it is quite expensive compared to other professional films, at least here in Taiwan. And secondly, I have found a relatively inexpensive alternative (also real motion picture film). Right now, I’m waiting for the development, and then there will be the next blog post on this topic.

If you like this content and don’t want to miss new blog posts, consider subscribing to our newsletter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *