Kodak UltraMax 400 Film Profile/Review
This tech page is for Kodak UltraMax 400 Film, or GC_400, which is it’s film code. This film is marketed with a few different box styles that same things like MAX, Ultramax, and Ultramax+. They all have the same film code when developed, so are all basically the same thing, just different packaging and marketing. Kodak GC_400 Film is a consumer grade film and is a worry-free, easy-to-use high speed film designed for snapshooters. GC_400 gives you the flexibility you need to take consistently better pictures in more picture taking situations—better low-light picture quality with fewer underexposures, better results with zoom lenses, greater flash range, better “stop-action” photos, and reduced impact of camera shake. GC_400 is available in 135 (35mm) format.
If you send your film in to us here at Simple Film Lab, we develop GC_400 with Kodak’s Flexicolor line of C-41 processing chemicals. The C-41 process is very standardized, and we monitor our process with Kodak control strips to ensure that the process is within specification to ensure that the film is correctly developed.
C-41 color negative films are pretty standardized, where you have roughly 4 1/3 stops of shadow detail below middle gray and several stops of detail above middle gray, and GC_400 is no different. It is recommended that you incident meter for the darkest part of the image where you want to retain detail and subtract 2 stops from that, or if you don’t have an incident meter, place your exposure compensation to +1, or manually set the ISO of your camera to ISO 200 and that will result in totally usable negatives. GC_400 has enough over-exposure headroom to handle 3-4 stops over exposure.
Dynamic Range/Exposure Latitude
GC_400 has good dynamic range. You have to get at least 2-3 stops over exposed in a high contrast scene before things start to get dicey in the highlights.
GC_400 has fair resolution but is noticeably grainy. To me, the grain looks a lot like digital noise when looking at it up close. Kodak’s tech sheet rates it’s Print Grain Index for a 4×6 print at 46, with 25 being the visual threshold, so it’s got grain, but given that GOLD_200 has a print grain index of 44, I very much prefer the grain in GOLD_200 over GC_400. Kodak does not publish an MTF curve for this film, so I don’t know what where it tops out resolution-wise, but it has enough resolution that you can make a very nice looking 8×10 without it looking totally soft.
Here is a Flickr image album of images taken with GC_400. It’s updated with new images whenever I shoot GC_400.
Downloadable Sample DNG Files
As part of this tech sheet/film review I’m making a ZIP file available that contains some Adobe DNG files that are a sample of what you would receive if you sent your film into Simple Film Lab to process and scan. It’s relatively large, but if you want to see what you can get, worth a look. Click Here