Last Updated on
Kodak Gold 200 is a popular and affordable film that has been around since 1988. Although this consumer film is designed to be a budget option for shooting in natural light, both amateurs and pros like to shoot with this film. Use it in the right conditions, and you’ll get some spectacular photos.
We’re a big fan of the iconic, vintage aesthetic of Kodak films. So, we couldn’t wait to put together this detailed film review of the Kodak Gold 200 for you. Read on to find out if it’s the right film for you!
An Introduction to Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200 is a color negative, low speed 35mm film that has divided opinion among photographers for decades. Some photographers love this consumer film, praising the bright colours and the retro look. However, not everyone is a fan. Let’s dig in and find out what’s to love and what’s not to love in this review of the Kodak Gold 200!
First of all, it’s important to highlight that this is a daylight-balanced film. That means that Kodak Gold 200 is designed to be used in natural daylight. You can also use it with the aid of an electronic, daylight-balanced flash for shooting inside or in low lighting. Acccording to Kodak, the definition of daylight is any time from 2 hours after sunrise until 2 hours before the sun sets.
If you use this camera film in tungsten lighting, you will get a strong yellow tinge in your images. Likewise, if you take photographs in fluorescent light, you’ll end up with a heavy green cast to your shots. When you shoot with this 35mm film, it’s essential to use it in the right environment for the optimal result.
The Gold 200 is widely available in 24 or 36 exposures. You can also get it in handy 1, 2, or 3-pack bundles so you don’t need to buy it as often.
Take care when developing this film – follow Kodak’s recommendation to develop it in full darkness for the best results.
Kodak Gold 200 Review: The Features and Benefits
In this part of the film review, we’ll explore exactly what the Kodak Gold 200 color negative film has to offer you.
200 ISO: Slow Film Speed
The Kodak Gold is a 200 ISO film, which means that it captures images with a slow film speed. 200 ISO cameras are suitable for bright daylight and well-lit indoor shots. Without a doubt, the Kodak Gold 200 is one of the best 35mm films in the 200 ISO range.
If you want to shoot in low light, inside, or during the evenings, this low-speed film isn’t for you. Our recommendation for a higher ISO film is the Kodak Ultramax 400 (but be prepared for the jump in cost, too!).
Bright Saturated Colours
When we were checking out this film in preparation for our film review, we were so impressed with the bright, saturated colours you get. Unlike some films, they are not overpowering or unrealistic. Skin tones also tend to come out nicely, especially if you get the lighting spot on. Kodak got the balance just right with this film!
Kodak Gold 200 was the most popular choice amongst holidaymakers in the 1980s and 1990s, which explains why this film invokes that warm, fuzzy feeling in so many people. The rich, warm colours and the undeniably retro aesthetic have created a large number of Gold 200 fans who come back to this film again and again.
If you fancy playing around and creating your own vintage-style shots, this affordable film is the best choice. You can have lots of fun experimenting, and you won’t run up a massive bill either with this inexpensive film.
Want to recreate that happy, carefree, summer holiday feel? The Kodak Gold 200 is the obvious choice!
For a consumer film at an affordable price, the grain is fine, smooth, and subtle. It compares favourably to other cheap films, creating natural, vintage-looking images. With other budget films, corners have been cut to produce a cheaper product, meaning that you end up with heavy grain. That’s not true with this great film from Kodak.
As with most films, the grain in your images can vary depending on the time of day and the situations, becoming more obvious if you shoot in dark conditions. But overall, the grain is very pleasing and creates beautiful photos.
Wide Exposure Latitude
This film is ideal for beginners due to the wide exposure latitude, making it hard to mess up the exposure on your shots. The latitude allows for anywhere from two stops of underexposure to three stops of overexposure, so you can have fun shooting without worrying too much about the exposure settings.
If your photos are slightly underexposed, the helpful wide exposure latitude should make up for it!
High Quality, Crisp Images
Kodak Gold 200 creates high quality images that come out crisp and clear. You shouldn’t get any fuzziness or blurry shots with this film. It’s also suitable for taking photos that you want to enlarge and print out, without the result being hazy or pixelated.
Kodak Gold has impressive scanning potential, although there can be issues with colourcasts. As we’ve mentioned, this film tends towards heavy yellow tones in the image if you don’t get the lighting right.
If you’re looking for a great (and well-priced scanner) then check out our best slide scanner article as they include 35mm scanners too!
You may also find that some images have a magenta colourcast. This can be off-putting and annoying, especially if you don’t notice it until after you’ve had your images developed.
You might find yourself doing some heavy post-processing work on your shots if the colors are bothering you. Some photographers actively choose this film for the strong yellow tones. But if you’re not a fan, you’ll need to spend some time editing your photos.
While many editing software programs include an Auto Color Cast Correction feature, it doesn’t seem to work well for images shot with this film. So, this means that you need to devote some time to manually editing the colours until you get the desired result. If you do have the time to do this, you can produce incredible, vibrant images. But if you’re short on time, this is an extra hassle to factor in.
Film photography isn’t cheap, due to the constant need to stock up on new films. That’s why so many photographers appreciate the low, affordable price of the Kodak Gold.
It’s a great budget option, making film photography more accessible to a broader range of photographers, including both hobby photographers and beginners. We love that Kodak has found a way of allowing more people to go beyond a digital camera and try out at film photography. There’s nothing quite like shooting on film to make you slow down and enjoy taking photos.
Easy to Find
Kodak Gold is one of the most common films around, so you should have no trouble finding it. While it’s readily available online, you should also be able to find it in a specialised photography shop. Some large grocery stores even carry it! Wherever film is sold, you’ll be sure to find Kodak Gold 200.
Pros of Kodak Gold:
- Great budget option for beginner/amateur photographers
- Cool retro look
- Subtle, smooth grain
- Impressive contrast for a cheaper film
- Clear, sharp images
- Fully saturated colours
Cons of Kodak Gold:
- Overpowering colour casts
- Auto Colour Cast Correction feature is disappointing (over-corrects the colours)
- Yellow tones in tungsten lights
- Lower dynamic range – you lose details in the shadows
- You can’t shoot in tungsten or fluorescent lighting
Kodak Gold 200 is a great budget choice for beginners or amateur photographers,as our detailed film review demonstrates. You can take lots of shots without feeling guilty about your bank balance. This 35mm film produces an impressively smooth grain and high contrast, and works well in natural light. If you want to take lots of photos outdoors or with an electronic flash, this film will suit you well.
However, the colours this film produces aren’t for everyone. Take a close look at some of the images shot with this 35mm film to see how you feel about the strong colour casts, particularly the heavy yellow and magenta tones. You can create cool, retro shots with the Kodak Colour Plus 200, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a faster film speed, the Kodak Ultramax 400 fits the bill.
Don’t miss our other photography gear reviews and guides at Cultured Kiwi. If you’ve got a question or a suggestion for us, feel free to send us a comment or an email! As always, we’d love it if you’d share this film review on social media so we can reach even more readers!
New Zealand travel photographer based in London, UK. He was taking photos from a very young age in the backcountry of New Zealand before moving abroad. Since doing so he has taken workshops and tried to help get as many people into this art as possible. Featured in NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz and many photography publications it’s safe to say he loves his photography!