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Film Review: Kodak Aerocolor IV ft. Charlotte Claire

Updated: May 17

Selecting the right film stock for my very first film review post proved to be a bit of a challenge. Kodak Portra felt too commonplace, and Fujifilm had undergone significant changes. So, I decided to shed light on a film stock that I have a deep appreciation for, even if it doesn't receive as much attention as some others.

Let's delve into some technical details about this unique film stock: Kodak Aerocolor IV, initially intended for aerial photography, is rated at 100 ISO. It's celebrated for its remarkable colour accuracy, the reddish skin tones it imparts, and its fine grain structure. It's worth noting that loading this film can be a bit tricky, as it's prone to light piping and requires low-light conditions during the process.

Following a recommendation from a film lab staff member, I used this film stock during a photoshoot with Charlotte in September 2023. With no particular expectations in mind, the results were nothing short of exceptional.

Kodak Aerocolor IV

Just a quick FYI, I loaded the film into my cherished Nikon F3 HP and shot it at its box speed. Most of the photos featured in this post were captured using my Nikkor AI'd 85mm f1.8 and Nikkor AI 105mm f2.5 lenses. Typically, I shoot at an aperture of f5.6 to achieve a decent depth of field and maintain sharp details.

These photos underwent light editing in Adobe Lightroom. I made slight adjustments to the colour tone by gently elevating the green scale. This was done to balance the naturally reddish tones produced by this film stock.

What can I gripe about? The film truly accentuates Charlotte's skin tone. You can observe the rosy hues on her chin and lips. Personally, I believe this film stock works even better on an overcast day with a touch of sunlight. I previously shot this film stock in bright, sunny conditions, and to be honest, the results weren't quite what I had expected.

Besides skin tones, this film stock also excels in rendering natural backgrounds, such as leaves and flowers. Below are some photos of Charlotte posing against nature's backdrop. It imparts a distinct autumnal vibe, perhaps due to the film's reddish characteristics.

What about street shots? They don't look too shabby either. While it certainly shines with natural backdrops, it handles street shots quite well too.

All the photos here were scanned using a Fujifilm Frontier SP500, a widely used commercial film scanner. I've seen some folks on Reddit shooting this film stock in medium format, and I hope to get my hands on some rolls for that format someday.

Kodak Aerocolor IV on portrait

There are a few brands that repackage Kodak Aerocolor IV. The one I shot with was respooled by Flic Film, who renamed it Flic Film Elektra 100. Originally designed for high-altitude reconnaissance, this aerial colour negative Kodak stock surprisingly works wonderfully for portraits as well.

And that brings us to the end of this brief review. I'm curious about how this film stock would perform on a beach too. Stay tuned on my Instagram for future updates, and don't forget to check out Charlotte's Instagram as well.

Kudos to Charlotte, and kudos to the film lab staff who recommended this film stock to me.


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