In a time – the early 2020s – where supply chain issues and discontinuations made things tough for fans of 35mm colour film, the announcement of Adox Color Mission 200 was understandably met with a good amount of enthusiastic excitement.
A limited run of a film new to the market yet made some time ago and kept safely in cold storage, the mission in the name refers to something potentially very good for the industry as a whole. That is, if Adox can sell enough of this stuff, the revenue it brings in will be used to fund a genuinely new colour negative film.
That to me sounds like reason enough to buy at least one roll and give it a shot. Before you do, or even if you have already, this review will show what you can expect from it in terms of results and image qualities, as well as everything else there is to know about it.
It’s not always the easiest to track down though, with it being a limited run. If wherever you usually buy your films doesn’t have any, you could look into getting some direct from FotoImpex. Otherwise, my regular shop Analogue Wonderland carry it when they can, and of course there’s always eBay as an option too.
- 1 What is Adox Color Mission 200?
- 2 A quick note on who Adox and FotoImpex are
- 3 Adox Color Mission 200 image quality and qualities
- 4 Adox Color Mission 200’s limited dynamic range
- 5 Street photography with Adox Color Mission 200
- 6 Beach and holiday photography with Color Mission 200
- 7 Adox Color Mission 200 specs and development
- 8 Where to buy Adox Color Mission 200 film
- 9 Final thoughts on Adox Color Mission 200
What is Adox Color Mission 200?
In February 2022, Adox Fotoimpex announced and released Color Mission 200: a newly-branded film with a goal – a mission – that was bigger than simply selling it to make money for their own pockets and for today.
Instead, the proceeds will go towards the research, development and creation of a brand new, currently unnamed colour film.
Adox themselves explained this in this forum post – that they were setting up a big film R&D project that needed a lot of investment, and to help fund that they were releasing this Color Mission 200 stock for immediate sale.
As an additional benefit to the community as a whole, this would also help relieve somewhat the colour film shortages that were happening at the time.
Color Mission 200 is not a rebrand of a film already available. It’s a unique stock that was co-researched with and coated for Adox a few years ago. Because Adox’s unnamed partner in that endeavour went bankrupt shortly after the first run was completed though, it has sat in cold storage ever since.
According to Adox, it hasn’t been stored for too long, has always been kept cool, and has not lost its original ISO 200 speed.
As for the identity of that unnamed partner… some internet sleuths have posited that it was Inoviscoat, although I don’t think anything has been confirmed anywhere. I’m not sure of any other real candidates outside of the ORWO/Filmotec/Inoviscoat umbrella, though.
Regardless, the plan now is that after this run of Color Mission 200, Adox will work independently on their future film business.
It all sounds like a solid idea to me and I like that they have something tangible to sell, something that we can buy and use now, to fund their next film rather than doing a more conventional crowdfunding campaign as done by the likes of Silberra and Ferrania in recent years with varying levels of success and customer satisfaction.
Indeed, in that aforementioned forum post, Adox described this as ‘a kind of a reverse Kickstarter‘. They also believe it may take around four years for the new film to come to fruition, but they have enough stock of Color Mission 200 to drip-feed it out until that happens.
Because they do want to bridge that gap until the new film arrives, orders for Color Mission were initially capped at 50 rolls only, which is why even your favourite shop will have had limited stocks of it.
Whether that limit continues for the rest of Color Mission’s lifespan remains to be seen but if it does, it will probably mean a consistent pattern of stores getting some, selling out, and having to wait until they can get some more.
A quick note on who Adox and FotoImpex are
I’ve shot and reviewed quite a few films on this site now, as you can see here, but Color Mission 200 is my first Adox one.
They’re a film producer that I knew little about before now, because I’ve never had any reason to research them and their history. But now I have, it’s worthwhile laying it all out in case you’re in the same boat.
Like many names in the analogue photography world, the Adox story is one that goes back longer than any of us do and is littered with mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and umbrella companies.
Going on the continued use of the name if nothing else, Adox do claim to be the world’s oldest manufacturer of photochemical products, dating as they do back to 1860 when they were established in Frankfurt, Germany.
After over a century of producing film, chemicals, and photographic paper, Adox was sold in the late 1960s to Dupont. But because Dupont were only interested in the x-ray side of the business, they subsequently sold the film recipes and machines to the Yugoslavian company Fotokemika, located in present-day Croatia.
Fotokemika produced and sold Adox-branded film under license until the agreement lapsed in the 1990s. FotoImpex later picked it up – in 2003 – and began to produce films, paper and chemicals again under the grand old name.
To do this they acquired machines from a number of other manufacturers who had ceased operations at around the same time, including Agfa, Forte, and Konica. Indeed, much of what they make today with the Adox brand is based on old Agfa recipes.
It’s pretty much impossible to find a film producer who hasn’t been through some sort of takeover or acquisition or name change or film-being-made-by-someone-else type of shenanigans.
Kodak Eastman and Kodak Alaris. Ilford and Harman and Kentmere. Fujifilm Acros II and Harman. And they’re just the big three.
So the story of Adox being a tangled web should come as no surprise either, and it continues into today. Especially with their links to former Agfa products.
For example, I believe the old AgfaPhoto APX 100 and APX 400 films were made by Fotokemika from 2005 to 2012, with the now discontinued Adox Silvermax 100 rumoured to be a repackaged version of the former.
Let’s not digress too much though.
One name mentioned in passing earlier was Forte; a Hungarian film producer who operated between 1922 and 2007.
It would appear that when FotoImpex bought their machines, they also received a large quantity of their old film canisters. And peeling off the new Color Mission 200 label reveals that they are being put to good use.
If you worry this means Color Mission is merely old Forte SP 100, don’t. Other people have said they found different old German canisters being used for their rolls too.
Adox Color Mission 200 image quality and qualities
Now that we know what Color Mission 200 is and the history of the company behind it, it’s time to move on to what you probably came here for. What you can expect from the film when you shoot some of it yourself.
With regards its image qualities, Adox have helpfully provided us with some adjectives on this page here, where they mention the following:
- delicately vibrant tones
- minty greens
- peachy reds
- airy grain
Taking those in order, I struggle to mention anything about tones – or T O N E S – on here after spending too long on the always amusing r/AnalogCircleJerk, so I’m not going to touch that one.
Minty greens and peachy reds both suggest to me we’ll get pastel shades. Because mint green and peach pink are both, well, pastelly.
And airy grain is… again, I don’t know what to make of that.
So overall, it’s probably best if we look at some images and judge for ourselves, isn’t it. For what it’s worth, these were all shot in the Pentax MX with the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f2.8 lens in Scarborough, England.
Of course when assessing the image quality and qualities here we need to keep in mind here the usual variables of lighting conditions, film development process, scanning settings and any post-editing done by me.
This is what I got, but your or other people’s results might look different. What I see though is a film that brings a lot of contrast and perhaps more grain than you’d expect from an ISO 200 stock.
It should be noted that the level of that grain does seem to vary from shot to shot depending on the light available for each, and even in the direction it was coming into the frame in some cases too.
The colour saturation is every bit as bold as the contrast, with reds especially being very pronounced. The best example I have of this is the funicular train in the image below.
Any colour with a red element to it seems to be affected by this too, with the brickwork of the Grand Hotel in the shot above and the floor looking down on the Scarborough Spa in the shot below illustrating this too. This, along with an overall orangey-yellow hue, leads to my shots having a definite warm feel to them.
Having obviously been there and looking at the scenes I shot in real life with my actual eyes, I can tell you that Color Mission 200 doesn’t produce the most true-to-life results. But I probably don’t need to. You can probably tell just by viewing these images they don’t represent how the world really appears.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We shoot film partly because it does produce a look different to how our eyes see things. Whether or not you like how Color Mission does that is going to be down to personal taste.
Adox Color Mission 200’s limited dynamic range
One thing I didn’t know about Color Mission 200 before shooting it is that it appears to be somewhat limited in terms of dynamic range and exposure latitude.
That means if the light wasn’t quite good enough for this film, or if it was pointing too much in the wrong direction, it would really show in the results.
Every other C-41 colour negative film I’ve ever shot, with examples being the likes of Kodak Gold 200 and Fujicolor C200, have been far more forgiving and versatile in less-than-perfect lighting conditions.
To find an equivalent that behaves like this in my experience, I can only point to slide films like Kodak Ektachrome E100. And that’s not just me being rubbish with slide film. It is to some degree I mean, but it’s not just that.
They’re notorious for being fickle when it comes to giving you their best results and need the light to be good every time. So in that sense, I’m going to say that Color Mission’s dynamic range and exposure latitude are more akin to that of a slide film than any other C-41 stock I’ve ever shot.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Have a look at the following shots below that illustrate the point too.
Crushed shadows and overall flatness on the flowers up there, and underexposure in bright sunlight on the hotel one.
On the three below, we also have underexposure on the statue and man on the bridge shots despite the sun coming in from the side and me not even shooting straight into it, and a very dark shot of the coastal path that I had to brighten up in Lightroom.
To be fair that final one was shot into the sun somewhat, but I would still expect a C-41 film to have exposed it better than this did.
And just to be clear here, I’m not one for laying the blame for my photographic failures on my film or gear. Everything I mess up is always on me.
But when you have most of your roll come out okay and you feel through experience that another stock would have handled some of these better, I think it’s fair to make an observation about a characteristic a film may have.
Again though, anything that’s wrong with the images here is my fault for not knowing about this beforehand and then using that knowledge to avoid shooting in certain ways that would have made these issues likely to happen.
But at least now you’ll be forewarned.
Street photography with Adox Color Mission 200
By rights, an ISO 200 rated film should be ideal for some street photography. You shouldn’t be getting too much grain and you’ll get an extra stop of speed over shooting an ISO 100 film too.
Also, Kodak’s Gold 200 and Colorplus 200 and Fujicolor’s C200 have always been amongst the cheapest colour films you can buy. Although everything is relative of course, and amongst the cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean cheap anymore.
But that’s not something we need to get into here.
So while Adox Color Mission 200 should be a good street photography film too, I do have my reservations about whether it actually is.
My reasons for this are the two things we’ve just explored in the last two sections of this review. The unrealistic colour palette, and the dynamic range and exposure latitude issues.
And I don’t mind street photography with an unrealistic film at all – depending on what it is that’s unrealistic about it. I really like what I’ve seen from Lomo Metropolis, for one.
But the results I got from this Color Mission go the other way for me. The warmness is too much. The streets just aren’t that orange.
Those dynamic range and exposure latitude issues hold it back for this kind of photography too. You could experiment and use them to your advantage, but I’d prefer a film that I know will handle the light in a more consistent manner when shooting in fluid, variable situations.
Regardless, here are five shots that hopefully illustrate my points.
Beach and holiday photography with Color Mission 200
Something I don’t want to do on this Adox Color Mission 200 review is be negative about it without giving some positive alternative to whatever it was I didn’t like.
So if I’m saying I don’t think it’s a great stock for street photography – in my experience, of course – then what would it be good for instead?
Well, lots of things I’m sure. But because I shot some of my roll on and around a beach and liked the results it produced there, that’s what I’m going to cover here.
I feel like the very things that made me not like it for street shooting are an advantage in the shots below. That orange warmness works well in these scenes, and the shadows and silhouettes caused by the dynamic range and exposure latitude give them something extra too.
This is probably just me retrofitting a narrative to these shots I took, or shoehorning it in because I thought they were okay and wanted to include them in this review, but that’s fine.
It doesn’t change the fact that if you’re going to the beach, I do think Color Mission 200 could be a good choice of film to take if you want to come back with some warm, high contrast, unrealistic but in-their-own-way evocative shots.
Adox Color Mission 200 specs and development
Adox Color Mission 200 is an ISO 200 rated colour negative film, available on a limited run only, that comes in 35mm format only. It is developed using the regular C-41 process.
Old canisters are being reused to house Color Mission, with the label being placed over that of the film they were originally meant for. For some reason though, Adox haven’t included a DX code on this.
This means if you want to put some through a point ‘n’ shoot camera that reads DX codes and has no manual ISO selection function, like the Canon Sure Shot AF-7 for example, you’ll have to make sure you know what ISO it goes with by default.
This will vary depending on what camera it is, with different brands tending to go with different values. According to the chatter on this forum thread, it could be anything from 25 to 400 depending on what you have. The best thing to do would be to check the manual.
While there is no DX code for a camera to read, there is a barcode for a development machine to read, with the number 512504 beneath it.
This is the same number as Kodak Gold 200, which is mildly interesting but not something you need to worry about unless you process your own film.
If you do though, I’m sure it’s very handy to know this. As would having Kodak’s own Gold 200 technical data sheet to refer to, which can be found right here.
Where to buy Adox Color Mission 200 film
Depending on where you live, Color Mission 200 wasn’t the easiest film to get hold of when it was first released. And due to the plan being for it to be drip-fed out to bridge the gap to the brand new film Adox are planning, that might not change going forward either.
Orders were capped at 50 rolls even for distributors, so your regular online store is likely to sell out quickly even if and when they do get some in. It’s probably not going to be a stock you’ll find in your local brick ‘n’ mortar shop, either.
I imagine this supply and demand issue should ease as time goes on and more people have got hold of a couple of rolls to satisfy their curiosity, but it may be something you’ll have to keep an eye on or set alerts for it coming back into stock.
There’s always eBay though if you can’t wait and don’t mind paying a little more. Regardless, you can check current prices and – probably more importantly – availability through the links below.
- buy Adox Color Mission 200 from FotoImpex
- buy Adox Color Mission 200 from Analogue Wonderland
- buy Adox Color Mission 200 from eBay
Final thoughts on Adox Color Mission 200
The first thing I’m going to say as we wrap this up is that I’m very glad to see what Adox are doing with this Color Mission 200 film. A genuinely new option on the market in this day and age is always a good thing.
That goes for this that they’re selling now and also the next film that they hope it will lead to.
The colour film market wasn’t in good shape when Color Mission was announced and released in 2022 and, depending on when you read this, might still not be. Even basic Kodak stocks like Ultramax 400 were absent from shelves due to supply chain issues, while basic Fujifilm ones like Industrial 100 have just been killed off.
While the Kodak ones will return, they’ll have higher price tags on them when they do. And yes, these Adox films might not be cheap either, but anything that lessens a monopoly can only be good in that respect.
For me though, it’s not only about the cost of things. Every film that gets discontinued is one less option for us, and the trend for that in recent years has been worrying. It’s not just the big boys doing this either. Yes, I’d love to be able to shoot some Fuji Natura 1600 again, but I was equally sad to see Street Candy cease operations.
Perhaps even more so actually, given it was one man’s project and how much it must have meant to him.
So in a time where things seemed to be heading in a direction that nobody wants, Adox’s mission here gives us something of a beacon of hope for the future.
And whatever you think of the results this film gives, that can only be a positive.
Personally, and again with the caveat that everything depends on the light, the way it was shot and developed and scanned too, Color Mission 200 isn’t really among my favourite colour films that I’ve ever shot.
But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t buy some Color Mission 200 again. To shoot in a different environment and in a different camera and see how it fares, but also just to put my money where my mouth is and help the project succeed.
Not that it really needs little old me in that respect though, when you consider how it constantly sells out whenever some becomes available.
Remember this is a mission with an end date. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
While I look forward to what Adox come up with on the back of this, I think it would be a shame to not shoot at least one roll of Color Mission while we have it in the meantime. 🙂
If you found this Adox Color Mission 200 review useful, why not take a look at these other fantastic films too:
And if you think others will enjoy or benefit from this film review too, help them find it by giving it a share. 😀