Something I’ve learned whilst writing these reviews for the Shoot all the Films project is that a film stock’s backstory is hardly ever straight forward.
Almost none that I’ve researched so far hasn’t been through some repackaging, renaming, upgrading, being sold in certain markets only, being sold under different names in different markets, or being made by a different company than what features most prominently on the box.
The Kodak Pro Image 100 story is less murky than some and there’s no real confusion over what it is, although there is a reason why it might feel like a new film to you – depending on where you live – when it really isn’t. The main thing to report though is that it’s a pretty good film and that we do have it to shoot.
This review will cover all of the above, telling you all you need to know about this perhaps lesser-known Kodak colour negative film.
If reading it makes you want to try some too, you can get yours from independent sites like Analogue Wonderland or Film Bros, or from the much bigger B&H Photo or Amazon if you prefer.
- Outstanding flesh-tone reproduction, color accuracy, and saturation.
- Intended for room temperature storage.
- Excellent latent-image keeping characteristics.
What is Kodak Pro Image 100?
In the summer of 2018, Kodak introduced a film to the European markets. Its name was Kodak Pro Image 100 and it did well enough for this roll out to expand across North America too in 2019.
If you look closely at the 5-roll box though, you’ll see it’s decorated with some wedding photos that definitely don’t look like they were taken any time recently and so would be a strange design to use for such a new film.
The simple explanation for this is that Europe and North America are not the world and this is not a new film. In fact, it’s been available in other markets – most notably Asia and South America – since 1997.
I guess this explains the Spanish and Portuguese on the box before the English too. All the other Kodak films I’ve reviewed so far, from the pricey Portra to the cheap ColorPlus, have been the other way around.
Not that it matters, of course. It’s just an observation about something relevant to the history of this film. A película peculiarity, if you will.
As a film produced to be sold in some hot and humid regions, Pro Image 100 is said to stand up well to high temperatures, albeit to the slight detriment of the results it gives when compared to other Kodak Professional films.
And on that topic, despite the name and the category it’s in, not much about this film felt very professional to me. As well as the outdated box design, the film is priced more like a Gold or an Ultramax than it is an Ektar or a Portra. Which is a good thing, but still a little contrary to its billing.
As we’ll get into later, the image quality isn’t quite as good – in my opinion at least – as an Ektar or a Portra either, which could make you wonder why Kodak even put it into their Professional range.
However, offering a slightly lower grade film in a Professional box does make sense if you think about where it was originally sold – i.e. in places where the average local incomes are typically lower than in North America or Western Europe.
Offering a different and cheaper film stock in areas where the top of the line ones might be a little too much to justify paying for in relation to standard salaries is not a strategy unique to Kodak either.
Ilford’s Pan 400 and 100 do a similar job. They’re very easy to find for a very good price in Asia, yet not really available in the UK or the US, as far as I know. Oriental Seagull 100 and 400 are similar, also being produced by the people behind Ilford and being sold primarily in Asia for a good price too.
But back to the film in hand, which some say Kodak came up with by playing with the skin tones of the mid-to-late 1990s 6th generation of their now-unavailable Gold 100.
I don’t think it was straight to the Pro Image 100 name though, as a little further digging reveals a similar-looking film called Kodak ProFoto 100. While exact details are proving beyond my Googling skills, it looks like this was the precursor to Pro Image 100.
The boxes certainly resemble one another, as you can see on this Flickr post. For the most dedicated film historians out there, it’s also worth noting that was a single roll box too, unlike our Pro Image 100 which is only available in 5-roll packs.
Exactly where the ProFoto and Pro Image stories overlap is something I can’t tell you, but I don’t suppose it’s too important either.
At least you know now what the latter is though, why it has a slightly out-of-vogue wedding photography design, and why you may have only become aware of it relatively recently.
Kodak Pro Image 100 image qualities
If you have any prior knowledge of what to expect from a low ISO colour Kodak film, be prepared for the image quality and qualities from Pro Image 100 to fall somewhere in the middle of the consumer ones and their professional counterparts.
It was already modified somewhat from the 6th generation of Kodak Gold 100, and the Gold 200 we have today is the 7th generation of that, with the last update coming in 2007. This means although they share the same lineage, they have diverged even further since the inception of Pro Image.
As Kodak say themselves on the Pro Image datasheet, this film features high colour saturation, accurate colour and pleasing skin-tone reproduction.
All that is to say this film gives you a slightly different feel to the consumer-grade colour Kodak films I’ve shot before, with less of that trademark warm Kodak glow. The colours are more neutral than that, being a little more lifelike despite their vividness.
It’s certainly more saturated than the Portra 400 I shot, and less saturated and better with skin tones than the Ektar 100. Greens and reds are strong, yet it’s good for shooting people with, and the ISO 100 rating means you can expect lower levels of grain too.
Contrast and sharpness were both good too and offered nothing to complain about, but the overall results are still half a level below those from Portra or Ektar, I think.
Comparing it very slightly unfavourably to some of the best films out there doesn’t make this one bad though, and the only reason I’m making that comparison is Kodak class this as a professional film.
For what Pro Image 100 is and how much it costs, I really like what it gave me and would definitely recommend you shoot some if you haven’t before.
The only further thing to note here for the image quality and qualities is that the six shots below were taken in the Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder.
There are some to follow after the next section that were taken in a Canon Sure Shot AF-7 point ‘n’ shoot, and they do look markedly different. Still good in my opinion, but different for sure.
Street photography with Pro Image 100
Just like any ISO 100 film, you’re going to need a sunny day to shoot street photography with Kodak Pro Image. The unpredictable nature of your subjects means you’ll need enough light to have a decent shutter speed.
ISO 400 film does seem very popular for this kind of thing, and often in monochrome too, but don’t let that put you off. As the shots below show – as do the ones taken with this Fujicolor film or even Kodak Ektachrome slide film – street photography with an ISO 100 film is nothing to be apprehensive of.
In fact, it helps you in a way as it encourages you to shoot in good light, which is always conducive to better looking photographs, in my opinion.
With its relatively affordable price to go along with its good image quality and qualities, you can get out shooting without worrying quite as much about wasted frames as you might with the aforementioned other professional Kodak films.
Also, and I know this is purely a psychological trick brought on by how it’s packaged, but it seems to me a film you could buy a 5-roll box of and use to shoot that street photography project you’ve had in mind for a while, rather than just aimless snapshots.
I think that covers all I want to say about street photography with Pro Image 100. To sum up, it has fine image quality, it pushes you to shoot in good light which will help you get even better results, and it’s inexpensive compared to some other Kodak films.
The only thing to add here is how different the below shots, taken in a cheap Canon point ‘n’ shoot, look compared to those above taken in a Yashica Electro rangefinder.
Lens quality aside, they look a little overexposed. I’m not too bothered about why that would be, but it’s worth noting how much more washed out the colours are than those shot with the Yashica.
As a quick callback to the previous image qualities section, overexposing might be something to avoid if you’re shooting this film and aren’t so keen on this more faded look.
Pro Image 100 specs and development
Kodak Pro Image 100 is an ISO 100, daylight-balanced colour negative film that’s available in 35mm format only at the time of writing, in cartridges DX-coded with the number 512574.
Its predecessor, called ProFoto 100, did come in medium format too though so perhaps, if we’re lucky and Kodak are feeling nice, we might get this Pro Image 100 in other sizes too one day.
As a standard colour negative film, Pro Image 100 is developed using the standard C-41 process. This means you’ll have absolutely no trouble finding a lab to do it for you if, like me, you don’t do it yourself.
There is an official Pro Image 100 datasheet that you can see right here. Some choice highlights from that include the promise that this film can be stored at room temperature, even in hot and humid climates, and that it has good underexposure latitude.
The first of those makes a lot of sense considering the markets this film was first sold in, while the second is interesting for only mentioning underexposure and the fact we had some shots earlier that seemed to have been affected by a little overexposure.
So if you are shooting this Pro Image and aren’t sure of your metering, maybe aim for a little underexposed. It sounds like it’ll handle that better and will lessen the chances of your images being overexposed.
Kodak also say Pro Image has similar printing characteristics to their Gold films, which keeps things simple for those who do indeed put their work to paper.
There’s plenty more information on that datasheet should you need it, with exposure, flash, and lighting guides and a few curve charts too. I don’t need to regurgitate it all here though when you can just click and see it all on the sheet.
Where to buy Kodak Pro Image 100
Although as of 2018 and 2019 Pro Image is available through official channels in Europe and North America respectively, I wouldn’t expect the new and improved situation to mean you can walk into your local gas station or pharmacy and see it there next to the Kodak Gold and Ilford HP5 Plus.
This is for a couple of reasons. First is that those places are only going to stock films they know will sell, and this one is probably too obscure – relatively – for them to bother with. The second reason, and one that would certainly put them off, is that it comes in those 5-roll packs.
So if you are to find any Pro Image in a brick ‘n’ mortar shop, I would imagine it’s going to be a dedicated camera and film photography one. Fear not if you can’t though, as the following small retailers and online behemoths alike should have plenty you can order from the comfort of your armchair.
You can check current prices and availability through the links below.
- buy Kodak Pro Image 100 from Analogue Wonderland
- buy Kodak Pro Image 100 from Film Bros
- buy Kodak Pro Image 100 from B&H Photo
- buy Kodak Pro Image 100 from Amazon
Final thoughts on Kodak Pro Image 100
The first thing that needs to be said as we wrap up this Pro Image 100 review is a big thank you to Kodak for bringing it to the European and North American markets so that more people can more easily get their hands on some and try it out for themselves.
With certain other film manufacturers shrinking their line-ups in and around the same 2018 – 2019 period, it’s good to get another new stock to shoot, even if it is one that’s been around in other markets for a long time previously.
Priced low like a Gold or a Colorplus makes it even more accessible, and makes the debate over whether it’s a true professional Kodak film like Portra and Ektar pretty redundant, in my opinion. Because it doesn’t matter.
I don’t think it’s quite as good as those, but you’re not being charged as much as you are for those either. I’d prefer to see it as a slightly better consumer film than some of Kodak’s others for a similar price, rather than a slightly worse professional one. Because looking at it that way means it’s a good purchase.
One interestingly worded statement on the datasheet says this film is for social applications, and I guess that sums it up nicely. I’m not the first person to say this but, if the box design is suggesting people use it at weddings, it’s probably going to be people there as a guest who’ll be doing so rather than those being paid to.
I also like that Kodak have given us an inexpensive ISO 100 colour film to go along with their Gold and ColorPlus 200 and Ultramax 400. It feels like it completes the set and covers all the bases, although an ISO 800 film at a similar price point too would be the proverbial home run.
But that’s probably not going to happen, so there’s no point wishing for things we don’t have when we can appreciate what we do. And now it’s officially available worldwide, far more of us have Kodak Pro Image 100.
If you want to appreciate it for yourself, you can support smaller retailers by picking some up from Analogue Wonderland or Film Bros, or from the bigger boys like B&H Photo or Amazon if the first two are sold out or you just prefer to anyway.
For me, the bottom line on Pro Image 100 is as follows: it’s a good film, giving good results and for a good price too. It’s not outstanding, but it’s not bad either. It’s just, you know, good.
And there’s probably not much more we can ask for than that. 🙂
- Outstanding flesh-tone reproduction, color accuracy, and saturation.
- Intended for room temperature storage.
- Excellent latent-image keeping characteristics.
If you found that Kodak Pro Image 100 review useful, why not take a look at these to learn about even more great films:
- A review of another of Kodak’s cheaper films
- Check out the Shoot all the Films project
- See more posts featuring Kodak Pro Image 100
And if you think others will enjoy or benefit from this film review too, help them find it by sharing or pinning. 😀
4 thoughts on “Kodak Pro Image 100 35mm Film Review”
I just started with film recently and I had some good results and some bad results with this film. I really want to know what went wrong on the bad rolls/shots. I shot 10 rolls of it on vacation and ended up with maybe 2 rolls worth of good photos and the rest came out badly. This despite using the same pro-level camera for all the shots. Most of the bad shots look a bit underexposed but the skies are still blown out looking… I dunno. I used a camera I had never used before, the EOS 1N RS pellicle camera.
Sorry to read that Shawn. 🙁 I’ve had shots and rolls turn out not as I’d hoped and I know it is very frustrating. I can’t really diagnose what went wrong with yours from here. I could suggest… maybe some metering issue when shooting, something gone wrong with developing, some badly stored rolls, or (less likely I think and something I’m hesitant to even bring up) some quality control issue with the film?
Hope you can get to the bottom of it if that’s what you want to do, and not let it put you off shooting film in the future. 🙂
A very fair review. I shoot mainly b & w but have made this my go_to colour film for general use although I would still use Portra for weddings, etc. Kodak deserve our support.
Thanks for reading and commenting Cliff. Yep, certainly agree Kodak deserve the money we spend on film purely for them keeping on producing it. Use it or lose it, as they say. 🙂