Street Candy ATM 400 35mm Film Review

street candy atm 400 film

There must have been something in the water between 2016 and 2018. Something that caused some of my fellow film photography bloggers to decide that shooting and writing about other people’s stocks was no longer enough.

In the first of those years, Bellamy Hunt from Japan Camera Hunter introduced us to his JCH Street Pan 400, while Stephen Dowling from Kosmo Foto came out with his Kosmo Foto Mono 100 in 2017.

The year after that, it was the turn of Vincent Moschetti from On Film Only, who brought us the Street Candy ATM 400 we’re looking at today. It’s a film that, in my opinion at least, has a number of parallels with JCH Street Pan.

You can read on to learn what they are, as well as everything else there is to know about Street Candy ATM 400 – a film that you can pick up directly from Vincent’s own sales page, as well as from the usual suspects like Analogue Wonderland and B&H Photo.

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A repurposed surveillance film that comes in sustainable packaging, ATM 400's great contrast and ISO 400 rating makes it a very good film for your street photography.

What is Street Candy ATM 400?

If you’ve been thinking about bringing your own photographic film to the market, it seems to me you have three options. Or maybe more, but I can only come up with three right now.

The first and least viable for most would be to pump millions – and millions! – of dollars into getting one of the few film factories on the planet to fire up a new production line for you.

The second strategy, which in my mind lies at the other end of the scale to the first, would be much easier, more cost-effective, and has been happening for decades already. That is to take an existing film and repackage it as something different.

The third method is, again just in my own mind, somewhere in the middle. And this would be to source some sort of film that isn’t currently being sold as a consumer stock, get it spooled into 35mm cassettes, and sell that under a sprightly new name.

While all of these methods have their own virtues, it’s the final one that brought us this Street Candy ATM 400 – with a huge clue in the name as to what it was formerly used for.

When you’re using an automatic teller machine, or ATM, or cashpoint if you’re from the UK like I am, there’s a little camera that monitors your every move. And helps keep you safe too, of course.

While these have been digital for a long time now, there was a time when they used film. Actual, analogue surveillance film. And when the switch into the modern world was made, there was quite a lot of this film still left unused.

It’s this film that Vincent Moschetti managed to source and bring back from the dead in the form of Street Candy ATM 400. Hence the initialism in the name, right there between Candy and 400.

This backstory is why I think Street Candy is similar to JCH Street Pan 400, what with the latter being an old surveillance film – albeit an aerial surveillance film – that was sourced and resurrected too. You can read all about the JCH film in this review here, by the way.

By contrast, the aforementioned Kosmo Foto 100 is a repackaging of Fomapan 100 – a film that was already widely available. For the record, I think that kind of endeavour has its merits too, although opinion seems to be mixed about them in wider circles.

Back to the topic at hand though, and the question of what is Street Candy ATM 400?

In a nutshell, it’s an old surveillance film, formerly used in automatic teller machines, sourced, spooled, and sold from 2018 onwards by Vincent Moschetti from the On Film Only website.

street candy film box

Street Candy ATM 400’s sustainable packaging

At the time of writing this review, I’ve shot two rolls of Street Candy ATM film. And I can tell you that I must have bought one of them before 2020 and the other in 2020 or after.

I can tell you that because it was in 2020 that this film’s packaging changed from the standard plastic canister that you see on the left in the image above to the cardboard tube that you see on the right.

Of course, the vast majority of established films come in a little cardboard box with that plastic canister inside too. But just because something has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean that is the best way to continue doing them. Not when there’s a more sustainable way instead.

And that’s why Vincent Moschetti came up with the tube that Street Candy is now sold in. It’s made from 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard and uses eco-friendly soy-based dyes to give it that trademark pink and black design, too.

The cardboard gives enough insulation when Street Candy is stored in a dry place, but it’s recommended you place it in a dry and well-sealed airtight bag if you’re going to be keeping it in the fridge.

As well as the cardboard tube, the film itself is hand-rolled into recycled 35mm canisters to further reduce waste across the industry as a whole.

This can cause an issue with rewinding if you’re shooting with a fully-motorised camera, but I feel that’s a worthwhile trade-off for such an initiative. First of all, it’s only a possibility that it may happen, not something that definitely will.

Second, if you have any concerns about it, you can shoot your Street Candy ATM 400 in a camera with manual winding. And third, if you only have a fully-motorised camera, there are countless other films out there for you to shoot that don’t have this potential problem.

Those last two points may sound a little blunt, but I feel there’s so much choice out there with both cameras and films that having just one stock choosing more sustainability over complete compatibility has far more upside than it does downside.

Yes, a single change from a single film producer like this isn’t going to make much of a dent in the carbon footprint of the industry as this whole – especially considering what an ocean of chemicals and plastics it actually is.

It’s like me walking to the shop instead of driving isn’t going to stop the ice caps from melting. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t walk to the shop, because all we can do as individuals is to do what we can as individuals, and to hope that somehow influences others to do similar.

With that in mind, perhaps one day a much bigger film company will adopt the same kind of packaging we see here.

In the meantime though, there are some not insignificant numbers at the bottom of this page illustrating what difference has been made already just with Street Candy using it.

Street Candy ATM 400 image qualities

Right, so we’ve ascertained Street Candy ATM 400 is a repurposed bank machine film and comes in sustainable packaging. But perhaps what you really need to know before deciding whether to shoot any is what sort of results you can expect from it.

As you can see in the image of the ice cream above, which was shot with the Lomo LC-Wide on an overcast day on the English east coast, good contrast and a discernible yet unobtrusive grain appear to be the order of the day.

Plenty more example shots are to follow, and they all show that contrast and grain in varying levels, along with decent sharpness and fine mid-tone details in them too.

They also demonstrate examples of its wide dynamic range, which helps to maintain details in both the light and dark parts of your images, although not to an infallible level. I did have some blown-out skies in a couple of my results.

Given its background, it seems obvious really that Street Candy ATM 400 would give you fine detail across as much of your end results as possible. It would have been a pretty bad cash machine surveillance film if you couldn’t make out people’s faces on it.

Similar to its JCH Street Pan peer, ATM 400’s wide spectrum captures almost all visible light and makes it a near-infrared film. This means sticking a red filter on your lens will enable you to shoot it as if it was an infrared film.

That’s not something I’ve done yet, though. And something else I haven’t done with Street Candy ATM 400 is push it, which will bring you even more contrast if that’s your thing. It’s said to only really be pushable by one stop though, up to ISO 800.

To get back to what I have done, here are some of my own photographs shot on Street Candy ATM 400, to show you some of those image qualities we’ve been talking about.

The first three were with the Lomo LC-Wide and the final three were with the Pentax K1000.

Street photography with Street Candy ATM 400

ATM 400 and Japan Camera Hunter’s film may both have near-infrared qualities, but that’s not the most obvious commonality between them. That award would probably go to the fact they both have street in their name.

Whatever your thoughts on street photography as a genre or anything else, I do think that both of these stocks are well-named by virtue of having that word in there – be that in the brand like Street Candy or the film type like Street Pan.

I say this for two reasons, and both of them are concerned with an aesthetic.

The first aesthetic is the one the film gives you. The image qualities we’ve already talked about and the fact that people like to use contrasty monochrome film for street photography.

That’s not to say it can’t be done with a flatter film like an Ilford XP2 Super or a Kentmere 400 for example, and I liked the results I got from both of those in the past.

But it seems more people prefer that increased contrast for their street photography, so it’s probably a good job that Street Candy ATM 400 and JCH Street Pan both bring that. It’s also no coincidence, which brings me to the second aesthetic here.

This aesthetic is more of an abstract yet instructive one. And one of marketing, too. Because these films are contrasty, why not explicitly aim them at people who do street photography?

Why not create a wider aesthetic that it’s a film for street photography, because its actual aesthetic happens to be the same as what street photography often looks like?

This is not a criticism. It’s an observation of something that I’d have done too. Take advantage of that virtuous circle.

All of this is to say that, yes, Street Candy is a good film for street photography if you’re after that classic film street photography look. Or aesthetic, if I can bring even myself to use that word just one more time.

Good contrast, decent grain, good dynamic range – although look for a blown-out sky on the Mirage shot below – and that versatile and forgiving ISO 400 rating that we seem to favour for this kind of stuff.

Again, the first three shots here were taken with the Lomo LC-Wide and the final three with the Pentax K1000.

Street Candy ATM 400 specs and development

Street Candy ATM 400 is a panchromatic black and white negative film that is available in 35mm format only at the time of writing. It comes rolled in recycled canisters that are not DX-coded.

Produced by repurposing old bank machine surveillance film, it brings good contrast and sharpness along with a pleasant grain structure. Its wide dynamic range and smooth tonality further help to give results that are rich in detail when shot well.

Like many other monochrome films on the market, it has a box speed of ISO 400. And like many of the other options out there, it can be pushed to bring even more contrast to your images.

However, unlike many of those other ISO 400 monochrome films, it’s not recommended that you push it any further than one stop, or to ISO 800. This is apparently down to it having a lower amount of silver in its coating than a lot of other stocks.

If you’re planning to develop your own rolls of Street Candy, you can find the data you’ll need here on the Street Candy website, as well as here on the Massive Dev Chart.

It’s worth noting too that when Vincent Moschetti was first experimenting with developing ATM 400, he settled on the process used for Ilford HP5. So if you’re stuck with any of the above data, maybe follow that one yourself too.

If you’re sending or taking your ATM 400 off to a lab to have it developed, just make sure they’re aware that it is in recycled canisters. This can cause issues, depending on how they process it and what type of machines they use.

These canisters can also lead to problems if you try to shoot your Street Candy in a fully automated or motorised camera, especially when it comes to rewinding your roll. Some people have reported it getting stuck, although plenty of people have shot this film in those types of cameras with no issues too.

However, with that potential being there and the fact that the canisters are not DX-coded, this isn’t a film I’ll be loading into something like a Canon Sure Shot AF-7 – i.e. a fully motorised camera that needs to read DX-codes to set its ISO rating – any time soon.

One final thing to cover in this section is the thinness of Street Candy ATM 400, and how it’s actually a little chonkier now than it used to be.

The first batch did have a very thin base, as the people who used it in bank machines wanted to get as much in there as possible before having to change the roll and get it developed.

This led to people talking about ATM 400 curling and twisting during processing and scanning, thanks completely to that aforementioned thin base. Thankfully, later batches have been given a thicker base, which should eradicate or at least mitigate those problems.

It’s worth noting too that, despite this thicker base, the emulsion was unchanged from the old batch to the new.

Where to buy Street Candy ATM 400 film

The first online place I’m going to recommend you buy your Street Candy ATM 400 is straight from the source – that is, from the Street Candy website itself. You can pick up a roll of their MTN 100 film while you’re there too.

If you prefer to buy your film in person, they also have a very handy store locater. On that page you’ll find a map of the world showing many – if not all – of the brick ‘n’ mortar places you can go to and buy some.

However, if there isn’t a shop near you selling Street Candy and they’re out of stock on their own website, or you just want to buy it elsewhere, the other usual online suspects like Analogue Wonderland and B&H Photo all carry it too.

You can check current prices and availability through the links below.

street candy film

Final thoughts on Street Candy ATM 400

One of the things I get from doing these film reviews is a far greater understanding of every stock I shoot. Because I have to do the research necessary to put these things together, I’m learning just as much as anyone who reads them might.

And I have to say that pretty much everything I’ve learnt about Street Candy ATM 400 while producing this review has made me appreciate what a great job Vincent Moschetti has done with it.

Of course it’s not the only repurposed surveillance film out there. We have JCH Street Pan. We have Film Washi D. But they aren’t all one homogenised entity. They each have their own merits and backstory.

As we’ve already stated, I do mentally put ATM 400 in the same bracket as Street Pan. The number of times I’ve mentioned the latter in this review has perhaps made that obvious too, but the similarities are there.

An ISO 400 monochrome film, marketed with street photography front and centre. They do both deserve their own separate time in the spotlight though, and their time in your camera also. And more time in mine for sure.

In fact, for the effort that has gone into making it a more sustainable endeavour, I believe Street Candy deserves more time in a lot of people’s cameras.

It’s an effort that could be argued is a drop in the ocean right now, but it appears to me the kind of thing that makes other manufacturers take notice and potentially adopt too, and it then becomes widespread that way.

Aside from that, I’d say Street Candy ATM 400 also deserves more time in our cameras based on the results it gives. I’m certainly very happy with what it gave me, in both the Lomo LC-Wide and the Pentax K1000.

So again, if you are looking for some ISO 400 monochrome film and like what ATM 400 does, why not take a look at Street Candy’s own store, or Analogue Wonderland or B&H Photo and shoot some of your own?

For the effort that’s gone into it so far and hopefully will continue into the future, I think Mr Vincent Moschetti deserves to see his films shot as much as possible. 🙂

Support a small film company!
street-candy-atm-400-film-review

A repurposed surveillance film that comes in sustainable packaging, ATM 400's great contrast and ISO 400 rating makes it a very good film for your street photography.

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