Fuji Neopan 1600

a neopan winter

While shooting a conference last November, I had my first contact with Fuji Neopan 1600, a high-speed black and white film. I decided to use it simply because I was shooting indoors most of the time, so both the high speed and the fact that it’s black and white were a good indication that it was a match.

a neopan winter

I was pretty surprised by how nice the shots came out. The high speed obviously increases the grain in the shots quite noticeably, but it’s not too bad. The film’s contrast is hard to grasp in one sentence. As it’s quite sensitive to light it’s easy to blow out overly bright areas, so having harsh contrast in the scene might result in the brighter areas of your photo being overexposed, losing contrast and detail. That’s true for overexposing the shots in general, so be careful with light metering. The grain is not even annoying (at least not for me) when the shots are underexposed. In black and white film that somehow adds character. With color, it’s just annoying.

a neopan winter

But that’s what you get for shooting film at such high speeds. It makes up for it though, because especially in grey-ish winter as we had it for the last couple of weeks, it’s pretty much the only choice you have. Even in reality things look dull, not having lots of different colors, so why bother? Might as well shoot black and white at higher speeds.

a neopan winter

There’s one area where the grain is a bit annoying though. If you like having a spectacularly thin depth of field in your shots, I wouldn’t recommend using this film. The grain takes away most of the softness you usually expect, making the blur effect look a bit weird. But I found that to be more annoying when things in the foreground are out of focus. Which is not something I enjoy in general.

a neopan winter

In general I really like this film. It’s really great for shooting indoors or for those dull days when the sun just won’t come out at least a little bit. Fits in perfectly with the atmosphere of grey autumn and winter. It’s a tad cheaper than Ilford Delta 3200, so if you can get your hand on a roll, go for it! The only downside I found was that the film only exists in 35mm format, and not in 120. Shame really. All of these shots were taken with a Nikon F90X either with a 50mm/f1.8 or 28mm/f2.8 lens.


8 thoughts on “Fuji Neopan 1600

  1. matt, these are really perfect for this time of year.

    and there’s not TOO much grain in these shots – just the right amount – so i like the sound of this film. thanks for the report.

  2. you’re so right – this film is perfect for this time of year. i find so little opportunity to photograph good light at the moment seeing as it’s often dark when i leave the house and dark when i get back! i’ve tried fuji 1600 colour film and wasn’t that keen on it.

  3. this is so great! i’ve got a couple rolls in the fridge of high ISO b/w that i am going to use this saturday to take some band photos. this is just the inspiration i needed. thanks matt!

  4. I salute you, friends! Get some high speed film in your cameras pronto!

    My pleasure, Brian. It’s pretty affordable to. Good value for the high speed, I’d say.

    Urban: The Ilford has a tad more grain, but a lot more contrast compared to the Fuji. It also comes in 120 which is definitely a plus. I’d recommend trying both.

    charlotte, I agree, the Superia 1600 is pretty weird, it’s fun in a toy camera like the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim though. For an SLR, not so much.

    Jen, yeah, it’s a shame about it only being 35mm, but well, at least I know it’s a great film to stuff in my littler cameras when I’m shooting indoors or in dull lighting.

    charles, I’ve honestly no idea. Fuji states that it’s easily pushable up to 3200 without much hassle or losing much. I’d just give it a go.

  5. what a great little overview of this film. i used the b/w fuji neopan 400 speed in the summer and it was stunning.
    this 1600 might just be the perfect winter substitute.

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