This is my favorite product coming out of Japan, over even Nintendo or Studio Ghibli. It may just be a cheap consumer film to a lot of people, but the colors it gives me are just fantastic. That affordability really is an asset to me, especially when I was just starting to shoot film. I had no job, no money, and I really took my time with my shots. It was a great way to learn, but I’m glad I was paying $2-3 a roll instead of $10. One of the bargain marts down in Colorado Springs used to get expired Superia in from time to time so that really helped me out, and it’s readily available at Wal-Mart as well, in 4-packs that might have gone up in price a bit, but still don’t break the bank.
Using this film almost exclusively for my first 3 years as a photographer, in a lot of ways I grew up with it. I certainly cut my teeth on it, I learned more about film using Superia than I did in my photography class with Tri-X. I’ve used it indoors, outdoors, in all different kinds of weather, overexposed, underexposed. The results I’ve got just make me so pleased. In saying why I love Superia so much it could almost be why I love the Takumar lens so much as well. I counted: there are exactly 3 shots down below that are taken on a non-Pentax camera and lens. I’ve read on other sites about alchemy as pertaining to film, and I can say without a doubt that I believe every word, because I found it here with the combination of Pentax’s SMC lenses and this film. It’s how I create gold.
A few months back I came across this post from Cinestill regarding a comparison test between 800T, Fuji Pro400H, Portra 800, and Fuji Superia 800. I was a bit surprised to see Superia on that list, it didn’t strike me as a film that pros would fall back on (maybe they used it after Fuji discontinued Pro800Z). Looking at the results, it’s obvious that Cinestill 800T comes in first, but what came in second? That’s right, according to their test, Superia 800 comes out looking better than either Pro400H or Portra 800. i was so proud to see my beloved Superia perform so well compared to films that cost 2-3 times as much.
Superia 400 (as well as Reala) was originally available in 120 size as well, a fact I only found out after Fujifilm discontinued it, sadly. I’ll bet it looked wonderful in medium format, but there doesn’t seem to be many examples posted on the net. Other products in the Superia line that have recently been axed are a 1600 speed film and Reala 100. Back in the day there was also a line called Fujicolor Press that was really just Superia that had been cold-stored since its manufacture, and they say it gave some really vivid colors. It’s really sad to see the line dwindling, and sometimes I wonder just how long Fuji’s going to keep making film at all. The only new film Fuji’s come out with lately has been Natura 1600 which I have yet to try. Hopefully Fuji’s stabilized enough that they’ll start adding new films now, not taking away the classics.
I’ve used all four variants of Fuji’s consumer film line, Fujicolor 200, and Superia 200, 400, and 800. Below are examples of all of them in no particular order. They’re all great, so enjoy this collection of my favorite shots taken with this wonderful line of films:
Well done, Fujfilm. Long may this film be made.