Much to the joy of us Northern California film shooters, Beer & Cameras Sacramento recently reawakened after its long Covid slumber. To mark the occasion, I brought my Leica M3, the awesome 50mm f/2 Dual-Range Summicron, and an expired roll of Kodak Supra 400 to their meetup at a local brewery. Of course, the meetup was a load of fun — and I walked away with worse G.A.S. than ever before — but the real star of the evening was this old roll of Kodak Supra.

Kodak Supra 400 and its siblings, Supra 100 and 800, were short-lived professional daylight-balanced color negative films. Introduced roughly the same time as Portra in the late 90s, Supra quickly fell by the wayside and was discontinued around 2003. In spite of its unfortunate history, Supra was well-liked by many because it delivered stronger contrast and saturation than Portra while not compromising on pleasant skin tones.

With all that being said, nearly 20 years have passed since the death of Supra and getting decent results from such an old film can be a long shot. Nonetheless, I tested my luck and shot the film in broad daylight at EI 25.

After developing the roll in Cinestill C-41 developer kit, I was relieved to see that the held up better than expected. There was definitely some base fog and muddy shadows but otherwise, the images turned out quite nice! As somebody who is more accustomed to shooting Portra, I am not the biggest fan of the poor shadow detail this film is known for. Otherwise, I found the color saturation and greens to my liking and will have to keep this in mind the next time a shoot with Supra. Fortunately, I have three more rolls of this film, so I am looking forward to snapping some more golden hour memories.

~ Brendan

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