Fujifilm Neopan 1600 Black & White Film Review

I ordered this film to allow me to shoot in dark environments and also to capture in black and white. This is a ‘professional’ film designed to be shoot at ISO1600 but can be ‘pushed’ to ISO3200. ‘Pushing’ film means you shoot it a stop slower and then push the exposure during processing allowing you to bring out the images that are essential underexposed by a full stop. It’s a trade off in quality but the image you have it always better then the one you don’t and gaining that extra stop can make a huge difference in tricky low light situations.

My experience with this film is limited to use at ISO1600 only. When using this film with my 50mm and 85mm primes I have never been in a situation where ISO1600 was not enough. The combination of F/1.8 and ISO1600 is very good in that regard.

The first roll I shot was at a local band concert. The band plays on the stage at the high school with strong white light coming down from above. It’s very tough light to work with and when shooting my digital camera I typically tell the camera to shoot about 1.7 stops underexposed so that I can get any detail from the faces. When I was shooting this concert I kept that in mind but was curious how well the film would handle this kind of tough situation. While shooting I slightly underexposed manually but not nearly as much as I would have on my digital. I think the shots look pretty good. I did a little bit of work tweaking the exposure in Lightroom but nothing major.

The next thing I shot were images what I would normally look for strong colors in. I took this shot just outside the house of a tree that was in perfect bloom. It was mid day and very very sunny so I stopped way down until the meter said I could make a shot without overexposure and I shot around looking for some interesting angles. I like the way this image looks though it took a bit of prodding in Lightroom to get the contrast and exposure just right, but I’m pretty happy with the result. I was surprised at what it looks like without the color information. I think it really allows you to focus on the details of the flower and not the vibrancy of the color.

My final image I just sort of like. Shot in the back yard minutes after the flower image. I should have gotten lower down to the ground but I think it shows what the grain on this film looks like under bright conditions in contrast to the darker area of the first image.

All Alone
All Alone

It’s good film especially if you need to work in very low light. The only draw back I see if that most photo shops will need to have it sent out to be developed if you don’t do it yourself. It’s a more specialized film then you standard ISO400 color film for obvious reasons. In time I’m going to be moving toward developing my own B&W film so that may or may not change the type film I buy. I am going to see what I can find for other high ISO films in the mean time though just to see what is out there…


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