Atlanta Film Company 500T Review


The story of Lamborghini and Atlanta Film Company (AFC) have some very similar parallels. Lamborghini was starting out of anger, and considering how AFC’s Bill Manning has been speaking on the Studio-C41 podcast for a while, and I sense a similarity. Bill has been a long-time advocate for film photographers. He spoke once about having the film community call out the retailers for not pricing new emulsions more affordably while the manufacturers refuse to step into the middle of the problem. So, at least in my head, I feel that Atlanta Film Company 500T was born out of that anger of wanting to change the industry.

I can relate to Bill’s vehemence ion this issue. When I founded the Phoblographer 13 years ago, there weren’t many POCs or younger folks really speaking to photographers. Instead, it was an old guard talking about how much better they were than consumers. Over a decade later, our website has outlasted many of the folks who disparaged us, and our blueprint is still copied by others today.

What Bill’s doing isn’t exactly innovative. Years ago we reported on SILPERSALZ35 and they have a similar method. Kodak Film Lab Atlanta has a working agreement with Atlanta Film Company: an exclusive deal where AFC buys all the 35mm film from Kodak. Then, AFC respools and sells it. They’re not removing the remjet layer like CineStill does, so it requires different processing.

Of course, this is 500T: meaning it’s ISO 500 and Tungsten. And most importantly, it’s gorgeous.

The Big Picture

Atlanta Film Company 500T is a 35mm film that’s ISO 500 and Tungsten. That means it’s great for shooting at night or in Tungsten colored (orange) lighting. It’s not going to have the red halation effect CineStill has, but it will still have most of that gorgeous look. It’s cinema film that’s been rebadged for 35mm film cameras.

The processing and scans we received are beautiful and, honestly, we can’t complain one bit about the photos. They’re lovely and the entire experience was simple. When our scans were delivered for this review, I nearly shed a tear. What’s more, Bill is doing everything he can to make film affordable for us. Call him a modern Robin Hood, because he deserves that title.

Atlanta Film Company 500T receives five out of five stars from us. Get on this stuff as soon as you can. Rolls are available for $9.99 a roll on their website.

Pro

  • Beautiful image quality
  • The scans have incredible depth and beauty.
  • A more affordable way to shoot film
  • A brilliant idea
  • Beautiful packaging

Cons

  • As more and more companies do this, prices are bound to become more competitive, so I worry about Bill’s long term sustainability.

Gear Used

We tested Atlanta Film Company 500T with the following:

  • Leica M6
  • Contax 35mm f2
  • Leica CL
  • 7Artisans 50mm f1.1
  • All processing and scanning was taken care of for us by the Atlanta Film Company free of charge for this review.

Ease of Use

There isn’t a whole lot worth discussing here if you’re a film shooter. If you’re not, then there’s a lot to unpack. 500T means it’s Tungsten. We shot in both daylight and tungsten situations, and the scans came out looking fantastic. We couldn’t find a single fault with the way they look. To reiterate, I almost shed a tear when I saw them.

You’re going to be stuck at whatever ISO you shoot the roll at. I sometimes shot at ISO 500, and at other times I metered for ISO 400. This is a negative film, so it’s a good idea to give it more light.

Image Quality

The images are honestly fantastic. There’s a low contrast, slightly saturated look to the photos that makes everything look wonderful. Combine this with the lenses we were using, and it’s nigh impossible for anyone to look bad. More importantly, everything looks like it could be right out of a movie.

Here’s what Cinestill does. See the red halation around the lights? That’s what it’s known for.

Extra Image Samples

From day one, The Phobographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the product can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.

We got these scans and did no editing to them.

Who Should Buy Atlanta Film Company 500T?

Atlanta Film Company 500T is available for $9.99 a roll. I think any photographer who wants more affordable film should reach for it. If you’ve become sick of CineStill’s film issues and don’t care for their signature halation look, then go for this. If you want the look of Tungsten film, then reach for this film.

Honestly, everyone should go for it. We think you’ll like it. And I’ll surely buy more.

Tech Specs

These specs are taken from the listing on the company’s website:

We’re excited to release the new Atlanta Film Co. 500T. This film is the result of a collaboration between Dunwoody Photo and Kodak Film Lab Atlanta. Traditional C-41 processed films have seen massive shortages we have found a way to safely process ECN-2 film through traditional motion picture linear processors. In collaboration with these two labs, this motion picture film has been cut down to fit traditional 36-exposure film cartridges.

  • ISO 500 (Tungsten Balanced)
  • Motion Picture Film with the rem-jet
  • ECN-2 Process Only
  • Recommend Dunwoody Photo for return processing and scanning: Order Form

*Recommendations: Using an 85B warming filter will correct the lighting when used in daylight. If your camera does not have an ISO 500 setting, you may set it to 400.

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