Recently, I was taking some pictures of the snow using Kodak Gold (I believe) 200 and Fuji Superia 200.

When I got them developed, I noticed that the Kodak had a "warmer" feel to them than the Fuji, despite being in the same camera, exposure, lens, and (practically) same lighting.

That being said, what sort of temperature (if that is the correct word) do these different types of film have? How does this compare to Agfa Vista 200? And how would I be able to find out this information before purchasing my next roll?

4 Answers 4


The color rendering of a film has to do with both color balance and the specific color response curves of the emulsion. This said, almost all the film stock produced today is daylight balanced, making it pretty difficult to find tungsten balanced film (which gives you strong blue cast if shot under sunlight). The subtle differences that you observed have more to do with each emulsion's specific color palette.

The color response curves of color film emulsions are not linear across color channels and the response curve anomalies of each emulsion are idiosyncratic. Furthermore, each film may use different dyes, different filters and a different base layer. Such matters used to be much better explained in the technical documentation of pro-films during the heyday of film photography. Not much of that remains today, although you can still find the basic spec sheets online if needed (e.g. Spec Sheet for Kodak Portra 160). Apart from the tech specs, it takes some learning curve to get used to each film and to get to know how to expose it. For instance, portrait shooters know how to over-expose portrait film in order to attain an unsaturated dreamy look and nature/architectural photographers know how to put the limited dynamic range and the exaggerated colors of Fuji Velvia to use in order to produce the wow effect.

Your observations about color properties of the films you used are correct: Fuji C-41 emulsions do have a green-blue tendency and Kodak C-41 emulsions do have a yellow-orange cast. You can expect more or less the same effect with their other emulsions, with some variation. For instance, some Kodaks have a more reddish color palette (Ektar) while some are more focused on the yellows of the skin tones (Portras). Agfa also has cool colors, but less of Fuji's pronounced green.

  • 2
    I think I've seen some tungsten film by Kodak for cinematography which I could use, but that's off topic. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what you're saying is there used to be documentation that would help identify how certain colors would appear once developed, but that no longer exists. So answering that later question of how one would find out before hand is simply: "good luck".
    – SailorCire
    Mar 3, 2015 at 16:59
  • It exists for some film, at least. See for example Kodak Tech Pub E-4050. Look at page 5 for the characteristic curves, and page 2 for information on filters to balance for different light sources.
    – mattdm
    Mar 3, 2015 at 17:05
  • It still exists, but it is harder to find. Just try googling for the spec sheet of the film, and with some luck you will find it. But I am not sure to what extent this may help for end-consumer films like Superia, Gold, or Vista. I am not even sure if the quality control is good enough for these film to sustain the same characteristics across batches. And don't get fooled by the technicalities, you may find all the spec sheets, but it is the experience that will tell you how to shoot your film. The same holds for digital: You don't shoot based on response curves published on dpreview! Mar 3, 2015 at 19:44
  • @retrography I understand, but I'm hoping to try to know what to expect. I'm now really excited for the Agfa I ordered. I like cooler colors. Perhaps if I ask the companies I can get a straight answer to post somewhere, but my experience with Kodak has been very cold and generic.
    – SailorCire
    Mar 3, 2015 at 21:48
  • @SailorCire Look what I found: agfaphoto.com/appc/_upload/2011_30/Vista_plus_200___400.pdf You can compare it to the specs of the other films you have already tried, to get a ballpark estimation of the difference. Mar 3, 2015 at 21:52

Film doesn't really have a "specific" color temperature, but there is more generic color temperature classifications: daylight and tungsten. Most film is daylight balanced (somewhere around 5600K); experiment with various emulsions and you'll see some warmer and cooler variants, but I don't think you'll find an actual color temperature for any of them. Tungsten-balanced film (3200K) was most commonly used indoors under artificial (and non-daylight balanced) lighting.

When shooting film and when specific color temperature matters, filters are used to get the desired result. An 80-series filter would be used to reduce redness, for example, while an 81-series filter would be used to increase redness.

  • Why the down vote? Mar 3, 2015 at 2:33
  • Not sure, but have an up-vote from me!
    – dpollitt
    Mar 3, 2015 at 3:22

Every film has its own color rendition. It can't be really called "temperature", as chemistry have nonlinear response. It so hard to quantify there is almost no objective information. Best what you can find is some subjective comparisons. I'd recommend to buy one roll of each and find out which suits your taste. Many people have their picks for different subjects, eg. some films for people, others for landscapes, etc. Grain is also important factor, bit easier to describe, but also subjective in "feel".


Actually Dan, there is quite a few stocks of film out there with specific kelvin degree temperatures and even "mixed" of 4300-4400K for still photography. And the daylight filter for 3200K compromise is an 85(A,B,C) filter very commonly used in motion picture film especially super 16mm productions like documentaries etc.

  • This should be a comment and not an answer.
    – SailorCire
    Jan 20, 2016 at 15:27

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