I recently came across three high speed color films whose existence had somehow eluded me until now. These films are Fuji Superia 1600, Fuji Natura 1600, and Fuji Venus 1600.
After a few hours of research, these films were proving very hard to find. Everything was being sold from Japan aside from a few eBay sellers who seemed to have a few spare rolls. Not only that but all the film was slightly expired or did not note the expiration date. I could not find any information if these films were even being produced anymore. After a tweet to Japan Camera Hunter, Bellamy Hunt, his relay for help only deepened the mystery of these 35 films.
Getting my First Roll of Fuji Superia 1600
One afternoon in Manhattan, I was picking up some prints from my go-to developers in the city, Vista+CRC. Nearby I found a newly opened photography shop selling mostly polaroid cameras. Near the register was a fishbowl filled with Fujifilm Fujicolor 200 35mm film. After asking a salesperson if they carried any other films, he replied "Yea I think so." and opened the door to the stock room. You can imagine my surprise when just behind the door was a fridge packed with the elusive [ and unexpired ] Fuji Superia 1600.
A bit About Fuji Superia 1600
Fujifilm Superia 1600 is a high speed 35mm film. 'High speed' refers to its ASA rating of 1600, best fit for night scenes, indoors, and compact zoom cameras. In general high speed color film is not the most desirable film type among photographers, much more to me was the lure of its rarity.
Along with the rest of the Superia line (the more common 100, 200, 400 & 800 speeds ), Superia 1600 has what Fujifilm calls a 4th color layer. This extra layer is said to help the rendition of natural colors even for photographs taken under fluorescent lights or mixed light sources.
Choosing a Camera
I thought a fun fit would be to pair the film with my Rollei 35 S. Its legendary 40mm Sonnar Lens and Rollei HFT Coating would provide a sharpness that would help combat the appearance of the expectedly grainy film. Though Fujifilm states the following which I found to be wholly accurate.
"Remarkably sharp, detail for a film in this speed category."
- Fujifilm on Fujicolor Superia 1600
Fuji Superia 1600 Images
Here are the best images from my first roll of Fuji Superia 1600. They span 3 weeks time from the World Trade Center site in Manhattan, up to Poughkeepsie in New York's Hudson Valley.
Thoughts on the Fuji Superia 1600 Images
Fuji Superia 1600 is potentially the perfect film for most any casual situation, from sunlit outdoors to dim indoor interiors it provides a very fine grain structure for its class maintaining rich color saturation in low light. Most of all, if you pair this film with an f/1.4 lens, most dimly lit scenes can be shot hand held.
The fastest shutter speed on the Rollei 35 S is 1/500th of a second, because of this I had to shoot at f/16 and f/22 in the sunlight to expose the image properly. If you're into street photography this limitation doesn't hurt at all. Bit this would have been true with any 1600 speed film.
I can easily say with just one roll it is my current favorite film. What do you think of Fujifilm Superia 1600? Post your insights in the comments.
Purchase Fujifilm Superia 1600
Currently there is some Fujifilm Superia 1600 available from Fujifilm on Amazon. It's not cheap but it looks like it ships from the US. Please support this blog by purchasing from the link below.