It would have done me a lot of good to simply listen and pay attention years ago. A lot of good.
Before taking a break from shooting film, I predominantly shot slide film. I really had a distaste for color negative film, finding the color palette of negative films to be lacking compared to the bold and vibrant colors of transparency film. There were a few exceptions, such as the vivid Agfa Ultra 50 film, that were known departures from this rule And while there were general purpose transparency films that had rich and vivid color renditions, there seemed no such thing on the print side of the house.
I recall hearing a decent amount of love for Fuji Reala 100 in particular as a print film with a very likelike vividness rendered in rich hues, but thought this simply meant it rendered accurate skin tones for portraiture, and feeling nothing in the way of loss that I'd neglected to give "yet another print film" at least one try.
Upon ordering the last couple rolls of Agfa Ultra 50 from a favorite Etsy seller, I was greeted with a happy little bonus of a pair of rolls of Fuji Reala 100 tossed into the package. Thankful to have this bonus, but still not knowing much about the film, I tossed it in with the rest of my expired film and elected to just run the first roll through the Vivitar 5500PZ. This choice was not as much to test the film but to have some cheap color results to show from this camera.
I took the camera along with me on a few Spring outings and before long, I'd wrapped up this roll of film handily, dropping it into one of my home-developed batches of color film to await some results to scan and post, all the while expecting nothing terribly special in the way of results from this film that had been discontinued about a decade ago.
But that would quickly change. As the scans began to complete, I realized just what a phenomenal film this is. Even a poorly done shot on Fuji Reala can look remarkably impressive when it contains a nice pop of color to draw in the eye. With each additional scan, I realized that I really should have been more open minded regarding this film during the days when it was being made, as I'd almost instantly come to be remiss at its discontinuance.
So without further delay, have a look at the Fuji film known as Reala, and join me in my sorrowful realization that this is yet one more amazing film that is all but unavailable today.
It is a major irritation when your camera gives you an affirmative green light that your subject is in focus when it really is not. Still, the color rendition of this film is nothing short of amazing, as seen here.
In a well shadowed scene that most print films would lose in murk, Reala manages to render an amount of detail unheard of among most print films I've seen, this on a very basic point and shoot at that!
But with a speed rating of only 100, a camera like the Vivitar can only yield but so much as darkness begins to set in.
Back amid a fairly evenly lit scene of shadow with some lighter areas, the Reala shines yet again, yielding lush green and purple tones. Yet again, the focus on the Vivitar misled me.
Shooting into the sun is typically a no-no, particularly on a point and shoot camera, but when illuminated dandelions abound, it's nice to toss those rules aside. Color vibrance is a tad flat compared to others on the roll, but still nice.
Under a flatly lit scene swallowed in shadow, the Reala again displayed some rich and vibrant tones, particularly in foliage.
With shadows getting long, and the golden hour approaching, Reala gave off a somewhat yellowish hue that did accurately depict the conditions without being too sallow.
Scenes like this make me wonder just how Reala would work in a more capable camera with more control, and I intend to find out!
Yet again, some really great "micro-contrast" is evident in the tones of this image taken on Reala.
The colors from Reala really do look more like something from a scan of a slide film than a print film.
Under a dull overcast, some scenes did struggle with the Reala. The depiction here looks like typically flat print film colors.
But add something colorful to the scene and results tend to perk up. I do notice some vignetting from the Vivitar camera.
A few shots taken in a more subdued sunlight tended to wash out, but not as much as many print films will tend to do.
Direct sunlight and green tones with yellow pops tend to be a well suited hue for Reala. Blue tones are more or less on par with other films.
Occasionally, some shots would shift a bit towards yellow if contrast was weak.
As a 100 speed film though, Reala is best suited to daylight conditions and bright sun, and the color palette matches the needs of its slower speed perfectly.
Without an abundance of green though, some shots just don't stand out well with Reala. Earth tones and neutrals tend to render a bit on the yellowish side.
Another scene with partial sun. Yet again, the play of light and dark areas seems to be a strong suit of this film.
Warm tones in pinks render well, but don't quite have the same jolt evident in the green and true red tones.
Finally, I didn't try to push the Vivitar too close to the subject in this close up, and got some better results in the end.
I do wish I had a better focus in the flowers to be able to glean how Reala handled their delicate gradations in toning.
Again, a bit of an overall yellow shift from a scene with rather flat "bright overcast." Still a good rendering though.
So in looking for someone to blame for my oversight of not discovering this film earlier, I am blaming Fuji. Their marketing of the film didn't seem to indicate just how wonderful of a film this was, and I totally missed the boat. The packaging simply adding a metallic gold swoosh didn't seem to get the message across to me either.
Ok, ok, It's totally my fault. Though in all honesty, my subject matter in the height of my original film shooting days wasn't so focused on landscapes like these, so had I even tried this film out, I likely would not have appreciated it for what it was. That all admitted, I'm on board with this film now, have picked up a few more rolls, and look forward to giving it a try now that I know what scenes work the best with this amazing film!