I didn’t love the Fuji 400H. I know it has its adherents, but not my favorite film. However, it certainly seemed to come alive at night. It was hard to shoot in low-light of course, but when I had time to set up and get a good exposure the results were impressive. I really loved how it rendered colors at night…it made me wish it did as good a job in daylight.
By way of example, I dredged up the above photo. This was shot in Sha Tin on July 14th. This was another photo that didn’t make the grade for me, but as an example of the Fuji 400H, in daylight, in Hong Kong…this is what I’ve got. Later that evening was the now infamous New Town Plaza mele, one of the worst nights I’ve ever spent in Hong Kong. The light on this day (as mentioned previously in my article on shooting Portra) was really flat. Cloudy, hot and, humid. Still, compared to its performance at night, Fuji 400H looked like a bust during daylight hours. Undoubtedly better results can be had in better light…sadly, it was not to be for me and the Fuji in Hong Kong.
After that roll in July, I stayed away from the Fuji 400H. In early September I gave it another go, and I’m glad that I did. I went out one night to a developing situation in Kowloon Bay. Riot police had stopped a city bus and performed random searches on the passengers, and even arrested a few people they suspected of participating in the protests. In a small neighborhood where the search and arrests took place, residents came out to yell and jeer at the police…which brought more police, and extended the shut down of the area for hours. In the end the police threatened the citizens, and ended up leaving amid screams, taunts and many a raised middle finger.
Despite the self-defeating antics of the police, I was very happy with what came out of that roll of the Fuji.
The film came off as cinematic. Rich blacks, nice shades of red and orange, and the film seemed to manifest a lot of purple out of nowhere, which I really enjoyed to be honest. In the coming months, I’ll make an effort to shoot some more of the Fuji. Maybe I can get a better read on it in daylight. I’m certainly keen to push it a bit more at night to see what it can do. Until then, I remain unconvinced of its overall merits, despite the encouraging signs that it could be really epic in the evening.