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Film Friday: SantaColor 100 is a new 35mm color negative film made from an aerial surveillance film stock: Digital Photography Review


Santa 1000, a Finish film manufacturer best known for its black and white film, has released SantaColor 100, a new color negative film stock based on a type of film originally designed for aerial surveillance photography.

Although Santa 1000 hasn’t divulged its supplier, it does say this film is manufactured in the United States and has also been sold in limited quantities as Kodak AeroColor 125. As its name suggests, SantaColor 100 is an ISO 100 color negative film compatible with standard C41 processing. Santa 1000 says the film is ‘very colour accurate and has exceptionally fine gran and detail’ with the ability to be pushed to up to 800 ISO at the cost of more contrasty.

As for why this film hasn’t previously been available in standard 35mm rolls, Santa 1000 offers three reasons. First, the film has a thinner-than-usual base, which requires it to be rolled onto individual spools by hand. As you can imagine, this means increased labor costs and extra time compared to other film stocks that can be spooled by machines. Second, the minimum order is ‘about 15,000 rolls,’ which is quite a bit for what will presumably be a niche film stock. Lastly, due to the costs involved, there have always been cheaper color negative film stocks available.

As for why Santa 1000 is taking the leap to turn this into a stills-oriented film stock, the company says:

‘[We’re doing it] Because we care about the community and therefore about the available of colour film. For any of film photography to move forward and grow, we need colour film – and the big manufacturers are really struggling to put that out there in canisters. We know it sounds like a cliche, but we are here to help the community.’

Santa 1000 notes the film stock they’kll be using for this batch of orders, should it be funded on Kickstarter, was ‘freshly made in 2022’ and hand-spooled in Finland. The canisters aren’t DX coded, but as Santa 1000 notes, most DX readers default to ISO 100, so it should be usable in most point-and-shoot film cameras.

Above you can see three push levels: +0 (100 ISO), +2 (400 ISO) and +3 (800 ISO). Contrast is somewhat increased, but the colours stay accurate. Caption and image: Santa 1000

Due to the thinner, clearer base used for this film, Santa 1000 suggests loading the film indoors, as loading it in direct sunlight can lead to light leaks on the first few frames. This unique base can also make scanning a bit trickier, as some scanners try to correct for the density of the base and might make scanned images look more red than they should be. As Santa 1000 notes though, most professional labs will be able to account and correct for this.

Image: SantaColor 100 pushed to ISO 800 (+3 push), and as you can see the colours hold up very well.

As for the hand-spooling of this film, Santa 1000 notes all of these rolls will be spooled onto re-used containers. They do disclaim ‘This does mean that there can be quality problems,’ but for anyone who experiences severe light leaks or other issued pertaining to the spooling can have their rolls replaced.

mage: Shot on SantaColor 100 and scanned at a typical lab. The results are generally redder than ‘proper’ colour balance when scanned at labs that don’t take a lot of care with colours, but some scenes and people love it! Caption and image: Santa 1000
Shot on SantaColor 100 Image and caption: Santa 1000
A typical look from SantaColor 100, scanned by Carmencita – pleasing tones, deep greens, slightly warm and very fine grain. Image and caption: Santa 1000

Santa 1000 has a thorough guide on how to shoot, scan and edit the film on the campaign page, so be sure to head on over and read more if you’d like to find out more information. A pledge of €60/$62 will get you a five-pack of SantaColor 100, while a 10-pack will set you back €100/104. The campaign has already achieved 43% of its ~$130,000 goal with 22 days remaining. If the fixed goal doesn’t get met, your money will be returned and the campaign won’t continue. The first rolls are expected to ship out December 2022. However, there is always the risk of delays.


About Film Fridays: We’ve launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we’ll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at 35mmc and KosmoFoto.

Note/disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project before backing it. Pledges to crowdfunding campaigns are not pre-orders. DPReview does not have a relationship with this, or any such campaign, and we publicize only projects that appear legitimate, and which we consider will be of genuine interest to our readers. You can read more about the safeguards Indiegogo has in place on its ‘Trust & Safety‘ page.





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