Shooting Expired Roll of Kodak UltraMax 400 w/ Canon AE-1


When I got my Canon AE-1, the seller threw in a free roll of expired Kodak UltraMax 400. I already had some fresh rolls of Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400 laying about, but I don’t want any film to go to waste. So, I loaded up the Kodak into the AE-1, and decided to overexpose it by one stop, just to be on the safe side (so, I shot the film at ISO 200, and had it developed normally by The Darkroom photo lab in San Clemente, CA at box speed). All photos were taken with the Canon FDn 50mm ƒ/1.4. Enjoy. 

Kodak UltraMax 400

With this roll, I was still testing the full capabilities of the Canon AE-1, as well as the FDn 50mm ƒ/1.4 lens. This was only the second roll that I shot with this setup (see the first Canon AE-1 + Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400 article). I reckon that this photo was taken sometime around 4pm, and I noticed that the moon (however small) was visible in the clear, blue sky. I just found it to be a beautiful sight, and I like how this photo turned out. Never underestimate an expired roll of film. ;)

Here’s another one of the moon. If I had to guess, I’d say that I shot these two photos at either ƒ/5.6 or ƒ/8.

This was taken just outside of my house, looking down the road. I’m fairly certain that I took this at ƒ8. It’s not a perfect photo, by any means, but I was impressed by the various shades of green. Loving the colors here.

For the photo above, as well as the photo below, I was testing the close-focusing abilities of the Canon FDn 50mm ƒ/1.4. It’s closest focusing distance is 0.45m. There were bees all over the place, so it took a few attempts to get this one the way I liked.

I particularly liked the way this photo turned out. Almost exactly the way I remembered it in person, but perhaps even better! Nature is really fascinating to me, and sometimes the most alluring things can be found in the smallest of places. Though, to be fair, after the testing phase of this camera setup is complete, I will more than likely refrain from taking photos of anything floral-related. I think plants, flowers, and alien-pod-like-seeds are beautiful, of course, but I’m not much of a floral photographer. I just happen to find it to be rather boring. My favorite subject, if you haven’t already noticed, is people. I love portraits, and I love street photography. Just my personal preference. :)

Speaking of which, the next three photos are of my lovely fiancée, Jessica. I happened to get a single photo of her on the last roll, but I wanted to take more with this Kodak. And I must say that I was absolutely pleased with the results. I really want to get prints of these made. And, on a side note, I was truly not expecting bokeh like this. Wow. For the record, this first photo was Jessica’s favorite.

Just as I did for the last roll, I wanted to see how this film converted to black and white (which I did in Adobe Lightroom CC). We both really like the way this one turned out, and we joked about it being the cover of her solo album. Sometimes, jokes just may be good actual ideas. lol

The thing with film is… I don’t always remember my settings. I’ll eventually get a nice moleskin notebook to carry around with me to keep track of things a little more, but I can’t imagine that this photo wasn’t taken at ƒ/1.4. Whoa! This photo actually shocked me. Again, I just wasn’t expecting these sort of results from an expired roll of film, but this is, without question, my favorite shot of the 24-exposure roll. It’s just magical to me. I suppose it helps that it’s a photo of the one I love most. :)

Here’s another taken right outside of our house. I just thought this was an interesting shot. This lens just renders so well.

And, finally, here’s another shot of a kitty. Seriously, what’s a roll of film without a photo of a kitty?! I jest… but I liked this one, as well. This silhouetted shot turned out exactly like I thought, and since it was heavily backlit, I decided to make it black and white; there really wasn’t much color information to work with.

Final Thoughts

I was blown away by Kodak UltraMax 400, to be perfectly honest with you. It’s not really that expensive, and gives great results. I will definitely use it again in the future. I must say that digital photography hasn’t once crossed my mind since I’ve started shooting film. They each have their place, and digital is a very convenient way of doing things. However, I haven’t had this much fun in years. There’s something really special about film, and the entire process one has to go through in order to get the results. And I must say that I really love the fact that I have actual, physical negatives to store and keep forever. I should have started shooting film sooner. Thanks for reading.