New color film in 2020? Silberra? What is going on?
It turned out that Silberra, a film company based in Russia, was able to get their hands on, possibly, some Kodak Aerocolor film. Silberra wasn’t the only company that managed to snag some of these, but they had the best advertisements and distribution to the rest of the world. As a result, camera shops around the world started to carry 120 and 35mm versions of Silberra color 50, 100 and 160 film. These do not seem like expired film, so online consensus believe these to be either fresh, or well frozen, Kodak Aerocolor film (which was orderable from Kodak themselves, at a very high price). One might not be happy with their treatment of kick starters backers, but they are doing a great job distributing a hard to find emulsion in 35mm and 120 around the world. (well, until March 2022, when countries began to put embargo on Russia, due to the invasion in Ukraine)
I shot all three rolls of film in mid-summer of 2021, as they became available locally. I have seen them months earlier on their official website, but didn’t want to pay for shipping from Russia. Only this roll was shot on the Olympus XA2, thus all exposures were automatic. It might be due to the camera, because the colors and exposure from the Color 160 is the best of the bunch. We were hiking towards McNeil Point in Mt. Hood National Forest, and the day was beautiful. The shot here show the amazing vista of the Cascade range.
Turn around, and we can see the great Mt. Hood looming over us. We tried to get as close as possible without summiting the mountain, which is much longer and harder hike than what we planned for the day. Colors came out very pleasing, reminded me of Pro Image 100, but cooler in temperature.
Love Mt. Hood, we were surprised we got “this close” to the peak.
After the hikes, went home and took a nap. Since it is 200 speed film, I thought it would do decently indoors, which it does except the dark areas are not completely black, and it showed some red/orange tint after color balancing. It is a difficult scene with outdoor light.
Took the camera and film for another spin in my favorite weekend activity – supermarkets. Colors are slightly off here due to the incandescent light and sun from the outside. I struggled when adjusting the color temperature for all three Silberra color film, and you could see the attempt here. Not sure why, but they definitely give color characteristics unlike any on the market.
Ate some Birria at the famous Birria PDX, I got the combo so got various types of “tacos”, but folded different ways. I dipped everything in the birria (meat soup) and it was awesome. Took an over the head shot but it is an XA2, so there were camera shake. Color weren’t exactly pleasing either, hard to color balance.
Overall, I’ve mixed feelings on Silberra 160, and also the other two Silberra stocks. On one hand, it was three different color stock in a dwindling market. On the other hand, it was very difficult to get the color temperatures correct, and they were as expensive as Portra and Ektar. I could see people wanting to shoot this for 120, but there are still a few other color film that are cheaper that produce similar results. But, none of these matter, because Silberra is headquarters in Russia. The ongoing war in Ukraine and embargoes will prevent more of these from reaching consumers around the globe. So, shoot them if you have the chance, otherwise, I can see this being a limited run of film.