I’ve been a film photographer for 7 years now and have learned the pros and cons of certain film stocks over that time.
Amber T800 is a motion picture film with very similar attributes to Cinestill 800T, including the signature halation on bright highlights. It’s good for low light but it can also be shot in the daytime, where it’ll have a blueish tint. It’s not DX coded but it comes with DX sticker if you’re using a point-and-shoot camera.
If you want to find out how Amber T800 compares to Cinestill 800T then keep on reading!
So What Is Amber T800?
Amber T800 seems to be the same Vision 3 stock as Cinestill 800T, it’s hard to see how it’s different but the results certainly aren’t quite the same. Amber T800 is a tungsten-balanced film, made for shooting at night or under unnatural lights.
Amber T800 has the textbook halation in the highlights and the usual green/blue glow in other lit areas. This halation is due to the type of film, because it is cinema film, the remjet layer that is usually on the back of film, is no longer there. This means that when you take a picture, the light hits your film but it also goes through it and bounces off the back of the camera and onto the film again, creating a deeper red glow in some of the brightest parts of the picture.
Amber T800 does not have DX coding on the canister but they do provide you with a sticker so that you can use the film with an automatic camera.
This is an interesting film stock, but the question is, how different is it compared to Cinestill 800T and is it any better? Let’s find out
Amber T800 VS Cinestill 800T
How does Amber T800 compare to Cinestill 800T? Amber T800 seems to be a film stock that’s based on the same idea as Cinestill and it apparently seems to use the same Vision 3 stock to produce it, so what’s different about it?
There seems to be a certain haziness to Amber T800 when compared with Cinestill 800T. I’m not sure why this is, initially I thought it was because I got Amber T800 scanned at medium quality instead of high but, it turns out I got it scanned at the same quality as the Cinestill.
There’s very little info about Amber T800, but if it comes from the same Vision 3 stock as Cinestill 800T then I’m not sure why it looks so different.
For the picture on the left, I do quite like the typical green glow and small bits of halation that run through both the Amber T800 and Cinestill 800T. It just seems that the Cinestill shots are a bit sharper and less grainy than any of the Amber T800 shots. Despite how dark some parts of the image on the right are, I can’t really see any noticeable grain.
As you can see from the pictures above, it’s not that you can’t take good pictures with Amber T800 but I think in comparison to Cinestill 800T, I don’t know what it has to offer. Amber T800 seems to be basically the same and in the UK the price point seems only £1 difference, (Amber T800 is £16.50 and Cinestill 800T is £17.50).
I think that this picture best shows the difference in quality between the Amber T800 film stock and Cinestill 800T. There’s a significant amount of grain on the left picture, Amber T800 just doesn’t seem to have the same quality as Cinestill 800T and it doesn’t seem to have quite as much forgiveness either.
You can see on the image on the right that it’s much clearer, it has far less grain and it’s better exposed. This shows a clear gulf in quality between Amber T800 and Cinestill 800T.
What Does Amber T800 Look Like In The Daytime?
This is where things get a bit complicated. When I previously shot with Cinestill 800T in the daylight, I got a lot of red light leaks. Whereas, when I shot with Amber T800 in the daytime, I didn’t. I’m not sure why this is and it’s purely anecdotal but I’ll go ahead and show you the results.
Above are a few shots from Cinestill 800T in the daytime. I didn’t get light leaks on all the shots but it was a common theme, despite shooting with it on two different cameras. I liked the look of Cinestill 800T in the daytime but the light leaks certainly ruined the experience.
I don’t know if the blue tint is less noticeable with Amber T800, but on a positive note, I didn’t really have any issues with red light leaks. I’d say this is the only thing that Amber T800 succeeds at when compared to Cinestill 800T.
A Quick Review Of The Amber T800 Disposable Camera
I also took out one of the Amber T800 disposable cameras, mainly because I was excited by the prospect of an 800T disposable.
I like the look and design of the Amber T800 disposable camera but unfortunately, that’s about it.
The concept of a tungsten disposable camera is a fairly cool one, although I’d always suggest buying a point-and-shoot camera instead. Although it delivers interesting shots, the quality is really low. It seems that the outer portions of the image are significantly out of focus, which isn’t unusual for disposable cameras but on this one, it seems more pronounced.
As you can see in the shot above, the outer parts of the picture seem really poor and out of focus, the whole shot feels quite weird. Understandably, disposable cameras aren’t supposed to be great quality, but I don’t feel like this is quite good enough.
Finally, I found the flash seemed to take quite some time to actually start up and once it had, I wasn’t even sure that it was ready. Perhaps, if Reto worked on making this disposable camera a little bit better then it could potentially be the unique selling point that they’re looking for since no other disposable is quite like this one.
So Why Try Amber T800?
I honestly don’t really know why you’d try T800, it’s a shame but there’s nothing better about it than Cinestill and it’s only £1 less. Obviously, prices may vary throughout the world so if it does mean you’re making a significant saving then I can certainly see why you’d give it a go. But for that saving, you’re also cutting the quality of your shots quite dramatically.
So, I guess I don’t really know what Amber T800’s angle is. Why produce a film stock that’s basically the same as Cinestill 800T but a bit worse for only £1 less?
This isn’t a film stock that I’d pick up again and I wouldn’t really suggest that anyone else bother unless you’re actually making a significant saving.
Thanks a lot for reading and I hope this has helped you to decide whether you want to try out Amber T800 or not. It’s been a quite damning article to write but things could change in the future. If the price point becomes more competitive or the quality of the film becomes better then who knows, maybe it’ll become competition for Cinestill after all!