Kodak Colorplus VS Kodak Ultramax: What’s The Difference?

I’ve been shooting film for over 7 years and over that time I’ve shot a hell of a lot of Kodak Colorplus and Ultramax.

Generally, the difference between these two is the ISO, grain and saturation, but it’s worth looking a bit more in-depth to make sure we’ve got it all covered.

These are two 35mm film stocks that I’ve shot extensively so I feel more than happy to be able to talk about all of the differences of them.

Despite the fact that Colorplus is looked at as a consumer-grade colour film, I still really like the pictures I took with it. They have a vintage look and feel and to be honest, the low cost of the film made it much more viable for me to shoot a lot.

Anyway, these aren’t direct side-by-side shots but they go a long way to being able to show all the differences.

A Brief History

Kodak Colorplus: The early 2000s marked the introduction of Kodak Colorplus, a film that democratized the world of analogue photography. Launched in 2001, Colorplus was designed to provide an affordable yet reliable option for consumers.

Its history is intertwined with a mission to make film photography accessible to a broader audience, allowing aspiring photographers to capture life’s moments in vibrant colour. Over the years, Kodak Colorplus has become a symbol of inclusivity in the analogue photography community, embodying the joy of simple yet effective storytelling.

Kodak Ultramax 400: In the early ’90s, Kodak unveiled Ultramax 400, positioning it as a versatile solution for photographers seeking vibrant colours. With its introduction in 1991, Ultramax 400 quickly gained popularity as an all-purpose film, well-suited for diverse shooting conditions.

Its history is one of adaptability and reliability, offering photographers a tool that could effortlessly capture the spectrum of life’s colours. Kodak Ultramax 400 continues to endure as a trusted choice, weaving together the narrative of time through its ability to faithfully document the vibrant hues and nuanced details of the world.

Colour & Hue

These two 35mm bad boys have some really similar attributes to one another and I’d say that colour and hue are one of them.

Both of these have quite saturated colours, however, Ultramax is the more saturated of the two of them. Saturation is what Ultramax is known for, but as you can imagine, with a colour film known as Colorplus, which also has quite saturated colours.

Neither of these have an overwhelming hue either way. Colorplus may have a small hue of yellow but nothing intense. Colorplus almost has this vintage feel right out of the box but that’s determined by contrast as well as hue.

Skin Tones

If you’re looking to take super high-quality portraits then I’d suggest using something out of the Kodak Portra range. However, both of these film stocks have OK skin tones, nothing incredible but good enough.

I’d say that Ultramax could be a bit more risky than Colorplus because of how saturated is, so there’s a chance that it could ‘over-egg’ the saturation of your skin tones.

As you can see, even with a film stock as basic as colour plus, I was still able to capture a really lovely portrait.

Dynamic Range

If you’re not sure what dynamic range is, it’s basically how much information is retained in the highlights or shadows of an image. If a film stock has a good dynamic range then it will be evenly exposed throughout the image, even if there are extreme highlights and shadows.

If a stock has a bad dynamic range then the highlights will be blown out and the shadows will be dark or muddy.

Colorplus has a pretty bad dynamic range which results in a higher contrast image, this kind of adds to its vintage aesthetic. To be honest, I never found this to be a massive issue while I was shooting it but now I’m trying to shoot more professional shots, I opt for a film stock with a better dynamic range.

Ultramax is similar to Colorplus in this respect although its dynamic range is a little better (not much though). So they’re in a very similar boat.


Kodak Colorplus is a 200 ISO film stock and Ultramax is a 400 ISO film stock. Generally, Colorplus isn’t very grainy because it’s quite a low ISO film stock, so it’s not really something people worry about too much.

Being a 200 ISO film stock means that Colorplus isn’t very versatile, so it’s not ideal for low light or anything like that. It’s more of a nice daytime film stock.

Ultramax on the other hand has a bit more grain which is pretty moderate but it’s a bit more crunchy in terms of structure. This isn’t really a big deal, but if you want finer grain with more detail then I’d suggest something like Portra 400.

Ultramax is a bit more versatile, so you can shoot it in lower light situations than Color plus which is one of Ultramax’s upsides.

So as an overview, Ultramax is more grainy, with a higher ISO and Colorplus is less grainy but also less versatile.


These used to be a similar price but now Colorplus is the cheapest at £10 a roll. Ultramax is £14 a roll which I honestly don’t really think is worth it. Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 is a similar price and I’d say it’s better than Ultramax.

Considering that they’re both consumer-grade film stocks, it kind of makes Colorplus a bit more desirable to me.

What Are They Best For?

Being budget bad boys, these film stocks are both best for travel, day-to-day life and maybe a bit of street photography.

They’re basically the affordable option so they aren’t really ideal for anything professional. Of course, you can shoot these for anything that you want to and I’ve personally enjoyed shooting Colorplus for all kinds of work, like street photography and portrait stuff.

So in the end, it’s all down to your personal preference as per usual. These aren’t ideal for much other than day-to-day and travel but of course you can get great photos with nearly any kind of film.

What’s My Opinion?

Personally, I’ve shot way more Colorplus than Ultramax and I can honestly say that I loved shooting Colorplus. It’s low price allowed me to shoot a whole bunch of it and that allowed me to learn photography and enjoy it.

Colorplus isn’t very forgiving but if you’re shooting on a budget I still think it’s a great option.

I don’t see Ultramax as being a great film stock but there are people out there that like shooting it. Personally, I’d probably go for Fuji Superia X-Tra if I wanted a mid-ISO film stock.

More Examples

All of the pictures above were taken on Kodak Colorplus on the Olympus MJU I camera.

The pictures above were taken on Kodak Ultramax 400 and they were also shot on the Olympus MJU I.

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