Kodak Gold 200 VS Kodak Ultramax 400: What’s The Difference?

I’ve been shooting film for around 7 years and over that time I’ve shot a whole bunch of both of these film stocks.

Generally, the difference in these film stocks is in the hue, saturation, ISO, grain and quality. As easy as it is for me to explain it to you, it’s also really valuable for me to show you too!

All of the shots shown here are taken by me, I don’t have exact side-by-side photos but these shots do show the clear differences between these two budget bad-boys!

A Brief History Of Both

Kodak Gold 200: In the mid-’80s, Kodak introduced Gold 200, an iconic film that has stood the test of time. Revered for its warm tones, Gold 200 swiftly became a favourite for capturing everyday moments.

Its balanced warm hue and low cost made it an ideal consumer-level film stock, making it a household name. As a symbol of nostalgia, Gold 200 continues to enchant photographers, allowing them to weave a narrative of timeless warmth through their visual stories.

Kodak Ultramax 400: The early ’90s witnessed the unveiling of Kodak Ultramax 400, a versatile film designed to deliver vibrant colours and sharp details. Positioned as an all-purpose option, Ultramax 400 gained popularity for its ability to excel in diverse shooting conditions.

Today, Ultramax 400 is almost regarded as Kodak’s 400 ISO version of Kodak Gold (Although that’s not quite right).


These two are pretty interesting when it comes to colour and saturation.

Kodak Gold is pretty warm, having a yellow hue, especially in those highlights. It’s also pretty punchy and almost has a vintage feel to its colour. It’s a fairly saturated film stock but not to a crazy degree.

Ultramax shares a lot of Kodak Golds characteristics but it doesn’t have the same yellow hue. It’s known for being pretty saturated though which is one of the reasons that a lot of people like it.

I couldn’t really say either one was better, it’s more just a case of preference. Some people will prefer that yellow hue of Kodak Gold and some people will prefer the saturation of Ultramax!

Skin Tones

Neither of these are perfect for skin tones, if you want perfect skin tones then you want one of Portra 160 or 400.

Kodak Gold produces warm skin tones, possibly too warm for some people. Some people might like that look and feel but a lot of people would prefer natural skin tones.

Ultramax is obviously quite saturated so it can also wind up ‘over-egging’ the colour of your skin tones. These differences can be quite subtle, so it’s not really a big deal if you’re shooting things for fun or to practice, but if you want to take better shots of people then these aren’t the top of the crop.


Both of these have moderate contrast mainly due to the moderate dynamic range that they both have.

A lot of people like that a film stock is contrasty because it delivers that vintage feel to it but once again, it’s personal preference. A professional shooter would tend to prefer a film stock that isn’t so contrasty, so they can get as much information as possible from the shadows and highlights.


Kodak Gold is a 200 ISO film and Ultramax is a 400 ISO film so obviously Ultramax has a little more grain than Gold does.

Neither of them a dramatically grainy but I’d say that Kodak Gold has the finer grain of the two. Ultramax has a moderately crunchy-looking grain which can show up quite a bit in the shadows.

Again this is a question of preference, some people will like a bit more grain and texture, so maybe they do want Ultramax, but it’s completely subjective in that regard.

Dynamic Range

As mentioned before when talking about the contrast of these two, both of these have fairly moderate dynamic range.

If you don’t already know, dynamic range is how much information is maintained in the highlights and shadows of an image. If you have a film stock with great dynamic range then it’ll be more evenly exposed throughout the image whereas if you have a film stock with a bad dynamic range then it’ll have muddy shadows and blown-out highlights!

Professionals usually prefer a film stock with a great dynamic range, like Kodak Portra 400. These both fall in the low/mid-range of dynamic range. Not terrible, not great, just acceptable, which is fine for a lot of types of photography.


These are similar prices, although I’ve just seen Ultramax is about £14 a roll now, whereas Gold is £10.50 still in the UK.

Personally, I don’t really think Ultramax is quite worth £14 a roll, it’s okay but for a similar price you could buy Fuji Superia X-tra 400, which I’d argue is far better.

Gold is a much more affordable amount and I think it’s pretty ideal for the more casual film shooter.

What Are They Best For?

Both of these film stocks are consumer-grade film stocks, so they’re mainly best for day-to-day life and that kind of stuff.

Generally, I’d say that they’re both ideal for travel, day-to-day and perhaps even street photography. I wouldn’t really suggest these for any proper professional work, landscapes or proper portraiture.

As per usual, it’s all down to your own preferences, you might find that you love the way Kodak Gold looks or that you love the extra stop of ISO that you get from Ultramax, it’s all up to you.

What’s My Opinion?

I don’t really like Kodak Ultramax that much, I don’t think it’s got great exposure latitude and it’s still pretty expensive.

Kodak Gold on the other hand, it kind of does what it says on the tin and it’s basically one of the cheapest colour film stocks available.

I like gold for what it is.

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