I recently acquired the Kiro 400 27 exposure film (buy here) made by FilmNeverDie which took five weeks to arrive from Australia! I was unable to find any information from anyone from the US on YouTube. There are about 10 videos from folks on the other side of the world. That got me thinking. I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of three 400 ISO films; Kiro 400, Kodak UltraMax 400 and, Lomography 400. There was a Reddit post that showed a picture of the Kiro film wrapper removed and a Fuji film stock under it. I wrote to FilmNeverDie asking if that was an accurate post and the owner, Gary affirmed that it was a fake post. Yes, it is rare for brand-new film stock or emulsion to be invented or made given the high cost associated with film manufacturing. Only the major manufacturers such as Kodak, Ilford and, Fuji typically introduce new emulsions. Films available these days are either revived emulsions or rebranded so, the skepticism on Reddit is understandable. For now, what emulsion the Kiro 400 embodies remains a mystery. It does have a unique look as can be seen below.
I am blessed to have three identical camera and lens sets – Olympus OM2 series with 50mm f1.4 – that I used to do the side-by-side comparison. Normally, I develop my own films but, in this instance, I decided to splurge in the name of objectivity and sent the three rolls to a professional photo lab that uses a Noritsu scanner. I did not touch up the images in any way, they are as they were received from the lab.
Without further ado, here are the side-by-side comparisons.
Note that the camera I used for the Kodak UltraMax 400 appears to have a shutter curtain issue and therefore bands show up on the side of those images.