Week 48: CineStill 50D visits the O'Neill's in Boston & Martha's Vineyard

Enjoying a sunny September holiday in the Boston area, I opted for the special CineStill 50D plus some of the usual suspects to keep me going. Join me for some wonderful light, wonderful beaches, and plenty of family shots!

We had been planning this trip for a long time, well before my 52 rolls of film obsession (I mean, 'project') started, so I was glad I didn't use up all the best film before Week 48. In fact, I had put aside CineStill 50D just for this occasion. Our holiday would see us visit a number of different places, spending a week in Boston & the wonderful Martha's Vineyard, with a few nights stopover in Iceland on the way back (no prizes for guessing the theme of Week 49!). We had lots to see, lots of the O'Neill cousins to meet, and the great news: I had lots of film with me! 

About the film: CineStill 50D

CineStill 50D (the 'D' being for daylight) is a super fine grain low ISO film, perfect when there is plenty of sun around. They can do a better job at explaining the film, so here it is in their own words:

36 exp. 135 rolls. ISO 50/18° speed daylight balanced (5500K) motion picture emulsion. Original fresh stock from Kodak 50D, prepped and rolled for clean safe C-41 standard development as an ISO 50 film. Boasted to be the world’s finest grain film! May also be processed in motion picture ECN-2 chemistry.

Our proprietary "Premoval" process makes motion picture film safe to process in standard C-41 photo lab chemicals or at home. This emulsion is optimized for a hybrid workflow, ideal for scanning, and when processed in C-41 chemistry it can be optically printed on RA-4 paper.


  • Color Balanced Daylight (5500K) color negative motion picture film stock for use as still photography film
  • ISO 50/18° in C-41 or ECN-2 Process
  • Factory spooled into NEW high quality Dx-Coded Cartridges
  • Remjet backing free, resulting in a unique halation effect
  • Unrivaled highlight and shadow latitude
  • Dynamic accurate color rendition
  • High resolution with maximum sharpness
  • Enhanced Scanning Performance
  • Great for portraits and landscapes
  • Recommended to process C-41 or you can process in ECN-2 chemistry by hand without worrying about rem-jet

This is from the company that provides us with the wonderful CineStill 800T (my review here at Week 28) , so I was expecting really great results. I had also just missed their release of their 120mm medium format variety of this film, so I only had one 35mm roll. Luckily I had plenty of other 120mm film in the form of the always reliable Kodak Portra 400 film. I will note which shots are done with CineStill 50D, although the more attentive readers will realise it is any shot that isn't square (remember my medium format camera shoots square 6x6 shots).

Oh, and this post is going to be quite long, but trust me, very worth it!

(As always all photos clickable for full screen view, some of these are BIG so enjoy them full screen!).

The obligatory plane shot at the start of a holiday (or whenever you see a plane if you are me). We took advantage of Icelanair's great Europe <--> USA package, allowing you to stopover in Iceland for free (which we did on the return leg). I also managed to book us onto day flights both ways - result!
Literally the first shot of the CineStill roll - I actually really enjoy a light leak, even though it isn't supposed to be there! Look at the clarity of the colours though (e.g. the yellow of the engine) - great start!
I am really surprised how well this came out given such a big dynamic range and super bright. I could look at clouds like that all day.
The infamous volcano (I won't attempt to spell it without help)...
Just to prove I wasn't lying...
Landing in Reykjavik - this place is really very different when it isn't covered by snow and ice (shot with CineStill).
Talking about symmetry - I couldn't resist taking this shot when I saw how great the light was!
Downtown Boston, I like how bright and clear this came out (shot with CineStill).
Every time I come into this place I walk out with a new hat - really great place and awesome customer service (the guy helping us - at the till in the shot - was also an avid photographer and he sure looked the part!). 
I always get drawn to the bright red of a Coca-Cola truck and just need to take a shot of it!
The Massachusetts State House, built in 1798, and a really wonderful building. 
Something about all the converging lines and shapes made me take this shot. To be fair I was on the other side of the street and this shot is cropped, converted to black and white, and a bit of contrast added (ok, ok, many changes I know, but it is still shot on film at least!).
Throughout this project I have purposely tried to go with my "final shot" , a kind of 'what I shot is what I got' approach. Working with medium format cameras really helps this discipline as you spend so much longer composing a shot (and each shot is so much more expensive than a 35mm shot). 
It is amazing the scenes you just stumble into sometimes. An outside bookshop, probably founded by Irish people who could never do such a thing back home unless they wanted to sell books that were soaking wet!.
My cousins Owen and Ned, on the boat on the way to Martha's Vineyard. Talk about happy brothers!
The stadium of the New England Patriots. 
How could I not take a shot of this?! This could work in black & white too.

A bit about Martha's Vineyard

Given so many of the following photos are taken in Martha's Vineyard, I thought I would give a short introduction to this really nice island. Although there are conflicting views on why this island is called a Vineyard, when in fact it has none. M.V. (short for you know what) is about 2 hours south of Boston, located south of Cape Cod. It's well known for its wealthy visitors and swells from a permanent population of around 20,000 to well over 100,00 in summer. 

It is also much bigger than I thought it would be, with vast areas of land free of housing or construction. Given many properties provide so much privacy, I can see why it is popular with the rich & famous. It has a six towns, with multiple ports to come in from the mainland at Falmouth. It also has an airport (I'd love to fly down from Boston,that would be fun!). 

We enjoyed a weekend there, visiting some beaches and driving the length of the island. There are so many properties and areas that are hidden away, I can imagine finding new interesting places to photograph during each visit. This place is also super popular for weddings, you can see why with its wonderful scenic views.

View from the boat as it heads out to M.V. (shot on CineStill 50).
Nice group shot (shot on CineStill 50).
Arriving into M.V. Really hard to get a good shot here with how bright it was, but I like how this came out (shot on CineStill 50).
They have some really nice architecture on this island (shot on CineStill 50).
Livin' the American Dream and driving your 4x4 onto the beach!
Another group shot, so bright you even have to squint with sunglasses on! (shot on CineStill 50).
Typical neighbourhood view. 
Shot from the boat.
Fudge and toffee place - looks delicious!
Great shot of Ethan & Charlotte - it was also windy as you can tell!
Really not the best shot (my reflection, Ned with no glasses, Owen doing some strange pose) - but I laughed when I saw it so here it is. To be fair to Owen, he head just hurt himself (fractured rib!) by attempting a 'jump-in-the-air-whilst-being-photographed' routine.
Despite his fractured rib, Owen showing he is hard as nails.
Another part of the island, this time with Darlene (and more wind too!) (shot on CineStill 50).
Could be my favourite shot of them all - this really shows how calm and serene it was, just wonderful (shot on CineStill 50).
Cliff's of Gay Head (shot on CineStill 50). I actually took the same shot with my medium format camera with Portra 400 film, as I was curious how different it would be. This shot developed + scanned by my pro lab.
Cropped to fit a similar aspect ratio. Really interesting to see how different these two shots are. Granted they are both scanned with different scanners - the shot below scanned with my own scanner.
Owen & Ned don't much care for my boring photography observations about the different films, and are just happy to pose. 
Down on the beach. Contrast seems a bit off on this one, I am still experimenting with the scanner settings though.
Nice clear water - further down there are lots (and lots) of rocks as you go in for a swim followed by quite enormous waves - forget about fracturing your rib jumping off a sand  dune, just go in for a swim and maybe not come back!
Contrast is a bit off here, but I do like the composition overall.
Another nice shot of Ethan & Charlotte (I wonder what they were thinking).
Certainly one of the coolest pieces of street art / sculptures I have ever seen, kinda makes me want to take a nap!
Another great CineStill 50 shot. This film really excels in bright summer days.
Darlene & Katharina posing patiently.
When I said the houses here are beautiful, I wasn't joking - what wonderful colours!
Think I may have startled him here! Nothing like a good BBQ though!
One of the ships heading back to the mainland (Falmouth, MA to be precise).
1950 or 2017?
Back firmly on the mainland now and enjoying another great BBQ by my other cousin, Shane. This is Owen enjoying a beer and the company of the wonderfully cute Grace and Max.
Lovely outdoor fireplace.
The man of the hour and his steaks. When they're not burnt they're delicious (he will get a kick out of me saying that, sorry...inside joke!).
Our family friend Henri aka Henri O'Neill, with a rather unimpressed Max (he looks like he just woke up from his nap in the previous shot with Owen).
Not in focus but I don't care, what a great photo! 

Overall impressions

I am certainly glad I saved the CineStill 50D for this trip, it most certainly did not disappoint. It is a pity I did not have its 120 medium format version (which annoyingly is now available), but I was more than happy with my trustworthy Kodak Portra 400 film.

So back to CineStill. This film is seriously sharp and grain free. In fact, it is one of the sharpest films I have ever used, yet it also has loads of character. I found the way it reproduced some colours and scenes (especially with waterways involved) was really special. It would be interesting to compare it to Kodak Ektar 100, which is mainly used for landscapes. 

I seriously cannot fault this film. Sure, it is not the cheapest film out there, but if you want a really strong performer in bright summery says, look no further. I would probably say this film is best used during the earlier hours of the morning or after the sun starts to go down. As always shooting anything in the middle of the day can be problematic. 

And in terms of Boston and in particular Martha's Vineyard - I think the photos speak for themselves, what a great part of the world. Also, the O'Neill bunch are great hosts, maybe look them up when next in town! (Oh, and that was only half of the total amount of siblings they have, I could probably do a film project on the whole family!).

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed the holiday - and of course Week 49 will be published very soon...the shot below sees us flying there! 

And after Week 49 is done, only 3 more posts to go!

Thanks for stopping by.