Fast color films

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I just got back some Fuji 800 color print film (purchased at walmart) and the results were terribly grainy. I had used this film before and didn't notice the grain being objectionable on 4x6 prints, but this roll, since I viewed it on a computer screen, was terrible. Maybe it was expired. But anyway, what are some fast color films, either in C41 or E6? I understand there is Provia 400 and I'll probably shoot more of that, but are there good fast (or pushable) print films out there? How's the grain on Fuji's slower print films (such as superia 200)?
     
  2. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Again (this seems to get asked a lot) - are you judging the graininess by the scan or by looking at a neg enlarged optically? If a negative is poorly scanned, it can look grainy.
     
  3. OP
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Most of my snapshot work is processed at minilabs. I had been shooting this film during Christmas vacation and the Walmart prints did not look bad at all. This particular roll I did not get prints because it was a test roll for a new camera, but I got a CD. It's quite possible it is the scan, I suppose. I could stick a negative in my enlarger but I don't know if you could see graininess in a color negative or not.
     
  4. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Well, Walmart gave me some of the worst scans and prints I've seen in awhile not long ago. I honestly haven't tried looking at color negs in my enlarger, but it's worth a try. I just have a habit of not judging any film by what someone else did, whether scan or print.
     
  5. nyoung

    nyoung Subscriber

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    At risk of being accused of promoting my favorite, try the Kodak Portra 400VC.

    I've shot it side-by-side with Fuji 800 and 1600 for high school basketball and volleyball and the Portra shows less grain and more vivid color underexposed one or two stops than the Fuji products at box speed.

    Same cameras, same lenses, same gyms, same lab - regular processing, no "push" requested.

    I have some Portra 800 I'm waiting for an opportunity to test.
     
  6. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've found fast color films, and C41 films in general, look like crap when scanned at a minilab and are underexposed. Actually, they don't even have to be underexposed - any shot with a lot of darks in them are misread as underexposed by the minilab and are printed light. I had some night time photos that I took on ISO 100 film and were fine exposures but the scans looked horrible.

    That being said, I've had no *other* problems with Porta 400 and 800. Sure, there is some grain, but I thought they looked pretty good.
     
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I'll probably ignore this incident. I checked the CDs that came with the Walmart prints I shot in OH and they also look terrible, even thought the prints looked fine.

    But still, what are some fast color print films? For example, I know Fuji has a 1600 print film, but I've heard some people say that a certain Kodak 400 print film can be pushed two stops to 1600 and look better than the Fuji. And the fastest slide film I've ever seen is Provia 400.

    Edit: I guess it was Portra 400VC!
     
  8. nyoung

    nyoung Subscriber

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    Better and worse are always relative terms. Nothing shot on an ISO 1600 material will be as grain free or colorful as something shot on Kodachrome.

    Of course, with the Kodachrome in the circumstances where we shoot the high speed stuff, you get no pictures at all. Its always a trade-off.

    I started my adventure into underexposed Portra out of frustration. I wasn't happy with the results of the Fuji 1600 in the gyms where I shoot HS sports.

    I had been using the Portra 400 for about a year for other work and reading about its stupendeous exposure latitude.

    I literally said "what's the worst that could happen?' one evening and loaded up with a mixed bag of Fuji 1600 and Portra 400VC - four rolls each.

    I shot it all through six basketball games - 1/250, f2.8 @ iso 1600 then dropped it at the neighborhood Walgreens on my way home.

    Picked it up and the next day around noon and the difference was obvious - the Portra prints were obviously more color saturated and had less obvious grain.

    Granted mini-lab processing varies from location to location, but I would regard my first experience as a valid comparison as all 8 rolls ran through the same machine and chemistry with the same operator. The relative comparison has since held true in the same kind of situation at a Walmart lab.

    Oh, BTW, the Kodak Max 800 is the second worst C-41 film I've ever shot. The worst ever was the 3M film marketed under the Focal label at better Kmarts.
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i am quite fond of fuji 800 - i there there are 3 different versions of it,
    and i have used them all without a hitch.
    as bethe said don't judge your film by the poor job a minilab did.
     
  10. OP
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Portra 400VC is about 3 times as expensive as Fuji 800, also. That's pretty hard to swallow for someone on my film budget. Are there any slide films faster than 400?
     
  11. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    Aside from push-processing a stock like RXP (Provia 400X), not anymore. On the Fujichrome side, there also used to be RMS (Multispeed MS 100/1000) and RSP (Provia 1600). Similarly, there were faster films on the Ektachrome side like EPH/Panther (Ektachrome 1600X). Those were the past days, though. It's a different world now.
     
  12. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    No. You're only option is to push the film. I don't believe that many slide emulsions have been nominally faster than 400; most are pushed.

    Honestly if you're worried about grain the ONLY negative film that I can stand enlarged to 8x10 from 35mm is the Ektar 100. Other negative films come very close, but any faster than 100 speed becomes objectionable quickly. The slow slide emulsions are better.
     
  13. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    When speed is needed Portra 800 is awesome. I was a bit nervous to use it, but it gave results that look like they are from ISO 400 film. If you are looking into slides try E200 pushed. I personally try to use the slowest speed that I can.
     
  14. nyoung

    nyoung Subscriber

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    Apparently not any more. Back in the 80s I had some luck pushing Ektachrome 400 a stop or two.

    You could try that out with the Fuji Provia 400 if you have access to an E6 processor who will push it for you. Most charge $2.50 to $3 per roll extra for the service.

    All color film, chrome or print, will desaturate and show more grain as you push. The only difference is the degree.
     
  15. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    E200 can be pushed to 400, 800 and (I believe) even 1600
     
  16. OP
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    By E200 do people mean Kodak Elite Chrome 200? Just wondering.
     
  17. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    By E200 we mean Ektachrome 200. It is almost the same as Elite Chrome 200
     
  18. Windscale

    Windscale Member

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    Things are not really all that simple. It is not just a matter of different films going through the same machine with the same chemistry. Ideally, a separate channel has to be set for each type of film to get their colour matched. Kodak machines all come with colour matching strips. Most busy labs set channels for the most popular films, say, Kodak 100 or Fuji 100. They may not have done the same exercise for other films. But when they do get to print other films they just put them through any ordinary channel. The results would be less than ideal. Also, there can be fine colour tuning with each frame. But for busy labs they just don't bother and just go through the N N N N (Neutral) without correction. Again the results will be less than ideal. That's why there are much fewer variables with slides. Also, different films behave differently with different lenses, and under different lighting conditions. So, it is difficult to say which is the best or worst film. It is all a matter of person taste as dictated by the circumstances.
     
  19. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

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    EPH was a low contrast ISO 400 film. I shot a roll recently (at 1600), and the instructions to the lab were a two stop push (and given the age of the film I think it needed more!) This is made clear in the datasheet.
     
  20. E76

    E76 Member

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    Provia 1600 was like EPH in that it also needed a push, IIRC.
     
  21. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    I'm about to try Provia 400X (check previous post in this section - Fuji Provia 400X). It seems to have much to recommend it.
     
  22. nicefor88

    nicefor88 Member

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    Films over 400 ISO should not be allowed ! :wink::D