color film

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by enigma, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. enigma

    enigma TPF Noob!

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    I just took my color film (fuji nps 160) up to the lab to get developed. The guy at the lab asked me why I use that film aposed to any more standard color fuji film. I said it was better, and that my teacher said we had to buy the pro stuff. He said the colors are about the the same, the only real difference is that the pro stuff is better to develop yourself then the other stuff because it can hand temp changes better. My question is... is the pro film much/any better than say fuji superia or something like that?

    thanks.
     
  2. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My first thought is that you took the film to a mine lad.

    Second, most reviews that I have read or seen on TV all come to the same conclusion.
    That film for the major manufactures all produce high quality prints with slight different.
    And that in the end it person prefer of the slight different that you favor

    Third pro film is packages with the lot numbers marked on the packaging.
    This give you the option of buy film same manufacturing lot for a photo shoot.

    Fourth, no one develop C-41 themselves, you need a machine

    I noticed an improvement in my photographs when I switch to pro file.
     
  3. mikerfns

    mikerfns TPF Noob!

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    Professional color negative films are usually optimized for specific situations/subjects, such as people/portrait photography (Kodak Portra or Fuji NPC/NPS/NPH films). They can certainly be used for general photography with wonderful results, but where they really shine is when used for their targeted purpose. Pro films are manufactured to tighter tolerances, are released for sale at their optimum color balance, and should be used promptly or stored refrigerated if you don't plan to use them right away.

    Consumer color negative films like Superia are intended to be used as general purpose films. They work well for a broad variety of subjects and lighting conditions. The Superia films are particularly good at handling mixed lighting conditions because of their new "4th Color Layer" technology (which has also recently been added to pro NPS/NPH I believe.) Consumer films are released for sale with the expectation that the film will age and ripen to the optimum color balance on store shelves (or inside cameras) before it is used. Refrigerated storage is not required (although it is beneficial for extending the shelf life).

    Complicating (and maybe confusing) the situation is that many professional films have direct consumer equivalents (particularly with slide films). An example would be Fuji Astia 100 (Pro) and Sensia 100 (Consumer) slide films. Usually the only difference is much tighter quality control of color balance.

    Fuji NPS has no direct consumer equivalent. If your teacher told you this was the film he/she wanted you to use, presumably he/she had a reason for that recommendation. Fuji Superia does have a direct pro equivalent - Fuji Press. In the case of Superia/Press it is the SAME film, the only difference is that Press is usually sold in propacks of 20x36exp.

    I wonder if your lab guy has actually seen NPS before? Perhaps he has none to sell and would like to encourage you to buy films he has in stock? The color may be "about" the same, but there is a difference. NPS/NPH is optimized for skin tones, and they definitely do produce better skin tone colors than other general purpose films. These portrait films also have a lower contrast and produce more muted colors than a super-saturated film like Velvia. And NPS is certainly NOT easier (or harder) to develop than any other color negative film (it may be more difficult to print well if the lab operator doesn't have any experience with this film). ALL C-41 color films are developed with the same chemistry and process. It is possible, I suppose, to process C-41 at home, but I believe temperature control at certain stages is extremely critical. Unless you can't find a lab that does a decent job, I don't know why anyone would want to process C-41 at home.

    Regardless of what anyone tells you, buy and use the films that give YOU the best results, be it NPS, Superia or whatever. 8)

    Mike
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Exactly, all C41 is processed identically. This is why it's so hard to find a lab that can push or pull C41, because it's not a feature of the processing machine.

    Pro film is kept track of; there is an emulsion number. If you are taking portraits of 2000 high school students and have to print pics, it's easier if they all print the same for the same lighting and exposure. So the photographer makes sure they get the same emulsion number.

    Pro film is designed to have peak color quality and saturation right after it leaves the factory, and it is designed to be refrigerated to maintain this quality as long as possible. Consumer films are designed to be stored at room temperature for as long as possible while still maintaining good performance. If you were to make graphs showing a film's performance over time a pro film graph line would look like a mountain peak while consumer film would look like a wide plateau.

    All films are subtly different. One man's trash is another man's treasure. I like Kodak Gold 200. I really like that I can find it anytime anywhere for less than $2 a roll. I shoot it at 100 and 200 in many different situations, and I think the colors look pretty good. I'm not a big fan of any other Kodak color film.
     

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