High ISO film


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Aug 7, 2021
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So I am just getting back into photography and digital is not my cup of tea. I realize it can do marvelous things but it’s to complicated. On top of that I have lots of film cameras. As I look for new film I have noticed that 400 seems to be the highest ISO I can find in color. B&W has 3200 so plenty of speed there. Has 400 gotten so good that higher ISO is not needed or is the demand just not there for it. I can see where people that normally shoot high ISO, such as sports photographers, would rather use digital. But some of us still want that speed for certain occasions. Anyway why no high speed film?
First, there are higher ISO color film than 400, portra 800 for example. And just because the box speed is a number doesn't mean that is accurate, it is usually high and you might want to research pushing, ie shooting at higher iso than box speed which over exposes the negative so you have the lab push process, ie leave in developer longer to avoid an over exposed negative. Or pulling, ie, shooting at a lower iso than box speed. I shoot 3200 at 1600 and have the lab pull it. The effect of pulling is decreasing contrast and grain. Pushing does the opposite so those can be chose not only for speed, but for effect on the image. Remember, you are probably having negs scanned and you have all the control over contrast, midtones and all the other cool digital stuff. Remember, unlike digital where you can change iso at will as you shoot, that film will have to be shot at the same iso. Also, if you are paying for developing and scanning which is priced by roll not by shot, you will probably shoot every shot on the roll so unless you have a removable back like my RB67 or a hassie, you are stuck with that film speed and color/bw.
I shot piles of Fuji Superia 800 but usually rated it at 620-800. Long-gone Fuji Pro 800z could be pushed 2 stops. The real problem now is finding a lab with a C-41 line tight enough to reliably do a 2-stop push. Fuji Superia 800 fell victim to cratered demand for film materials and was probably the last fast 35mm film produced. It and Superia 1600 were discontinued in early 2018 but both were already hard to find. Stale-dated Fuji 800/1600 might still be out there somewhere. Frankly, I'd skip it and shoot ISO400 materials when and where suitable.
I've shot Fuji 400 at 1600 and had great results. But as cgw says finding a lab too push it right is the key, lucky for me I work in a lab that does C-41 properly.
Back in the late 80's Konica had a 3200 speed color print film and believe or not it had less grain than Scotch 1000 speed. And of course most us older guys remember Ektapress 1600 that you could push all day long and it looked great even at 6400.
There were some ISO 1600 color films including a few that only expired a couple of years ago. If they were cold-stored they should be OK but asking prices are high on them. Even if older they may still be OK if reasonably well stored. But, don't expect the same image quality as with fresh, lower ISO films.
Thanks. I know there were older high ISO films as I shot many many rolls of Kodak 1000. I was just curious as to why they are no more. I had missed portra 800 and wonder how good it would be for an action film?
Thanks. I know there were older high ISO films as I shot many many rolls of Kodak 1000. I was just curious as to why they are no more. I had missed portra 800 and wonder how good it would be for an action film?
Sadly there are a great many films that aren't made anymore. High ISO film was always a very niche product so it's not surprising it's hard to find now that digital has taken over so much.
I did not throw my film cameras away when I went to digital. I find them far more interesting because of the "human" element needed.

With most old film cameras it is a bit more rewarding to know that you, not some guru that wrote the exposure algorithm, got the shot right. However, buy purchasing a couple of lens adapter rings, I can use my film lenses with my digital camera; buy simply switching to the Manual setting. As for the digital post processing, find it tedious, so I have been using Pacasa which the a very basic program.

I will admit that I am a Hobbyist, so photography for me is for fun and mostly Black and White film. As mentioned many of the 400 ISO films can be pushed to higher values.
I use Picassa also

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