160VC old vs 160VC new vs 100UC vs Reala vs Rebel XTi

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by 25asa, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Well I did my test I said I was going to do. I got the last roll of old 160VC
    from the store along with a roll of Reala. I got my other roll I had of 100UC
    ready along with the new Portra 160VC. My idea was to see how the resolution,
    grain, and color would compare against the old 160VC and the new 160VC. But I
    also wanted to see how the grain of 100UC would be against 160VC. And since
    Reala is a favorite- I through that in the test. But my main desire was to see
    how 35mm film would compare in terms of resolution and detail against my Rebel
    XTI 10 megapixel SLR camera. So I had a day off from the lab and took all 5
    cameras out for an afternoon shoot. I later got the rolls developed with no
    prints. I scanned all those rolls here at home on my 3200dpi Minolta Scan Dual
    4. I did some color changes on each roll since each film had a severe color
    cast with some shots. But you will notice they are not matched to each other.
    I was just trying to get things in the ballpark. I wasn't too concerned about
    color quality and contrast differences on most shots. I left contrast as per
    the scan and did no sharpenning on any of these shots- including the digital
    files. The easiest and most accurate film to scan with little changes was the
    new Portra 160VC. 100UC seemed to go magenta, while Reala was very cyan green.
    The Reala roll was overexposed compared to the other rolls, as I think my one
    camera is out. I shot everything at f8 on all cameras. I left shutter speeds
    up to the camera itself. The cameras in use were a Elan 7, 1N-HS, AE-1, and FT-
    B. I used a 50mm lens on all 35mm cameras. The Rebel XTi I resorted to using
    my 17-40L zoom to get the camera in the 31mm range. I very much doubt the 17-
    40L is much sharper then my prime 50mm lenses. The Elan 7 and 1N-HS shared the
    same 50mm 1.8 lens, while the FT-b used the FD 50mm 1.8 and the AE-1 used the
    FD 50mm 1.4 lens. I had my tripod with me for the shots, but only 3 cameras
    had a base plate to use with the tripod. The other 2 cameras I just rested on
    the head. This shows up with a shot or two with movement. The day was very
    overcast. I just couldn't get any sun to do this, but being the films they
    were (other then Reala), they are good with flat lighting. The film that had
    the most color was not 100UC, but the new Portra 160VC. 100UC was very sharp.
    SO here are my samples and take a look for yourself. After seeing these
    results, Im convinced my 10 megapixels SLR had more resolution then 35mm film.
    Plus the images are cleaner with no grain. I'll still use film, but after all
    this I will be using my Rebel XTi more often.

    Here's the first pic full frame.
  2. And here are the 100% crops from the full rez images. I uprezzed the Rebel XTi images to be the same as the scanned 35mm film. This is the one example that the digital image was out of focus compared to the film shots.
  3. Here's the second full image.
  4. And the 100% crops from this shot.
  5. Third full image.
  6. And 100% crops from 3rd image.
  7. Fourth image. Full frame.
  8. Fourth frame 100% crops.
  9. Fifth image full frame.
  10. And 100% crops.
  11. Since the weather was drab out with poor lighting, I took only one real shot for color. I did this between the old and new 160VC. The new film shows way more saturation, but in this case contrast seems higher as well. Since I still have the remaining part of those rolls, I might do a second test in the future with more color and maybe some people shots. I like the new 160VC, if it is a bit over the top in color. I dont know if I'd switch from Reala though, but I might for 120 film.
  12. One last comment- now if only the color quality of digital would be as good as the film scans. I would suspect the digital images would need quite a bit of corrections to get it close to the film scans. The best color was from 160VC new with 100UC or old 160VC being 2nd best. The Reala in this test was out to lunch in terms of color. This was not my standard results with Reala.
  13. Coorection: The second batch of 100% crops shows the digital image out of focus, not the first set of images. Also pardon the spelling mistakes and gramar
  14. Scot,

    Doesn't a digital camera perform sharpening algorithms? Could this be why the pictures from the Rebel look sharper than from the scans of the negative.

    And of course, there is an extra element involved regarding the film...the scanner. What would the comparison look like if a better scan was made, for example, a high-end drum scan? That would be a more interesting comparison.

    Anyway, thanks for the pictures. It looks like the new portra 160VC is a really great film and is an improvement over the old version
  15. I used the XTi in RAW mode, so I dont believe there was any sharpenning done at all. All were processed with Photoshop Elements 5 with the Raw converter.

    Also a drum scan may be better, but to me it seems the grain is getting in the way as is in terms of resolving detail any further.

    I will still use my 120 film cameras, but 35mm might be left to B&W and E-6 from now on.
  16. But Scott...the digital camera must be doing some kind of processing, even if the results are outputted as RAW. After all, there is a Bayer pattern, or something similar, on the sensor. Interpolation algorithms are employed to fill in the missing colors. I've often wondered if these interpolation algorithms also contribute to edge enhancement.
  17. RAW takes the info direct from the chip. All processing including Bayer algorythms are done in post. But I checked the program to be safe and I just noticed the sharpenning was turned to 25 in the Raw converter, so darn it the results are slightly skewed. I checked the same pic of one without sharpenning and its a bit softer. But the problem with using USM with film scans is that it enhances grain, which can be a problem. I suppose doing USM and then NeatImage noise reduction would be an improvement. I'll do the one pic and post a couple updates.
  18. Here is the 3rd set image from the XTi without any sharpenning- I turned it to zero. You can see its softer, but still holds up well.
  19. Here is the same pic 3 steps. First is Raw image from XTi with no USM in raw, but USM done in Photoshop. Second is new 160VC sharpenned same amount as digital Raw file using USM in Photoshop. Third is the second image then processed using Neat Image, then a second set of USM passes done on that file. I did two passes of USM in photoshop for each image, plus a third and fourth pass on Neat Image file.
  20. Thanks, Scott. Its amazing how good the digital is. I for one still like film cameras because: 1) I like the bigger screen/image size in the viewfinder than an APS-sized sensor digital camera; 2) I like the dynamic range of film; and 3) I can shoot slides. But hey....the results of the Rebel look great. I just ordered an F6 as a birthday present for myself, so I'm looking forward to more fun with film. But someday, I might just join the bandwagon and include digital in my camerabag. My main concern, though, is how long do the sensors last before pixels start to die? Any experience with that?
  21. rebel XTi is the only camera that doesnt show blinds on the right side of the crops (sample2full.jpg)
    Pls, don't forget that rebel's image is about 10x14inches (300dpi) while scanned image is at least 15x 21 at 300dpi
  22. Scott, thanks for the test.

    I did something similar with my 20d, only comparing it to sensia 100 using my Scan Dual 4. In short, there was little if any appreciable gain from scans from the Scan Dual 4 when compared to the 20d. That might be different if I were using a 4000dpi Nikon film scanner (like Les uses) or a drum scan. But I wasn't. What I have is a Scan dual 4, so that's what's relevant in my case.

    tTwo thoughts: First, as others have noted you're not really comparing the resolution of film (at least not directly ) with your XTi, but the capabilities of the Scan Dual 4. Having said that, second, I still find it very helpful. I have a Scan Dual 4 which I've used for a couple of years now. I've always been thrilled with it's results. I could almost certainly get more out of a scan if I were using a Nikon, not to mention a drum scan, but that's all hypothetical in my case. What I have is a Scan Dual 4. So I find tests like this helpful given my circumstances. I'm not going to spend big bucks on a film scanner with higher resolution. Seems to me the expense doens't outweight the relatively mild gain in resolution. I"d rather save for a 5d or some such.

    So in sum, these are helpful. But let's be clear that you're comparing a DSLR to a film scanner--a very helpful thing to do, but not quite the same as comparing directly to film.
  23. That rebel xti looks quite good, seems to have all of the resolution without the grain which is nice. Of course then film has more dynamic range and you can shoot film when it gives you a useful advantage and shoot digital when that has the advantage.
  24. As for the sample 2 pics- I mentioned the digital pic was out of focus. So in that batch the results are skewed.

    Yes I should say Im comparing scanned film to digital pics. This is the workflow I have available, so this is what will work for me. I end up getting better results from the XTi in my case. Cleaning up grain in the image can be difficult, especially when trying to get detail out of that grain. I still like films colors better, but digital produces clean images- so its a trade off.
  25. Thanks for taking the time to shoot these, Scott. I've been anxious to get my hands on the new Portra for some time, but still haven't found any, so your comparisons with old Portra, 100UC and Reala are of considerable interest to me.
    A couple of comments about your conclusions relative to your Rebel, however...
    First, in terms of drum scans and bringing out more grain, keep in mind that drum scans are fluid mounted and tend to do a very good job of bringing out the best in detail while helping to tame scratches and grain.
    I'm not trying to suggest that you should drum scan your 35mm film or that the comparison is somehow "unfair". It's completely "fair" for your purposes as it uses the tools you would actually use - end of story. I'm simply responding to your comment relative to drum scanning and pointing out that a good drum scan might well bring out more detail without adding grain.
    And secondly, the all important issue of sharpening. I would never, ever, ever globally sharpen film scans due to exactly the problem you see with grain accentuation. There're a number of techniques, packages and plugins out there which address this issue.
    If you're not familiar with this, I'd highly recommend you check out this article by the late Bruce Fraser at the Creative Pro website. Better yet, check out his book "Real World Image Sharpening". I developed actions based on Fraser's approach years ago, and later moved to the Photokit Sharpener Photoshop package that his company developed. The differences, especially with film, are not subtle!
    Not trying to incite a film vs digital debate here - anything but! I shoot both and find value in both. I would argue, however, that getting the most out of film in a digital workflow does require more time and different skills, knowledge and patience. These issues often impact the conclusions reached in any film/digital comparison.
  26. Thanks for the report, but this "test" is not really valid. Using diffent lenses (and to some extend different camera bodies) with different exposures makes the pictures not really comparable. Also, the exposures should have been standardized, relative to the rated speed. Resting a camera on a tripod may not be the same as attaching it to the tripod, especially where mirror lock up is not used. Finally, although I think this is nit-picking, your 3200 ppi scanner probably cannot resolve all of the finest detail that is partially preserved (i.e., low MTF) on the film, although to me the grain and other issues, plus the effect of the 50% MTF limit, make me inclined to agree with your basic conclusion, for most film, as a practical matter.
  27. I agree my test is not conclusive, but for the most part it tells me with what I have what works best. This is a budget minded test which most people would have access to and funds for the equipment. No everyone can afford drum scans. My point was to show with what was available what results I could get. This test showed me its far easier to get really good results from digital then from film as far as detail is concerned. This test also showed film can show better color then digital with certain rolls. There was no practical way to use the same lens on my digital body due to the 1.6 crop factor, so I ended up using the closest thing I had which was my zoom. Most people would have this type of equipment. The Rebel XTi is the cheapest digital body Canon makes, so a lot of people will have access to this. Same with the Minolta Scan Dual 4 scanner. I guess I should have mentioned this on the first post. Im not really qualified to give a conclusive test, but Im satisfied with what I got. My scanner is good enough to go to the grain level which is what I wanted to see. And again the detail seems to be hard to get out of the grain on film scans. If I was using a 5D full frame camera, this test may have been more accurate, but most would agree that camera beats 35mm for sure.
  28. Well to fix the 2nd set of samples, I went back to the same location and reshot the picture on the Rebel XTi. The weather was the same as yesterday, so that worked well. I pasted the new shot in with the old samples from the film pics. I also added the firehydrandt which was missing last time because it was out of focus. This time when I converted the raw file, I made sure USM was at zero. Keep in mind all XTi shots were done at 100ISO. Here is the new set of sample pics for number 2.
  29. And for referance I took the same file as the last one and did two passed of USM. Here is that file.
  30. In context of my last comment- I was refering to the detail in the shots from a 5D, not dynamic range and color.
  31. Scott, thanks very much for posting the results of your testing.
    I won't comment on your DSLR because this is a film forum.

    Based on Scan Dual 4, the new 160VC is not as low contrast as
    Kodak led us to believe. The 100UC is much lower contrast in most
    of your scenes. Presumably you exposed all according to box ratings.
    I'd like to try 100UC at EI 160 to see if contrast remains as low.

    On the bright side, new 160VC seems to be what Fuji 160C was not
    for me: an easy-to-scan high-contrast supersaturated film with
    fine grain, high resolution, and good sharpness. I couldn't scan
    160C worth beans, nor were Frontier prints of 160C stunningly good.
  32. Scott, you say "My scanner is good enough to go to the grain level which is what I wanted to see", but this is not quite true. If you were to scan the film at 8000 DPI, you would notice several things: the scan would appear less grainy, the individual grains would be smaller, and the grains would be sharper. Scanning slowish negative film at 3200 DPI is also exactly the conditions in which grain aliasing can have a big effect on the appearance of grain.

    Interesting test nonetheless, but how can we judge colour if you performed different colour correction on each roll?
  33. Interesting point. I'd like to see a scan at 8000 dpi from 35mm. As for color, I wasn't planning to judge color on this test because of the scanning differences. Though some films were closer to the actual color then others. Funny thing was the digital file with a change in color temperture helped a bit. On the last posted examples the digital file did come the closest to the actual color of the building. But whether its accurate or not, I did like how 160VC for example showed the colors given. It would take some effort to do that with a digital file.

    As for the 5D comment- I'll leave it at that from what I've read about it. I don't have one to show either way which is better in terms of detail resolvement, nor do I have a better film scanner either. So I'll retract that comment for now.
  34. Addenda- if anyone hasnt seen this post yet, its some previous scans from the new 160VC I did at Christmas time. You can see them here:

  35. Thank you for these very informative pictures. After Kodak had sphipped thousands of free samples months ago, this is the first useful information on the new Portras I've found on the net.

    It looks like the new Portra ist the first one to deliver good micro-contrast like the Fuji, an does not have the mushy over-smooth appearence that also plagues the Tmax100.

    I also admit, that grain is NOT an indicator for limitation of resolution in a scan. Film grain is a mixture of big and small "dots", and also an uneven distribution of small "grains" can look like coarse grain in a scan. Actually, a high-resolution scan can be less grainy than a low-resolution one. Additionally, a high-resolution scan allows you to apply sharpening in a way, that mainly focusses on real detail, and does not cause that much increase in grain.

    All in all, I have to say that the performance of the new 160VC is quite impressive.


  36. The "grain" you get with desktop scanners is amazingly coarse compared to the grain you see with a microscope. A higher res scan may well give a better image even if the image appears "grainy" in a low-res scan. To really properly render grain you need to scan at around 20000 ppi, (yes twenty thousand).
  37. I think for a fair test a drum scanner is needed.
  38. For a fair test? I thought this was about budget available examples. Doing drum scans is hardly cheap or readily available in some locals. So instead of just taking the output of a digital camera (which is essentially free once you have the camera) and doing some slight sharpenning, I have to get a $50-100 drum scan off one picture and feed it through a noise reduction program. Does something not jive with that? It seems theres more work in getting results off of film then their is a digital file for similar results. I mean we are only talking about a low end digital SLR in this test vs a low end film scanner.
  39. It was an interesting exercise but as mentioned before, too many variables to compare one shot to the next. In some of them I actually thought the 160VC looked much better and more detailed than the XTI.

    I did a little comparing of a 5D against film scanned on a Nikon Coolscan V recently and I feel the scans are more detailed and if you are scanning chromes, there is no contest. But, detail isn't always the only criteria we choose a tool for. I own digital and film SLRs AF and MF so I am fortunate that I can choose what body, lens, and film/sensor I think would be the best or easiest at the time. So much of this is subjective any way and the slightest variance in processing/scanning/exposure/ad naseum can make a big difference. Thanks for taking the time to post this though. It has helped me decide to get some of the new 160VC and try it.
  40. Not many labs do optical prints anymore. Aside from the lab I work in that can (but wont be for much longer), and the lab I send out to for custom work- most have switched to digital already. I only ask for optical prints on B&W and medium format work.

    Just a note- my Rebel XTi has the exposure adjusted to overexpose 1/2 stop. This is partially why my sample 1 is blown out.
  41. Oh to add- my plan is to get the Nikon 9000 scanner as I need it for 120 work as well. My flatbed scans of 120 and 4x5 leave a lot to be desired.
  42. i have a hard time getting past the grain in the film crops. it is interfering with the detail.

    it would be interesting to see these scanned on a better scanner, but i doubt you would see more than minor improvements. your scanner is fairly recent in technology and not far off 4000 dpi. also, at least with chromes, i don't buy into the grain aliasing argument much anymore. viewed some velvia slides under a microscope at my local photo club and compared them to scans off an older scanner. the grain was pretty much what was on the film. maybe it comes into play at high iso.

    the new portra did well. but looking over the samples the rebel is the one by which the others are measured. consider the cracks in the paint in sample 3 which are clear in the rebel crop, soft or non-existent in the film crops.

    also, with due respect to mr. sullivan, i would like to see those 5d and film scan crops. there's a couple 5ds at the local club now and one guy had some comparison 35mm/5d prints and, well, wow. makes me really, really want one.
  43. I've seen some amazing 5D photos also and in a low contrast lighting, it is amazing. But, the samples I compared were most of a fair skinned brunette in a wedding dress. Lots of range to cover there. The groom was also fair skinned and haired and of course in a black tux. I really don't know enough to know a camera/film/lens that would be best for all situations. I don't think I can manipulate any of them that well. I am not very good at photoshop so combining a bunch of layers for HDR is more trouble than it's worth for me. I just shoot negative film when I need more range, slides when I want that saturation "punch" without loss of detail and digital when I'm needing speed, ease of manipulation, etc. Sometimes I just shoot whatever is handy. :)

    I've had to rescan some stuff after learning a little more about scanning, rescanned some again after getting a better scanner, and even rescanned a few things yet again after learning a little more about scanning. Same with processing digital images. I am learning slowly it seems, but I'm always trying to learn. That's why I made the comment about processing.
  44. By the Way. I wouldn't mind having a 5D myself. I didn't say there was anything wrong with it.
  45. Scott thanks a lot for this test, I wished you could add Fuji Pro 160S !
    Which tripod and which head did you use !?! This can be the weekest point in the image chain, especially the head.
  46. Rainer,
    I used a pro Manfrotto with 141RC head and 455B legs. I think its fine for 35mm.
  47. Hi, this is what the head looks like in this image CHAIN, well..


    Maximum Load Capacity 6.0 kg (13.3 lbs);

    Head Height 13 cm (5.2 inches);

    Pan 360? ;

    Tilt -30? +90? Frontal Tilt, -90? +30? Lateral Tilt;

    Weight 1.0 kg (2.3 lbs);

    oops is this correct, same weight as initial Arca Swiss Monoball ?

    Scott, have you used Mirror Lock Up and Self Timer ?
    Which film was shot with which lens?

    to the others: nothing can be said against the EOS 400D, Rebell XTi at US$799.
    for that amount of money one could do 10 drum scans. Not enough money for a Nikon 4000/5000 film scanner let alone a 6300ppi scanner or a 8000ppi scanner.
    new 160VCnew looks visibly improved :)
  48. Rainer,
    Not all shots were locked down on the tripod. Some where just rested on the head since I didn't have a plate to use with the camera. This accounts for some blurr on some shots. No I didn't use mirror lockup, but on the Elan 7 I think I used the timer. No on the other cameras. Film may have better rez on a better scan, but to me the Rebel XTi still looks more detailed and gives better results for the money. Yes I like the new 160VC. Its a good film. I'd like to see how it compares to Gold 100.
  49. Scott, thanks again!
    Q1: Based on "Sample5pics.jpg" I guess Kodak 100UC still is slightly sharper and finer grained than the new 160VC in a outdoors OVERCAST FLAT LIGHTING use case.

    your 3200ppi is good enough! equals a more than 9x enlargement/print. Kodak published in Datasheet E4040 3points difference between these two film's PGI (53 vs. 56) in a 8x10 print.
    This is LESS than the 4points = just a noticeble difference, though.
    But the overall winner could be 100UC at E.I 100 (=Rank one on Les Sariles Repro indoors contest). Well, color film is all about color, you are the assessor...

    Q2: which is the LETTER CODE imprinted on the new films ?
    e.g. 160VC-2 160NC-2
    or can we be sure that Portra with EXP later than 2008/08 ordered from Adorama or bhphotovideo is the Mk II flavor?

    P.S.: If I would venture a guess, Gold 100 is grainy as hell. But possibly a "nice & sexy" grain(?)
  50. 100UC may be finer grained, but I think 160VC does the contrast and color the way Id like it. The 4x6 pgi is 31 vs 34. And yes its listed 160VC-2. As for Gold 100, yes its grainy- but it produces the best color on film Ive seen. Its also sharp. Its pgi 45.
  51. Dear Scott, how well did 100UC (in Europe Kodak Elite Color 200 labeled, 35mm size only).

    Have you done any NORITSU Minilab (?) workflow prints of this flat/grey/overcast lighting condition in the meantime? how is CONTRAST compared to 160VC-2, i.e. how is shadow detail in prints.

    and how satured is COLOR compared to Portra 160NC-2 (and Fuji 1006S ).

    Reason for asking: KODAK has ! DISCONTINUED ! this film in 120 size
    see bhphotovideo.
    --rainer N.
  52. Rainer,
    Adorama still lists 100UC 120 and there is no mention of this on Kodaks website. Are you sure B&H just didn't decide to stop carrying it?
  53. I wasn't aware Kodak discontinued it in 120. That would be a shame. Its not that old a film. I haven't really done a good comparison between 160VC and 100UC. 160NC would be muted no matter what. The first time I used 100UC I got terribly contrasty prints. I don't suspect its changed much. I like the contrast however of 160VC-2. I still have part of the test rolls left. I could do another round of shots, but the weather has been hum drum here, so I'd rather wait till Spring.
  54. There is no free lunch to the new PORTRA Mk II which offer an order of magnitude finer grain/less noise.

    cause official reply:

    >We do not discontinued anything because we are not the manufacturer.
    >Kodak has been down sizing their films.

    >Thank you,
    >Your B&H Team

    ---------- in german :
    Kodak zieht grad wieder nen Film vom Markt, bloederweise den schaerfsten , feinkoernigsten den Sie noch hatten ( 100UC Prof in 120 size)

    in Europa gibt es ihn aber noch als Kodak Elite Color 200 Prof Amateur Film in 35mm

    dafuer gibt es alles verbesserte PORTRA mit ner ganzen Groessenordnung weniger Korn.(4PGI bzw. 6 PGI)
    wobei sie den 4x5 inch Planfilm Portra 400NC auch bald vom Markt nehmen (Geruecht!)..

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