400 ISO Print film, Fuji? Kodak? Konica?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by dano|1, Jun 4, 2004.

  1. Hey all. I was just on the Popular Photography website and found this
    comparison of 84 films:

    Anyway, I had been using Fuji Superia Xtra when I needed to use
    available indoor light. (either window light or tungsten, every now
    and then flourescent). The thing is, as a low-budget hobbiest I often
    don't go through enough film to change film for every occasion. So, I
    might be in my mother's garden shooting the budding Lupine, but the
    next day my nephews and nieces might be over so I'll take candid shots
    of them. Then, before you know it I'm shooting landscapes at a state
    park. I think you get my point.

    So, I need one film that will be good (I know I can't get one that
    will be great) in all areas, macro, landscapes, portraits, as well as
    indoor lighting. I have settled upon a 400 ISO because I can almost
    always shoot with available indoor light with 400 ISO if I use my
    Minolta 50mm f/1.7.

    So, the next obvious question is which 400 speed film to shoot with?

    I have tried Fuji NPH, and can honestly say that stuff is a pain in
    the dairy air to scan. The color base is almost pink and there is no
    Vuescan profile for it, so I'm left finding areas that are supposed to
    be a shade or grey. Of couse, what on earth do I do with Macro? When
    I shoot a Rose in my father's garden, and scanned it a few days later.
    I spent a fair amount of time trying to get the color right. I
    targeted the leaves on the rose bush to a foliage color. Then I found
    a pic that I had taken with my father's digicam, and it was then that
    I realized I had used the wrong green as the target!

    Anyway, that's another big plus in my book, the ease of scanning.

    So, here are the 3 major contenders in my book:

    1. Stick with Fuji Superia Xtra 400.
    2. Go with Kodax Max for the added resolution, along with little added
    contrast. (I don't really prefer a lot of contrast though)
    3. Try out Konica Centuria 400 for a granualarity in the same league
    as 50 and 100 ISO films, as well as a much higher sharpness, and the
    abiltiy to work well in mixed light.

    It may seem like option #3 is the way to go, but I have never used any
    films other than Fuji and Kodak. I haven't really heard good things
    about Kodak's color films though. One thing that I have heard and
    believe to be true is the garbage in the shaddows. I have used one
    roll of some stuff I bought when my mother used the last of my Fuji in
    Eurorpe. The colors are excellent, I prefer the color to Fuji, but
    that garbage in the shaddows kind of turns me off. Primarily, I have
    used Kodak for BW, as most people on these forums do, and kept using
    Fuji for color.

    I guess I shouldn't feel this way, but I somehow just can't trust a
    film that is made by such a small company, and that I know so little
    about, other than it was recenty merged with Minolta.

    Can someone reassure me on Konica? I guess one of my problems is that
    I'm looking at stats, not pictures. I have a big problem going out
    and testing films. That is of course, becuase I use so little film
    that testing out several films would take me many weeks, and I might
    wind up with a lot of mixed results in my photographs while doing it.

    Is Konica Centuria 400 as good as the stats say it is? Should I just
    stick with Fuji Superia Xtra 400? Should I give Kodak another go?

    Thanks all,

    Dan O'Connell
  2. Have you tried Kodak 400 UC?

    If your camera doesn't leave the leader out on rewind, have you thought about buying a $5 leader retriever so you can change film mid-roll and not have to worry about picking one film forever? :)

    Personally, I feel that the only thing the Max in Kodak Max stands for is Maximum Crap.

    Fuji Superia X-Tra 400 is a nice consumer film and is great for general use. But I don't think your only option is to stick with one film.

    Only my opinions, which may or may not mean much.

    There's a fair amount of info on the UC line from Kodak here already. A couple searches should provide easy access to it.
  3. I haven't really heard good things about Kodak's color films though.
    You must live in a very noisy neighbourhood :)
  4. I wouldn't pay much attention to Pop Photo's film chart,
    which has been full of errors in years past. They push amateur film
    for reasons unknown to me. Switching to pro film is the 3rd quickest
    way to improve your pictures (tripod and better lens are #1 and #2).
    Many photo.netters like Konica Impresa 50 and prefer Centuria 1600
    to other 1600 films, but we have little experience with the 400.
    I tested it but my Agfa minilab couldn't print it worth a darn.
    Rumors are that it works OK on a Frontier, but I haven't tried it.
  5. "I haven't really heard good things about Kodak color films"

    Have you been reading this forum? Kodak UC 400 gets pretty constant praise here, as does good old Kodak Gold 100 if you are looking for a slow film.

    The consistent thing that you may hear about Kodak films is that they don't print well on Fuji papers, especially Gold 100.
  6. Well, my new Maxxum 5 does have a "leave leader out on rewind" custom function. I just got the camera last week.

    One thing I'm not sure of. If I rewind the film midroll, leave the leader out, and put it back in agian, will the autowinding/advancing take care of any variation such that I don't have to waste and exposure or two to "be on the safe side"?

    The only other cameras I have used are manual cameras (the SRT-101 and the XG-M), none of which of course had an auto winding capablity (without an additional autowinder of course). So alot of this stuff is new to me. I have only used one roll of film with the new Maxxum 5, mainly because I let my father take it to Europe, and so I can't say for sure if the exposures will line up properly. Will they?

    By living in a "noisy neigborhood" I assume you are talking about all the noise I got in the shaddows on my negative scans. It looks pretty darn ugly to me.

    I did go and look at some photos that were taken with Konica Centuria 400 at PhotoSIG, and they looked great, well the ones that were scanned properly of course. I really liked the color a whole lot better than Fuji, or even Kodak. Everything was well saturated.

    I also took a look at Konica Impressa 50. That looks to be a fantastic film. They claim that it has the finest grain and highest sharpness of any color negative film. The colors were great too. Now, if I could just change midroll without wasting exposures, I'd be in luck!

    Thanks Guys,

    Dan O.
  7. Agfa, Fuji, Kodak, and Konica all make very good films. (Note alphabetical order, no preference).

    I have used all of these and more, since about 1959. They have all improved dramatically since then and continue to evolve.

    The problem is, with advice, that a lot of people here seem to have an axe to grind about one manufacturer or another. So, it is rather difficult to say with authority which one to use. Too many agendas.

    I would reat your referenced report, and then I would try out several that looked interesting to me. I would then use the one that pleased me and my 'cutsomers' or 'viewers' or 'family'. Read there whatever audience you usually have for your work.

    And, I would enjoy rather than agonize over the question. In most cases, the person behind the camera is more important than what is in the camera. I have seen prizewinners come from the wrong film by just using the right angle, exposure and perspective.

    Enjoy your hobby or work at photography.

    Ron Mowrey
  8. << One thing I'm not sure of. If I rewind the film midroll, leave the leader out, and put it back in agian, will the autowinding/advancing take care of any variation such that I don't have to waste and exposure or two to "be on the safe side"? >>

    That would be something that you'd probably find in the cameras manual.

    Even if it doesn't line up exactly (which is unlikely but I won't speculate any further) I don't see why "wasting" one frame to be safe is a problem. If you're shooting (for example) Fuji Superia X-Tra, which is 7.5 cents per frame then you're (in my opinion) making a mountain out of a mole hill. Even if the film is more expensive, one frame distributed over the cost of the film and the cost of processing is so tiny as to not be worth worrying about.

    If you're worried about the cost of one frame wasted, perhaps film photography is not the right hobby for you?
  9. Fuji Superia XTRA 400 scans quite well for me (using a Canon FS4000 and the included FilmGet software). I love Fuji NPH and the lower contrast is definitely a good thing, but it does seem like it's more difficult to get it to "look right" when I scan it.

    If you decide to try a Kodak ISO 400 film, the ones you want to try are High Definition 400, Supra 400 (a.k.a. Royal Supra 400), Portra 400NC, and 400UC (which is marketed as Portra 400UC in some places and UltraColor 400UC in other places). AVOID the other Kodak films such as Max, Max Versatility, Max Versatility Plus, etc.
  10. Kodak HD400 scans very nicely, very thin mask, pale yellow-orange. The three-packs are modestly priced, the single rolls are outrageous. Relatively high contrast, high color saturation, reasonably fine grain, sharp.

    When I was using it, some minilabs could print it well, others didn't have the film terms for it, and got odd results (strange skin tones). Hopefully more have updated their software (film channels) by now. Should print best on Kodak paper, but the Qualex lab was one of the places that sent back strange prints...

    While Kodak Porta 400NC is a lovely low-contrast film, it's not the choice if you're on a buget, hard to get for less than $5 per 36 exposures.

    I don't know what your "garbage in the shadows" was with Kodak film. If it was Max 400, and you underexposed at all, it was grain. (Multi-colored grapefruits in the shadows.) If there were odd color casts, consider having it printed somewhere that uses Kodak paper.
  11. Thanks all. I don't think the problem that alot of people have with printing a Konica film will be a problem for me because I don't get any prints. Instead, after spending way too much money trying to get a lab to give me the results I wanted, I've decided that it's either impossible or extreemely expensive. I've even tried out my local lab a few times, one that does nothing but sell camera gear and process film, and have gotten some results that were definatley lacking.

    Anyway, I use a Minolta Scan Dual as my scanner, but I hope to someday upgrade to a Dual III or a Dual IV. There shouldn't be any problems developing at a Kodak lab, should there?

    One of the big factors that I forgot to mention is cost, though it should have been obvious when I stated that I was a low-budget hobbiest. Spending $5.99 for a 36 exposure roll of Kodak Portra 400UC is just too much. I can buy Konica Centuria on the other hand for $1.29 a 24 exp, which brings the cost from 17 cents down to 5 cents per exposure. After 1,000 exposures, that's a difference of $120.

    To say that there is too litte knowledge of Konica Centuria isn't enough for me. I have read great things about it online from people who have dared to use it. I have also seen some great photos taken with it. I will try out one roll and see how I like it. Also, if I ever get a really bright day, or I don't mind lugging a tripod around, I might try out Konica Impressa 50 as well.

    I'm glad that due to advances in winding technology it should be alot easier for me to change film midroll. I only wish that were true with my Yahshica A TLR. :p

    Thanks for all the replies all,

    Dan O.
  12. I wouldn't pay much attention to Pop Photo's film chart, which has been full of errors in years past.
    HeHe. Tip the pizza delivery guy a few extra bucks and I'm sure he can deliver better advice on print films than Pop Photo.
    For cheap 400 speed print films that scan well try Kodak HD/Supra 400, Fuji Superia 400/200, and Agfa's Vista line. If you try B&H you should be able to get these consumer films for realy cheap. Especially Vista 400/200, which I detest for printing, but awknowledge it's a good film to work with most scanners.
    None of these films will touch UC 400 though, and I find all Konica materials excluding impresa to be grainy.
  13. "...and I find all Konica materials excluding impresa to be grainy."

    That's quite a statement considering that Konica claims that Impressa is the finest grained color negative film! I have heard many good things about Impressa, what are you comparing the grain to?

    Dan O.
  14. Perhaps Scott Eaton will say just about anything too.

    In the last post I saw of his, he was on a rant complaining about EK products. His complaints have been so extensive that I finally suggested that he either return the products to EK for his money back, or sue them for false advertising. Same thing goes here. If impressa does not meet Konika's ads, then sue them Scott! If you need their address I'll give it to you. Nice little place in Hachioji outside Tokyo. You ought to visit it sometime.

    I would believe the magazine article regardless of Scott's feelings in the matter. I have read their reviews for over 50 years and found them quite reliable. Too many of us here on PN seem to have that axe to grind, as I said. PP is impartial enough for us to rely on them. They have the breadth of experience behind their tests, and they have the experience with all of the latest films. They know how to run the tests and make the comparisons.

    Ron Mowrey
  15. Dan:

    I know you said print film, but I own the same scanner and have the best luck with Provia 400F or Sensia 400, when I have the need to use a 400 speed film. As I'm sure you have found, on the Scan Dual II, slides are a lot easier to handle.

    I've found that Porta 400NC does best on the SDII if I have to use print film. I'm using Vuescan and the recipe for this film in the program seems to work very well.

    Best of luck
  16. Dan:

    My apologies to EK. Actually I found that PORTRA 400NC scans well in my Minolta scanner. Porta 400NC is very hard to come by ...
  17. I'll chime in late here with another vote for Kodak HD400. My processor prints it on a Fuji Frontier and does a nice job.
    Here are some flatbed scans of 4x6" prints taken recently with HD400:


    Sorry, Bill Tuthill, but I couldn't use a tripod for these shots :)

    I also like Portra 400 UC but the price is a bit high for us lowly amateurs on fixed incomes.
  18. Impressa is the finest grain print film out there. I dont know whether its as fine grained as Velvia but it sure looks like it as far as I can ascertain from a loupe ( no big blowups yet ). Its also a very very sharp film without the drawbacks of films like superia 100.

    If you can find someone to print this material then you are in luck because its truly a great emulsion imho. Worth a try at the very least.
  19. I would believe the magazine article regardless of Scott's feelings in the matter. I have read their reviews for over 50 years and found them quite reliable.
    No offense, but you have some obvious problems and need to graduate from consumer film user to professional if you want to hang with the big guys. It's clear you're one of those with a really big mouth, lots of darkroom time, but can't distinguish between professional materials and amatuer ones - we get lots of those here. You also can't visibly determine the difference in gamut range between Fuji and Kodak papers, which is something the teenage girls behind the counter at my local pro shop can do. I can flag replenishment rates on RA-4 just by looking at the Dmax, and you offer lip service for Kodak claiming you've used some magical testing procedure to match paper/film dye sets that proves counter to what every professional lab owner I work with has been has been bitching about. If we listen to you, and your defense of the amatuers at Pop Photo, consumer print technology will be set back 20 years.
    Pop Photo is a hack magazine that caters to amatuers, amatuer films sales, and amatuer standards. For years these clowns refused to believe that many of their so called 'wonder films' purchased off the back wall at the local truck stop next to the condom rack and smut mag bin weren't available in 120 format - for a reason - pros would never use them anyways because they *suck*. Trust me, I sent many letters to editor as to why they considered Kodak Ektar 125 and Gold 400 to be a 'superb wedding film' just as good as the professional ones, when it was obvious they didn't know what professional films were. Just like you, they can't tell high contrast print films from low contrast ones. Sad....
    Next, if you'll check Photo.Net's archives, you'll see I was the first to start pushing Konica Impresa and was likely shooting this material and selling prints off it before you were ever aware of it. In my post here I cleary stated that besides Impresa, Konica print films are grainy compared to the competition, so are you visually impaired in terms of reading posts, or just going to stalk me in threads, misquote me, and defend a magazine that has consistently pushed amatuer film products over professional ones for 20years? I believe Bill T will back me up on my claims of Konica films being weak compared to Kodak UC 400, Supra 400, and Vista 400. Sure, Impresa scans well, but it has a realistic EI of 30 vs 50.
    I'll next wait for your rant than Konica 100 is better than Reala, Mitsubishi paper has superior gamut range and stability to Fuji FA-5 or Crystal Archive, and Provia 100 has inferior grain next to Konica slide films. I'll also suggest you get some photographic material uploaded so we can see the results of your so called superior experience and testing procedures.
    Sorry for the rant guys.
  20. I believe that most of us will be sorry if Ron Mowrey decides to leave this forum. He is one of the most knowledgeable among us all and he has been kind enough and patient enough to share his experience and scientific knowledge with politeness and good manners.

    And Ron knows what he is talking about, unlike some other abrasive jealous "heroes" who managed to scare other experts from photo.net in the past.

    I hope he is not offended by those who regard him as a rival, maybe as a threat, because he is the one who recognises the emperors new clothes.

    Patience, Ron! We hope you stay.
  21. I'm not an expert, not by a longshot, but I lost all trust/respect for Pop Photo when they said that Kodak Max Versatility Plus Zoom Whatever 800 had fine grain, natural colors and outstanding sharpness.

    It seems like all they do is reprint the advertising propaganda from the manufacturers who make these films, re-wording some of it so it reads more like a review than an advertisement.
  22. George and others; Many thanks. I just try to help. I appreciate your comments and e-mails. Scott; I never said I was a great photographer, but I am pretty good and have gotten quite a few spectacular photos. I usually don't share them, but here is one for you. It was probably taken while you were in diapers or maybe before that. Title: Coming Home Copyright R. G. Mowrey Film and Process: Ektachrome E4, field processed Date and Location: 1961, East China Sea at about 30,000 ft Camera: Original Nikon F, 50 mm lens. Please excuse the image quality. The canopy gets kinda dirty sometimes. Field processing didn't help. This was taken before Top Gun. The preceeding photos in this series included a roll over the other guys and I took one upside down a la Top Gun staring straight down into the cockpit. It was B&W 4x5. I was using both the Nikon and a Speed Graphic at the time. One of the pictures in the sequence made the front page of the newspapers. So.. Think what you will Scott. I have been in professional photography for over 50 years and had some pretty exciting and scary assignments. I learned from some notable professionals in NASA, the USAF, EK, and Nat Geog. My regards and respect for all of you out there. Ron Mowrey
  23. And, as you can see, I'm still learning how to use my new HP4870 scanner. I asked for a 4x6 image from 35 mm, and that is the way it displayed on my monitor when I checked it out before uploading.

    Sorry guys, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

    Ron Mowrey
  24. Voodoos?
  25. Yep. Got it in one.

    That was the tail end of a 12 hour mission. It was getting red and dark, so I corrected for that in photoshop as it looked pretty awful. The original title is "Coming home at Sunset: Mission Accomplished".

    We are coming in over Naha. The Tea House of the August Moon is below us and to the right. We are on Final for Kadena which is straight ahead by the hills across the bay. We were probably lower than 30,000 ft by then and descending. We were overtaking the element and were to land first. We had used up more fuel due to the maneuvers to take the pictures.

    I had control of the mission, but was the junior officer. But as photo man, I directed all of the pilots. One complained and the commander chewed him out. He said "when the Lt says he is going to take a picture, you look for the birdie, smile and say cheese"! I will never forget that.

    I worked 2 cameras, controlled the pilot of our plane, gave broad direction to the other 20 or so pilots (there were more planes out of frame behind us) by operating the radio, all the while on oxygen as some of this was at 60,000 ft, and that was only one mission.

    Some of the maneuvers left me in zero gravity for about 30 seconds or more, and I remember the speed graphic floating in the air in front of me.

    They let me keep about 30% of the unclassified slides since I used my own camera and film, and when the B&W got published, they let me keep a few of the 4x5s as well. Unfortunately, the shot right over the cockpit of the other plane flying upside down was classified, so I only have one as we caught up to the other plane from behind - still upside down though. Since it does not show the cockpit, it was not classified. I have a single print but no negative.

    Ron Mowrey
  26. I've been very impressed with Fuji's Press 400 film. I have been looking for a good to scan 400 speed slide film and have decided instead to use Press 400. I have a folder in my portfolio titled "Dallas Arboretum" I am currently putting together on this site. Check it out- I have scanned images shot with Press 400 as well as Velvia. I've found this combination to be very scanner friendly with my Canoscan FS4000US scanner
  27. It's surely a smart idea to try rolls of as many different brands and types of film as you can, keep notes as to your findings. Over the next few years as more and more emulsions get discontinued due to the takeover of digital, we're all going to find ourselves forced to switch frequently, so it's better to not have to do research in a panic every time we read that our current favorite is being discontinued.
  28. I'll say this. The 200 speed Konica film I bought from the gas station on sale doesn't have any grain problems at a print similar to 8x12 [I'm cropping out the print] Is it the lowest grain film I've ever seen? Hell no. Is the grain noticable in the print? Hell no. But then I don't print digitally. You might find it different. Still for the $1 Canadian I paid per roll of 24 exposures it's good enough for testing old cameras and lenses. The reason I bought it.
  29. I had also tried the $1CDN Konica VX 200 film before; however, the colors of the film is quite aweful - it reminds me of the days when the monitors were 256 colors.
  30. Pop Photo has been called "Bait and Switch Monthly" which sums it up
    nicely. In all the years I have read the magazine, I don't think they
    ever helped me with equipment selection or technique. Mostly it's fun
    to laugh at their articles, for instance two last year that showed the
    Tamron 28-75/2.8 Di to have better SQF than the Canon 24-70/2.8 L.

    Before he converted to digital, Jim Davis (in Japan) had a website
    with very nice scans of Centuria Super 100/400/800/1600. I was never able to get results that good from any minilab or scanner software.
    And VX is a much worse film (hard to say why Konica still makes it).
    Maybe the secret is to use Minolta scanner software?
  31. I have to disagree with all the PP bashing out there.

    On the whole, over the years, I have found them to be quite accurate. Nobody is perfect, but they do quite a good job. In fact, they have a better record for accuracy than some of the answers that I have seen on this forum.

    At PP, they try to get their facts straight. Here, quite often, I see a lot of opinion touted as fact. I'm sorry to have to call a spade a spade, but it is true and you all know it.

    Its kind of like a pot calling a kettle black IMHO.

    Objectivity is the core of all reporting. Many of the postings here are based on subjective opinion disguised as fact. An honest mistake is one thing but outright misrepresentation is another.

    So, if you dislike PPs reporting so much, why keep buying it? For laughs? I don't think so. There is good stuff in there, as well as Shutterbug, Photo Techniques, and Rangefinder among others.

    I don't think we should say 'use X not Y'. I think we should list pros and cons for X and Y and suggest that the person asking about X and Y try for him / her self and decide. We should not grind our axe here and try to 'convert' others to our point of view. And if we think we have a comparison, we should post proof in the form of pictures. And, BTW, the so called proofs that I have seen so far here are a far cry from exact comparisons or even close comparisons. One 'comparison' was a family at a beach compared to a couple strolling in the woods IIRC, and there was no way to make a conclusion regarding the two films being discussed.

    My advice to Dan is to read PP and other mags about the products in question and then run some exact comparisons himself and decide based on his level of satisfaction. Afer all, he and his family and friends are the ones most interested in his pictures.

    If I had not tried virtually all films under discussion, with identical test exposures and processes, I would not hazard making a recommendation on the films.

    Ron Mowrey
  32. Bill, about the Tamron 28-75 -- it can be a darn good lens. I doubt that it exceeds the Canon 24-70 L, which I've never used, but people (besides PP) who have compared the two say the Tamron is not at all far behind. My Tamron 28-75 (my second -- the first was pathetic wide open) is a notch below my manual-focus Zeiss primes, but it is not nearly as big a notch as one might expect.

    Ron, about PP film charts -- I can only speak to films with which I am familiar, such as Reala, NPH, and Superia 400. The PP chart says all three of those films are medium contrast, whereas my experience is that Superia is definitely higher contrast than Reala or NPH. Simlarly, the chart gives the same data for NPH and Fujicolor Press 400, but different data for Superia 400 -- yet Superia 400 is the same film as Fujicolor Press 400, whereas NPH is a different film altogether. So, at least in terms of the film chart, I'm not sure PP is terribly reliable.
  33. Chris;

    Superia 400 and Press 400 are probably not the same films. Just as the myth arose that professional and consumer films from EK were the same except for keeping conditions, and tungsten and daylight films were the same except for a filter overcoat your statement is very probably wrong.

    I can state this about Fuji just by knowing some general facts, and not having details. It is ILLEGAL in the USA to cross package identical products with different labels and target markets. It is as simple as that. EK follows that practice to the letter and Fuji would have to follow that practice or be out of business in the USA.

    The fact that you may see similarities only means that the AIM for the films were the same. Two refrigerators may look identical on the outside, and inside. Both keep food cold. It is the AIM to have a white box that gets cold inside. One might have a compressor and the other might be solid state, therefore costing more. If the company sold one refrigerator at two prices and labeled one consumer and the other industrial grade, they would be out of business as well and for the same reason under the same law.

    This is exactly the type of myth perpetuation that I see here in this forum. You have stated an opinion with no exact facts to back it up. I apologize if this hurts your feelings. I don't wish to offend anyone. I wish us all to get at the truth, whatever it may be.

    Among other things, the professional press materials include modifications to allow better push processing (See the EK web site for more information). I would guess that Fuji has done the same among other changes to the product to make it worthy of professional and press trade dress.

    I have seen excellent tests in PP that closely mirror the types of tests that I have personally run at EK on the same products in question. I followed their tests for accuracy for years. I found them accurate and useful to the public. Their tests were well conducted for grain and sharpness.

    Until you expose a test chart on both films under identical conditions with the same camera, and process and print those films on the same paper at the same time, you don't have a valid test. For reversal films, you should view them simultaneously on matched projectors. A viewing table will not work as your eyes cannot properly view the small slides and compare them. And, post the results here to illustrate your point!

    FYI, my tests include an MTF chart, a color checker, and are done indoors and outdoors with matched cameras and matched scenes. All film is processed at the same time in a seasoned process. I often ran the gamut of films from 35 mm to 4x5, and included Agfa, Fuji, Sakura (Konica), EK, and others. I have even included Oriental, ORWO, Gavaert, 3M (Ferrania) and a few others from time to time.

    I have made prints on Unicolor, Oriental, Sakura, Fuji, EK, Ciba, etc., and done both reversal and neg-pos. Only with tests like these can you make definitive statements. I can say this, after hours printing the same picture over and over, you get sick of seeing it, and running a basket process all day long gets tiring as well, even if your hobby is photography. In fact, I didn't like coming home to work in my darkroom some days. But, this type of testing is essential if you are to make a definitive positive statement.

    You notice that my statement about Fuji above is not based on testing or other factual knowledge about the film. It is based on knowing the pertinent law. I try here to make only statements about things that I know for a fact. I know professional and consumer films from EK are different due to law and the fact that I have seen (and coated) the formulas for both films.

    Therefore, in the absence of personal tests, I would rely on PP and weight them more heavily than any opinion here on PN unless they are backed up by uploads of quantitative experimental proofs. And, remember that when you scan and upload, a scanner's software tends to compress differences unless you override any correction routines, otherwise the scan and upload is not true to the original. I am being bitten by that right now in a private project of mine that mirrors what I am saying in this paragraph. In other words, even my tests can be flawed or biased due to some unforseen error in technique or observation. I have to be objective myself and accept the criticism of people that I respect.


    Ron Mowrey
  34. Although I've never talked to a Fuji rep, several people have posted
    that a Fuji rep told them Press and Superia are the same emulsion,
    but Press is cut from the center of a batch, and packaged contiguously
    for consistency, in 20 packs. Maybe that meets legal requirements,
    or maybe it's a myth. I don't know why center would be preferable
    to the edge, but it sounds better.

    On the PP front, I find it interesting that Klaus Schroiff resists
    using SQF in his http://photozone.de/2Equipment/easytxt.htm lens
    guide because numbers are deemed less reliable than CdI, FOTO, and
    other European magazines he trusts. For instance, Sigma lenses almost
    always have better SQF than they deserve, one example being the
    70-300/4-5.6 APO, which tested better than the Canon 70-200/4 L
    over the 70-200 range.
  35. "VX is a much worse film (hard to say why Konica still makes it)"

    I don't think they do. The stuff I have is "VX super". Same crap different can? Maybe but it's working fine for me with my printing. OTOH it wouldn't be worth finding custom printing. No point in spending extra to print cheap film.
  36. Actually, I'm one of those people who has spoken with Fuji about the difference between Superia 400 and Fujicolor Press 400. I called them just a few weeks ago. I found their number on the internet. What they told me confirmed what I had read: Superia 400 and Fujicolor Press 400 are the same film; the only difference is that Press 400 comes in 36-exposure rolls and is packaged differently. Anyone who questions whether this is myth or fact can call Fuji themselves. No point being misinformed, right?
  37. Chris;

    I have had people here tell me that EK reps said the same thing about EK press, pro, and consumer films and referred me to the web site, where the information said categorically that the films were different in formulation, but the aims might be the same. It went on to say that the press films in particular were optimized for push processing. The person here on the forum had it exactly backwards or misunderstood. Whatever!

    I find that tech reps often give laypeople simple answers. The aim is the same, but the actual product is different. So they may say that the products are identical.

    I know EK products are different. If Fuji is compliant with US law, then theirs are different as well. Cross packaging is totally illegal in the USA. It is doubly damning, when the price per unit is more expensive for the so called premium product.

    Now Chris, you missed my other point as well. Unless you have side by side tests of the two films under identical conditions of exposure and processing, then your evaluation is subjective and may be in error. Your statement of the films performance is therefore less reliable than PPs because they do run side by side tests. Do you see the point I'm trying to make about 'truth' and "TRUTH"?

    Sorry, but these are facts, not subjective answers that I am handing out.

    Here is an example. I recently had a minor problem with an EK product and I called the professional products line. The rep there gave me the laypersons answer which was good enough, but I gave him a 'technical' reply and told him I was a former EK engineer. He put me through to an engineer who turned out to be an old associate of mine, and we went through the technical aspects of the problem which were a far cry from what the tech rep was 'allowed' or 'supposed' to say on the phone. We both ended up with a better understanding of the minor problem that I had. There were basically several levels to the problem and there were several possible solutions. I only got one of them on the hot line.

    In any event, the fact that PPs tests show differences where there should be none suggest that either PP is wrong, the tests are wrong, or Fuji gave you a simplistic answer or all of the above. Not having details on the tests, I cannot say, but I have been able to rely on PP in the past.

    I can say this as a humourous and ironic side note; at a talk I gave at the International Congress of Photography a few years ago, I was questioned by a PP editor on my topic. I gave him the simple laypersons (and short) answer "No".

    Regards and best wishes to you all. Don't believe everything that any company says to you on the phone. There is a line that is drawn for them of what can be discussed. Don't believe everything PP says unless it is backed up by comparative photographic tests printed side by side.

    Ron Mowrey
  38. I don't mean to question Ron's authority on the matter, but I can't help pointing out that both Superia 400 & Press 400 as well as Superia 800 & Press 800 have the same codes: CH & CZ respectively. When looking at processed negatives, one couldn't tell which is which. In my experience (no testing, just by eye) the two films are very, very similar, to say the least.
  39. Ron, I (and apparently others) were told by Fuji that Superia 400 and Press 400 are IDENTICAL. The SAME FILM packaged in 36-exposure rolls rather than 24 exposure rolls, not different films with the same "aim" (color prints?). I have also read that Superia 400 and Press 400 have the same edge markings, but this I cannot confirm. Are you contending that Fuji reps are instructed to tell callers that Superia 400 and Press 400 are the same film even though they are not? Why would they do that, especially if your understanding of packaging law is correct?

    As for the rigor of my film testing, I have never used Press 400 and therefore have never attempted to compare Superia 400 to Press 400. Rather, I relied on Fuji's statement that the films are the same. I have, however, used Superia 400, NPH, and Reala, and I stand by my belief that NPH and Reala are lower in contrast than is Superia 400.

    Finally, I do not understand your point about "truth" versus "TRUTH," except that, evidently, my truth is "truth," but your truth is "TRUTH."
  40. Chris and 'Strange';

    First, another person on this site had claimed that two Kodak films were identical and he had been told that by a Kodak rep on the phone. He referred us to a web page at EKs site that stated the same thing. I went to the web site and it 'refuted' what he said and what the tech rep supposedly said. So, he either misunderstood or misstated what he heard. Or he was given a simplistic answer. This latter is usually the case as I was trying to point out above. This is 'truth'.

    Second, cross packaging is illegal, especially if a surcharge is applied to the so called superior product. Selection of a cut of film may or may not qualify as a superior product depending on who you ask.

    Third, there is a limit to what information tech reps give out on the phone, so it is usually the simplest or the least technical answer. Therefore, if two films have the same speed and curve shape, they may be called identical, because the user will usually see them the same in normal use.

    Fourth, films as in the last paragraph may have vastly different technical details that make them different in may ways such as pushability, latitude, latent image keeping, reciprocity, etc. This goes far beyond what the normal customer sees and is not usually given out by the manufacturer, most especially by a tech rep. This is "TRUTH".

    So, 'truth' and "TRUTH" can both be the same, but one is the lesser of the other. It in no way changes what we know about a subject in normal use. One is a subset of the other. To say the films are identical is just not always a perfect description of the film in question.

    I cannot speak to Fuji's operations at all. I can comment on what the US requires of manufacturers but I cannot go into details of what that entails as I have no legal training. I can only say that if PPs tests show differences in what are supposedly two identical films, then they may in fact be different. Or the converse to a more limited extent, if their tests show similar properties in what are supposedly two different films, they are different but have very similar or identical aims.

    I'm sure that selection of optimum coating cuts would qualify under some legal interpretation as selecting product for premium coating quality. But, IDK about that. There are a lot of loopholes in law and as I said, I'm not qualified.

    I am also sure that the Fuji rep told you what he did. It just may not be the whole story.

    Now, as for making any claims about a given pair of film. If I were to offer Dan some suggestions, I would not make a statement about a pair of films without actual quantitative data to back it up. I would shoot two identical pictures and scan them in with no scanner correction software in effect during the scan. I would offer them as proof to support my position. My point then was that few people do this. Instead they offer unsupported subjective comments. That is fine as long as it isn't offered as "TRUTH", nor as 'truth' but rather as opinion.

    Hope that clarifies things.

    I don't want to offend anyone, but I do want to raise the level of responses to questions like this to something above opinion. I also wish to dispel some of the urban myths that I see so frequently on this forum regarding films and their manufacutre. Did you know that "color film contains dyes like vegetable dyes"? Just one more comment made on PN. I hope you see the point of what I have tried to say in my posts in this thread.

    Ron Mowrey
  41. You know what's funny? My mother came down with a case of arthritis. She saw an ad on the TV for this "new" Tylenol for arthritis. She asked my father to go pick some up at the pharmacy. When he got there he asked the pharmacist what the best medication was for arthritis. She told him "Advil". Then he asked what she knew about the new Tylenol for arthritis. She said "that's a funny one. There's abslolutley nothing different from the original Tylenol except the label."

    My father always gets a big kick out of stuff like this. He was living in New York when they came out with "Milk Plus." One day, while his sister was drinking the stuff, he asked her "Plus what?". Then they read the label, there was absolutley nothing in there but pure cow's milk. My father had been working as a dairy technologist, so he had already known it was a marketing ploy for the dairy farmers.

    If Fuji is taking the cream of the crop Superia, packaging it in rolls of 36, and labeling it as "Press", I wouldn't put it past them.

    Anyway, back to the original topic. My lab ran out of Konica Centuria 400 and Impressa 50, so I tried one of thier few remaining rolls of Centuria 200.

    I can honestly sayt that I am impressed! This stuff results in much less grain/grain aliasing on the scan than Superia Xtra 400. And the really neat thing is that it's sharper too. I had no idea that the old Kalimar 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 was this sharp of a lens! I'm resolving eyelashes on people where their face only takes up 1/2 of the image, and this with the original Minolta Scan Dual!

    Add to that the fact that the colors are great, and there's not too much of a problem with indoor lighting, I'm going to use another roll! (Came in 2 roll pack for $6 USD)

    I can't wait to try out Konica Impressa 50, or Konica Centuria 400.

    Dan O.
  42. I tested quite a few ISO 400 print films last winter, including Konica Centuria Super 400 (as well as the 200 and 800 ISO films in this family). My comments are subjective, based on the appearance of 15x10cm prints from a Fuji Frontier and some analysis of negatives with a loupe. The official stats are not always useful. Most modern print films seem to have a published granularity rating of 4, making it difficult to choose between them.

    I was reasonably impressed by Konica Centuria Super 400. Colours were natural and the film worked very well using both flash and ambient lighting for some nights shots I needed to take for work. I used at least 3 rolls of this film altogether. However, I definitely prefered the results from a number of other 400 ISO films - Kodak Royal Supra 400 and Fuji Superia 400 in particular. These appear much finer grained. I still have a roll of Konica 400 to use, but tend to reach for the Fuji or Kodak when loading my camera.

    By the way, I found Konica Centuria Super 800 disappointing. Centuria Super 200 is sharp and fine-grained. I have used several rolls of this and would happily use it again.

    Incidentally, one of the most puzzling statements I have come across on Photo.net is that it is not worth buying 200 speed film because technical advances mean that 400 speed is just as good. With the Centuria series, and most other makes of film I've investigated, the 400 ISO film is noticeably more grainy than the same company's 200 speed film. Try the 2 speeds for yourself.
  43. <<one of the most puzzling statements I have come across on Photo.net is that it is not worth buying 200 speed film because technical advances mean that 400 speed is just as good. With the Centuria series, and most other makes of film I've investigated, the 400 ISO film is noticeably more grainy than the same company's 200 speed film. Try the 2 speeds for yourself>>

    Many new types of film have come to market in the years since that part of photo.net was written. Some of them are 200 speed films, and they may be quite good.

    For many moons, ISO 200 was a wasteland in color negative films: all the disadvantages of 400 film, and only half the speed gain over the much tighter 100 emulsions. If the ISO 200 market now makes sense, that's good news.

    Unless the 200 films are also CHEAPER than their 400 cousins, you might still be better off just buying the 400 film. When the light is good enough, shoot the 400 film at ISO 200. I've a hunch it will then look every bit as nice as the 200. But it's just a hunch.

    Be well,
  44. Dan;

    I appreciate the humor in the Tylenol anecdote. I would like to wager that the 'old' Tylenol was no longer on the market. Or the 'new' Tylenol was made by another mfgr, or the 'new' Tylenol was in a new form such as capsule or timed release instead of a tablet. Etc. Etc.

    I see this with milk as well. Milk and Milk Plus from organically grown hay fed cows. Well, to some people that is an ordinary and a premium product pair, but it is still milk.

    I know we see these things all the time. My point is this: It is illegal for one company to take one product, package it two ways under two names, sell it as a different product, and jack up the price for the so called 'premium' product.

    I know that there are possible loopholes such as taking select cuts of film for one market, but my further understanding is that the labeling of such products must have some indication of origin. This might be "X platinum" and "X platinum select for professionals".

    I don't pretend to have any legal expertise at all, but I do know that companies have gotten into trouble for cross packaging as I indicated. Two products, different names, different market, premium price in some cases.

    Be aware that a premium price and the 'pro' on the label of film indicates special care in manufacture and formula changes on the part of EK to produce a premium product. I don't know about other mfgrs films or other products.


    Ron Mowrey
  45. Zyban = Welbutrin. But if you take either one, you just can't get too upset about the fact that they are the same (or about anything else).

  46. Rowland, both Tylenols are still on the market. There is the new, heavily advertized "Tylenol for Arthritis Pain" and plain vanilla Tylenol. Both of them are the same drug that people have been using for headaches since as long as I can remember.

    As for the Milk Plus, that was nothing more than a marketing ploy by dairy farmers. This was the 1950's, long before "free range chickens" and hormone free cows was even a public concern. It was milk, same as the usual.

    In a slightly different context, my father was working for the Green Giant when they had a new type of peas that they were trying to sell. Trying was the key word. Finnaly, they realized that the price was to LOW to look appealing, so they jacked up the price, put an "improved" label on it, and sales were booming again.

    Dan O.
  47. There are many instances of identical products being packaged and marketed differently, especially in the drug industry.

    Sarafem is identical to Prozac but is marketed as a PMS aid rather than an antidepressant. I'm not sure if there is a price difference between the two.

    Excedrin and Excedrin Migraine are the exact same thing; just different labeling. There is no price difference between the two, though, so perhaps that why the manufacturer hasn't gotten in trouble.
  48. Ok, ok, I give up.

    All I can speak for is EK. They made sure we knew that particular rule and adhered to it.

    And I can say that that form of high business ethic was perpetuated throughout the company notwithstanding some opinions of EK.

    There must be some form of rules if the law exists and yet companies get away with so much of this. Sorry guys.

    At the same time, don't lose the fact that there are 'myths' about photography floating around on the forum, and sometimes the information given to you by the various companies is watered down to a fairly low level. Also don't lose sight of the fact that I am basically trying to raise the bar in terms of distinguishing between opinion and fact.


    Ron Mowrey
  49. <<Also don't lose sight of the fact that I am basically trying to raise the bar in terms of distinguishing between opinion and fact.>>

    Welcomed and appreciated. -Jim
  50. Tylenol for Arthritis Pain and regular Tylenol has 2 major differences, one being a timed release capsule, also, Tylenol for Arthritis Pain has more active ingredient than even Tylenol Extra Strength.
  51. "Tylenol for Arthritis Pain and regular Tylenol has 2 major differences, one being a timed release capsule, also, Tylenol for Arthritis Pain has more active ingredient than even Tylenol Extra Strength."

    Well I suppose I should never make any more decisons based on what that pharmacist says!

    Dan O.
  52. << Well I suppose I should never make any more decisons based on what that pharmacist says! >>

    You can believe the man, I'll believe the product lable. But then, the labels are purposefully misconstructed to mislead the readers, isn't it? All Tyleno or Fuji for that matter cares about is making more money with no concern for buinesses ethic and the Law, right?
  53. Another comment in line with this;

    As a new employee at EK, the first course I remember taking was "Ethical Business Practices". It was taught by Mr. Vaughn, the then President and CEO of the company, and he greeted each of us at the buffet lunch after the course.

    He told us "This is part of our culture and how you are to behave towards our customers and in developing our products, it is not just how you are expected to behave. We do not pay lip service to ethics here". That is a paraphrase of what he said, but I saw it carried out in practice.

    For that alone, I remain proud to have worked for EK. A lot of you out there moan about all of the photo companies, including EK, but a lot of effort goes into honesty. There is a lot more that I could say, but I won't.

    On another matter, someone remarked above that Fuji cuts professional products from the center of a roll to insure quality and consistancy. If EK had to do that, the roll would be scrapped for nonuniformity. Edge to edge uniformity of film is a must during the coating process. EK coating technology is the best and most confidential of all of its manufacturing processes along with emulsion making technology. To make good uniform large sheets of film or paper, the coating must be uniform. Therefore, either the information about Fuji in this regard is wrong, or, they cannot coat uniform large sheets of film and paper. Think about that please.

    Recenly here, someone posted originals with defects in the film that I recognized as comets, a coating defect from a particular type of coating methodology. I suggested that the person contact the manufacturer for replacement film. EK has virtually 100% film inspection and that type of defect would never go out the door as product. I have seen film and paper scrapped that I would be happy to use but it was not up to EK standards.

    I have just gotten a box of 16x20 B&W paper from a major mfgr (not EK) and there were spots and missing emulsion on 2 sheets of the paper. You could see it and actually feel the depression in the spots where the emulsion was missing.

    You can use any mfgrs products you want. I have first hand knowledge of most mfgrs products, and I still prefer EK products for uniformity and quality from batch to batch and side to side. And NO, I don't get a comission or price break. ~grin~, wish I did.

    Ron Mowrey

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