Fuji Superia 200 vs 400

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by lachlan_fysh, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Hey Guys,
    I'm about to embark on a trip and plan to buy about 15 rolls of consumer film. I'm shooting with a Yashica GX with a 40mm/1.7 lens, and find that with a 400 ISO film I'm often stopping down completely to 16 in bright sunlight, and about a stop under that with the 200. I'm torn between buying the 200 for the extra stop in daylight conditions and presumably better colour/contrast, or buying the 400 and trying to find a -3/4 stops ND filter so I can shoot in the day and retain more lowlight capability. I guess the blunt end of my question is- Is the quality of picture with the 200 considerably better than the 400 (ie for blowing up), or should I just go down the 400+filter route for versatility? Ultimately the quality of daytime shots is paramount, so if 200 is noticeably better I'll go that way.
    Cheers, Lachlan
     
  2. Hands down, Superia 200 over 400: lower contrast, finer grain, reasonable saturation. If it's versatility you're after, then get a few rolls of Superia 800 for low light and as a substitute for 400. Just rate it a 400-500.
     
  3. If funds are a concern, what not simply rate the 400 film as 200 and shoot as ISO 200 and give your lab the instructions. I happen to love color film 400 rated down to ISO 200.
     
  4. Just something to consider:
    In my area, the better photo labs charge a hefty premium for push/pull processing. So much extra, that it is cheaper for me to buy provia 400 than to push provia 100 (the 400 ISO is about 4.00/roll more expensive to buy that the 100 ISO).
    So, before you decide to push/pull process film, you might want to check on the price of doing so.
    Cheers! Jay
     
  5. Dont worry about over exposing your color negative film by 1 stop. It will actually improve your results. Agfa used to recommend this for all their films, and I think Kodak used to recommend 1 stop over exposure on the fil exposure tables they used to print on their film boxes. Over exosure by a stop improves grain, resolution, and color saturation with color negatives. Even 2 stops over and you will be fine but no additional improvements at this point. At 4 stops over is where you have to worry.
    Now, chedck for yourself, but Superia 200 is NOT finer grained than 400 now. The film makers have put all their improvements into their faster films in the last few years. Go to the Fuji and Kodak sites and you will see this is true. Also same for Gold 200 vs say Paortra 400VC. Personally, I'd load up on Superia 400 for landscapes/scenics, with a few rolls of 800 for low light shots, and maybe a roll or 2 of the 200 for portraits. The 200 has lower color saturation/contrast. But, until you become highly tuned to nuances in your pictures, the 400 will look great for portraits too. I'd shoot it without worrying about it. Even for myself, it still looks great most of the time for people pics. Sometimes a little too pink in the skin tones though, someting you would only notice in a close up of someones face, not a scenic composition with people in it.
    Shoot all your scenics at 1 stop over exposure, and make sure the sky is not in your finder when you take your meter reading, unless it is a pure blue sky. Any white in the sky, then keep it out when figuring exposure, it will trick your meter into underexposing.
     
  6. I agree with Randall completely, Color looks great over-exposed.
    However, don't worry about too much if you want your lab to push/pull, check of course, but Pro labs generally charge $1 per roll, per stop.
     
  7. The idea of routinely over exposing negative films, is a bad one. They should be exposed exactly at their box speed by metering the shadows or darkest areas of the scene in which detail is needed. This of course will over expose the highlights by several stops. But to suggest metering the shadows, and then adding 2-3 stops of exposure will make a mess.
     
  8. Go with the Superia 400 by all means. Take a look at this old thread to see what actually happens when this film is treated as a 100 ISO film.
    A couple of additional things. I used to use quite a bit of this film in an old Olympus 35RC rangefinder. The meter had long since died, but it didn't really matter. 1/250sec at f8 with this film would give good negative for everything from direct sun to moderate shadow. Opening up one stop covers deep shadow or heavy overcast.
    Superia 400 can be an unexpectedly good portraiture film. When overexposed by two or three stops, the curves don't yet cross, but they do compress heavily. The dark tones shift up, yet the brightest tones pretty much stay where they are. It transforms this normally high contrast film into rendering in pastels. This can be really flattering especially in high keyed, bridal photography type scenarios.
     
  9. Sorry but there's not much point to arguing that a high contrast, over-saturated consumer C41 material like Superia 400 somehow tops a pro Fuji or Kodak film, especially for portraiture. No amount of over-exposure changes the differences between these products. Any pro lab with a tight C41 line shows quickly how dissimilar consumer and pro print films are.
     
  10. ... not much point to arguing that a high contrast, over-saturated consumer C41 material like Superia 400 somehow tops a pro Fuji or Kodak film, especially for portraiture.​
    I didn't say it did. However, if the point is to carry one film on a holiday, one could do a lot worse than Superia 400.
    Aside from the occasional roll of previous generation Gold 100 from my dwindling cache, I don't actually shoot much 135 format C41 any more. Being a few decades removed from the Facebook generation, it also means I'm uncomfortable posting images of actual blushing brides. However, here are a few close proxies from my archive for illustrative purposes.
    00VJBe-202589584.jpg
     
  11. Here's another.
     
  12. Finally, one of Superia 400 exposed as metered.
    00VJBo-202591684.jpg
     
  13. Ok, so the general feel seems to be that I should overexpose my film a stop anyway, and can hence get away with 400 in even bright light. But the question still lies: from a grain/contrast point of view will I be significantly better off using 200 (possibly as 100) rather than 400 as 200 for enlargements?
     
  14. Superia 400 can be an unexpectedly good portraiture film. When overexposed by two or three stops, the curves don't yet cross, but they do compress heavily. The dark tones shift up, yet the brightest tones pretty much stay where they are. It transforms this normally high contrast film into rendering in pastels. This can be really flattering especially in high keyed, bridal photography type scenarios .
    Wedding and portraiture I've seen shot on Superia 400 featured skin tones ranging from almost jack-o-lantern orange for tanned skin to wire brush facial pink for ruddy complexions. It can be plain ugly relative to what the Kodak NC films or Fuji Pro S or H films deliver. Sorry but there's no comparison. Over-exposure doesn't alter Superia's baked-in limitations.
     
  15. Without knowing anything much about Kodak films, isn't that kind of comparing apples to oranges? Those sound like highend films and those *should* be outdoing consumer grade Fuji...
     
  16. Hello. I have overexposed by one stop and have not told the lad to do anything as far as push/pull and the photos came out with no problems. I was always told to overexpose by one stop when shooting people/portraits/models outdoors. The rule was better over exposed then under. It may be easierto stop light down then to bring it up from under exposure. The superia 800 speed film I find to be grainy. I have used fuji pro 400 h and 160 s and they are neutral toned films.
     
  17. I wouldn't hesitate to use Superia 400 as an all-around film. You can get it for $2 for a 36 roll from Adorama. If you want faster film you can get the Superia 800 or 1600 and you can overexpose those as well. For portrait I don't like Superia as much as Kodak 400NC. If you want a "pro grade" alternative to the Superia the Kodak 400VC, Portra 800, and Fuji Pro 400 and 800 are all good.
     
  18. I was at CVS earlier today. Their house brand (Fuji) film is on sale again. The 4-pack of 24 exp. 200 film is $4.99 and the 400 film is $5.99. The two 400 speed color print films I have been using most in 35mm size are Superia X-Tra 400 and CVS. If I didn't already have a huge suppy on hand I would buy more of the CVS film. When I shoot the 400 speed CVS film I usually rate it at 320 and I rate the 200 film at 200. You need to enlarge quite a bit to see the diference between the 200 and 400 speed CVS films. If grain is your only concern then the Portra 400 films have less of it then the consuner Fuji films of the same speed. The Portra films cost more if that is a consideration. What about sharpness? They are all sharp.
     
  19. Robert, beautiful pictures !!!!
     
  20. Lachlan,
    It comes down to this: BOTH films will give you excellent results. Superia 200 is optimal for portraiture, Superia 400 for scenic/travel/vacation shots. But you can use either for each application. If most of your shots will be facial shots, go with the 200, otherwise, stick with the flexibility 400 speed gives you.
    Here are the links to Fuji's specs for both films. You can see they both have the same grain size of 4. The RMS rating of 4 means Root Mean Square Size, or, average grain size. From this perspective, the 400 speed film is technically superior-twice the speed for the same grain.
    For what it is worth, I loaded up on Superia 400 when Costco was clearancing it, as I was so impressed by its flexibility and excellent results.
     
  21. Final bit of advice, do a seacrh on each film at Flickr.
    www.flickr.com
    Flickr is great for checking out films, as you will get images, not words for results. See for yourself what you like. Just one word of caution though you will see lots of ugly green tinted or crazy colored image results from cross processed film shots. "Xpro" is very popular now with young people. But it is easy to see which are Xpro and which are normal shots.
     
  22. Ok, so the general feel seems to be that I should overexpose my film a stop anyway ...​
    Not quite. It's really to critically use a film often enough to know what to expect. This lets you adjust exposure so that the image is recorded just the way you want it on the film.
    Superia 400, and portrait films as a group, has huge overexposure latitude. The significant difference between this, and Fuji 400H (NPH) for example, is what happens when overexposed by one, two, and three stops. Try it, and you'll see that 400H has less tonal compression going up this progression.
    Practically, this means Superia 400 is high contrast when used as rated. Shadows go deep quickly - lots of "pop" for scenics. Give the film more light, however, and the contrast curve flattens out quickly. Use it this way to reach for details in the shadows.
     
  23. A few years ago, somebody did an analysis of Agfa Vista films, and found that Vista 200 and 400 had excellent latitude in both directions. I forget the exact numbers. But he found that 200 had about 1 stop more latitude of underexposure, and 400 had about 1 stop more overexposure. This led him to believe they were actually the same film.
    That must have saved them some manufacturing costs.
     

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