Kodak High Definition 400 Film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by reed_ohrbom, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. Any comments on this new film? I was just looking at the info for
    this film on the Kokak website, and I'm excited to try it out. The
    next roll of film in my SLR will be HD 400.
     
  2. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    From what I have heard, HD 400 is just Royal Gold 400 renamed.
     
  3. I shot 2 rolls of HD 400 the other night at my daughters soccer game and had it processed at the local walgreens mini kodak lab. I liked it very much. I usually shoot consumer grade fuji 400 speed for the soccer. I thought it was very much better then the fuji consumer film. I also have heard its no different than royal gold 400. Whatever the case I was pleasantly surprised the results. I want to try some fuji NPH next that i also have heard good things about.
     
  4. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Different films for different situations. The Fuji NPH will be good for head and shoulder shots of your daughter but a bit muted in color for the scenics of the soccer game. Kodak HD will be good for the soccer game but a bit saturated for portraits.
    For deep saturation of scenics, I like the Kodak Royal Gold 400 Some people think it is too cartoonish. Just a matter of opinion. I took this shot with Royal Gold 400, Minolta XG-9, 45mm Rokkor-X lens, 1/250 sec, f/16.
    [​IMG]
    The emulsions of consumer films like Royal Gold/HD as not kept to the same standards as pro films like Fuji NPH so your results may vary from year to year.
     
  5. There was talk on this film apparently being Royal Gold 400 renamed. Before being discontinued, RG 400 had a new version of itself being produced that lasted a few months. Then High Definition 400 replaced it. High Def 400 is the last version of Royal Gold 400 that was out before being discontinued. A Kodak rep. supplied this info. So yes its Royal Gold 400 renamed, but the newest version of it. Apparently you can tell by the Gold type on RG 400 if its the last version or not. I forgot what the type said, but it can be found.
     
  6. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    I've commented several times about this film, but none of the posts ever made it to an archived forum. I hope this one "sticks."
    On a trip last month, I shot five rolls of HD 400 along with the last of the (discontinued) Supra 400 in my freezer. Supra 400 had been my favorite film since it came out. I've found it works so well for the travel and scenic photography I do, and its extremely fine grain makes great scans. I have been looking for a readily-available and reasonably-priced replacement (the Portra 400UC that Kodak recommends is neither).
    I had tried two rolls of HD400 earlier, and found that it greatly resembles Supra 400. This is consistent with rumors that the last version of Royal Gold 400 (RC-3) was actually a consumer version of Supra. HD400 and Supra have equally fine grain when scanned, and a similar, rather distinctive response to underexposure in shadows. HD 400 scans well with Hamrick's VueScan using either the "Supra 400" or "Royal Gold 400 Gen. 2" profiles (the differences between these two settings are subtle, but I have settled on Royal Gold).
    Usually I either send my film to Dale Labs to be printed as slides, or else I take it to a local mini-lab to be processed without prints (I batch scan the negatives to make low-resolution proofs). This time I had a mini-lab make prints. The prints from Supra 400 were the typical mediocre but adequate product I expect from a mini-lab. But I was amazed to find the prints from HD400 (made at the same time by the same operator using a Noritsu optical printer) looked beautiful. The color was spot-on accurate and "snappier," although the contrast wasn't noticeably different. I also brought a roll to a mini-lab in my area that uses an Agfa digital printer and has produced typically mediocre prints in the past. Their HD400 prints were also beautiful, and looked very similar to the other lab. I have to conclude that Kodak has somehow tweaked the basic Supra technology to make better mini-lab prints.
    I have recently been spending a lot of time scanning HD400 negatives. The more I scan them, the more I like the film. It really does seem to be the next evolutionary improvement of Supra technology.
    What I don't like about HD400, however, is the game Kodak's marketeers seem to be playing with it. It's available only in 24-exposure rolls, in slick silver packaging suggesting that it's good for family snapshooters who want the "clearest" baby and vacation pictures from their point-and-shoot cameras (even though almost none of these "clear" pictures will ever be printed larger than 4x6). This strategy seems calculated to make the film unappealing to "serious" SLR photographers who could most benefit from this film, since they're more likely to want 36-exposure rolls.
    Presumably, such people will then buy the much more expensive (and presumably much more profitable) Portra 400UC, which Kodak pushes as the replacement for Supra 400. Now before I incur the further wrath of those who deride "amatuer [sic] film," I am willing to concede that Portra 400UC may well be a better film that really is worth a much higher price. But given how good I think 400UC is, I really have trouble imagining that Portra 400UC is so much better that it's worth $7 a roll, the price charged by the one store in my area that carries it.
    To heap further scorn on the marketeers, outside the United States Kodak sells a film called "Royal Supra 400" (or "Royal Supra 400 Professional" in some countries). Comparing the published technical specifications (curve data and grain figures) reveals that the "Royal Supra [Professional] 400" is identical to "High Definition 400"! Except that the former has a stated base thickness of .12mm, while the latter is .13mm. "Royal Supra [Professional]" is available in 24-exposure and 36-exposure loads; B&H now offers gray-market 36-exposure Royal Supra. (And just to make things muddier, the Kodak UK Web site has a "High Definition" film that's ISO 200!)
    Are these films really the same? Is the "Royal Gold" actually a "professional" film-- or does the distinction between "professional" and "amatuer [sic]" cease to mean anything? It's also quite possible that the "clever" marketing strategy for HD400 will backfire on Kodak, leaving the American market with nothing between the abominable Gold Max and the expensive Portra 400UC. Or else the marketeers will realize the stupidity of their confusing worldwide mess, and re-label HD400 yet again, perhaps as "Royal Supra [Professional]"
    Meanwhile, if the films really are the same, an appropriate option would be to order a big batch of 36-exposure Royal Supra 400 from B&H. Then, if you happen to run out while on the road, you can always stop at K-Mart and pick up some High Definition 400 and be reasonably sure you're getting the same film.
    That said, I think HD400 is a worthy successor to Supra 400 as a convenient "universal" film for high-quality printing and scanning. It's a good choice unless either need a film like NPH or Portra for specialized "people" pictures, or unless you have an implacable aversion to "amatuer [sic] film."
     
  7. I thank everyone for the very informative responses. I too had heard that HD was a replacement for Royal Gold, but it's nice to know that there is an improvement, not just a rename. I'm even more anticipatory about getting into some rolls of HD400 after reading the "word on the street" reviews above. I hope Bob Atkins (the moderator for this new forum) has seen this thread as evidence that this is a great new forum!!
     
  8. What ever happened to 100 ISO Role Gold? Why was it discontinued?
     
  9. Although I hesitate to say what Kodak is doing nowadays, apparently
    100 ISO Ro(ya)le Gold has been discontinued in favor of Royal Supra 200 (Europe), High Definition 200 (US) and Supra 200 (unknown markets), all of which might be the same emulsion. Kodak's claim
    is that RS/HD 200 exposed at EI 100 has grain similar to RG/Supra 100.
    I'm testing HD 400 now, but owing to poor sales of Royal Gold 200, have not yet seen HD 200 in stores.
     
  10. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    ...owing to poor sales of Royal Gold 200, have not yet seen HD 200 in stores.
    As far as I know, HD 200 is not being sold in the US (although it is apparently the only "High Definition" film in the UK). As you say, Kodak's strategy (to the extent that they have one) appears to involve replacing ISO 100 films with ISO 200 versions that are claimed to have similar image quality.
     
  11. This is the problem I find myself in. Every year I pack up the wife and kids to go camping in the White mountains of NH. I go to shoot the landscape and flowers, but the same argument always takes place. The wife wants prints to show her/our friends and I like slides for image superiority. It is hard to show the pictures to your friends and family when their all on slide. So maybe this year will be different. So I am going to order about 12 rolls of the 400HD in a few weeks and use it for the trip. Hopefully this will be a good comprimise. I rarely enlarge my images beyond 11X14.
     
  12. B&H also still has Supra 400. I just bought some 25 rolls (in pro packs of 5)for an upcoming trip. They also sell the Royal Gold films and while I liked the 400UC the 400VC and NC versions are still alternatives (though far pricier than HD 400)

    -Christopher
     
  13. I reciently took a few rolls of the new HD400 film on my honeymoon to Belgium and it took the best pictures of the canals of Brugges. Then pictures have moderate contrast and good, though not overdone, color saturation. HD400 is my new default 400 speed film, supplanting the Fuji superia 400.
     
  14. HD 200 has appeared in nearby stores, but only in 3-packs of 36
    exposure rolls, which seems totally bizarre considering that HD 400
    is available only in 24 exposure rolls! I'll test HD 200 eventually
    but currently am more excited about Astia 100F.
     
  15. I tried a roll of High Definition 200, and don't think I'll use it
    again. It is admittedly somewhat less grainy than HD 400, especially
    skin tones, but also less color accurate for purples. Portra 400UC
    beats them both, despite the official PGI ratings.
     
  16. It seems that HD 200 & HD 400 are the same film it's sold as HD 200 in Europe and HD 400 in the USA. The same film is rated @ 100 ISO in APS....
     
  17. That's hard to believe, Eric. In my tests, HD400 had better purple
    accuracy in sun/shade, and that's unlikely to have occurred due to
    1 stop exposure difference. Recently I've seen scans on the web
    where Royal Supra 200 looks better than HD200, so maybe they aren't
    the same after all.
     
  18. I can say that HD was launched simulaneously in Europe as HD200 and in the US as HD400 are the HD200 & HD400 simulneously marketed in the USA now or is it gray market film ?
     
  19. Both HD 400 and HD 200 are available in the USA, usually in 3-packs.
    It is tremendously odd that HD 400 comes only in 24-exposure rolls
    while HD 200 comes only in 36-exposure rolls. You'd think that advanced amateurs, who are the market for HD, would prefer 36.
     
  20. Had a chance to try this film last week since my local store was out of NPH. The colors were OK, but I was quite disappointed at the film speed, which worked out to something around 200, instead of around 400. Shot 2 rolls under various lighting conditions and different speeds, and I find it does well outdoors and not so well indoors. I wouldn't shoot this any faster than 200. Still, it's grainier than NPH. It's back to NPH for me.
     

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