cheap color negative film

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I mostly shoot slides myself, but my wife has been shooting more color and she always wants prints to send people. This means I have to scan and edit a bunch of slides not to mention the film is expensive and processing takes forever. I'm going to start loading her camera with color negative film so she can get processing and prints easily.

    Now the question is, which new film should I buy? I can buy Superia and Gold color negative film "over-the-counter". Which one is better in 200 speed? 800? Are the 800 speed films any good, or are they very grainy?

    Are these films a lot worse than the more expensive Portra, Ektar 100 films? What is the Fuji equivalent of Portra?
     
  2. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    This boils down largely to a matter of taste.

    I've shot a fair quotient Fuji Superia and been pleased with it for the price in speeds from 100 to 400. Haven't shot Kodak Gold anytime in recent history though, so I can't compare. I'd grab a roll of each and let your wife see which she prefers. Last I checked, Fuji was still going cheaper.

    Fuji Press 800 is probably the cheapest 800 speed around, but it's on the dull and grainy side to my eyes.

    As you go more upscale, you do get finer grain and better color for your money.

    Ektar is very fine-grained and the colors punchy for a negative film.

    Reala is more subdued, but still has great colors.
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Fuji Superia 400 $1.99ea at Adorama.

    Good stuff.
     
  4. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I tend to expose color film at a half to a full stop slower than the box speed. Full speed gives pretty muted colors and poor contrast, especially with Fuji's consumer films if you rely on Wal-Mart's lab rats to call the shots.

    I wouldn't say a roll of Kodak Gold or the standard Fuji 200 speed film is any worse than the above mentioned stuff. I will say that 800 speed film is grainy, especially with 35mm negatives. Now if you're enlarging to 4x6 that's not a big deal. 8x10 you'll start to see the grain.

    If she can make due with 200 speed, I don't think you'll see a huge difference in grain between Kodak's or Fuji's consumer level films. I do like Fuji's better. It has more accurate color to me and tends to have a better grain structure. It's been my experience that people tolerate grain much less with color film than they do black and white, so I go with the slowest film I can for the project.

    If you're getting the film developed at Walgreens or Wal-Mart, I don't see any reason why you would want to go with an expensive film like Porta or Ektar. I'd stick with the $2 or so a roll Fuji stuff at Wal-Mart (that by the way says "RETURN TO WAL-MART FOR QUALITY PROCESSING" on the canister).

    I've not used Ektar, but I've read that it's a film built for scanning. What does that mean? I don't know. Probably just riding the buzzword bandwagon.
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Reala is very good... and the colours are definitely reala than ektar.
     
  6. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    Some samples of the films:

    Superia 200
    [​IMG]

    Superia 400
    [​IMG]

    Press 800
    [​IMG]

    Reala
    [​IMG]

    Ektar
    [​IMG]
     
  7. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    All of the Superia films are excellent--Reala 100, Superia 100, Superia 200, HG 200, Xtra 400, Xtra 800, and Superia 1600, and also the Press versions. 1/3 stop overexposure seems to look the best with the 800, 400, and 200 films; up to +2/3 EV for the 1600. The 1600 is the fastest color film made today, and it's something we need to use if we want them to keep making it. I wouldn't call it cheap though--it's over $5/roll.

    After using them for years, I'd say these films rival Ektar and Portra for color rendition and even speed-to-grain ratio for the slower films. They are a bit less saturated than Ektar. If however, you want the very best color negative film, you can't beat Ektar. And for people photos, the Portra films or the equivalent Fuji emulsions can't be beat.

    The only thing I am not certain about is how much the Superia 100 and 200 were altered recently. Apparently, they went from a "4-layer" design to a new "3-layer" design in the past year.

    These films scan very well.

    Leighgion: I saw tons of pay phones in New York City recently.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2009
  8. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    Ah, those east coasters and their east coast ways. :smile:
     
  9. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    try ektar, you might like it. it will most likely be too slow though for her use.

    otherwise, if you need a 800 speed film, try the portra 800, since 800z has been discontinued(thank you fuji :sad:), its the only professional 800 speed 35mm film on the market anymore.

    ohh... almost forgot, i was at the 99c store the other day (not sure if you have that over in TX), but they had 200 speed color film for 99c/roll. i bought and shot two rolls, well, its not the finest grained film by far, but the colors are nice and bright, and it doesn't seem all that contrasty. but the grain is a little too much for me though.


    personally, i bulk load portra 160nc/400nc(400 is no longer available in 100' rolls, 160nc is)

    -dan
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Any Superia is great stuff IMO.
     
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Over here Portra in long roll is more expensive than the equivalent numbers of type 135.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i agree completely!
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    For the most part I use Fuji Superia, I'll get a packet of 4 at Walmart and have it process at Costco for about $4.00 which not too bad.

    Jeff
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2009
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I wish they were available in 120/220; especially the 800 and the 1600. I have seen only the 100 (120 only, no 220), and have heard in these forums that Fuji makes 400 in 120 as well.
     
  16. nocrop

    nocrop Member

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    Develop color negatives yourself. It's not much fun, but it is rewarding; fresh C41 chemicals makes a big difference.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The local mini-lab owner is a professional photographer as well, specialising in weddings. She shoots Fuji Superia exclusively, the speed depending on the conditions. The prints look excellent as they have to, in order to get the business. That's a pretty good recommendation.

    pentaxuser
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    2F -- you might contact huntphoto in melrose ma. for a long time i bought
    short date ( or just expired ) fuji from them and it was pretty inexpensive.
    if there is a 120 film, they will have it and sell it to you ( out of date ).
    120 ( 100 ).

    i have never seen it in 120, if it existed i would shoot that as well.
    the 800 ( or is it 1600 ) 135 is cheep and good. it is as good as proz
    and it is something like half the price
    good stuff.
     
  19. wogster

    wogster Member

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    The concern here for a lot of people is that you can only buy C41 chemicals in very large quantities and they go off very quickly. How do you get 5 gallons of C41 developer to last the 3-4 years it would take to use it up.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Exactly, that is my heartburn.

    Steve
     
  21. popeetheus

    popeetheus Member

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    BetterSense, I use Kodak Gold 200, its the only film that hasn't burnt me in one way or another, very balanced all around. Fuji films in this speed just have funky colors to my eye, green grass is always neon green, skin tones are off...nothing seems 'right'....if this isn't an issue and your wife only needs a picture of something then maybe just going for the less expensive film would be the way to go. Can't help you with a comparison on the 800, I have used Kodak Max 800 and it can be a bit grainy on scans, but on 4X6 prints it wouldn't be an issue.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2009
  22. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    I like Kodak's 100 and 200 speed consumer neg films, and Fuji's 400 and 800. For an all-around film, but little indoor flash, I would use Gold 200. It gives you an extra stop of speed without that much extra grain. If you are using electronic flash most of the time, I would recommend Superia 400.
     
  23. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Kodak Gold 100 will go far. I'll also say that I just enlarged some kodak 400 and it went nicely to 11x14. The grain was noticeable if you filled the entire area shortwise but not at all offensive. I would say that by picking any given film you're much more likely to go right than wrong. Films these days are very, very good. I'd overexpose a third stop or two or just run tests to see what works with whatever lab you choose.
     
  24. wogster

    wogster Member

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    What I think someone should do, maybe Kodak or Fuji, is make up 1/2L and 1L kits, the kit consists of enough chemicals to make 1/2L or 1L of usable solutions, which is enough to fill most home processing tanks. As labs get more and more scarce, this could become a big seller. I know Kodak has an E6 kit, but it's 5 gallons, or a little over 19L of solutions, a little large for home use, at nearly $90 in Canada it's a little expensive to. A kit that was 1/2L for $10 would probably be a huge seller, especially if it could do say 4 rolls of film.

    Speaking of film, I have a roll of B&W to process, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow,:D
     
  25. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    I long ago moved to scratch-mix chemistry for both C41 and E6, because I need only 1-liter quantity for occasional use. You will have to learn a little about the chemistry of processing and invest in a decent chemical stock, but the expense and time spent is worth the trouble in my opinion. APUG contributors have been a great help in getting consistently good results from fresh chemistry at low cost from alternative C41 and E6 formulae.

    In Canada and also the US, JD Photochem has been a good supplier. You can purchase kits in 1-liter size at reasonable cost. www.jdphotochem.com
     
  26. wogster

    wogster Member

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    The last pricelist I got from Claire didn't have the kits on it,it has the individual chemicals, but not the kits.