Fuji announces New 400 Color Negative, for Japanese market (only)

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by jun, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. jun

    jun Member

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    Hello everyone.
    Since we are getting in to the New Year, and I don’t think that most of you don’t access Fuji’s Japanese site, but you may be interested for a new color film popping out these days, even currently targeted only for the Japanese market, I will inform it here.
    Here is the announcement that Fuji did on Dec. 18th, 2008.
    URL below (NOTE: All Japanese)
    http://www.fujifilm.co.jp/corporate/news/articleffnr_0245.html

    Very rough and abstract translation of the above URL:

    FujiFilm will introduce a new 35mm color negative film “FUJI COLOR SUPERIA PREMIUM 400” as a new product lineup from the beginning of March 2009.
    This color film has a new designed emulsion layer that have a better overexposure latitude than the current offering.
    Also this new film emulsion is designed and adjusted for the average Japanese skin color, to reproduce Japanese skin well and look healthier.

    As digital camera have been popular these days, and people are shooting more pictures than ever before, and people are also recognizing that the photographic film has the merit for better tone and 3 dimensional like reproduction and still supporting films.
    Also there is some new demand for film from users who never shoot film before.

    Futures:
    (1) Better over exposure latitude from newly designed emulsion layers.
    (Allows one stop over exposure than the current product)
    (2) Adjusted for average Japanese skin color for better skin tones (for Japanese)
    (3) New Super Uniform Fine Grain Technology for higher efficiency and fine grain
    (4) Vivid Color Reproduction Technology for Sharpness and Vividness

    As you may see, I don’t think this product is drastic product like the EKTAR 100.
    But it may be a practical 400 film, since the current Fuji Film 400 speed 135 commercial film offerings in Japan, i.e. “FUJI COLOR SUPERIA VENUS” (I don’t think this is exported) is too high contrast for my taste (I don’t think that Fujion is not that low contrast lens but???) and may have corrected this problem.
    Well, the highest contrast Negative Film that I have experienced was the EKTAR 25 (completely blown out highlights), but I think this is the fate of thin emulsion high-resolution film.
    I know that Fuji also offers X-TRA 400 film in Japan now, which was not introduced in Japan before.

    I am not so much interested in 35mm system in color, because it seems to be difficult to have acceptable exposure range, tone/gradation, sharpness and grain simultaneously.
    I seldom use my Nikon F2 / FM3A any more for film (my more than 50 years old 6 X 9 MF camera brings much better results).
    I think 35mm system is made and suited for motion picture rather than for still application technically, which was definitely true 50 years ago, which I think is also holds true for today.
    May be, the new EKTAR 100 (supposed to debut in Japan mid of January 2009), and new type of film that Fuji will bring may change my mind a bit.
    However even the new EKTAR 100 cannot come close to PORTRA for exposure range / latitude performance (which I think is the very important feature especially for color negative) without any doubt.
    I have to test these new 135 films to get my own conclusion whether these new films can meet my requirements.

    The bad news from Fuji is that they also announced to increase the price (about + 15%) of the 135 / APS size negative films starting from March 2009 in Japan (only).
    Well I think that this is inevitable.
    But it will not affect pricing of Reversal Films, B&W, and color negative other than 135 / APS.

    The cheapest 135 size color negative film per roll available today in Tokyo Japan is Kodak 400 gold film in 3 or 5 roll packs.
    DNP films (=KODAK OEM) are bit more expensive but if you buy it in single roll pack, I think it is cheaper than the yellow box.
    Fuji is the most expensive (+10% or more), but average Japanese tends to buy Fuji.

    For Color Negative I normally choose Kodak rather than Fuji, but for Color Reversal, I will definitely choose Fuji.

    Thank you and Happy New Year!
     
  2. Heinz_Anderle

    Heinz_Anderle Member

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    Fuji has tacitly phased out most 4-color layer negative films (Superia X-tra 100, 200, and 400) and replaced them with 3-color layer films, also available as several drugstore chains' private label films for a very moderate price (Fujicolor 100, Superia 200 = C200, Superia 400, and equivalents). I like the new Superia 200 = C200 for its perfect hybrid capabilities, while the crappy prints I got with tis film from commercial photofinishers are by no means of any use in judging a film's quality today. All these new films have a lighter mask and a quite high contrast as optimized for scanning in the widespread Fuji Frontier minilabs, and an excellent dynamic range for exposure at nominal speed without losing shadow detail, but they don't tolerate overexposure too well. Maybe the new film has a flatter gradation.
     
  3. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I can see why they target Japan, considering the comment on Japanese skin color.

    The color reproduction of various skin tones in color films is a complex subject and I spent months mastering the subtle nature of this. We tailored all of our color films to have spectral sensitivities to cover all possible skin tones from freckle faced redheads to African Americans, with teenagers with severe acne in between. Belive it or not, the latter is a problem to reproduce well without them looking very ill indeed.

    So, if they target one skin tone, I hope they manage to cover them all with one film, or they will be faced with either poor tones, or a redesign of the product.

    PE
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    They'd have a rich market here in Los Angeles if it is true that all Asian skin tones are similar.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Asian skin tones are not entirely similar.

    PE
     
  6. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Do amateur photographers in Japan shoot a lot of film? This seems like a consumer product, which is odd given the low volume of consumer film being used nowadays. Obviously there is some market, or else this film wouldn't exist.
     
  7. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    This seems to fly in the face of the "film is dead" chorus.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    And Ektar 100 didn't? :D

    PE
     
  9. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Japan is film paradise :smile: Didn't someone post photos from a Tokyo camera store a little while back?
     
  10. SamWeiss

    SamWeiss Member

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    From the first time I stepped into my local Yodobashi Camera (when I lived in Japan), in 2003, to the last time I visited it (in 2007), the film section (mostly a large refrigerated unit, such as one sees in US food super-markets ala the "milk section") shrank by about 3/4.

    What is interesting about the latest Fujifilm domestic announcement is the price increase for 35mm color films. The demand curve for this type of product may show that the few remaining customers are willing to pay much more for the product than the average customer of say 20 years ago.

    I use Fujifilm products... mostly because they are cheaper! Back here in the US now, I see that I can still get Fujifilm C41 120 film for $2 (from Ultrafine on sale), just as I can get Acros from Freestyle for $3. I'm wondering though if the fall of the $ vs the Yen will make for a significant price increase in Fujifilm products here, perhaps to be announced before PMA?

    Oh, and the Japanese women whom I know would all prefer to have creamy white skin, compared to the sallow look of other Asians... thus perhaps the driving force behind the sometimes pink-ier Fujifilm renditions, and also the color algorithms used in the digital cameras.
     
  11. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

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    Wasn't aware they had phased out the 4-layr stuff. But I did indeed notice a major change with Superia 400. It is now by far my preferred 400ISO colour negative film: scans much easier with its shiny emulsion side and has a colour response that I particularly like whilenot being overly contrasty. And the grain is much less obtrusive, which makes for much easier and faster post-processing.

    I hope this new one shows up soon here in Australia, at an acceptable price. Provia 400X is a superb film, but its price here is beyond belief: much more expensive than any other 400 slide film, which makes it almost a luxury item. Even through ebay it's still waaaay too expensive...
     
  12. Heinz_Anderle

    Heinz_Anderle Member

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    Kodachrome 200 (indoors with flash) for the Zombie effect, and Velvia 50 for the full spectrum in the skin AND circulation disease medical textbooks.

    :mad:
     
  13. Photo Engineer

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    Heinz;

    You are correct about Kodachrome, but at least all flesh tone types suffer equally! :D

    That is one reason I don't like Kodachrome.

    And I never said that I liked the Acne effect. AAMOF, Agfa products were noted for the Acne effect and were quite bad at the time. We worked hard to give the right tone but gloss over the acne. It was not easy. I might describe it some day.

    PE
     
  14. bspeed

    bspeed Member

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    All i know is......


    I emailed Kodak, and DEMANDED Extar 100 in 4x5.

    should be here soon, I guess. :smile:
     
  15. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Maybe not, I think the problem with multiple formats is that 35mm and 4x5 are different thicknesses. According to Ilford, 35mm is ~.125mm, 120/220 is ~.110mm and large format is ~.180mm. That means that you have to know that you will sell enough in each size to use up the entire batch of that thickness before the film expires. I know the answer is smaller batches, but that might make it too expensive, especially for a company like Kodak who's Modus Operandi is to make massively huge batches at a time.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

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    Kodak can make a single master roll, but the problem is that the coating machine just cannot change support types. It must be adjusted for the thickness of that support. The hopper must be repositioned and the drying is different as heat transport through the film is different.

    All of this takes some degree of development which costs money up-front and must be charged for. To do this development to make 1 master roll means that the customer must pay for as many trial runs as needed to get 1 master roll of good stuff.

    You willing?

    PE
     
  17. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    It seems that Kodak (and all other companies too) needs to figure out how to produce films much more cost effectively. It is a race against the digital technology. It is obvious that digital sensors are getting cheaper at a stunning rate over time. They simply are able to be more cost effective in making digital sensors. If cost of making films stays at the same place or grows more expensively it will not survive the competition. It really makes little sense to produce a great film such as Ektar 100 but only in 35 mm format. For Ektar 100 to have a strong hold in the market Kodak really needs to make 120/220 and LF formats for the film. Kodak's top priority is to figure out how to cut cost in making them. If it can not be done the film will come and go just like many other great films Kodak made in the past. That would be very sad. Let's keep fingers crossed and hope Kodak figures out how to keep Ektar100 (in more formats) alive.
     
  18. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Is it not possible to coat films in smaller runs? If not then every step of R&D would require a $250K coating run... Is it possible to coat color films one layer at a time?
     
  19. Photo Engineer

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    A research scale run is about 1000 feet of 4.5" film or paper. The next size is 1000 feet of 11" film or paper, and the next is 21" wide and about 1000 ft. So, my last post referred to production which is 42" x 5000 ft. Smaller research runs can be made with difficulty.

    A research coating runs about $25,000.

    Those are my estimates and are provided that the respective equipment is still in operation.

    The ROI for film products is very very good and Kodak continues to profit from the film sales remaining on the products still selling.

    PE
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2009
  20. wogster

    wogster Member

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    One thing to remember, digital sensors essentially run into the same kind of problem that computer processors do, over time the same amount improvement becomes less of a deal. For example going from a 2MP to a 4MP sensor is a 100% improvement, going from a 10MP to a 12MP is a 20% improvement, going from a 20MP sensor to a 22MP sensor is a 10% improvement. Yet the generational development costs remain the same or even increase.

    You also run into the technology wall known as good enough. If my largest print is an 8x10, then a 6-8MP camera is good enough. So if you have an 8MP camera and replace it with a 10MP camera and see no real difference in the final print, then you are unlikely to buy the 12MP camera if there is no new feature other then the bump in Megapixels. Over time there are fewer and fewer new "wow" features you can add to the camera.

    Films once they are developed, can be made for years without many big changes, In fact, often the users of that film, don't want changes made to it. I expect that over time, film production runs will get adjusted, and they will use robotic cutters so that there is less or no trimming waste. They will also start to look for processes that recycle what trimming waste, they do have. Think about how much silver is on all those little bits punched out for the perforations on 35mm film....
     
  21. Heinz_Anderle

    Heinz_Anderle Member

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    Kodachrome 25 and 64 were fine in the 1970s and 1980s outdoors, but Kodachrome 200 appeared a little undersaturated.

    But Velvia's (and Fujichrome's RD100 "New Improved" = Provia 100 (I)) skin tones drifted into a very unfavorable orange, especially from Kodak chemistry.