Fuji color negative grain (Reala 100)

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Marco B, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Hi all,

    I today for the first time scant a Fuji color negative film (Reala 100). Now, besides the fact that this seems to be a pretty coarse grained film compared to some other 100 ISO color negative films like the new Ektar 100, I also noticed that the grain structure seemed to be different. I especially was intruiged by the apparant "pinkish" grains, see the scan below, that almost seem like light colored "holes" punched in the negative. I have not seen this type of grain structure before. Is the grain structure of Fuji color negative really that different from Kodak's? Or is this a sign of some kind of bad processing?

    Please note that the scan is a 100% - "actual pixels" - crop of a huge 6300 pixels-per-inch scan.

    Marco
     

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  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    IMHO, this does not look normal for any color film. I would suggest bad film or bad processing. Fuji generally looks better than that.

    PE
     
  3. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    Dang ugly, compared to my recollection of shooting wedding portraits with the stuff
     
  4. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Please note that the scan I showed actually represents a pretty huge enlargement! It would require a 1.2x1.8 meter enlargement of the negative to see the same thing at the same size! So it may not look that bad at "normal" sizes...

    This scan really looks "into the grain".
     
  5. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    And any suggestions as to what kind of "bad processing" - if any - might cause this?
     
  6. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    Question:
    Is it like this from a wet print? Because if not it looks like scan noise. Those white spaces and course grain 'speckled colour noise' are typical of flatbed scans.
    Some wet mount to reduce this, also you can open in photoshop and convert to Lab mode then apply Gaussian blur to the a and b channels to give a more monochromatic noise that will look more 'film like' and less electronic.
    Like this
    [​IMG]
    you'll need to view them side by side to really see what I've done.
    Mark
     
  7. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It looks like scan noise to me too. I have always found this film to be very tight grained.
     
  8. j_landecker

    j_landecker Member

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    That looks exactly how Reala scanned on a Microtek 120 I had. The hard light source always produced grainy scans and the white speckles could be the result of "pepper grain", which has been attributed to microscopic bubbles in the emulsion. In any case, the Nikon LS-8000 I have now produces a much smoother scan, closer to what I get with optical enlarging.
     
  9. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I think you have simply pushed beyond the limits of the technology, in more then one way, and when you do that, things start to fail really quickly.

    First the film, if your going from a 35mm negative, a 40x50cm (16x20) is considered just about the limit for a 35mm negative, and that's only with very fine grained and slow film, so a 120x180cm enlargement is well beyond what analog enlargements can expect from the film. For an enlargement that size a 10x12cm negative would be best.

    Now the scan, unless your using a high end drum scanner, no flatbed scanner or film scanner comes anywhere near the resolution in hardware, some will let you pick a higher resolution, it then uses software to increase the resolution, there are about 10 different formulae for increasing that resolution, some work better with some images then others, so if the scanner uses only one formula (most do), then that formula may have failed your image.
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I would make an RA print of the neg, then judge. First of all, you have posted a severe crop. Second of all, you have scanned it, which is no way to flatter a C-41 film. Third of all, we don't know if it was scanned and processed well. Fourth of all, it could have been overexposed, and/or processed in foul chemicals, which would increase the graininess.

    Reala is the best looking C-41 film made, IMO. I am thrilled to tears that I discovered a [somewhat] local source for it in 120 format. If only they made it in 4x5. From 35mm, this film is tack sharp at 8x12. For what it's worth, even Press 800 makes a decent 12x18 in my experience.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2008
  11. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

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    That's more like it. I use Reala on 35mm regularly and never saw anything like this at normal mags.
    Sure, it has grain. But nowhere near that pink noise. That looks to me like a scan grain alias problem.

    I use Neat Image regularly to "clean-up" grain in my scans: applied lightly to the chroma channel it does not majorly reduce detail and gets rid of most of the scan alias grain.
    Of course: there are other ways of approaching this problem, mine is just one of them.
     
  12. aparat

    aparat Member

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    Your scanner is the culprit here, or rather the resolution settings. You should reduce the scanning resolution to something like 2000-3000 ppi - there will be enough detail in the photo for large prints, but the grain will not be obtrusive. You may want to read this excellent article for more information.
     
  13. mjk

    mjk Member

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    As some folks here have said, a lot of the supposed grain you've got looks more like sensor noise from your scanner than like actual grain. If you want to see what your film's ACTUAL grain characteristics are, I'd say dial down your scanning resolution to something like 3000-4000 ppi, you'll be pushing the electronics less, so you should get less noise but you'll still have enough resolution to see the actual grain.
     
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  15. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Hi all,

    Guys, these scans were made on a high end Imacon Flextight 848 that had just been serviced. It is a scan of a negative, so not a scan of a wetprint. Scan results of other films look pretty good, and I am therefore also pretty sure that what I am seeing is NOT just noise. Yes, part of it may be, and will be, attributable to noise, but for the most part, I am pretty sure what we see is actually what THIS PARTICULAR negative looks like. What I actually want to know, or try to assess based on all of your useful comments, is if Reala 100 is known to be a slightly more "grainy" film compared to some others around in the 100 ISO range, like for example the new Ektar 100.

    A few responses to all the input here:

    I have no doubt that even this negative will look great when printed on 8x12 or 12x18. The reason I scanned it at such ridiculous high resolution, is that I did intend to get a closer look at the grain structure. I have successfully scanned other 100 ISO films at the same very high 6300 ppi resolution for my Ektar review, that I am now in the process of updating for new, better, scan results of the serviced 848.

    Interesting, your suggestion of microscopic bubbles. Anyone else who can comment on this particularily in relation to this film type?

    I am perfectly aware of this, as I am the author of that article! :tongue:. Thanks for the compliment by the way, I am glad that all the work that went into these things is appreciated.

    Yes, it's probably beyond what Fuji Reala 100 can deliver in terms of true image detail, but as I have clearly shown in my Ektar review, some films (like Fuji Velvia 100 and Kodak Ektar 100) DO hold up even with such ridiculous high scanning resolutions.

    And again, I was trying to asses the grain structure. However, since these results, compared to the other 100 ISO films in my Ektar 100 review, were somewhat unexpected, I want to make sure I do not have another issue like a bad film processing issue. Or if Reala 100 is known to be a problematic film for scanning due to it's technical make up in terms of layers or so... I have regularly read here on APUG about older film types being "difficult" to scan, is Reala 100 maybe one of them?, and of updates to emulsions by manufacturers for "better scanning" characteristics.

    Is there anyone else here that has ever attempted to scan a Reala 100 negative at resolutions beyond 4000 ppi at a scanner like Imacon, drum, or Nikon Coolscan and that can comment on his observations, like Landecker did with his Microtek?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2008
  16. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Make a magnification print and you'll see if it is bad film or grain aliasing from the scanner (which imacons are known for especially when the USM is not disabled). I have scanned reala on a flextight and have not seen what you've displayed.

    Meanwhile, if it is the film or processing it is a one off, as this film is anything but grainy. Reala is an older film and newer emulsions have been 'optimized' for scanning, which may mean something, but I doubt it. Imacan's use film profiles and the one you used for Reala may have the USM turned up, whereas the the ones used for the other 100iso films may have been turned down or disabled.

    This thread is heading in a direction that is out of scope for APUG. If your concern is whether or not the film is suitable for scanning then you need to take it to Hybridphoto or some other suitable forum.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2008
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    If it is the film then it's probably not been not quite fully bleach fixed. I have seen this with XP1 - re-bleach fixing cured the problem.

    Ian
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    After thinking about this, and looking at the other scans you posted Marco, I felt that it was not the scanner, or you would have seen it in the Ektar 100 as well. Then thinking further back to Ektar 25, I remember how the couplers would "oil out" or crystallize in a coating on keeping. It caused much the same effect, due to the fact that when a coupler or dye crystallizes it becomes rather opaque and changes color giving light colored dots in a photo micrograph.

    So, my suggestion right now is that this might be crystalline dye and coupler in the film causing light dots to appear at high magnification. If so, it is the same effect that caused the old Ektar 25 to appear to have coarser grain when kept than when fresh. Of course, in the Ektar, the effect was much worse, but still rather similar.

    There are examples of this "old Ektar 25" problem posted here by other APUG members.

    Maybe this is what you are seeing. Just a guess. Then again, as Ian says, it might be poor bleaching. This can be tested by re-bleaching, washing, fixing, washing and stabilzing. A rescan would then show the difference.

    PE
     
  19. GeorgK

    GeorgK Member

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    Hello.
    I had the same effect with a batch of Reala - in fact some of the "slightly outdated, but cold storage and 100% perfect" junk frequently distributed over the internet.
    I do my own C41 processing, and even prolonged or repeated bleaching and fixing could not resolve this problem. It almost cranked my processing routine, because I thought I must have been done something wrong.
    I had no such problems with another batch of Reala which I had used some months earlier, nor had I experienced this problem with other Fujis.
    The explanation of PE sounds very reasonable. Looks like Reala does not keep very well.

    Regards
    Georg
     
  20. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Thanks to all for the input! I think we can "close" this "case" by now. I think the issue is related to three things based on all of your input:

    - First and foremost, I think Reala is simply a slightly more grainy 100 ISO film than some others, meaning results at such high scanning resolutions simply are looking worse than with other films.

    - Bad film due to long and bad (non-cold) storage, causing the "oiling out" issues as described by PE and possibly also "air" bubbles.

    - Grain aliasing as caused by scanning at higher resolution than the film "supports" and possibly in combination with forgotten to switch of USM in Flextight software, although I am pretty sure I did, see below.

    To give some last feedback on useful comments by others:

    Thanks for this input PE, it may well explain the strange light coloured "dots" in the film scan. It is very good to know that such a thing can happen with old film.

    Thanks JD, I do by now, after scanning quite a lot on the Flextight the past few years, know how to use it and I am pretty sure I turned the USM off after switching to the Reala profile. However, since it was a bit a hectic day and I needed to scan other films as well, I may have had an unwanted oversight. Still, that wouldn't explain all, and especially not what looks to be the oiled out dye couplers and crystallization as PE describes it, or the "air" bubbles as someone else pointed out.

    I know this is on the brink of Hybridphoto, sorry for that, in hindsight it may have been better to post specifically in the "Hybrid Photo" social group here on APUG, BUT I needed the good "film knowledge" as well of persons like PE, to exclude or confirm a major film issue. These are the difficult questions to put in the right place, on Hybrid Photo, I may not have had enough input...

    Thanks
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2008
  21. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Marco,
    Reala is excellent film,as you've stated, you either had a bad roll, bad processing or a bad scan and to sit and spin in place on this one roll is a waste of time.

    Buy another freash roll and start all over again.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2008
  22. Lamar

    Lamar Member

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    RE: Reala 100 Grain

    Marco,
    I know this is an old thread but I have seen the same problem with Reala on my Nikon CoolScan V ED. Very pronounced grain for a 100 speed film. I have now compared it to Ektar 100 and the Ektar has MUCH finer and more acceptable grain. I will go as far as to say that in many cases the Fuji Superia Xtra 400 shots I scan have less apparent grain than the Reala scans. ????? I don't know why, I'm still relatively new to this. I use local stores that develop C41 with Fuji processors so maybe it’s related to that. After shooting about five rolls of Reala at ISO 100 to ISO 50 and getting what I consider grainy results for ISO 100 film at resolutions from 1600dpi to 4000dpi I am frustrated.
    I have had a few scans of Ektar shot at ISO 100, with excessive grain, most notably in blue sky. I think you mention in one of your articles that the gain on blue channels on scanners may be higher to compensate for the loss of light due to the orange mask resulting in potentially more noise in that channel especially if the signal is low to begin with. I shot my second roll of Ektar at ISO 64 resulting in finer grain than the roll I ran at 100. At 4000 dpi grain was there but finer than any other negative film I have scanned; at 1800 dpi it was detectable but essentially negligible. Regardless it is frustrating when you're not getting the repeatable quality you think should and you cannot find the cause.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2009
  23. mrladewig

    mrladewig Member

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    I've seen the same with Reala and Pro160S compared with similar Kodak films on my Nikon LS-4000.

    Reala crop from a 4000ppi scan

    Ektar crop from a 4000ppi scan

    Just for grins, Kodak's HD 400 in comparison.
    HD400 crop from a 4000ppi scan

    This one isn't quite the same as it was prepped for printing but it shows the same behavior in Pro 160S

    Pro 160S prepped for print from a 4000ppi scan

    Portra 160VC from a 4000ppi scan

    I don't have a crop from Portra 160NC handy, but it typically looks similar to the VC scan.

    Now this could be attributed to noise or amplification of the grain due to a curve on the scan, but the grain in 35mm slide film is much less noticeable.

    E100G crop from a 4000ppi scan

    I like the palette of Reala very much, but I haven't been very happy with scans from that film. Its a shame because the film holds a deep blue in the sky. It sounds like this isn't a problem with it when its printed.
     
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  24. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ***I had the same effect with a batch of Reala - in fact some of the "slightly outdated, but cold storage and 100% perfect" junk frequently distributed over the internet.***

    Oh no! Just bought 20 rolls dated oct 2006 for £15 on ebay.
     
  25. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    I think you shouldn't worry to much and simply give it a try. It all depends on what size you intend to print the film. For any normal purpose (up to 10x15 inch prints), I doubt you will see excessive grain.

    It is just with very large enlargements, or high scanning ppi's like the ones mentioned in this thread, that problems appear.

    Thanks all for the further input!

    It just reconfirms all of the things I concluded before, with Reala clearly being one of the grainier ISO 100 films around, especially in comparison with some of the more modern films like Portra and Ektar.

    Nothing new here, we all know that films rated at the same ISO, can still have significantly different grain sizes and grain appearance.

    Marco
     
  26. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ****Nothing new here, we all know that films rated at the same ISO, can still have significantly different grain sizes and grain appearance.***

    ...and some shots from a home scanner are better than others for less grain.

    frame 14a contrasty neg tak 35mm f3.5 fuji superior 200
    http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn172/chakrata/Pentax35mmf3-5M42.jpg

    frame 15a same lens, neg probably could do with another 1/2 stop more exposure and taken on a different day
    http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn172/chakrata/chris755.jpg