Fuji Pro 160S - how did pro's use them

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by rayonline_nz, May 2, 2012.

  1. rayonline_nz

    rayonline_nz Member

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    Hi, I just like to know your views on this film. I have a few rolls in the freezer and just a roll of this and scanned with my Nikon Coolscan 4000.

    When you zoom into the image at 100% you do get the grain ... is this normal? What is the typical largest print size suggested? Do people use noise reduction techniques. I heard that some people said that Pro 400H was better in the grain, can someone comment? When pro's shot this for portraiture did they do much editing prior to print?

    I would imagine the Pro 160S or the Kodak Portra NC160 was one of the main films for portrait photographers.



    Cheers
     
  2. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    100 percent is going to depend on the resolution you're scanning at.

    Which is?
     
  3. rayonline_nz

    rayonline_nz Member

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    I always scan at 4000.
    I only have 135 format now. When I had my graduation prints done, he used a medium format and Fuji film I think, as I saw the green boxes. A while ago now, early 2000s. But the semi larger print I got was a bit more saturated, would he have shot Fuji NPC at that time? Or would that be NPS but edited prior to print .... The print just seemed more saturated than what I tend to get with my Pro 160S on my scanner.
     
  4. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    At 4000 you can get a 12x18 "full resolution" (300dpi) print.

    How grainy are you talking? Most people over expose a little with color negative film. (Or expose for the shadows.) Where are you noticing it "grainy?" How old is the film?
     
  5. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    At least I think that's right. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I hate to take this thread in another direction, but here goes...

    The film was/is a great film for portrait photography, particularly wedding type stuff. It had a lower contrast , so you could optically print an image to show good shadow detial and also show detail in the lace of a wedding gown without going crazy making contrast reduction masks.

    It also was lower in saturation, as compared to most mass colur negative market films, so print colours did not jump at you, but printed as a bit more muted.

    When you print something to 12x18" you dont have your nose in the print looking for grain.

    You stand a metre or so back and appreciate the image as a whole

    I still have a few rolls in my freezer of 35mm, about 5 rolls of 220, and even a box of 10 4x5 sheets.
    It is nice stuff, and the right situation needs to be known to me before I want to use it.
     
  7. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I had it printed optically, in the freakin' dark.
    Scanning should be discussed elsewhere.
     
  8. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    film has grain, nuff said :smile:

    I've been drum scanning 35mm 160S, and it scans really nice! This has usually been at ~4000-8000dpi(I like to do one scan, you can always down-sample for smaller prints, rather than re-scan for going larger, heck, memory is CHEAP compared to your time)

    I've only optically printed 160S a few times, and it was nice. But the color pack was much lower #'s-wise than Kodak's films.

    -Dan
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I agree with WildBill that scanning should not be discussed here on APUG.

    But I still want to ask the OP - why does visible grain seem to be something negative? Grain is what makes film what it is. In a portrait, the tonal palette, contrast, and color saturation would seem a lot more important. A little bit of grain is good for the photographer's soul. :smile:
     
  10. rayonline_nz

    rayonline_nz Member

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    Not discussing scans at all. Just talking about the grain on this neg film.

    I've shot other ISO film of slides like Kodak E100G, there's quite a bit of difference in the grain. I just thought that when people used it for weddings, some of the clients may have ordered enlargements and being a low ISO film this was suppose to be pretty good or is it just different with print film. I have a old dSLR but the grain larger than my 400 or even 800 ISO which is a 6MP camera.
     
  11. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    You could compare the grain of 160S/NS (a box of which I have bought off eBay) with Fuji's not-portrait-suitable Velvia 50 or 100F: the grain is similar at large print sizes but you would have to be unreasonably (inexplicably...) close to the print and this isn't how you (or others!) are meant to view a portrait, which is typically viewed from 1.2m away. Softly rendered grain together with a neutral colour palette is a hallmark of many beautiful portraiture prints — far removed from the ultra-sharp warts-n-all rendering of d*****. Film has grain; I think you know this. And unless you are into reticulation or pushing film until it falls into a quagmire of grain, there isn't anything to get all bothered about.

    Why do you speak of this portraiture film in past tense e.g. I would imagine the Pro 160S or the Kodak Portra NC160 was one of the main films for portrait photographers. Film hasn't gone anywhere. Where I live, and doubtless up there in the big US of A, film-based portraiture is still sparking and beautiful work is being carved out of it. I know this from an exhibitiion of candid child portraits that I attended last Saturday afternoon: all Hasselblad/160 shots with her husband producing similar work on a Linhof Master Tek.
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Film has grain the size can be measured that's not the whole issue though the surface of the film emulsion also has an inherrent surface structure that can amplify the grain cusing greater graininess in prints but more so with scans. With poor processing this is exagerated, at it's worst it;s known as surface or micro reticulation,

    Over recent yeras with a switch to scanning in labs rather than optical printing a great deal has been done by all the major companies to minimise and almost eliminate this problem. Kopdak, Fuji etc have Patents related to this, it can affect the surface of prints as well giving a dull sheen to a glossy surface.

    So when you see Kofdak press releases saying they've made films more scanner friendly this is what they mean.

    Ctein wet mounted his negative for enlarging, a techique used back in 1928 (maybe earlier) to get the finest grain from the then 35mm films and this is why many wet-scan for the highest quality.

    Armed with this knowledge I noticed recently that dry scanning LF negs going back over 25 years (for publication) the differences between brands of film and the surface of the emulsions does have a major impact on the apparent graininess, despite the fact that large optical prints show now apparent differance.

    Ian
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you are seeing a lot of grain on your scans from this film, there is a good chance that you are actually seeing a combination of grain and grain aliasing rather than grain itself.

    The last generation of 160 ISO "people" films were/are really fine grained when printed optically. They usually scanned well as well.

    The current 160 ISO "people" films are even finer grained, and appear to scan more easily as well.

    All assuming proper exposure and correct development of course.
     
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  15. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

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    By now, since Kodak is three generations ahead of Fuji in portrait films, Kodak has obviously finer grain than the Fuji films. That might explain why Fuji discontinued 160S, they could not compete on quality.

    The grain will depend a lot on the exposure. Underexposure will make the grain worse. Expired film has probably also lost some film speed.

    Skies are the place where the grain can be very obvious with all these portrait films. I've seen big improvements in the grain levels in the sky as Kodak went from Portra 400NC to 400NC-2 to 400NC-3 to the current 400. Properly exposed Portra 160 should be close to "grain proof" in the skies.
     
  16. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

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    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I and many other photographers spent a lot of time and effort trying to minimize grain because it used to be considered an undesirable artifact valued only by a few who saw it as a creative effect. Grain was tolerated as the inevitable penalty for using fast film and/or rapid developers. Consider how much effort has been expended over many years devising fine grain film and developers; it is unlikely that this would have happened if grain was generally viewed as a desirable thing. Upgrading one's camera to a larger format was usually done in the interests of better overall image quality and grain reduction was high on the list of improvements sought. Grain is increasingly being quoted as a point of differentiation versus digital - if it is readily visible at the proper viewing distance for print size I think it is just as objectionable as noise is in the other medium. OzJohn
     
  17. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Just to comment on this. My maximum print size is 10"x8" and at that size (35mm) 160S grain really can't be seen and in that regard it's very similar to Reala. 400H isn't much worse, unless your nose touches the paper. None of these films show grain at 10"x8" at a comfortable viewing distance. Are you making prints bigger than this?
     
  18. rayonline_nz

    rayonline_nz Member

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    I tend to make A3 prints. It's also the size that my camera club tend to require. A few friends at times may want some gigantic sizes like 30x40 or something .. That's inches.

    I wasn't really comparing the grain. I think the answer is that at most print sizes the grain won't be seen. :smile:
    From my slide scans and from my 160S scans on the computer at least there is a bit of a difference.

    When people use these portrait film, are the colours more/less muted for NC160 or 160S? How would a wedding or a commercial photographer use this film? Do they add more oomph at the lab prior to print? Or did quite a bit of portrait was shot with maybe 160C or VC160 ... those wedding shots with the fresh pink skin, the wedding couple with the sunset in the background etc ...

    PS. I probably use past tense b/c over here where I am film are very expensive. In my city there might be only 3x places where I can get pro film. Many amateurs I know import the film from overseas. A roll of neg film here is like $10US or $28US for a roll of slides. Processing is $4US for C41 or $25US for E6 or in between for b/w. Prints not included. I myself get my C41 done here but I export them to the USA for processing and get them ship back here. I don't know any portrait photographers here who shoot colour film anymore unless you make a special request.
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Exactly! I was hoping to stimulate a little bit of discussion with my question.

    There are many different films with many different characteristics, and if grain is something objectionable it might be best to consider other alternatives, like Portra 160, Ektar, or ISO 100 E6 film.

    But if we isolate the discussion around the Fuji 160S film, one could argue that most people using it would be familiar with all of its characteristics, including its grain size. Based on that you could also argue that perhaps those who liked it, for whatever reason, the grain size was probably already taken into account.

    I do agree with you, however, that the arguments for and against grain are interesting, and that it is one of the distinguishing factors in the choice of whether to shoot film or not. I personally started out fighting grain, but eventually came to terms with it and now view it as something that compliments the prints I make, but isn't really a deal-maker/breaker aspect of it. Just a preference.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Hmmm. How'd you post 135 images here? Telling people to go to DPUG<<crickets chirping>> is telling them to get lost. Judging from this thread, there's plenty of technical experience scanning film here. One of these days...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2012
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i'm a pro and i just use it like any other film.
    shoot it box speed (and bracket ) and then drop it off at the pro lab and have them process it normally.

    the whole grainless images thing is a waste of time. film has grain
    (unless you shoot techpan ) ... if you don't want grain, ... make contact prints
    or just use a different medium ...
     
  22. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    Exactly! I can pretend that the lab is keeping it all optical. If I am not personally touching the printing process is it hybrid or is it pure analog? Having the lab do it seems fine, but heaven forbid that YOU do your own scanning. That's not discussed here. :wink:

    As to the grain, there is good grain and bad grain. 160S has good grain. It helps a lot in defining the microcontrast in an image and helps keep gradients from stair stepping.

    I stopped shooting 160S when Kodak reformulated the Portra films several years ago. Portra was redone to be scanned, not optically printed. It scans much better than before and I only know of one major commercial lab in the country that will still provide optical prints. As a professional photographer, I have to embrace the modern era. That doesn't stop me from being a religious zealot when it comes to B&W, though.
     
  23. BardParker

    BardParker Member

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    +1. Telling people to get lost does nothing to enhance participation or encourage interest/re-interest in analog photography.:sad:. Geez, some of you folks sound like you need to take something and chill out... Most of us are trying to learn something here.

    Kent
     
  24. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I've had pretty good luck with Fuji 160s in both 135 and 120. I shot a TLR at a wedding (not their main photog, just being nerdy) and used either 400h and 160s...and 800 (z? I don't recall)! Funny, the 800 was equal in appearance on small 5x7 prints as the 160s...the 400 was awful.
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    It's not personal.

    APUG as a web site does not allow discussions surrounding scanning, that's all. DPUG was created for the purpose of having a place to take those discussions. This has been explained time and again by the site admin and the moderators. Most people here see this as a refuge or haven where they don't have to be exposed to talk about digital methods, and is the whole purpose why APUG exists.

    You can still learn about Fuji Pro 160S.
     
  26. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    rayonline_nz, I'm on my last roll of 160S (220). Yes, the film has grain. The question is, is the grain objectionable to you? I rarely use 35mm, so it's MF and LF for me. If you want to find out what the film really is like, then stop looking at the monitor and print it. Only the print will tell you what you really want to know.