Fuji Pro 400H is not NPH 400?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by freddie.rios, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. freddie.rios

    freddie.rios Member

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    I've been a long user of Fuji's NPH film and stopped using film about 9 years ago and mistakingly jumped on the digital bandwagon only to recently comeback in full force with analog. Anyway, as I came back, I could no longer find NPH and was saddened that it had been discontinued. Fortunately, I've been hearing around the internet that Fuji Pro 400H is an essence the same emulsion, only renamed to re-align Fuji's naming conventions. So as any good photographer who is best with the tools he knows well, I purchased the new 400H and have been using it for about a couple of months now. However, I've noticed that the results weren't quite the same, even with the same camera. NPH had the characteristic of low contrast, slightly softer colors then Fuji's other emulsions, and was most likely the reason for making it one of the films of choice of wedding photographers.

    Fuji Pro 400H on the other hand seems to be more like Superia, maybe only slightly less contrast. Strong reds like LEDs, stoplights, tailiights that are on, all take the same blown-out, out of gamma look that Superia is known for, or well at least the Superia I used 10 years ago.

    At first I thought it was my original pro lab(in Hollywood), so I switched to another Pro lab, and I got the same thing. Then to really narrow it out, thinking that perhaps they use the same techniques in the US for developing Fuji, I went to Japan just recently and purchased some 400H there, and had it developed there. Well to my surprise, it was the same!

    So I looked for some of my old NPH negatives and laid them side by side and noticed that the orange color mask on the 400H was a darker shade then the NPH. Also, on the NPH, you could see much more detail in the negative as opposed to the 400H. That might explain why the NPH seemed better at scanning then the 400H. I also looked at my older Superia 400, same speed as the 400H and NPH, and noticed that the color mask was the same darker shade of the 400H, and not of the lighter NPH.

    I'm not saying 400H is a bad film. If anything, I realized it's very consistent with predictable results, regardless of lab or continent. I jut wanted to tell my story, that I don't think it's the same film at all as my once loved NPH.

    Is there any other low-contrast film, Fuji or Kodak out now?
     
  2. Franswa

    Franswa Member

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    Perhaps give the new kodak portra 400(not nc or vc) a try and see if you like it.
     
  3. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I tend to agree but most of the NPH I've shot somewhat recently was out of date.

    Im afraid the new Kodak 400 Portra may be too punchy also but I haven't had a chance to shoot the rolls I have yet.

    The newer 400H is supposed to be better to s*an but I haven't formed an opinion.
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I've been a long user of Fuji's NPH film and stopped using film about 9 years ago...

    I recall it being washed out when I first shot it around 2000. The last 2 20 roll boxes of frozen NPH 120 I'm still working on look punchier than the old stuff. Have some of the 400H I've yet to shoot but will soon. All I can offer is that Fuji never shied away from tweaking their materials during their production lives. Any chance of processing variations?
     
  5. freddie.rios

    freddie.rios Member

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    As I posted, no.

    All of the rolls I purchased were individual rolls, and not packs, and from either B & H, locally in Los Angeles, or in Japan. I used at least three different Pro Labs. Hence my comment about what I saw as consistent. I agree, Fuji most likely changed it in the last decade, but I don't recall people commenting about it on forums.

    brucemuir
    What do you mean when you said:
    The newer 400H is supposed to be better to s*an but I haven't formed an opinion
    There's an asterisk covering one of your words.
     
  6. TSSPro

    TSSPro Member

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    To achieve a softer color pallet that is more pastel like a lot of recommendations I have gotten were to rate the film a stop over. Ex: Jose Villa, a proponent of 400H, mostly shoots it at 200 across the board.
    The film holds up extremely well to the over exposure from what I have seen in other photographers work, but I have always rated it at box speed.
     
  7. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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  8. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    When the old pro films (NPS, NPC, NPH, NPZ) were renamed (160S, 160C, 400H, 800Z) the two 160 films were tweaked to bring them very close to the other two in terms of printing. Now all four print on very, very, similar filter packs. I remember that the two 160 films were also tweaked in other ways to 'improve' them but the 400 and 800 were just renamed at that time. But as we're talking almost a decade ago, I'm sure NPH then and 400H now are quite distinct.

    I've also managed to get 400H to be quite a punchy and saturated film. Although I've never tested this, it seems to me that the film increases in saturation if it is over exposed by 1/2 stop. But if you over expose much more, say, 1-2 stops it goes sort of 'pastel'. So I'm wondering how did you rate your 400H when you shot it?
     
  9. freddie.rios

    freddie.rios Member

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    Just to be clear, just in case people aren't reading all the posts.

    The film was processed/developed at two different Pro labs in Hollywood, and in Japan, and the results are identical on all my negative films.

    The prints are machine prints from three different labs.

    The scans are of those from the lab that I pay extra and they put on CD. My old stuff is uncut, so I pay to have them scan it also through their machines like the Noritsu or Frontier.

    All of the 400H from, get this, three different labs that have strong reds, tend to slighly blow that color out. It appears as green on the negatives, even on casual viewing. This is inline with my experience from using Superia 400 in the past. Not all reds do this, just the really strong brilliant ones. I rate my 400h at ISO 400. All films do this to some degree, many consumer films tend to do it more apparently then pro films.

    Athiril I cannot view your albums. Apparently, I need to be a subscriber or something.

    My initial post was not an attack on 400H. In fact I like it a lot and judging by my own error that I made on my 1st exposure on a roll of 400H that I had mistakingly set at 100iso, I saw greater shadow detail, without having the sky or highlights blow out like they do in cough *ahem* digital. It will most likely be my film of choice and I'll follow TSSPro's advice and rate it at 200 next time. It was customary to shoot NPH at 320 before, even though I always shot it at it's rated speed. My early comments still stand, based on my own evidence, I don't believe 400H to be the same as NPH. However, as I will admit I haven't used film all that much since 2002, I cannot be for certain that the new 400H is in fact the same as a later revision of NPH, one that I probably didn't use, if there was even a revision. But just by staring at the NPH negatives I have in front of me, and the 400H stuff, the 400H stuff looks closer to Superia then it does NPH.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2011
  10. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I think they are the same emulsion, looking back at my shots on NPH and the ones on 400H I can't see a big difference. I'm sure they have tweeked it in the last 10 years, but overall I find the saturation of 400H to be between Portra NC and VC, probably closer to NC.
    Here is a shot of mine:
    [​IMG]

    i think Superia is a little more contrasty.
     
  11. stillsilver

    stillsilver Member

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    Welcome back to film and also to this site.

    Mike
     
  12. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Try this - http://www.flickr.com/photos/athiril/5417148671/

    You need to revisit the scanning/printing. Otherwise I might suggest chemistry error.. I haven't had a problem with strong reds either. The flash is ~5600K and exceptionally bright, exposure was EI 400 for the model, but that hard spotlight on reflective tiles retains detail, that is several stops over normal highlights. None of the dyes/colour channels exhibit clipping/no contrast.
     
  13. freddie.rios

    freddie.rios Member

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    stillsilver Thank you very much. I am truly enjoying it.

    Mark Antony Wonderul shot, and I also enjoyed going through your blog. That is basically the kind of contrast I get in my shots, albeit in a smaller 35mm frame.

    AthirilI'm not sure where you are taking this as I mentioned my love for 400H. Your photo only shows a nude women, but there are no brilliant reds. Processing, chemicals, scanning, are all variables out of my control unless I change the Lab who processes it, which I did, 3 times! If you keep insisting it is those, then I'm sorry I can't help you. Good Luck!
     
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  15. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Are you able to show us an example of 400H and NPH so we can see what you see with your photos?
     
  16. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    My guess is that the newer emulsion may be slightly different, I know that dye tech moves on. I think most of the increased contrast probably comes from slight underexposure rather than the new film having iherently higher contrast, the resulting compensation with modern printers (mostly digital) will give higher contrast.
    Have you tried to find the old Fuji PDF and compare the curves?
     
  17. freddie.rios

    freddie.rios Member

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/free0s/5456012812/

    This is just an example of the differences between the two negatives. Granted, the orange mask isn't enough evidence to say that Fuji hasn't somehow kept the characteristics of NPH in a new emulsion, but what I can see from my own eyes, they just don't appear to be the same.
     
  18. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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  19. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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  20. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I don't know if 400H is exactly the same as NPH. I would assume it's been tweaked some for finer grain, etc.

    However, I would wager the problem you are having with blown out reds is from the scanning they do before printing. There probably are tones that are still separated in the reds on your negatives, but to get at them, you are probably going to have to get a scan done on a different style machine or do it yourself.

    You can always try the new Portra 400 too. I don't find it punchier than the old ones. It's a hair more saturated than 400NC, but not much. Has about the same contrast and finer grain.
     
  21. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I'm still uncertain you'd see such utter consistency given: different film batches, different labs, different subjects/lighting. Despite assurances from Fuji, 400H--much like old NPH--seems to like over-exposure of up to a stop. Most wedding shooters appeared to rate it at ISO200-250. You should try that if you're unhappy with your results at ISO400. The new stuff scans beautifully, as does the new Kodak Portra.
     
  22. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    The the flash hot spot is ridiclously above 'brilliant reds' in red (and green and blue).
     
  23. freddie.rios

    freddie.rios Member

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    perkeleellinen Thank you!
    You introduced enough evidence to show that at least as of 2002, they changed the emulsion, so that would tie-in with other members confusion as to how NPH probably didn't change much for them, but significantly changed for me. There's also a probability that it changed once again before being renamed or repackaged as Pro400H. Since it changed at about the time I stopped using it, that would also explain my confusion. At least I can show, that as of early 2002, the NPH that I was using is vastly different than the 400H sold today, and while some people may deem it having a washed out look, I actually prefer it to 400H. I guess it's just part of life as films keep getting discontinued. I would like to try out the "New Portra 400", though.
     
  24. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The main difference is that 400 H has a fourth emulsion layer, and is much better in mixed light.
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    How did you print the NPH? How did you print the Pro 400H? You have to make gray-card-matching prints on the same medium to really compare them in detail.

    Are you comparing the Pro 400H to your old NPH photos, or to recent photos shot on old NPH film?

    Pro 400H can be nice and snappy, especially if you underexpose it (which most people do when shooting in bright light with an in-camera meter). However, it can also be made more muted by overexposing it.

    I don't think it is much different than the frozen NPH that I still shoot. Somebody mentioned the fourth color layer. That may be the only difference, though I thought NPH had it too. I would consult the Fuji data sheets and see what they say.
     
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  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    BTW, I found on another photo forum a re-posted e-mail from Fuji on the matter with a Google search for "Fuji NPH datasheet" (5th result). Here is the link to the forum: http://photo.net/film-and-processing-forum/00FMg0?start=10. It is the last post on the page.

    The e-mail reads:

    Thank you for contacting Fujifilm, USA's Contact Center. Please allow us to assist you.

    NPH 400/NPZ 800 was not discontinued, however the name changed to Pro 400 H/800 Z. Pro 400 H/800 Z uses the same emulsion as NPH/NPZ so you can expect the same great results.

    We sincerely hope this information has been beneficial to you. If you should have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us again. It would be our pleasure to assist you.

    Thank you for your interest in Fujifilm products and services.

    Respectfully, Contact Support Agent 2710 Fujifilm Contact Center 1-800-800-3854


    This was Feb., 2006. The fourth color layer could possibly have been added after then, but I don't know.

    I think if you are getting scans and automated prints, you cannot accurately judge, especially against old prints that were processed and printed differently. I would make carefully-and-identically-exposed-and-processed test shots, and print them optically to match a middle gray card. Meter off the gray card and then open up half a stop, or just use an incident meter, and try to shoot in light around 5,500 K.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2011