Fuji Reala Replacement Recommendation? (120mm)

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by A.Colden, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. A.Colden

    A.Colden Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello all,

    I am a photographer working as a team with my husband, currently out of Boston. We are starting to get into medium format, and I would appreciate some advice regarding C41 film.

    For years our favourite colour film for 35mm has been Fuji Reala and I would be quite happy using the 120mm Reala. However, I am increasingly frustrated with how unreliable its supply has been. Sometimes it seems like every single supplier is on backorder - and of course those are the times when we run out of our own reserves as well.

    Have you any advice for a more reliably available alternative to Fuji Reala 120mm that shares its properties? Specifically, I am looking for super-vibrant, saturated colours, as well as smoothness. The film will be used for photographing people in tableau-style scenes, mostly outdoors. Our equipment is a Hasselblad 500CM and a Holga 120N. We will not be developing the C41 ourselves.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts. One film that seems to come up as a possible alternative is Kodak Ektar, so any comments on how that compares to Fuji Reala are particularly appreciated.
     
  2. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,358
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Location:
    Bega N.S.W.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Quite possibly the best alternative would be Kodak Portra 160 or 400VC. Smoother than Ektar, but still has quite good saturation, and I find this film also has good skin tones.
     
  3. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

    Messages:
    1,455
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sorry to be "that guy", and I don't intend it to be rude, it's just something that I used to do and now know better - it's not 120mm, just 120. 120 is the product code, the same as 35mm is 135, instamatic format was 126, and the old 127 format. It's nothing to do with the size - 120 film is about 60mm wide. It's just Kodak's product coding system, which makes all of no sense at all.

    I havent used Reala in quite some time, but I'd reccomend Ektar as something to at least try for convenience's sake, I found it quite a nice film. As Kodak's new poster child, it should be readily available in most places.
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,932
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I also recommend Kodak Ektar and Porta 160. BTW welcome to APUG!.

    Fleath, since you're being picky, you misspelled recommend.:wink:

    Jeff
     
  5. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

    Messages:
    1,455
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Busted :D
     
  6. Stephen Schoof

    Stephen Schoof Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Location:
    Asheville, N
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I like both Ektar and Reala (shooting only 35mm, 135, whatever you want to call it). My limited direct comparisons of the two indicate that Ektar is a bit more saturated than Reala and will often give you wilder colors and ruddier caucasian skin tones. For this reason some people recommend against it, but I personally like the results and use it for general shooting. For strict portrait work you may or may not find it over the top.
     
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There are dozens of websites in the US selling 120 Reala I've just checked, are you just trying to buy it in small quantitys locally ? why not buy a big stock and freeze it ?
     
  8. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

    Messages:
    347
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Benjiboy, which sites are these? I was told by Henry Posner at B&H that Reala has been discontinued in 120.
     
  9. A.Colden

    A.Colden Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm
    fleath - That's okay, you can be that guy : ) My mistake.

    Looks like there is a consensus re Ektar, so we'll give that a try. I am having a hard time imagining film that is more saturated than Reala, but for the kind of project we are doing I don't think it will hurt. We've used Portra 160vc in the past and I don't remember now what the issue was, but there was something about it we didn't like.

    benjiboy - Most of the usual suspects from whom we order are out. It may look like they have it, but when you go to order, the item is out of stock. Which dozens of websites have you found? - maybe there is a major source I don't know about. And yes, in addition to bulk ordering we would ideally like some immediately and several local shops are out, though I'll keep calling around. The point is, I have repeatedly found this particular film more difficult to procure than other films, so I'd love to find a more reliable replacement.

    Thanks again for the responses.
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,217
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Are
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have not shot Reala in a few years but my recollection was that it was certainly NOT "super-vibrant saturated color". In fact, it was quite the opposite. I always liked Reala for it more realistic color.

    I think the closest thing would be Fuji 160s.
     
  11. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,105
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  12. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,105
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  13. mrladewig

    mrladewig Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado Spr
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Personally I don't think Ektar looks anything like Reala. The contrast is too high and the skin tones too red.

    My thoughts on the two closest matches would be Portra 160VC (which I think shares many properties with Reala and is easily available) or Fuji's Pro160C (I've only shot NPS/Pro160S, so I'm not as confident in this recommendation). Where I think Portra 160VC deviates significantly from Reala is in sky. Portra tends to capture a bit more cyan in the sky and Reala a bit more blue. I like the Reala sky blue better.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

    Messages:
    347
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Ektar doesn't look remotely like Reala to me. I still haven't developed a taste for Ektar--I haven't personally shot it since June, but I remain unimpressed when I look at other people's photos. Something about the color rendition is unappealing to me. Meanwhile, I LOVE Reala.

    DanielStone, thanks for the link to Unique Photo. Adorama, which I'm sure most of us would consider one of the first choices to search, shows it as backordered. I already said that B&H told me it was discontinued. Calumet and Freestyle don't even have it listed, let alone showing as out of stock. And East Coast Photo is the same price as eBay. It's rather depressing.
     
  16. guyjr

    guyjr Member

    Messages:
    126
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Location:
    NJ
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You may be able to order from Calumet's UK site - I actually was about to place an order for Reala in 120 format yesterday, but their site requires a salesperson to call you to quote an international shipping rate, so I didn't bother... it's not that critical to me, and if it's discontinued worldwide, then I may as well start looking for a replacement too (Ektar 100 is what I'm planning on trying).
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here's one for a start http://www.eastcoastphoto.com/nav/itempage.asp?itemid=2317&catid=&hid=just Google for more, Daniel Stone has already suggested some.
    If I was unable to get Reala, I would use Fuji Professional 160 C or Kodak Portra 160 VC they are the nearest in colour rendition and contrast.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2010
  18. Colden

    Colden Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's a shame Reala in 120 is gone. In addition to beautiful colours, Reala is also quite forgiving with (over)exposure and imperfect light. The new Portra 160 wasn't as much for me. After I got my free samples of the new Portra from Kodak a few years ago I never bothered with ordering more.

    I read Ektar is similar to Portra in this respect, i.e. strict with exposure. I wonder if Pro 160S acts similarly. Any thoughts?

    Ultimately I think one of the "professional" 160 ISO films will be our Reala replacement, unless Ektar absolutely wows us.
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,006
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd use Superia 100. Last I checked, you can get it at Freestyle. Though different, it will be the closest to Reala. 160S and 160NC will probably not have enough punch and saturation to please you, and IME Superia 100 is closer to the contrast and saturation of Reala than are 160C and 160VC.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2010
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2010
  21. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

    Messages:
    2,893
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Kodak's Portra 160NC is really nice especially for portraits or give Ektar a try.
     
  22. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,105
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    with 160vc I've found that I can overexpose even 2-3 stops and still get a good, printable negative. Albeit, VERY flat(compared with normal 160vc), with pretty blocked up highlights...

    most of the time I rate it at box speed, unless my subject has super high contrast, say in strong sunlight with hard shadows. I then expose(putting the shadows on Zone 3/3.5), and reduce development generally 1/4-3/4 stop.

    I'm now shooting color films like I would b/w. Zone system for color so to speak.

    my vote for a really nice replacement for Reala 120 would be either Fuji's 160S(rated at 100, or even 80) or 160vc(rated at 160, or 125 for a little more punch). the 160S has a little more saturation than Kodak's 160NC, which is a really nice film, but a little more 'normal' in color palette.

    personal testing is your friend in this regard though. I would suggest starting to test films immediately, and find results that give you what YOU want.

    we all have different opinions on the best replacement, but film is cheap, and your time is not. I hated wasting time testing my film and developing time combination, but now that I have that down pat, I am getting results that are TOTALLY predictable, just like with b/w.

    if you take your film to a lab, it might be a little harder due to chemistry fluctuations(if the lab isn't too consistent, and doesn't monitor their chemistry)

    best of luck though! but believe me, spend some money, test all the emulsions that you can get your hands on, even if you think it won't get you results you like, then compare them against each other. preferably, shooting in a situation allowing you the freedom to burn through a few rolls(landscape).

    -Dan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2010
  23. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

    Messages:
    347
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    OK, Unique Photo is good. I just received my order of Reala with an expiration date of 2012.
     
  24. twinsfan

    twinsfan Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I found some in Yokohama, Japan this past December. Picked up 3 rolls, exp 10-2011. They had plenty in stock, in both 120 and 35mm. I don't know what's up with the shortage on this side of the pond, however. Next time I'm over there, I'll have to get more.
     
  25. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,924
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I would have thought the U.S. is the largest single film market in the world so it seems strange that Fuji should have stopped selling Reala 120 there when as Benjiboy has shown it is still freely avaialble in the U.K.

    Hopefully for all the U.S. users this is a local supply problem that will be resolved.

    pentaxuser
     
  26. RobertV

    RobertV Restricted Access

    Messages:
    1,057
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    the Netherla
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The problem is that each Fuji film has to come from Japan now. Also in Europe they stopped all Fuji film production. The EU plant in Tilburg (the Netherlands) was closed for all film production. So sometimes there is a short in supply and adding the local warehouses costs 6 weeks from Japan.
    So if a supply is low in the Netherlands it will be the same in Germany, Belgium because they are sharing the same Fuji stock and warehouse.