Fuji Superia with 4th layer on the way out? Why?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by B&Wpositive, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    Is there any truth to all the talk over the last year about Fuji discontinuing their 4-layer print films and replacing them with 3-layer versions?

    B&H lists on many of the Superia films as backordered, discontinued, and out of stock: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...rand:+A+to+Z&fi=all&pn=1&image.x=3&image.y=17

    Maybe this is the reason...?

    Why would Fuji revert to older technology, even with price pressure? Are the proposed 3-layer replacements for Superia supposed to be better than or at least equal to the current 4-layer films? Or is there a compromise? They made a big deal about the 4 layers when they introduced the Superia line.

    Are we reaching the end of the era of readily-available high-quality, low-priced C-41 film? Or is my 'information' just wrong?
     
  2. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    What are those anyways? Don't you only need 3?
     
  3. E76

    E76 Member

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    The 4th layer supposedly improves "color fidelity" and eliminates the green color cast of fluorescent lighting. Having used Fuji films with the 4th color layer, I can confirm that it does the latter, but haven't noticed much in terms of color accuracy/fidelity.
     
  4. Heinz_Anderle

    Heinz_Anderle Member

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    The latest (and current) generation of Superia 100, 200, and 400 doesn't comprise a 4th color-sensitive layer any more. Superia 800 and 1600 keep the 4 layer technology until now.

    The now discontinued original Agfa Vista films gave similar results with tungsten and fluorescent illumination as the Superias, so a fourth layer wasn't necessary. It appears to depend on the spectral sensitation.

    The current Superia 100, 200, and 400 films are available also rebranded e. g. for drugstore chains (at least here in Europe), and sold at a very reasonable price.
     
  5. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    Are the current drug store films the 3-layer ones?

    When did Fuji quit making Superia with 4 layers, and how do the newest ones compare to the 4 layer ones? I have some Super HQ 200 that expired in 2006, and just assumed that it had 4 layers.
     
  6. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The change would almost certainly not be a reversion to older, inferior technology. The four layer technology was instituted to solve a particular problem. Fuji has probably found a way, most likely a superior way, to solve or avoid the problem using three layer technology. (Note that "three layer technology" may actually be something between five and ten layers.) Research into color negative film technology seems to be very active, and the quality of the product technology is increasing. But the drive to make new and better color negative films is based on competitive pressure and customer demand. Right now, the market for these films is pretty good. If it declines, R&D will fall off.
     
  7. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Bear in mind that NO modern color film is "just" 3 layers. They are all many layers. the "4th" layer promotion by Fuji was marketing. While, indeed they may have had a special 4th corrective layer, what about layers 5 thru 11?
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Nevertheless those 3-layers are the basic principle. That Fuji 4-layer system used a forth sensitization and that is different to other systems.

    Independent of the number of coated layers the number of sensitizations does not exceed 3, with the exception of that Fuji system.
     
  9. Henning Serger

    Henning Serger Member

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    Hello,

    Fuji's so called "4th layer technology" was/is not automatically better than the "established" technology without this special color correction layer.
    Fuji's technology has some advantages, but also disadvantages.

    I have here two interviews with Kodak and Agfa researchers, published in German photo magazines in 1998 and 1999.
    One interview is with Dr. Gerhard Popp, former director of the Color Negative Technolgy Division at Kodak Research Labs.
    The other interview is with Dr. Willsau (former head of research developing and finishing at Agfa) and Dr. Lohman (former head of research photo chemistry).
    Both Kodak and Agfa researchers said, that the advantage of the "4th layer" is indeed the better color accuracy with some artificial light sources (e.g. neon lamps).
    But the disadvantages are
    - less speed, because this additional layer absorbes light
    - less sharpness and resolution
    - more complex coating process and higher production costs
    (all that at least in theory :wink:).

    They said that with an optimised spectral sensivity you can achieve most of that what you gain with the additional layer, but without the disadvantages.
    And I think Fuji is now doing exactly that with their new films without the "4th layer".
    Probably that is part of the progress in emulsion technology.

    I am currently involved in a very detailed film test project. At the moment I can't comment on color accuracy under artificial light conditions (so far we've not tested it, but it is planned for the future).
    But I can comment on resolution, sharpness and grain of the new films.
    And concerning sharpness and resolution these new Fuji films are better.
    For example we've got 120 Lp/mm resolution with Fuji's new ISO 200/24° emulsion (without the additional layer). In the same test the Kodak Ektar 100 resolves 105 lp/mm.
    And this emulsion is very sharp, much sharper than Kodak Ektar 100. The Fuji film has significantly coarser grain, but also significantly better sharpness and resolution than Ektar 100.

    Best regards,
    Henning
     
  10. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    This is great to hear. By the way, how can I tell which films are the older ones and which are the newer ones by the box or label?
     
  11. Henning Serger

    Henning Serger Member

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    The older ones with "4th layer" technology had it written on the box, "4th layer", quite prominent and good to see on the box.
    On the boxes of the new films there is no hint to this technology any more.

    Best regards,
    Henning
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Henning;

    I can confirm what Gerhard Popp said, having been myself, involved in the work on green spectral sensitization and coating of negative films. Although he was not head of that division when I was in it, we were working with that problem many years ago and found it to be quite correctable without an extra layer.

    However, some Kodak films did have what was essentially an extra layer in the sense that the fast and slow components of the C and M layer were coated in separate operations to improve speed and grain.

    Fuji was constrained from some of these approaches due to existing Kodak and Agfa patents.

    PE
     
  13. Henning Serger

    Henning Serger Member

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    Dear Ron,

    thanks for the additional information, very interesting.

    I quoted from the interview, which was published short after he had retired. They wrote he was head of this division before. But you surely know that much better.

    So perhaps some of these patents have now ended, and Fuji can go in this direction?

    Best regards,
    Henning
     
  14. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Henning;

    IDK the specific patents, but knowing the approximate dates were in the 80s, I would assume they are expired now.

    PE
     
  15. Heinz_Anderle

    Heinz_Anderle Member

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    Kodak Ektapress 1600 (Gold II?) gave natural results with sodium vapor lighting, fluorescent illumination and also compact fluorescent lamps, as my recent scans of negatives from 1996 have shown. It is a pity that this film has been discontinued.

    The new Fujicolor films give essentially the same results with such light sources as the earlier 4-layer types. But I assume that of the 4th-layer technology, initially integrated into Reala 100, the patent has expired now.
     
  16. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    hmm, i have a lot of rolls of Superia XTRA 800 (4th layer tech), works great exposed @ 640.
     
  17. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    Very interesting. Now, what about Fuji Super HG 200? I always assumed it was the same as Superia, but it's all I can ever find locally.
     
  18. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    So can someone point out this extra layer they call/called "4th layer"? I don't see the difference in the structure they list on data sheets from one to the other.[​IMG]
     
  19. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    So the gist of this, is that the 4th layer, solved some problems with the existing chemistry, and was used as an interim solution whilst the emulsion chemistry improved to a point that this layer was redundant.

    Sounds like a plan to me
     
  20. RPC

    RPC Member

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    It is the cyan sensitive layer. AFAIK, it was not used in other brands. From looking at their FUJI's data sheets, it appears to be used in all their negative films.
     
  21. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    Was there ever a press release by Fuji on the upgrading of Superia? If this is an update to the film, why were they so quiet about it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2009