Fujifilm 400H

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by RattyMouse, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, I finally got back my rolls of Fujifilm 400H from the lab. Sort of surprised by the results. Almost all the images are very saturated and with high contrast. I was expecting the opposite. I'm not sure what to make of this. Did the lab process the film wrong? The following images should give you some idea on the saturation and contrast levels.



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2012
  2. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

    Messages:
    4,518
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Location:
    İstanbul
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    400 H is the best film I have ever seen from Fuji. May be all the artificial colors and bright lights and better exposure made the difference. Its a learning curve for each camera.

    And no flare, no blue cast weather changes everything. I think your nighttime compositions are better than the daylight.

    Best wishes,
    Umut
     
  3. wildbill

    wildbill Member

    Messages:
    2,827
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    who did the printing, u or the lab?
     
  4. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The lab did the developing and the scanning. No prints were made.
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,469
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Scanning, you see. The lab will auto-correct the contrast and colour to what they (or the automated scanner) think looks right, which may or may not have anything whatsoever to do with the native appearance of that film.

    To know what it actually looks like, you need to print it optically to RA4.
     
  6. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for your reply. I assume I can ask for uncorrected scans?

    The other scans I get from this lab, Reala and Acros, do not show any dramatic differences from what one would expect them to be. I'm not so sure why 400H would be so different.
     
  7. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,396
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A negative can record a lot more tonal range than you monitor or any photographic paper can display. When most scanners scan negative film, they try to squeeze all the tones into the result, which yields ugly results if you have strong highlights and high contrast in your scene. This is why straight RA4 printing normally works much better for these kinds of negs. The only chance you have with scanning is if you get a high end scan with 16 bit color depth per channel, then you can manually adjust the tonal range to your liking.
     
  8. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I understand that scanning can change the properties of negative film. However, are these changes consistent with what I am showing in the images above? Would so much color be added to a low saturation negative? The amount of color I'm seeing in my images is really much higher than I was expecting.

    To put it simply, do these images look like they are from 400H film?
     
  9. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,396
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If you underexpose film, colors are said to be more saturated. Since you have highlights in your scene, depending on your metering method chances are high that you underexposed these shots.
     
  10. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,202
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They don't look like 400H photos that I'm used to seeing.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes they do. 400H is a great film and the shots you took seem very nicely exposed, well done Ratty Mouse. Looks like your lab did fine too.

    I do think you're missing the point of how negatives work though; they are simply an intermediate step.

    The contrast rate of the negative is only relevant when paired with the contrast rate of the printing process.

    When C41 films are paired with RA4 paper the resulting photos produce "normal" contrast photos.

    The film an paper "balance" the contrast of the final result.

    Sure it can be tweaked. They are all subjective. There are no photos that are printed without "adjustment" of at least exposure.

    The question I have for you is why did you expect something different?
     
  12. wblynch

    wblynch Member

    Messages:
    1,636
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Mission Viej
    Shooter:
    127 Format
    I shot a few rolls of 400H a couple of years back and was disappointed that they came out flat and "pastel" looking.

    Last weekend I used a new roll of 400H and was extremely happy with the stronger colors and contrast.

    I don't know if Fujifilm changed anything but I like the "new" 400H a LOT.
     
  13. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

    Messages:
    1,493
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Well that's interesting. I have some old rolls of the pastel looking stuff. Maybe need to order a roll of the new stuff and do a side by side.
     
  14. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fuji Pro 400H is a portrait film like Kodak Portra 400 and has pastel colour rendition,and soft contrast and natural skin tones. I shoot loads of it fresh, have it lab processed and have never had results as saturated and contrasty as Ratty Mouse.
     
  15. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,887
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Frontier scans to a certain fixed contrast (like RA-4 paper) and DOES give you contrast like you would have in a print, it is NOT like other scanners where it gives you the option of levels adjustment (to expand or contract contrast) most scanners scan extremely flat at auto corrections, the exception I've seen is the Flextight scanning b&w, the default look (if you do it via it's software and processing rather than raw) is like printing on a middle grade.

    Anyway increasing or decrease brightness on the Frontier corrections just increases or decreases dMax like printing, it doesn't expand or contract contrast, the images above are not exposed for lowered contrast for printing, therefore will not have lowered contrast via the Frontier either, they're exposed for higher contrast (underexposed even). If the lab printed with less density on the frontier (more brightness) the blacks would be -grey- not black.

    You do not get to alter/correct gamma on the frontier like you can with other scanners - you correct gamma by exposing correctly.

    Eg it would just do this:
    [​IMG]

    As opposed as to actually getting to alter the gamma, which gives you this if open it up
    [​IMG]


    As you can see, it's not a lab deciding to print this way, or automatic correction issue. It's a user issue (exposure).

    Imho I don't like 400H that much (Colour is fine, do like the colour), last time I shot some, it dropped shadow detail it shouldn't have (flat lighting, dark hair on a model, correctly exposed), very very grainy as well compared to Portra 400, and not sharp at all (6x7cm). At that time Portra 400 wasn't out (the new one), so I was shooting Pro 160S instead of 400H, which imho is probably faster than 400H.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2012
  16. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    400H is described as a low saturation film. My images came out VERY saturated so that is why I did not get expected results. Perhaps these images will look different when printed out on paper. That would be very interesting to see.
     
  17. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The darks are REALLY weird in my 400H images. I have no ability whatsoever to push the shadows. Weird green dots appear and the grain is horrific. I dont know if that is a film issue or a bad scan from the lab. I have never had a problem pushing my Reala or Acros scans from this lab. This weekend I'm going to shoot some Kodak Porta 400 and compare how that looks and acts.
     
  18. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,887
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    400H is very grainy in shadows, and in my experience, has less dynamic range into the shadows then all other films. Anyway just by looking at the general look of the image, I would put it down to exposure. Portra 400 is significantly finer grained @ box speed vs box speed, and more detailed, with a lot more DR.
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I doubt that they will look much different on paper.

    I think that what you are describing as high saturation and contrast may simply be that the tones are "printing" or "falling" darker than you planned as a result of underexposure.


    RattyMouse I'm going to guess now, given the the funky shadow detail you describe and the amount of detail and lack of "pop" in the highlights, that you simply underexposed versus your intent for the shot.

    How did you meter?
     
  20. wogster

    wogster Member

    Messages:
    1,267
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Bruce Penins
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The negative is like a score, the print is like the performance, anyone who has been in a choir or orchestra will tell you, there is a lot of creative process getting from score to performance.

    There are two ways to get from negative to colour print, the traditional enlarger projection and the digital scan, they are different means to achieve the same thing (a print). I realized something a few years ago, if it's difficult to get a good print using enlarger projection, then a digital scan is also going to be difficult to get a good result. Night exposures can be the hardest to get good results from, because lit areas are often over exposed, while dark areas are under exposed, this can result in more contrast then normal. I think this is what we are seeing here, a slight over and under exposure, and in this case it worked quite well. You can do this intentionally by metering on bright areas, then metering on dark areas and splitting the difference.
     
  21. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut Member

    Messages:
    35
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2012
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pro400H

    Night shots ARE contrasty unless you make +1-2EV overexposure (and lose some highlights). But I agree with many others here, 400H is one of the best color negatives ever made. Really nice skin color and everything around it plays out superb in tonality and saturation levels balance:

    [​IMG]
    David+Sandra by tsiklonaut

    [​IMG]
    David+Sandra by tsiklonaut
     
  22. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I relied on the GA645's meter. It is a new camera for me and I am not entirely used to how it operates so just let it take the readings. Since I was shooting hand held, I did not have much room for increasing exposure due to minimal shutter speeds.
     
  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There is one cardinal sin with negative exposures, underexposure.

    So, a couple thoughts if you are going to shoot this type of lighting regularly.

    You may need to consider higher EI's (pushing the 400) or a higher EI film like 800Z or similar.

    Another really good option is a good flash like a Nikon SB-90 or similar that you can use to pop in a bit of fill light to light the people up better. Not a lot just some to get them off the toe of the film curve.
     
  24. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,812
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you very much. I shall keep this in mind going forward. For violating a cardinal rule, my results werent horrific; just not what I expected.
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Exactly.

    The other thing to look for is what actually works fine and what doesn't in your less than perfect shots.

    For example the signs and building facades in the background are IMO at a very usable level of exposure. Given your expectations, the people are just underexposed, too dark and not enough detail.

    Simply adding exposure to the whole shot may make the shot workable but it might also place the background too light in the print.

    That's a "problem" or "defect" in the lighting of the scene, not a problem with you camera or the film.

    One of the most important lessons I've ever learned was taught to me by shots like yours, it is that my backgrounds and my foregrounds are regularly lit differently than what I need for the print I want. That's why I use my flash units a lot.