how much has film improved?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by raizans, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. raizans

    raizans Member

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    this question goes for bw film, too.
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    How do you want to define 'improved'? Sharper, faster, less grain, more believable colors that don't fade as fast -- yes. Latitude and developer repertoire -- no. Tonality -- don't ask.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  3. raizans

    raizans Member

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    using so-and-so now gives the same results as so-and-so at a certain time in the past. for instance, printing a 6x7 iso 400 color neg at 16x20 gives the same quality as something back at sometime. or an 8x10 print from tri-x in the 60s differs from the same nowadays in what way?

    has tonality gotten worse?
     
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  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    With the right subject, optimally exposed and developed, no. Otherwise, I'd go for a resounding yes, at least with 'new technology' films. In B+W, anyway.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    I would definitely say that there has been an improvement in color transparency film without question. We have seen improvements in sharpness, finer grain, higher ISO, better contrast, film exposure latitude, choice of film for color pallet, longer life, etc.

    Rich
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Most of today's 400 - 800 speed films compare well with average B&W and color films of the 40s and 50s in the 10 - 100 speed range.

    This includes films such as Ektar 25 if you compare it with today's Portra VC film.

    Today's 100 speed Ektachromes compare well with 64 speed Kodachrome for all characteristics (I suspect even dye stability) except for those die hard afficionados of the Kodachrome. But, you have to remember that there are at least 2 generations of improved dyes and emulsions between the Ektachrome and Kodachrome.

    Some big improvements not mentioned above are raw stock keeping, reciprocity failure and latent image keeping.

    PE
     
  7. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    In addition to Rich's list slide film has considerably better receprocity than ever before and color shifts have been minimized over long exposures.
     
  8. braxus

    braxus Member

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    Ron,

    You really believe Portra 160 VC is as good as the older Ektar 25??? Look at the PGI numbers between the two and you'll see the difference there. In my opinion nothing today compares with what Ektar 25 could do in terms of grain and sharpness. Sure maybe the color has improved, but thats about it.

    But to be fair I'll ask you Ron. What has improved with 160VC over the old Ektar 25? I am aware Kodak changed the way they rate PGI numbers, so I'm going based off that. And based on PGI numbers wouldn't 100UC be even better then 160VC?
     
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  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, I have seen current 100 speed emulsions in color films equal old 25 speed emulsions in color films side by side. So, I know it can be done.

    I do admit that I never compared Ektar 25 with Portra 160 VC, but that is only due to the fact that Ektar 25 does not exist now and it had poor keeping in any case. Even if I could make the comparison, it would be marred by the Ektar keeping problem.

    I'll settle for saying that for 2.5 stops, the Portra is a very close match to the Ektar IMHO with big improvements in a lot of the characteristics as mentioned above. I'll leave it with that.

    And, BTW, I have seen Ektar 25 with grain that could choke a horse. Someone recently posted some on PN. This is directly related to the keeping problem and the manufacturing problem. When it was good, it was very good, but when it was bad it was truly awful. So, the good grain only represented about 10% of production and that kept poorly for the most part.

    The Portra film represents what can be manufactured as closely to the Ektar 25 as possible without the problems of the Ektar 25. The reasons amount to what you would call 'technobabble'.

    PE
     
  10. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I think your memory of good negs from old days and bad negs from eary days of tabular grains are persistent. Tabular grain technology today is FAR improved from 1980s and it became far more flexible in making various kinds of emulsions. Tonality of Fujifilm Acros, Delta 400, and T-MAX P3200 (at EI1600) is indeed pretty good and if I had lots of deep frozen Panatomic-X or Verichrome Pan I'd happily sell them at a premium price and buy bricks of Acros and what not. (I actually have some APX25 and VP... just too lazy to bring them to black market.) I know people had bad negatives before tabular grains, too.

    In terms of developer repertoire I have absolutely no complaint. Sure, the film developers on market are still nothing new but I can happily live with 2 film developers to cover 98% of my needs. (And since they were extensively tested with Acros, Neopan, Delta, Plus-X and Tri-X during the research and development phase, they work very well with both tabular and non-tabular films. And they also produce negs that are easy to print as well as scan, which was also one of my requirements.) Anyway, the point is that, I don't think the number of developers is the issue, but rather that the developers available on market today weren't necessarily optimized for today's films and today's applications and user preferences.
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Ryuji,

    Unless Acros has improved spectacularly since its introduction (as I know Delta 400 has) I really don't care much for its tonality. Current Delta 400 is OK, though I still much prefer HP5 Plus, and I wasn't counting '3200' films because Ilford HPS and Kodak's Royal-X and 2475 were not general-application in the same way. The tonality of generously-exposed Delta 3200 is indeed gorgeous.

    Super-XX was unsharp and grainy, but I've seen very few tonally poor Super-XX negs: it really did seem to be idiot-proof. With Panatomic-X and Verichrome Pan I'll cheerfully concede your point. I may have overstated things -- no, let's be accurate, I DID overstate things -- but HP5 and Tri-X are still tonally nicer, in my eyes (and those of many others), than T-Grain or Delta. This is not pure traditionalism: I prefer XP1 and XP2 to T-grain and Delta too, unless, as I said, the latter are perfectly exposed and developed.

    As for dev repertoire, I agree, provided you are half-way sensible about dev choice -- but there are more and more people who want to use frankly outdated (and untested) developers from the 1950s and before, and then complain (accurately if not justly) because they get huge grain or low speed or lousy tonality or any combination of these with 'high-tech' films. In one sense, serve 'em right -- but it's still true that the dev repertoire is smaller...

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  12. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    The current film "Fujifilm Acros 100" in this name is not that old. It's a relatively new product, much younger than Delta 400. I think Acros hasn't changed since then and it's always been a wonderful film.

    I repeat that t-grain technology has nothing to do with latitude or tonality. It was just that the way t-grain film emulsions were made in the early days that had problems with narrower latitudes and harsher tonality. It's also that the developers weren't tuned for newer film technologies either.

    I use Neopan 400 and Delta 400 in my P&S all the time, and I've printed many images that were poorly exposed. (I definitely would not use T-MAX 400 for P&S.) From the user's perspective there is no difference whether they are t-grain or not.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    About 6-7 years? Or maybe half the age (or less) of Delta 400?

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  14. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I'm thoroughly convinced that the combination of 21st Century film and 70's vintage glass is a very hard combination to beat! :smile:
     
  15. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    ... and the 21st century developers, too.