Kodak Ektar vs Fuji Reala Comparison

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by A.Colden, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. A.Colden

    A.Colden Member

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    We recently did a comparison between Kodak Ektar and Fuji Reala in 35mm.
    Here are some images of the results, for those interested:

    [​IMG]
    Kodak Ektar
    Nikon FM3A
    Nikkor 45mm 2.8 Ai-P lens

    [​IMG]
    Fuji Reala
    Nikon FM3A
    Nikkor 45mm 2.8 Ai-P lens


    [​IMG]
    Kodak Ektar
    Contax 139Q
    Contax/Zeiss 45mm 2.8 Tessar lens

    [​IMG]
    Fuji Reala
    Nikon FM3A
    Nikkor 45mm 2.8 Ai-P lens

    These sets were taken within minutes of each other, around 1pm on a sunny February day.
    To view them side by side, please see here. The negatives were scanned using the same settings.

    The most obvious difference to me, is the magenta cast in Reala.
    The colour of the water you see in the Ektar shots is true to life; that is how the water looked on that day.

    Also, note that we did not get the "cyan sky" effect with Ektar that some complain about.

    What do you think?

    Thanks,
    A. Colden
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2010
  2. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Hi and thanks for the comparisons. However, each film has its own corrections for scanning. How can comparing two different films with the same corrections be relevant. Sorry if I've missed something. :confused:
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Nice to see them side by side. They both look like themselves.

    Maybe Reala doesn't have a magenta cast. Maybe Ektar has a green cast that just happened to be neutralized with the particular scanner settings you used.

    My point is that each image should be color balanced before comparison. Since you are scanning, you don't even need a good eye for color balance to do this. Just put a grey card in the shot, and tell the computer that it is grey.
     
  4. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    ^^^ A Gray scale would be better. And a color chart with gray scale better still. If you have PS you can roll over each patch and record the RGB readings. Corrected color profiles should be used with each film during scanning.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Of course a MacBeth chart is ideal. However, most people have a $5 grey card (if not several) already lying around, but will probably not go out and purchase a $70+ MacBeth chart. For an informal test using quickly and cheaply obtained materials, it'll work.
     
  6. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    ^^^ Then a simple gray scale will suffice... much better than a gray card.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    They were taken with different lenses which might have different UV capability. There appears to me, to be a difference in the UV getting to the two films. Might be the lens, might be the UV overcoat.

    That is why we always tested films with identical lenses. Sorry, but this test does not work for me. A test chart will not help enough if we don't know the UV sensitivities of the lenses and films. A heavy UV filter over both lenses might have helped.

    PE
     
  8. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    PE is correct but only one image was taken with a different lens.

    All variables must be eliminated and proper scanning profiles used or the test is moot. Sorry if this seems ungrateful but its true. There are just too many variables unaccounted for.

    It is nice of you to post your results though.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    How much is the "simple" grey scale that is dead neutral and appropriately segmented? Where is it? How long will it take to get it? I think you missed the "practicality" point of my "simple" grey card suggestion. Of course a MacBeth chart is ideal. Of course a proper grey scale is better....however, in terms of a test method that any Joe Photographer can do quickly and cheaply, a grey card will do the job just fine. All we are trying to do is quickly (and digitally) balance the images, not do an exhaustive comparison of the two films.

    ...and, yes, it is a given that all shots must be taken with the same lens. I didn't notice that one of the lenses was different.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    And they show a striking difference in the sky. So, that is an important point.

    I saw the difference in the fur collar in the first 2 comparisons. I recognize that but the second two show what might be a typical UV problem.

    Remember, even with the same lenses, if 2 films differ in UV cutoff, you will see somewhat similar differences and that is why I suggested a UV filter over the lens.

    PE
     
  11. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Based on this test I am partial to the Ektar shots you took (comparing the first two because they have the same lens)
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    PE,

    What would you say is a typical UV problem?

    Curious, as I have never used a UV (or any) filter as a matter of course, like some do.
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, I am taking the statement at face value that these photos were taken just about sequentially, OK?

    In the second pair, note the sky. One shows haze and the other shows the clouds (which have moved of course). The haze in the Fuji photo is indicative of less UV absorber in the lens or film, IDK which. Since they were taken with different lenses, the only way to "normalize" them is by using a heavy UV filter, if that would work.

    Now, the first picture pair do not show a similar problem, but one more related to the scanner settings. This is why I say the test is unclear to me.

    I hope this helps.

    PE
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2010
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  15. A.Colden

    A.Colden Member

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    Hi and thanks for the replies.

    Regarding the scanner issue, thank you for enlightening me. I do not usually scan colour negatives and naively assumed that the software must have some automatic colour correction functions built in that work adequately enough to at least do a "quick and dirty" comparison. Clearly this is not so and I need to rethink the method.

    Regarding the lens issue: The first set of images was taken with the same camera, same lens. I included the second set because those lenses are in fact extremely similar. Do you seriously think that any difference can be attributed to these specific lenses? I have many images taken with the same lens that show the same sky effects as in the second comparison. I used that set, because the landscapes were the most similar.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The problem is that I cannot tell if it is the lens or the film. I do suspect the film, but my suspicion is no proof!

    PE
     
  17. Colden

    Colden Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    We've consistently had an easier time scanning Ektar. It scans well. Has anyone else noticed that?
     
  18. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Even when you print RA-4, you adjust color filtration to take out any unwanted color cast. This is also true when scanning, if not even more true.

    So, color casts are not a point of interest. It is easier to compare two color films if all the color casts are corrected first. Then you can move on to the comparison of the films, which include: saturation, contrast, curve shape in shadows, curve shape in highlights, sharpness, grain, the way different colors are produced (spectral response, different thing than just color balance).

    In the end, color balance is almost the ONLY "parameter" which is not film-specific but process-specific and always adjusted, either manually or automatically. That's why it's quite funny that people always compare "color casts" of different films, like "Fuji is green!" (and yes, Reala needs less magenta filtration in darkroom also) etc., in fact they are comparing scanner automatics. But, color casts are so easy to notice and compare, so I'm not surprised.

    And, when you scan, you can adjust contrast, saturation, curve shape etc. almost too easily (meaning that they are probably also automatically adjusted!). It would be more interesting to compare how the negs print on same RA-4 paper. Then the prints scanned at the same time, on the same scanner glass.

    And I'm not dissing your work, more likely I'm dissing all the usual comments about "color casts". :smile:.

    The hilariousness of color casts is shown well by the fact that on your test, Reala is very magenta. For me, it's always green, when scanning (before corrections) as well as when in darkroom (compared to other films at same filtration).
     
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  19. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I've heard that scanning neg film with no orange base is easier.... Kodak color neg aerial film anyone? It's a matter of command and control... and careful precision to hit the target whatever/wherever the target is.
     
  20. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I've heard it too, and if it's true it tells quite a lot about scanners and their manufacturers. The mask is there to correct for unwanted dye absorptions ---to CORRECT colors!--- and the easiest thing in the world to compensate for in scanning/printing. But again, I'm not surprised. I've been thinking of building my own scanner because they all suck so much, unless we go to the $10000 class. $1000...$3000 Nikons have for example a piece of uncoated glass on the CCD that makes scanning dense, contrasty slides impossible because of hilarious flares. And scanning software always suck. Luckily, I like darkroom work so I can scan only when absolutely necessary.
     
  21. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    Well,

    To me Ektar is really a kick a** film. I finally got hold of scanning it, and I must say that it is as good as a film can be!

    I see it becoming my main color negative film, and by what I see and hear, I am not the only one. Kudos to Kodak!

    K
     
  22. Colden

    Colden Member

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    One important aspect of the test (separate from colour casts and UV light) is how Ektar handles bright skies. We've used Reala for years and came to expect a certain performance. I read that Ektar is difficult to expose and tends to produce an unnatural hyper-saturated look when overexposed by several stops. Well, we've produced some seriously overcooked Ektar negatives in 120 recently and the colours & contrast range are still excellent.

    We're seriously considering switching to Ektar.
     
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Why is it one or the other? They are totally different films. Reading the manufacturers' descriptions tells you that. Actually using them makes it obvious. I would never think to use either one of these films as a replacement for the other. I would (and do) use each for different aesthetic desires.

    All professional (and even consumer) C-41 films do very well when overexposed...but hopefully you won't be overexposing unnecessarily, so you won't ever need to lean on that latitude, no matter what film you use.
     
  24. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    Interesting. While I also prefer your Ektar scans, MY Reala scans look like that, not like your Reala scans :smile:. I haven't done the side-by-side but my Ektar shots have had the stronger casts (blue) by far. If only we all had a professional color checker doing our scans.
     
  25. A.Colden

    A.Colden Member

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    Reala is being discontinued, at least in 120. Many do recommend Ektar as a replacement for some purposes.
     
  26. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I've been reading lots of posts about this and there's a tendency to say Reala 120 is discontinued when actually what is meant is Reala 120 is no longer being imported into the US. Is this the case here, or is Reala 120 really gone?