Kodak's "New" Portra is Digital Film!

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by copake_ham, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I had heard that the major improvement to the new Kodak Portra film is that it has vastly improved "scannability".

    Knowing this, I was curious to see what it meant.

    I recently shot a roll of the Portra 400NC on a quick weekend holiday to the coast of Maine in 35mm format. I used a Nikon F100 with an older Nikkor AF 35-70mm/2.8f (flat) zoom. Being a bit lazy, I shot AF. The Parson's Beach shot was under a dull sky and close focused so is probably wide open. The other two, using bright, available sunlight, are likely around f4 or f5.6.

    I've scanned three of the negs to My Gallery. All of the negs were scanned via my Nikon 5000D into TIFF format and uploaded through PS.

    Other than cropping and "downsizing the image" for posting, there is NO manipulation in the posted shots. In fact, I did check the "Auto Levels" setting in PS and nothing changed! I've never seen that happen before with color neg (much less chrome).

    This "scannable-friendly" film is amazing. Of course, so is the glass and the camera. :wink:

    BTW: does anyone remember the name of Fuji's scannable-friendly film? I'd like to try that too.
     
  2. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    One of the things I've noticed a lot with that film is that there is bar to no noise in the shadows when it's scanned. Compared to slightly older films, it's visible. Actually, I think it might even help keep film at a high profile: most of us will encounter scanned images, and if they all look inferior to digital ones simply because scanning technology introduces too much degradation, then nobody will ever believe us when we say we like film for a reason.

    In the purely analogue world, it's also stunning when printed on RA-4. I've made some 8x10 of a 35mm negative with Portra 400NC, and there is no grain, rich colours, incredibly fine gradations, and an overall niceness that makes analog printing actually more tasty than, say, digital Frontier prints.

    Sometimes we pine for the old films, like PKR 25, but it's really more often because of their personalities than their measurable qualities. 400 ISO film of today have as much grain as 25 films of yore.
     
  3. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    A lot of things go into scanability. Among them are a base that stays flat and does not collect dust. But the most important is that the dyes match the LEDs and/or filters in the scanner to minimize crossovers in the scanning process and thereby to give true colors. Kodak started paying attention to scanability several years ago, and they have consistently produced films that scan well in recent years. Lately, other manufacturers have started paying attention to this as well.
     
  4. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Thanks, nworth.

    Do you know which Fujifilms are optimized this way too?

    I'd like to do some comparison shooting this Fall/Winter down in Tucson.

    Much as I love K, I'd like to see F's version(s).
     
  5. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    I've recently been burning the Kodak Portra 800, and I'm very pleased with it. Fine grain, good color, nice flesh tones & scans easily. It's my new preference for 800 speed film.

    Kiron Kid
     

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  6. mark

    mark Member

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    Don't you think this would go best on Hybrid photo?

    I would be more interested if this discussed how this more scannable neg did on a wet print compared with the older neg on a wet print. Does this more scannable nature lend itself better worse of neither to analog printing.
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Mark,

    We are discussing the film and how the negs scan for Gallery uploads.

    If you read my OP, I was very careful to explain that I did NO PS processing except to crop and downsize the dimensions for upload. This is within the guidelines.

    I consider the scannability to be a nice feature of the film for those of us who scan negs rather than prints. But if it wasn't otherwise a great film - I wouldn't use it. :wink:
     
  8. mark

    mark Member

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    Not one of my priorities I guess.
     
  9. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Mark,

    Fair enough response. Please let me explain further.

    I personally think that the future of color film photography is dependent on products such a Portra which firstly offer a superior image to many traditional films and additionally are also are "scanner friendly".

    Many of color film shooters, myself included, are dependent upon commercial processors (be they "pro" or "one-hour") to develop our film.

    Most of these processors are using Fuji Frontier or similar equipment which, after "wet-process" developing of the film, use a "scanning with healing process" to produce prints.

    The result is that the prints have been digitally manipulated even thought the negs have not.

    Since I prefer to scan the film instead of the prints, in fact, I am more "traditional" than if I were to scan the "digitally processed" prints.

    One of the things I most enjoy about APUG is posting pics to The Gallery here. It is the primary reason why I remain a Subscriber.

    But in doing so, I want to make sure I comply with the rules for posting film shots. And really think that I am being more in keeping with the Traditional Ethic by uploading scanned film negs than uploading commercially processed prints.

    Yes, I suppose that the ultimate "purity" would be to process my own color film and then print etc. But that just isn't going to happen for me.

    Now I realize that you may have a totally different reason for being here on APUG - and I respect that. But there are many paths to the same goal of this site - which is the preservation of traditional photography.