new ektar 100 vs 160vc?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by zenza, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. zenza

    zenza Member

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    Hello fellow shooters,

    I've been looking into trying some of the new Ektar 100 in 120 format and was curious as to how it compares to the 160vc film. For one, I'm a big fan of E100VS and was hoping that the Ektar 100 was more or less like it but in negative film-form. I guess my main concern is how it is in comparison to 160vc because I didn't like the results from that film at all.

    Any help or opinions are appreciated
     
  2. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    My experience with both 120 and 35mm are very good, but the only way you will know is to try it yourself. I have only shot one roll of 160VC in 120 and it was good but Ektar100 is better IMHO.
     
  3. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    160VC is good, but I think Ektar has a touch of the look of a transparency. Ektar is pretty good by negative can't even touch the quality of slides, so I would stick to E100VS :smile:
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Silly Ektagraphic. :tongue: That's a good one. Should be in the joke thread. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I wish I could give a course in photo engineering to you guys. It would show you the problems inherent in slide films. :D

    PE
     
  6. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    Not to mention that C41 is a breeze to process and relatively easy to print. E6 is in my opinion a PITA to process and nowhere near as predictable as to result. I have a dozen rolls of each waiting to process and have found myself shooting black & white LF in the last few weeks. I would like to audit your short course when you decide to make it a webinar.
     
  7. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I think that Ektar 100 is going to displace Portra 160VC, though I'll continue to use 400VC. My other "standard' films are Fuji 160S and 400H; these last two are my everyday "neutral' go-to's.

    Portra VC and Ektar are both vibrant films; it's hard to describe the difference, but I'd say that the Ektar is just...more saturated. Even though the VC is vibrant, it seems a bit cooler---maybe---and not as saturated as Ektar.

    You really gotta just try them. Ektar is a fabulous film.
     
  8. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I am serious
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    But wrong!

    Color slide film is not as good as color negative film. The reasons are extensive and quite technical and I cannot seem to get through to people.

    They think slide films are better because they can "read" them visually.

    PE
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Transparencies and negatives are different animals.

    As far as color and quality go the biggest problem I've seen with negatives is actually digital.

    Most labs scan to print. The quality of the scan and processing they apply is the weak link.

    That doesn't mean the film or C-41system is bad, it means you need to talk with your lab or maybe try a new lab.
     
  11. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    I've only shot one roll of Ektar 100 in 35mm, and I like it. I have another roll that I'm gonna shoot one day soon :smile:

    I've yet to shoot 160VC, so I guess I'm really no help :/
     
  12. Eric Leppanen

    Eric Leppanen Member

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    As Mark Barendt already mentioned, I think some of the resistance to color negative film stems from folks getting digital prints. Many digital labs state or imply that slide film is better than color neg as far as scanning is concerned. For example, West Coast Imaging is a very well known digital lab on the West Coast, and this is what they say regarding color neg:

    Chromes scan more easily than negs for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it is a positive, and we have an accurate reference to what it should look like. With a negative we have no such reference. Also, the grain structure of chromes holds up much better, and gives a sharper file than negs.

    The wider latitude of negs is part of the problem, as well. Compressing that range into a print flattens contrast and destroys local contrast...things that make a print sparkle. On the other hand, using chromes in flat light stretches out the contrast range and makes nice local contrast happen automatically.

    We have scanned thousands of chromes and negs from beginners to professionals with decades of experience. In looking at what works, we have found that negs from studio photographers who light flat for chrome, make the best scans....so the very reason you want to use neg is in direct opposition to creating the type of lighting conditions and neg that scans well.

    Now this doesn't mean that the chrome is always better, but with a chrome, what you see is what you get, and we can always make a good scan from a good chrome. With Negatives there is a little bit more variability and uncertainty. The type of neg film really doesn't matter very much.


    WCI has also said (although I'm not sure if this is still posted on their web site):

    Color negatives can be the most difficult film to scan. You'd think it would be as simple as inverting the data and removing the orange mask, but it's not. The orange mask is not simply a 40cc orange; it varies in density at every point in the photograph, depending on what is recorded on the film at that point. Variations in processing and exposure mean that the same settings for one negative rarely work for another, even if they are on the same film. And while color negative film is capable of recording great latitude, the highest quality scans consistently come from film exposed in "chrome light" and carefully processed.

    I've lost count of the digital labs that have told me that color neg produces grainier scans than chromes due to grain aliasing, etc.

    I realize that part of the reason some digital labs take this position is that their equipment and business model is intrinsically optimized for E-6. There are certainly digital labs willing to take the time and effort to properly scan and print C-41 (in my limited experience it may take them several scans before they achieve an optimal one), but they are in the minority, and I think at least one charges extra for C-41 scanning versus E-6.

    For applications where precise color accuracy is not critical, I think many folks shoot slide film to avoid complications (real or perceived) when printing digitally.
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Eric,

    Having a positive that provides reference of what the photo is supposed to look like is cool, but problematic.

    First is the brightness; for me slides that project the way I like normally need to be lightened for printing. How much? depends. Still normally need a second printing to get it right.

    Second is color cast: I have also found that unless I've carefully and appropriately used filters (which is a close-but-never-perfect thing for me) or used controlled lighting when shooting my positive will lead the lab astray.

    In either case above the cure is understanding the challenges and talking about what you want with the lab, just like with C-41.

    Third, WCI's "complaint" about the wider latitude causing the problem is simply silly, it's like a lotto winner saying "I wish I'd only won half that money". :rolleyes:

    IMHO, what I hear WCI saying is "That darn extra shadow/highlight detail you get with C-41 ruins the picture every time." If they can convince us to use E-6 instead of C-41 they don't have to worry about all that pesky shadow/highlight detail stuff.

    I don't know about anybody else but I kinda like those pesky shadow and highlight details.
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    It means also that those who wrote the scanning software had absolutely no knowledge of color photographic systems.

    PE
     
  16. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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    Ron, now you have my curiosity going. I know there are probably variables when and why neg is better. But I would love to hear why it is. If you have already posted a thread here can you give a link? If not, I for one would love to hear your views on this.

    D.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Derek;

    There are several threads related to tone scale and to masking. I'll summarize.

    1. Color negative is masked and fully corrected for dye errors.

    2. Color negative printing takes place on a linear tone scale but pos-pos viewing or printing has a toe and shoulder which both compress data.

    3. Color neg uses DIR couplers, DIAR couplers and a fine grain HA developer to achieve the finest grain and the greatest sharpness. Sometimes scanners cannot interpret this due to aliasing and show a pebble grain which is not real, but rather is an artifact of the scanner itself. In reversal processing, the MQ (first) developer is the only one which can effect any sharpness, corrective or grain effects. The color developer goes to completion.

    4. Color neg is faster and cheaper to process. R&D continues due to the large market.

    5. Neg print materials (which are only made for ECN3 now) can go to a density of 4.0 giving an enormous tonal range compared to E6 which is limited to a density of about 3.0 for technical reasons.

    6. Color neg is designed for image fidelity, whereas E6 materials are designed to have higher color contrast to offset the color impurities. This gives the effect of better color but is not true color.

    7. Due to the physics involved, you can make multigenerational prints of neg-pos systems, but pos-pos systems begin to lose overall quality with the first generatioin. This is why they were abandoned by the motion picture industry as soon as neg-pos systems caught up back in the 60s or thereabouts.

    Just a start to give you an idea.

    PE
     
  18. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Subscriber

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    Very interesting. Thanks Ron, I will dig up some of those threads.

    D.
     
  19. RPC

    RPC Member

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    It is my understanding that the orange color from a masked negative is uniform all over the negative; this is why it can be filtered out during printing and the dye impurities with it.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Actually the orange mask is part of the film base and therefore would be uniform not only throughout the negative but also the rebate area.

    Steve
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The orange mask is NOT uniform. It forms a very weak orange positive image to perform its function as a mask. If it were uniform, it would be useless. It is not part of the base (support), but rather is incorporated into each emulsion layer in proportion to the "error" in dye fidelty precomputed during the design of the film.

    PE
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    In response to the original question, invest in a couple of rolls of film and you'll have your answer, but my impression is that Ektar 100 has better saturation and finer grain than 160VC. I think 160VC is too close in tonality to 160NC to be that interesting, while 160NC makes a great film for portraits or other situations where you might want a more neutral color palette.
     
  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    That answers something which I had always wondered about.

    I thought that if it were uniform it may as well not be there and could be filtered out in printing. Possibly even easier in scanning.

    I seem to recall my father telling me about an early Agfa colour negative film without an orange base but I can't remember what it was now.


    Steve.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Agfa had a whole family of unmasked negative films in the 60s and earlier. Konica and Fuji also had similar products. They used a long wash after the color developer step to introduce interimage effects in a pseudo masking process which used fogging to accentuate the color correction. In a sense, E6 uses this as well.

    PE
     
  25. RPC

    RPC Member

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    But isn't it the case that the image formed by the mask, and the image formed by the dye impurities, are opposites of one another and together form an orange color which is uniform all over the image then filtered out during printing?
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The sum total of the positive masking dye images and the negative unwanted dye images is a constant orange. You are correct in that sense. The mask itself is a positive record of the unwanted absorptions of the imaging dyes.

    The actual correction can be detected spectrophotometrically, but not visually. And, this is only due to the fact that the colored couplers are not perfect themselves.

    I hope this clarifies things. In a way, we are both right depending on the POV.

    Thanks for phrasing it more clearly than I did.

    PE