THE THIRD COLOR FILM COMPANY

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by PHOTOTONE, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I was wondering if anyone can tell me anything about the company Ferrania in Italy. They do make C-41 type color film. They may make E-6 types also, and possibly b/w. But...they seem to have very little visibility in the USA. Anyone know anything about them?

    Phototone
     
  2. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Phototone,

    Ferrania sells most of their film here as store brands. I often find it at Menards in 400. The Dollar Stores are supposed to carry it as well.

    Neal Wydra
     
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    They have been around for a very long time -- I used their colour films in the 1970s and maybe even 1960s (I forget) -- but they have appeared under a variety of names including Scotch and 3M, depending on who owned them at the time. They do a very great deal of private label manufacture; even more now Agfa is gone. Their own films are marketed as Solaris. Good films at a good price.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  4. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I believe that most Ferrania film sold in the USA is sold under store brands. The last I checked, Kroger supermarket film, Freestyle's house brand color film (but not their house-brand B&W film), and the film sold by the PhotoWorks photofinisher were all made by Ferrania. K-Mart's house brand was made by 3M (current Ferrania film used to be 3M; its heritage is convoluted) about a decade ago, but I don't know if that's still true. I'm sure there are others, but these are the ones that spring immediately to mind.

    My personal opinion of Ferrania film is that it's similar to the Kodak or Fuji offerings of a decade or two past, particularly in terms of grain size. The Ferrania 400 film, in particular, is much grainier than the ISO 400 offerings from Kodak or Fuji. This grain difference is much more pronounced when scanning than when printing, at least with my equipment. Ferrania films provide a more subdued color palette than the Kodak and Fuji consumer-grade products. I've seen at least one Northern European person say he likes Ferrania film for this reason; apparently his family's light skin tones just reproduce better with Ferrania than with Kodak or Fuji. I don't know if he's tried any professional portrait films from Kodak or Fuji, though.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Ferrania was part of 3M back in the 70s and 80s. They purchased it in the 70s IIRC and then cut it loose in the late 80s. It has been having financial difficulties and last I heard was in bankruptcy or was digging its way out.

    PE
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear PE

    For a while they were kept afloat (illegally) by the Italian government, according to what I heard: they were in the same area as the company that was brought low by an appalling fraud a few years ago -- Parmelat? -- and another major collapse in the area was unthinkable. At photokina they looked reasonably healthy, though appearances can be deceptive.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  7. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Well, what I would like to know is, what type of photo films do they produce, other than C-41 color negative stocks. Is that all they make? Surely they make some b/w materials, and possibly slide film? If you saw their booth at Photokina, then perhaps you know.

    Phototone
     
  8. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Just found information, google search..seems that Ferrania has a USA manufacturing site in Weatherford, Oklahoma for color negative film. Here is a quote from the website:

    "The Weatherford, Oklahoma site serves as the manufacturing facility and distribution center for color print film, single use cameras and inkjet media. In addition, administrative and financial services are managed at this location."

    This is very interesting, and I am quite puzzled why no one mentions Ferrania.
     
  9. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    At one time 3M produced E6, but think all that Ferrina makes now is C41.
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Back in the '80s I shot a roll or two of K-Mart house brand (presumably 3M) Super 8 movie film. I have no idea if they still produce E-6 film or if they ever produced B&W film. Certainly I've seen neither from them for a very long time, just C-41 film.

    As to their Oklahoma facility, that's interesting. A decade or two ago, 3M/Imation/Scotch house-brand film could be identified by "made in USA" on the label. All the Ferrania film I've seen lately, by contrast, is marked "made in Italy." I'd assumed they'd shut down their US manufacturing plant. Perhaps it's still going, but not at sufficient volume to supply all the US market, or maybe they just make some products there, like single-use cameras.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

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    At the time when I interacted with them, I had 3 friends with 3M and they had a plant here in Rochester. They only discussed their C41 films with me, and the things we discussed indicated, as above, that they were about 20 years behind EK chemistry.

    PE
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    PE, when was it you interacted with these 3M people? If it was a long time ago, it's conceivable that 3M/Imation/Ferrania could have caught up a bit -- or fallen further behind. (My subjective impression from the consumer end is that they're still well behind Kodak and Fuji, but not as badly as they were a decade ago.)
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    They didn't catch up! No way did they catch up with either EK or Fuji. If anything, the gap increased. I have followed the work there as well as at Agfa and Fuji.

    PE
     
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  15. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    "Behind" has multiple meanings, but it is end result that counts. I wonder if the current Solaris 35mm color negative films (100, 200, 400, 800 ISO's) lag behind in grain, latitude, color? Are they behind in the context of "state-of-the-art" manufacturing, or in "state-of-the-art" image quality?

    Phototone
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, since Kodak and Fuji patents are expiring, who knows except Ferrania.

    Kodak and Fuji and Ilford have patents on DIR and DIAR couplers, state of the art dye stability stuff, T-Grains, and 2 electron sensitization. Ferrania has nothing except what they can get from patent literature AFAIK.

    So, their film, if not state of the art, will resemble Kodak or Fuji film from the 70s or 80s. It will be less sharp, more grainy and have less color accuracy than the equivalent from EK or Fuji IMHO.

    PE
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Seconded, except that 'colour accuracy' is a somewhat debatable concept. And of course there's always Ektachrome 64, which I believe is still in production... Of course that IS a film from the 70s.

    My wife Frances Schultz, who covers film for Shutterbug, says that as far as she is aware there are no E6-conpatible or mono emulsions from Ferrania any more, but she will double-check that with Ferrania tomorrow.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

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    Roger;

    Color accuracy can be checked easily in one sense by taking a picture of the MacBeth Color Checker and then comparing a neutally balanced print or the slide with the original for accuracy. This is most often done using a spectrophotometric curve of the patches on the checker vs the patches that were photographed.

    Accuracy is thereby not 'debatable' except where subjective preference comes in, or where accuracy vs illuminant comes into play.

    I wish we could get together for a long chat on this one. I did a lot of work of this type.

    PE
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear PE,

    Me too. My immediate counter would be that a Macbeth chart isn't the real world, coupled with disputes about the nature of a 'balanced' print. I'd be the last to fall into the trap that objectivity is meaningless, but the psychophysical aspect intrigues me, especially the way that films have grown steadily more saturated. What fascinates me is the way that a picture should record what we remember, not what we (think we) saw...

    Frances was born in Rochester and her late uncle David was a Kodak pilot. Maybe one day we'll get back there again. I'm sure you know a good deal more than I and I would love to learn all I could from you -- though when I met Grant Haist in February this year I found that general conversation kept distracting us from the hard science. I bought a copy of his book, though.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Roger;

    I flew with Kodak Air a few times myself.

    The ideal picture with a checker is a real picture with a checker in the scene, so that everything is balanced. I have a few demo pictures to show you or anyone who drops by anytime.

    I just saw Grant this last week. You must have seen him in Fla. He just left Rochester for Michigan and then will go to Fla in Feb.

    Look in the front part of the book and you will see my name as well as the names of the rest of us who helped him edit both volumes.

    PE
     
  21. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    In the world of photography, either color or black and white, we often use products that are not "state of the art" because we like what they do for us in the creation of our images. I would think that the Solaris films, whether they are behind-the-times or not, might offer a "look" that is different and I, for one, might consider this as another paint on my pallet for creativity.

    There are lots of us that use "old fashioned" single coated b/w films from Eastern Europe for the "look" it gives us. There are some of us who do wet collodion work, for the "look". Certainly not state-of-the-art.

    It is true that in general color films from Kodak and Fuji have become "better" in many ways, finer grain, better keeping qualities of the processed image, more color saturation options, higher ISO's, etc., but those are only some of the attributes that make a film worthy for creating our individual visions.

    Oh, and the Solaris films, according to their website, are available (in addition to 35mm) in 126, 110 and APS, which can keep some cameras going.

    Phototone
     
  22. Photo Engineer

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    I agree fully with this. After all, as one of my old bosses said: "We sell pictures, not sensitometric curves". I think that expresses, from an engineering standpoint and with a bit of irony as well, what you just said.

    PE
     
  23. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I shot a 4-pack of the Kroger ISO 200 house brand film last summer, when it was on sale.

    It's most definitely Ferrania. Says so on the negative strips.

    It's very "ok", but lacks the Charles Atlas Seal of Approval. :smile:

    Definitely more grainy and "rougher" in appearance than the Kodak Gold 200, Fuji Superia, and even the Walgreens/Agfa 200.

    The problem with is it that the supermarkets sell it for what you can buy Fuji or Kodak over at Target' or Wally World. They also carry Fuji and Kodak at non-competitive prices.
     
  24. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Hard to argue with that. Next time you talk with Grant, please say that I enormously appreciated his hospitality (indeed, in Florida) and that I REALLY AM working my way through the book in sequence, not just cherry-picking.

    I hate to appear rude but I do not know your real name; I salute you as one of those giants (of yesteryear, again at the risk of appearing rude) whose knowledge makes most of today's 'experts' look quite feeble. I am overcome with embarrassment when I think how unworthy I was to appear in the Oxford Companion as compared with those who contributed to the first and second Focal Encyclopaedias (though not later editions) or indeed with those who can discuss matters with Grant as an equal.

    Edit: on further thought, and with some reflection upon objective colour processes (Lippmann) versus subjective, do I not recall correctly thar reproduced colours are (or were until recently) almost always less saturated than real life? In other words, even if the Macbeth chart is reproduced accurately, how much does this mean, given that it is a printed chart to begin with?

    I realize that this queston verges on the mystical/meaningless (if spectral response asnd brightness match, they are the same thing) but equally there is the question of the very limited brightness range across which colour can be convincingly reproduced (including printed charts) -- a far more limited range than we can 'read' in real life.

    As I say, I am but a novice in such matters compared with yourself; but I flatter myself that I know (just) enough to ask the right questions on occasion, and sometimes to understand the answers, when talking to/corresponding with those who really do have some understanding of the subject -- such as the question of 'sparkle' in monochrome prints, which both Mike Gristwood and Dr. Hubert Nasse assure me is a function of very high MTF values at relatively low frequencies.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2006
  25. Photo Engineer

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    Roger;

    Grant and I did a lot of work together over the span of about 10 years. Most of it is unpublished to this day, but his autograph on my copy of his book is "For old times". I miss those days.

    I was not a giant. I was just another worker, but we had a lot of fun.

    PM me and we can take this off-line.

    PE
     
  26. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Did Ferrania make the Scotchchrome 1000 E6 films?
    This was discontinued in the mid 90s I believe.
    I love this film for it's pastel colours & outrageous grain.