I can understand your school's decision, in some ways, but it's still a shame. I don't know whether your school specializes in fine art or commercial photography. But I'll just say that earlier this week I looked at some newer prints by some very prominent fine art photographers. The digital color prints, while they had the advantage of larger scale, had noticeable artifacts and other digital characteristics. They broke up when you looked at them up close. No doubt you could say, don't look at them up close. But it was startling. In contrast, there were a few analogue c-prints, which, while smaller, were beautiful, from up close or from far away.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F
Hopefully, someday, a few more people will figure that out.
In contrast, there were a few analogue c-prints, which, while smaller, were beautiful, from up close or from far away.
Agreed. And it's nice that they threw in some improvements to the film as they downsized, instead of just tossing the VC variety. 400NC was my go to color film, and the new 400 is a welcomed improvement.
Originally Posted by lns
Something that I've noticed with the last three releases of Kodak film (Ektar and the 2 Portras) is that there is a VERY positive vibe about these films online, with very strong reviews coming out about them. I really like the new Portra 400 and do see it as a positive development, but some of the statements about it smacks to me of hyperbole and marketing. The film buying, internet dwelling public though seems to be buying it though. So Kodak's marketing of releasing the film to internet reviewers seems to be paying off.
Has anyone else noticed that none of these rave reviews compare the new Portra 400 to 400NC? I get the feeling that some of these guys haven't shot the previous Portra 400s much in the past couple years, when they've gone through several revisions.
It seems to me that color film in general is all about digital output these days. The level of control you have with digital image editing tools can never be approached in darkroom printing, no matter how good you are. I think it's just a fact of life. A few years ago I might have considered darkroom printing of C41 materials, but these days, with the limited paper qualities out there, like a nice matte paper for instance, is just not there.
So I second that using internet reviewers to boost the appreciation of the new Portra films in that part of the photography world is a smart move.
With that said I really love how a good projection color print looks. I have a few from when I was good friends with the master printer at a prolab, and they are stunning indeed. It's sad to see the trend, actually, and I feel like a hypocrite for contributing to it by using digitevil means of outputting my color prints.
But I do welcome a move from Kodak to try to rationalize their ways of keeping inventory, both at their own distribution warehouse, as well as distributors and dealers. I live in a world where inventory levels are closely scrutinized, and over-stock costs an amazing amount of money. Understock does too, because if you run out, usually shipping is expedited, and that in turn becomes a burden on the bottom line. By having fewer SKUs to manage, they have a lot to gain, and if that can help in stabilizing Kodak's future in the film business, then I am all for it. It's better to have a healthier company producing fewer, but really good, products, than to have a sinking ship with a multitude of options that are perhaps not viable to the company to continue with. Give them credit for trying to find a way.
What we want as consumers and users isn't always what Kodak and Fuji can provide us with, no matter how bass-ackwards it may seem at first glance.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
As for almost-viral marketing, it's the new reality. Are they shills? Maybe. I shot quite a bit of the last "new" Portra 400VC and loved it--more importantly, my lab's scan-print line loved it, too. Suspect the "newest" Portra 400 will be just as useful.
Originally Posted by Tim Gray
These compressed product ranges are here to stay--some good films or no film at all are the options now. Drink up, folks.
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Also, please remember that a few years ago there were only two medium-speed pro color neg films - Portra 160 NC and VC - with slightly different saturation (and contrast). The situation is actually similar today: Portra and Ektar. The gap between the two films made bigger (regarding saturation), and now they are marketed for different purposes; neutral for portraits, Ektar for landscape etc. This makes much more sense to me than "two very close films for portraits, one for a bit more saturation".
Also, I find it easier to interpolate than extrapolate. There are ways to fine-tune contrast and saturation in RA-4, too, so IMO we don't need the fine-tuning in the film selection so much; it's better to have two distinct choices, then the total scale of choice is longer. Just IMHO.
Of course I understand that those who wanted exactly the in-between VC variety, will miss it. And, for some time, there were three varieties available. Now we are back to two, but it's completely different than having only one, and I'd bet Ektar is not going anywhere in the near future. I know these words do not comfort those who don't like Ektar, but everyone cannot like everything.
I remember some people complaining that when the new Portra 400 was made a bit more saturated, they lost the least saturated version. But, that was understandable because if only one remains, it's best to have "average" product. Now, for the 160 variety, Kodak didn't make it more saturated but kept it at NC. I'm sure it's because there is Ektar for those who want extra saturation. They think the situation as a whole.
Last edited by hrst; 02-24-2011 at 12:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Yeah I wouldn't quite call them shills, but it is amazing to me about all the crap I've been reading online in forums about how you can underexpose the new stuff 2-3 stops and have 'amazing' quality. Yet no one seems to acknowledge that you could do the same to the previous versions and get basically the same results.
Originally Posted by CGW
Back to Bob - you mentioned that Kodak could switch on the fly between VC and NC coatings. What were the actual differences (in layman's terms) between the two? I it was something in the couplers and the final dyes, and not in the sensitization. Also, was the difference between NC and VC a uniform saturation increase, or was it localized to a certain portions of the spectrum?
Yeah, that's true. But this has always been the case - between two successive version, the differences are not ground-breaking, but after two or three updates, they start to show. Well, an internet comparison with Fuji 400H and new Portra 400 actually showed almost groundbreaking results in some difficult underexposure situations, but what if they compared 400NC-3 and the new 400 instead? Hard to guess.
Originally Posted by Tim Gray
But are these updates really needed? The products are good. Are they "good enough"? Surely they are good enough for almost any purpose. The previous Portra was also good enough. The first Portra was good enough. Vericolor was good enough... .. etc...
People tend to be "happy" with what they have, which is a good trait... But then, some people resist any changes. However, this can be a completely unsustainable attitude, because usually these people want to have the product that has undergone those updates for decades, and that's a total paradox. They may have been thinking in the same way decades ago, but in the end they still wanted to have the updates if they are asked decades later if they would like to revert the product now. Everyone wants to stop the wheel at a different point, so IMO better keep it running. And I'm surprised it can run this well even in the current situation today...
Agreed. I see it as a positive development, especially considering the current state of things.
Originally Posted by hrst
I just got some Portra 400 for my brother's wedding. Can't wait to see the results.
5x7 Eastman-Kodak kit, under the knife for a bit
4x5 Graphic View / Schneider 180 / Ektar 127
RB67 Pro S / 50 4.5 / 90 3.8 / 180 4.5 / WLF / prism finder / polaback
Random 35mm stuff