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  1. #1

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    Kodak HD 400/color surveillance/Portra 400

    I was looking at the spec sheets for Kodak Hi Def 400 this morning, and the information relating to grain size indicates that the grain is similar in size to Portra 400.

    I also looked at the spec sheets for Kodak color surveillance film (400 ISO) and it is identical to HD 400. However, it has additional information on exposure latitude and indicates that it can be pushed to ISO 800. Which indeed can Portra.

    I was wondering if anyone has tested HD400 or the surveillance stuff side by side with Portra 400. I know the former are only available as expired. But I am looking for a suitable film to stock up on for photographing small town fashion runway shows. Portra 400 is awesome, but mainly because of its pushability and fine grain. My hope is to find something equally pushable and with equally fine grain, but cheaper. Some of the surveillance stuff is available on the auction site. I generally only want to push to ISO 640, so even with a bit of speed loss that stuff may be OK. The grain is the main issue, other than cost.

  2. #2

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    There have been quite long threads on the 'film photography podcast' and 'I shoot film' forums on Flickr about kodak hawkeye surveillance film. From the photos I've seen it doesn't look much like portra. Higher grain and much higher saturation. People have described it as Ektar 400. Someone has been selling bulk rolls of it on ebay at silly low prices but shipping from the US wasn't economical for me.

    All of Kodak's surveillance films have been discontinued but whilst poking around I also noticed that the B&W hawkeye 400 film looks to be Tmax 400 on an estar base. It has the exact same spectral response and development times. If you could find this cheap you might be on to a winner.

  3. #3

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    Well if you look at the curves and grain profile of the Hawkeye color film, it is HD 400. The charts are identical. The granularity data on the charts indicates that a 4 point difference is "barely discernible" - and the data for Hawkeye/HD400 is within 2 points of Portra 400. Maybe it doesn't scan as well, but it certainly looks close to Portra in terms of actual grain. Of course this says nothing of color profile/contrast.

    I decided to buy a little on ebay and see what transpires. I'll report back with a test in due course.

  4. #4
    Truzi's Avatar
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    I've noticed that film on ebay too and was wondering about it (not whether it was like Portra, but whether it was decent). I look forward to your report.
    Truzi

  5. #5
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    I've ordered a couple of rolls as well.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  6. #6

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    The Kodak traffic surveillance films have been discontinued for some time now, but have long shelf lives. They are t-grain emulsions on an Estar-AH base, which makes them different from both 400-HD and Portra 400. I have used a quite a bit of both 400HD and Portra 400. They are reasonably similar, but 400-HD has higher saturation. The higher saturation makes it appear grainier than the old Portra 400NC, although it isn't. Both had pretty severe grain in 35mm, although acceptable for most uses. I decidedly preferred Portra 400NC. The current Portra 400 is a quite different film, with considerably less grain.

  7. #7

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    nworth: The current Portra 400 has a grain index of 59 at an 8X10 enlargement of a 35mm negative. The Hawkeye stuff has an index of 61. The literature indicates that a change of 4 is a barely discernible change. So it's hard to see how the grain of the current Portra is "considerably less" at least on the basis of the data (which does not necessarily equate to the real world). Are you comparing scans, or actual wet prints, in your judgment of comparative grain?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by newcan1 View Post
    nworth: The current Portra 400 has a grain index of 59 at an 8X10 enlargement of a 35mm negative. The Hawkeye stuff has an index of 61. The literature indicates that a change of 4 is a barely discernible change. So it's hard to see how the grain of the current Portra is "considerably less" at least on the basis of the data (which does not necessarily equate to the real world). Are you comparing scans, or actual wet prints, in your judgment of comparative grain?
    If you look at the post, I said that the current Portra 400 was less grainy than the old Portra 400NC or the old 400HD. The surveillance films were quite different. Since they were T-grain films, I'm not surprised they had good grain characteristics.



 

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