Kodak Ultra Color?
Has anyone tried the 35mm Kodak Professional Ultra Color UC 400 C 41 film? Is there a perceptible difference in color saturation and/or contrast? I bought some 12 exp trial cartridges yesterday. There is a web address on the box www.kodak.com/go/ultracolor.
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I have shoot 8 or so long rolls, I tend to like it. I am planing on printing 11X14s in a few weeks so I will have a better understanding of how Ultra Color compares to Agfa or Fuji.
I've used it, liked it, but did not see a huge difference in color saturation or contrast, only a slight difference compared to other color print films I've used (Fuji Superia, Kodak Royal Gold). But I have to add the caveat that the only prints I ever got from the negatives were machine prints with no custom tweaking. The default settings on those machines tend to make all films look the same, so there may actually be more information on the negs than I am seeing in the prints. That said, for a 400 speed film the grain is very fine, and the machine 8X12 enlargements I got made displayed lovely sharpness and details, and if I had need for a color print film I would reach first for UC or Portra VC, which a portrait/wedding photographer I know uses with great results - UC does tend to make skin tones a bit on the ugly side, though nothing as exaggerated as Velvia 50.
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It has become my "standard" 35mm color film. Well worth trying a roll or two.
I don't see it as a good film for midday shooting in contrasty conditions. Of course the mantra is early and late, but if on vacation like I was recently, you shoot when your there no matter what time it is. It's also a little too saturated overall from what I can tell for certain subject matter. It can produce nice pictures, but I think it's a little overrated, overall. Once you shoot a roll you'll see for yourself. Get it printed on Kodak paper.
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Boy oh Boy is there a difference! Shoot it at 320 and watch your photo's EXPLODE. Its very nice film if you want the Velvia look (IMHO, its even more saturated in colours).
The only one issue I had, is with asian skin tones.. my wifes face went a little yellow/green in a couple of photos. The Kodak film lacks the fourth colour layer of the Fuji films, so there is more trade off to the colour correction.
Another film to try is Fuji 800 NPZ, its awesome too. Whilst not in the super saturated camp, its not just a boring normal look, it has what I term a "degrassi street" flavor.... a little romantic with a touch of Kodachrome...
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Just uploaded some samples for you... the scans on screen dont look as punchy as the print for some reason.. add another stop of colour for the prints (based on my iBook screen).
On this photo you can see the skin tones are a touch too yellow
Larger images etc can be found here
Hope this helps..
Last edited by snaggs; 06-09-2005 at 08:18 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Your note has inspired a thought.As Fuji comes from a land where oriental complexions appear in most people photos, could there be a connexion between Fuji's use of a fourth layer and the problem allegedly exhibited by Kodak which does not come from a land in which most people have oriental complexions? I say allegedly on the grounds that the very slight caste may be peculiar to that print and not Kodak as a whole.
Originally Posted by snaggs
Or is this just a case of me "adding 2+2 and getting 5". I took a photo of my son in the garden on a sunny day with Fuji and he looked more tanned than he actually was. So does Fuji add a punch to complexions which balances a yellow green caste found in oriental complexions.
I wonder what Kodak would say about your theory on oriental complexions and their film.
Does any technical guru out there have any scientific explanation which supports the above theory or equally makes it nonsense?
My only other experience was with Fuji in Cyprus - western complexions very punchy and Kodak Portra in the UK - western complexions much more muted BUT the Fuji was 35mm and the Kodak was Portra 120 and weather conditions were much different. So not a good comparison.I suppose the test would be for you to take as near as possible the exact same pictures with a Fuji film and compare. If you do I'd be very interested in the results.
I think the reason that Fuji has a fourth colour layer is mainly because they've always done exagerated colour in their consumer films. Consequently Im guessing they needed another layer to tame in any skin tone side effects. The other reasons are that they dont have a film phobia and have kept pumping money into film research.
Remember, I was shooting the film with a EI of 320, which saturates the colours even more. I just dont think Kodak has enough degrees of freedom in their film with 3 layers to provide "ultra colour" and natural skin tones..
Complexions & Colour
Thinking back to conversations with my father, I believe I recall him saying that the Kodak labs would process their Kodachrome and Ektachrome to slightly different targets, depending on where they were located. As a result, it may have been the case that film processed by Kodak Japan would be more flattering to Japanese complexions then film processed in, e.g, Palo Alto, California.
I believe they would also vary somewhat at different times of the year - summer photography and Christmas photography have different tendencies.
You have to remember, of course, that this was at a time (the late 1960s to the early 1980s) when slide film and movie film volumes were huge, because many amateurs with very basic photographic needs were using those materials.
The other thing I remember when I see comparisons of this type between Kodak and Fuji is an observation of my father's - one of Kodak's largest markets for film and processing was in Japan, and they were very interested in maintaining that.