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  1. #1

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    Best Film and Paper combinations

    I guess this question has been answered many times before but I can't find an old thread so I'll pose it again.
    For analogue printing what do people think is the best film and RA4 paper combination? I currently use fuji CA and fuji pro400h superia400 and Reala films. I'm looking for more natural and/or more vivid colours. I think my current combo gives muddy looking prints and the fuji paper blows out so easily. I used to like fuji superia printed on Konica paper but that's not available to me any more. PE stated on another thread that he thought Kodak paper would give me a result similar to the Konica paper, but what does everybody else use?
    Please don't tell me what your local digital minilab uses. The software incorporated in to these machines makes the results of little relevance to us optical printers.
    Thanks in advance, Richard.

  2. #2

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    There's not a lot of choice. Efffectively there are two paper manufacturers, Fuji and Kodak and two film manufacturers. Fuji and Kodak. If your combo of Fuji film and Fuji paper is muddy looking but you have saturated colour in Superia and more natural in Reala, it would seem time for a change. You could stick with Fuji film and go to Kodak paper with maybe a reasonable hope of more success, according to PE but not to Kodak film and Fuji paper with the likelihood of the same degree of success. Might be time to go the whole hog and switch to Kodak Portra VC and Kodak Supra Endura or, I think it is Ultra Endura.. Then you're at the limit in both film and paper in terms of colour film and paper.

    I presume that muddiness wasn't a problem before but has been a consistent probem since switching to Fuji paper ie. it hasn't been just some prints or some printing sessions which might suggest some negs or age of chems etc. I have used both Kodak and Fuji papers and couldn't see a lot of difference but I found Kodak paper easier to deal with in terms of finding the right filtration.

    pentaxuser

  3. #3

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    Thanks Pentaxuser.
    The muddiness is just my feeling of what fuji film and paper delivers. Of course sometimes I get fantastic prints and the subject is always more important than the film etc. In the U.K. as you know, much of the time the sky is overcast and the lighting flat and dull. The last thing I need is a flat film and paper combo.
    I have noticed over the years that fuji films struggle to give good yellow reproduction. I once had some Kodak Royal Gold film developed by a kodak lab and remember being impressed with the yellows and the general glow of the prints. This may have been just a lighting difference. I tried to find the prints this evening, but no luck.
    I shoot a lot of weddings and have noticed that when I use superia 400 (not often) instead of my normal pro400/NPH that the couple immediately like the superia shots. It seems that skin tones are less important than a bit of pop. NPH has great skin tones but hell, it's dull. Reala is beautiful but dull for outdoors in England. I have lots of minilab prints on various agfa papers and they are pretty dull and uninspiring too, all from superia films. I would try some Kodak film but don't know what is available in the UK; Kodak change their film names more than I change my underwear and, my wife says I have OC dissorder. PE says that Kodak doesn't print on Fuji paper so I guess that changing film would mean changing paper, hence the question.
    Just one last point, Price! Fuji is available for good prices from Mailshots, my normal supplier, but Kodak is always at a considerable price premium.

  4. #4

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    Kodak color film DOES print on Fuji paper. What PE was saying was that Kodak and Fuji color films print more easily and closer to each other in color balance on Kodak paper.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE View Post
    Kodak color film DOES print on Fuji paper. What PE was saying was that Kodak and Fuji color films print more easily and closer to each other in color balance on Kodak paper.
    This is correct.

    Fuji on Fuji by the same token should yield beautiful results. I suspect something else is going on.

    If you process your own C41 film and use a Blix process, whatever the film, it will muddy the colors to some extent. Improper C41 development will muddy colors.

    OTOH, Kodak VC film and Gold film are designed for brighter colors than NC. So, it could be the film. I've used Fuji and find the colors to be nice, but a bit more muted than VC.

    Thats about all I can add.

    PE

  6. #6

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    Richard. Try MORCO. I don't think its price for Kodak Supra Endura can be beat. It also sells one of the few, maybe only, C41 kits I have seen which uses separate bleach and fix stages. However the kits are rather large for small volume users. Before going down the separate bleach and fix route, can I suggest that you try a mini-lab which uses separate stages. If the negs then print better as in less muddy then you know that this is the way to go in terms of home processing or stick to mini-labs for neg processing.

    Lets us know sometime in the future the results of any changes you make.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser

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    Thanks both,
    However I do use Kodak C41 chemicals Dev, stop, bleach, fix, stabilise. The films I develop are to my mind every bit as good as those developed by other labs that are in my collection. I develop 1 shot so never have problems with exhausted and or dirty chemicals and I find my negatives entirely consistent under a loupe; fine grained, clean with nice film base colour. I am sure that I have just fallen out of love with NPH and superia400. Reala which I adore for its grain and sharpness is just too dull for the U K except in good summer conditions. Fuji have stopped doing cut paper for most of their Paper lines which leaves me with standard CA paper designed I guess for digital minilabs. This, I also guess, is the reason for the difficulty in maintaining highlight and shadow detail. Digital minilabs have effective control over local contrast through the software I think.
    I so wish that we photags could still persuade people to watch a slide show. I run a few Velvia and Provia through my old manual minoltas occasionally and just love the results, sharp, clear, bright and saturated. Kodak 6 bath E6 of course.

  8. #8
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    Kodak Endura paper and presumably Fuji CA paper are made to work with mutiple types of light sources. I know that the Kodak product works with all types and yields almost the same curve shape. I would presume Fuji had done the same.

    PE

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Kodak Endura paper and presumably Fuji CA paper are made to work with mutiple types of light sources. I know that the Kodak product works with all types and yields almost the same curve shape. I would presume Fuji had done the same.PE
    Is there anything left like a soft color paper with moderate gradation? I always get the impression that today's papers have been deliberately optimized for "punchy" colors and high, not to say unnatural contrast.

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    Endura and Supra Endura represent 2 contrasts. The highest contrast is the photofinisher grade.

    You might say then that there are 3 grades with Ultra the highest.

    IDK offhand if all 3 are still made or still available.

    PE

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