Fuji Superia with 4th layer on the way out? Why?
Is there any truth to all the talk over the last year about Fuji discontinuing their 4-layer print films and replacing them with 3-layer versions?
B&H lists on many of the Superia films as backordered, discontinued, and out of stock: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...x=3&image.y=17
Maybe this is the reason...?
Why would Fuji revert to older technology, even with price pressure? Are the proposed 3-layer replacements for Superia supposed to be better than or at least equal to the current 4-layer films? Or is there a compromise? They made a big deal about the 4 layers when they introduced the Superia line.
Are we reaching the end of the era of readily-available high-quality, low-priced C-41 film? Or is my 'information' just wrong?
What are those anyways? Don't you only need 3?
The 4th layer supposedly improves "color fidelity" and eliminates the green color cast of fluorescent lighting. Having used Fuji films with the 4th color layer, I can confirm that it does the latter, but haven't noticed much in terms of color accuracy/fidelity.
The latest (and current) generation of Superia 100, 200, and 400 doesn't comprise a 4th color-sensitive layer any more. Superia 800 and 1600 keep the 4 layer technology until now.
The now discontinued original Agfa Vista films gave similar results with tungsten and fluorescent illumination as the Superias, so a fourth layer wasn't necessary. It appears to depend on the spectral sensitation.
The current Superia 100, 200, and 400 films are available also rebranded e. g. for drugstore chains (at least here in Europe), and sold at a very reasonable price.
Are the current drug store films the 3-layer ones?
Originally Posted by Heinz_Anderle
When did Fuji quit making Superia with 4 layers, and how do the newest ones compare to the 4 layer ones? I have some Super HQ 200 that expired in 2006, and just assumed that it had 4 layers.
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The change would almost certainly not be a reversion to older, inferior technology. The four layer technology was instituted to solve a particular problem. Fuji has probably found a way, most likely a superior way, to solve or avoid the problem using three layer technology. (Note that "three layer technology" may actually be something between five and ten layers.) Research into color negative film technology seems to be very active, and the quality of the product technology is increasing. But the drive to make new and better color negative films is based on competitive pressure and customer demand. Right now, the market for these films is pretty good. If it declines, R&D will fall off.
Originally Posted by B&Wpositive
Bear in mind that NO modern color film is "just" 3 layers. They are all many layers. the "4th" layer promotion by Fuji was marketing. While, indeed they may have had a special 4th corrective layer, what about layers 5 thru 11?
Nevertheless those 3-layers are the basic principle. That Fuji 4-layer system used a forth sensitization and that is different to other systems.
Independent of the number of coated layers the number of sensitizations does not exceed 3, with the exception of that Fuji system.
Originally Posted by B&Wpositive
Fuji's so called "4th layer technology" was/is not automatically better than the "established" technology without this special color correction layer.
Fuji's technology has some advantages, but also disadvantages.
I have here two interviews with Kodak and Agfa researchers, published in German photo magazines in 1998 and 1999.
One interview is with Dr. Gerhard Popp, former director of the Color Negative Technolgy Division at Kodak Research Labs.
The other interview is with Dr. Willsau (former head of research developing and finishing at Agfa) and Dr. Lohman (former head of research photo chemistry).
Both Kodak and Agfa researchers said, that the advantage of the "4th layer" is indeed the better color accuracy with some artificial light sources (e.g. neon lamps).
But the disadvantages are
- less speed, because this additional layer absorbes light
- less sharpness and resolution
- more complex coating process and higher production costs
(all that at least in theory ).
They said that with an optimised spectral sensivity you can achieve most of that what you gain with the additional layer, but without the disadvantages.
And I think Fuji is now doing exactly that with their new films without the "4th layer".
Probably that is part of the progress in emulsion technology.
I am currently involved in a very detailed film test project. At the moment I can't comment on color accuracy under artificial light conditions (so far we've not tested it, but it is planned for the future).
But I can comment on resolution, sharpness and grain of the new films.
And concerning sharpness and resolution these new Fuji films are better.
For example we've got 120 Lp/mm resolution with Fuji's new ISO 200/24° emulsion (without the additional layer). In the same test the Kodak Ektar 100 resolves 105 lp/mm.
And this emulsion is very sharp, much sharper than Kodak Ektar 100. The Fuji film has significantly coarser grain, but also significantly better sharpness and resolution than Ektar 100.
This is great to hear. By the way, how can I tell which films are the older ones and which are the newer ones by the box or label?
Originally Posted by Henning Serger