cheap color negative film
I mostly shoot slides myself, but my wife has been shooting more color and she always wants prints to send people. This means I have to scan and edit a bunch of slides not to mention the film is expensive and processing takes forever. I'm going to start loading her camera with color negative film so she can get processing and prints easily.
Now the question is, which new film should I buy? I can buy Superia and Gold color negative film "over-the-counter". Which one is better in 200 speed? 800? Are the 800 speed films any good, or are they very grainy?
Are these films a lot worse than the more expensive Portra, Ektar 100 films? What is the Fuji equivalent of Portra?
This boils down largely to a matter of taste.
I've shot a fair quotient Fuji Superia and been pleased with it for the price in speeds from 100 to 400. Haven't shot Kodak Gold anytime in recent history though, so I can't compare. I'd grab a roll of each and let your wife see which she prefers. Last I checked, Fuji was still going cheaper.
Fuji Press 800 is probably the cheapest 800 speed around, but it's on the dull and grainy side to my eyes.
As you go more upscale, you do get finer grain and better color for your money.
Ektar is very fine-grained and the colors punchy for a negative film.
Reala is more subdued, but still has great colors.
Fuji Superia 400 $1.99ea at Adorama.
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I tend to expose color film at a half to a full stop slower than the box speed. Full speed gives pretty muted colors and poor contrast, especially with Fuji's consumer films if you rely on Wal-Mart's lab rats to call the shots.
I wouldn't say a roll of Kodak Gold or the standard Fuji 200 speed film is any worse than the above mentioned stuff. I will say that 800 speed film is grainy, especially with 35mm negatives. Now if you're enlarging to 4x6 that's not a big deal. 8x10 you'll start to see the grain.
If she can make due with 200 speed, I don't think you'll see a huge difference in grain between Kodak's or Fuji's consumer level films. I do like Fuji's better. It has more accurate color to me and tends to have a better grain structure. It's been my experience that people tolerate grain much less with color film than they do black and white, so I go with the slowest film I can for the project.
If you're getting the film developed at Walgreens or Wal-Mart, I don't see any reason why you would want to go with an expensive film like Porta or Ektar. I'd stick with the $2 or so a roll Fuji stuff at Wal-Mart (that by the way says "RETURN TO WAL-MART FOR QUALITY PROCESSING" on the canister).
I've not used Ektar, but I've read that it's a film built for scanning. What does that mean? I don't know. Probably just riding the buzzword bandwagon.
Reala is very good... and the colours are definitely reala than ektar.
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All of the Superia films are excellent--Reala 100, Superia 100, Superia 200, HG 200, Xtra 400, Xtra 800, and Superia 1600, and also the Press versions. 1/3 stop overexposure seems to look the best with the 800, 400, and 200 films; up to +2/3 EV for the 1600. The 1600 is the fastest color film made today, and it's something we need to use if we want them to keep making it. I wouldn't call it cheap though--it's over $5/roll.
After using them for years, I'd say these films rival Ektar and Portra for color rendition and even speed-to-grain ratio for the slower films. They are a bit less saturated than Ektar. If however, you want the very best color negative film, you can't beat Ektar. And for people photos, the Portra films or the equivalent Fuji emulsions can't be beat.
The only thing I am not certain about is how much the Superia 100 and 200 were altered recently. Apparently, they went from a "4-layer" design to a new "3-layer" design in the past year.
These films scan very well.
Leighgion: I saw tons of pay phones in New York City recently.
Last edited by B&Wpositive; 07-24-2009 at 10:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Ah, those east coasters and their east coast ways.
Originally Posted by B&Wpositive
try ektar, you might like it. it will most likely be too slow though for her use.
otherwise, if you need a 800 speed film, try the portra 800, since 800z has been discontinued(thank you fuji ), its the only professional 800 speed 35mm film on the market anymore.
ohh... almost forgot, i was at the 99c store the other day (not sure if you have that over in TX), but they had 200 speed color film for 99c/roll. i bought and shot two rolls, well, its not the finest grained film by far, but the colors are nice and bright, and it doesn't seem all that contrasty. but the grain is a little too much for me though.
personally, i bulk load portra 160nc/400nc(400 is no longer available in 100' rolls, 160nc is)
Any Superia is great stuff IMO.
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