Help choosing 35mm color film roll: Quality of Fuji Superia?
I've just recently jumped into film photography, and I need some advice on which 35mm color film I can use on my Nikon F100.
I've recently been looking into the fuji Superia 400, and it seems pretty cheap for my first batch of film I will be shooting. Has anyone used it before? How was the quality? If it's horrible, could you please suggest a economical (but decent) film?
Well, I'm no expert, but I use it a lot and have always been satisfied (6"x4" prints only)
Originally Posted by staphkills
It's all relative for what you want to do.
Superia 400 is a decent film and i have used it a fair bit for general purpose photography.
I use colour slide films (Kodachrome, Fuji Provia 100F, Velvia 50, Kodak E100VS/E100G) for most things though. I prefer the colour but they are not as forgiving as negative films (like Superia).
I like Kodak Ektar 100. It's cheap and provides excellent colour - maybe give that a try too!
Best of luck Jeff,
Fuji Superia (especially Superia Reala) is excellent film at all speeds, except maybe the 1600. In my opinion, the 800 underexposed looks better than the 1600 properly exposed. Superia is also very affordable.
One suggestion I would make if you are doing "serious" photography (meaning shooting for high-quality prints that are likely series oriented, as opposed to tiny, automatic-printed, perhaps-scanned, random shots) is to buy the professional version of Superia, which comes in 20-roll packs. (It used to be called a "Superia Press," but I believe they recently did away with that name, and now call it "Superia X-Tra in Press Package.") This ensures matching color balance roll to roll, and the film comes ready to shoot at the proper color balance. The qualities of the grain, sharpness, contrast, etc. is the same between the pro and consumer versions, but these things help with your roll-to-roll consistency.
I assume you know that all professional color films should be frozen or refrigerated when not being shot or transported. This maintains their color balance much better than if they were stored at room temperature, thus this helps you to acheive matching color balance roll to roll and maximum shelf life from your film.
Superia is available as 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600, though the last two may be getting trimmed. (I am not sure, but they have been disappearing from major retailers' online catalogs.) I would start by picking one slow one (100 or 200) and one fast one (400 or 800), and reserving the 1600 for special circumstances in which really need to speed above all else (in other words, for cases in which it would look better than pushed 800), and you like (or can deal with) lots of grain and not a lot of sharpness. I'd pick the 100 and 400 if I generally shot in strong light, and never strayed that far into "dark" territory. I'd pick the 200 and 800 if I shot in and out of the shade during daylight hours or in dark conditions more often than not. (If I used a tripod all the time, I'd just pick one film; probably Reala.) The quality of the 800 constantly astounds me. The 400 is a tad cleaner, but not by much, and I find myself missing the extra shutter speed I get with the 800 more often than not, so the 800 is my standard 35mm color neg film. I don't often use medium speed 35mm films, because if I really want something to be extremely sharp and extremely grainless above all else, I usually just use a larger film format.
IMHO, Superia Reala is really at the level of a pro emulsion, but for some reason it is not marketed as such. I think that it is the best medium-speed color negative film I have ever used, as far as all-around quality goes. However, it is expensive, and Superia 100 is not that far behind it in quality.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 07-19-2010 at 03:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
Superia is pretty good--Good enough for Ralph Gipson anyway. imho better than kodak's consumer films. For a good time, try it overexposed by a stop or even two. The one thing I don't like about it are the often very ruddy skin tones-- it varies roll to roll. It's also much more contrasty than the pro films which can be a problem when you print depending on the look you want.
Generally I think choosing a film is a bit like blind dating-- If you try a bunch of different emulsions you'll find one or two you like. Then you need to pick one and really figure out how to make it work. People can give advice based on the kind of things you shoot and how you want to print, but only you can figure out what you really like.
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Superia is good film, and most of my colour negative freezer stocks are Superia. As someone else has mentioned, Superia 1600 is the least satisfactory, and is no better than Superia 800 pushed. I use a lot of Superia 800, for example at ice rinks or fencing salles, where flash is frowned on, and get very good results, bright, lively, and remarkably controlled in grain. The only thing to remember about the 800 is that it is not very forgiving of under-exposure, so a rating of about 640 is often more apt.
I use Superia 400 a lot and have no complaint, my last buy was a 100 rolls, great stuff.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I have seen 30x45 cm prints from Superia 200 that my friend made: excellent! In the past when I was using color - it was my favorite film.
Here is one example from my friend:
Last edited by darkosaric; 07-19-2010 at 09:12 AM. Click to view previous post history.
A 400 ISO film wouldn't be my first choice for a general purpose film, but it may be that your preferences and intended use would make such a high ISO a good idea.
If I were in your shoes, I would first determine what films are easily, conveniently and inexpensively available to me. Then I would decide on what lab would be processing my film. Finally, I would buy a small selection (2 or 3 different ones) of the likely candidates, shoot them all, and have them developed at my lab.
If you are lucky, and the lab has people available who both know what they are doing and are available to talk with you, then you can talk to them about the examples you like and the examples you don't like, with an eye toward getting feedback about which films will suit you best.
In 35mm colour print, I shoot Kodak Gold 200 mostly (plus some 800). I like the results.
In medium format colour print, I shoot Portra 160NC and Portra 400NC mostly. I really like the results.
For 35mm slide, I will shoot Kodachrome 64 until it is gone.
For medium format slide, I shoot Kodak E100GX (while I still have it) and after that, Kodak E100G.
Here are two examples - one is Kodak Gold 200:
the other is Portra 160NC:
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I often use Fujicolor Pro 160-S or 160-C -- usually with an 812 filter -- and have been quite pleased with the results.