If you like film "X," you'll really like...?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by The Bill Mattocks, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. After some experimentation, I've narrowed my likes & dislikes down in
    terms of 35mm film (which I send out to be processed, I do not yet do
    any darkroom work). My favorites thus far:

    B&W: Ilford Delta 100. Perhaps it is my continuing inexperience with
    proper exposure and the fact that Delta 100 seems very forgiving of
    this, but I have found thus far that Delta 100 scans very well and
    very easily (Minolta Dimage Scan Dual III & Epson Perfection 2400
    PHOTO), with great tonal range. I love the deep blacks and the smooth
    greys - I find myself referring to it as 'creamy'. It also seems to
    be very sharp - even with 35mm, I can often crop quite a bit before
    the result starts to look bad. Makes me feel like I have a better
    lens than I really do!

    Color Print: Kodak Porta 160NC. When I scan this film, I find that I
    seldom have to do anything to it - the histogram looks beautiful,
    almost like I knew what I was doing! Unlike Kodak Gold 200, the film
    lays flat and does not try ferociously to curl up when I put it in the
    scanner, and I find that it is quite nice for both portraits and
    nature shots. Not as punchy as, say, Agfa Ultra 100 for nature shots
    - but then again, it doesn't turn people's faces red, either!

    Color Slide: Fuji Velvia 50. I don't have much experience yet with
    color slide film, but what little I have done leads me to believe that
    the 'common wisdom' that Velvia is top-notch is correct. It is not
    'too punchy', but it does seem to give an extra zing to my photos of
    farms and barns and trees. It also seems to scan fairly well.

    I know everyone has personal preferences or has found films that work
    best for their personal style - but given that I don't do my own
    darkroom work, would anyone have any suggestions about other films I
    might try that you feel are better than those I have noted above? If
    so, can you explain why? I enjoy experimenting, but I'm getting to
    the stage of wanting to be a bit more selective, instead of just
    randomly trying everything. I have relied heavily on prior postings
    to this group as well, so thanks, everyone!

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 15, 2003
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  2. I just got my first two rolls of Fuji Superia Reala developed and printed.
    I've been scanning them and yes, the results are pretty good. The colours
    look fine and only required minimal correction on my computer (some I didn't
    even correct at all). Now I know I definately need a better scanner and some
    better lenses!

    You can have a look at the pictures I uploaded from my website:
    www.waymaster.com . Go through to pictures, click on cars and then on
    Goodwood. There's a few pics there from my visit to the Goodwood Festival of
    Speed last Saturday, when I tested the film. I've got a roll of Velvia
    waiting to be developed as well. From the viewpoint of checking out the film
    though, the pictures I have online probably aren't really big enough (or
    good enough!) to do the film justice.

    I might try that Kodak 160NC next - but I really was very happy with the
    quality of the prints from Reala.

    Chris Barnard, Jul 15, 2003
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  3. B&W: Ilford Delta 100.

    The Delta 100 has finer grain than FP4+, but I prefer the FP4+ for its nice
    tonality (x-grain gives nicer pics than t-grain if you ask me, at the cost
    of grain-size)...
    Snorre Selmer, Jul 15, 2003
  4. The Bill Mattocks

    Scott Guest

    Hi Bill

    Good thread... here are my favourites and why:

    B&W: I barely use B&W anymore, since it's cheaper/easier to simply
    scan in colour film and work some photoshop 7 magic. However, when
    forced to use B&W I prefer Portra BW. I know it's chromogenic - but I
    find it produces pleasing results. If I had to use regular B&W,
    pretty much anything from Ilford will do (Delta 100, PanF 50, FP4 -
    depends on the lighting). I find that most B*W doesn't scan as well
    as I would like - hopefully when I buy the new Minolta Scan Elite 5400
    in a month or two that will change.

    Colour Print: Fuji Reala and Porta 400UC. I love the range of 400UC
    and find it has nearly the same (if not the same) grain structure as
    Portra 160. If you like 160NC, give this a try... it scans well, the
    colours pop on good prints, and the fleshtones stay neutral. I find
    Reala to be the finest graind print film out there and it too scans
    VERY well.

    Colour Slide: Velvia 50 and Provia 400F. Same as with print - Velvia
    for when there's lots of light and Provia for when there isn't so much
    :) Both of these are very fine grain, AMAZING colour rendition, and
    they scan exceptionally well (as long as your scanner can handle the
    dynamic range).

    Honestly, with these 4 colour films (2 print, 2 slide) you really
    don't need anything else... unless you are in darker locations in
    which case I tend to use fujipress 800... cheers

    Scott, Jul 15, 2003
  5. The Bill Mattocks

    kennyken Guest

    if you want a no-nonsense accurate colour print film i'd suggest agfa optima

    kennyken, Jul 15, 2003
  6. The Bill Mattocks

    Matt Clara Guest

    It's my understanding that plain vanilla Reala has been out of production
    for 35mm for several years. Now it's Superia Reala, with the 4th layer
    technology you mentioned. You can still get the old Reala for medium format
    gear; however, if you can find it for 35mm, I would think that it's old
    film. Don't confuse Superia Reala with Superia, as it's not the same film.
    I like to shoot Superia Reala exposed at ISO 50 or 80, to overexpose it, and
    then develop normally. The colors are quite rich under these conditions.
    The grain is the finest of any color negative film on the market.
    Matt Clara, Jul 15, 2003
  7. The Bill Mattocks

    Ed E. Guest

    It's my understanding that plain vanilla Reala has been out of production

    I wasn't aware that it was on the market for so long. Yes, the one I am
    referring to is Superia Reala. I have recently started buying it through
    B&H, so it's still an active product. <
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh2/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=122563&is=GREY >

    My personal scans show that Reala is better at scanning at 2900dpi than
    Kodak 160NC. Not much, but still better. That's my own personal
    observation. I'm sure that others will believe the opposite. I just know
    what works for me.

    The original posting was looking for a good print film to try, and I'd
    encourage Reala.
    Ed E., Jul 15, 2003
  8. The Bill Mattocks

    DJA Guest

    I haven't yet used one of the "professional" films like Porta so I can't
    compare to my current "consumer" film: Kodak HD400. IMHO, this film has very
    rich colors and fine grain, but I've not heard many positive comments. In
    what areas is Porta 400UC significantly better than "run-of-the-mill" Kodak
    High Definition film?

    I plan to get some Porta because of all the wonderful comments, but I can't
    see glaring weaknesses in HD400.

    I realize comparing a drugstore film to a "pro" film is heresy, but is there
    *really* a tremendous difference?

    DJA, Jul 15, 2003
  9. Can you explain your concept of 'tonality' to me? I did not care for
    what I termed the 'tonality' of FP4+, as both it and the HP5+ seemed
    to have less range - exposure had to be pretty much dead on. When I
    hit it, it looked fine - but when I missed it, I lost a lot of detail;
    either blown out or too black.

    I referred to the Delta 100 as having greater 'tonality' for me
    because even if the exposure was slightly wrong, the range seemed
    spread over a larger spectrum (looking at the histogram) and I had
    more room to adjust it.

    Perhaps I am misusing the term?

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 15, 2003
  10. I don't yet consider myself faithful to any one or number of films; sure, I
    get Provia and Velvia when I can afford to, and Reala for big enlargement
    stuff; but i'm not adverse to shooting Superia (all speeds except 100, which
    is hard to get hold of), or cheaper Kodak and Konica slide films, and I
    can't decide whether I prefer "old tech" or "new tech" Ilford films more.
    And i've shot some Kodachrome, and a very small amount of shop-brand stuff,
    and even some Czech film I got free with a Pentacon Six. I've never got
    around to trying Agfa, or Kodak Pro print film, but i'm sure special offers
    or the old maxim "when in Rome, buy whatever film the shop has and try not
    to look like a Barbarian Horde" will prevail one day. I'm not sure if it's
    my unwillingness to show brand loyalty, or my inherent cheapness, or even
    whether i've inherited Roger Hicks' "pallette" mentality from reading "The
    Film Book" 'til the pages are thin.

    But I loathe Kodak Gold, and all it's variations...
    Martin Francis, Jul 16, 2003
  11. I got my film from Jessops online. £9.99 for a pack of three 36 exposure
    films. The boxes say 'Fujicolor Superia Reala'. They don't say anything
    about 4th Layer technology. I had faster film which was just labelled
    Superia and did have the '4th Layer Technology' babble written on it. I must
    say that I've always been pretty happy with the Fuji stuff, but I've only
    recently started scanning my negatives so I don't know what type of film I
    used on my older negatives (I kinda tended to just randomly buy film
    off-the-shelf rather than sticking to one brand). I've scanned quite a few
    of my films going back over a few years now, I think Reala is some of the
    best so far. However, I think I'll try a few different films which are
    supposed to be good and make notes of their performance.
    Anyway, back to your original question - I'm making a bit of an assumption -
    but I think Superia Reala appears to only be available at ISO 100 (and
    possibly 200), whereas plain Superia stuff appears to be available in a much
    broader range. I suppose there is some difference, I'm not entirely sure
    I am using an Epson Perfection 2400 Photo, which I would consider an
    inferior scanner to your Minolta. It's a flatbed type with the transparency
    adaptor but it does a reasonable job. The scanning software has some
    auto-equalisation processing which is quite good, but can often leave the
    photo looking 'flat'. A bit of stretching out the histogram at the top end
    can often sort it, I try not to spend too much time meddling with the levels

    Best regards,

    Chris Barnard, Jul 16, 2003
  12. The Bill Mattocks

    Bandicoot Guest

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "The Bill Mattocks" <>
    Newsgroups: rec.photo.equipment.35mm
    Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 2:53 PM
    Subject: If you like film "X," you'll really like...?

    I like the smoothness of Delta 100, but personally find it hard to make
    exciting pictures with it for most of the subjects I use B&W for. For me, I
    used to like Tri-X but now more and more prefer HP5. But if Delta 100 is
    your thing, try Fuji Neopan Acros 100 - this seems to me to be even finer
    than D100, and when I do find a subject that wants that smoothness, I think
    it is a wonderful film.

    If you want to have an adventure try Agfa Scala too - a fabulous B&W slide
    film, but check where you can get it processed before buying any: not many
    places deal with it.

    Ilford SFX, which has extended red sensitivity, is also an interesting film.
    I love 160NC. I use it a lot for flower and garden work as the softer
    contrast is wonderful, and the colours pretty accurate. It was specifically
    designed to scan well, and as you say, it does. The Kodak print film most
    like the Portra series is Supra, now replaced by Supra Gold (apparently it
    is shared between the professional and consumer divisions, which is why the
    normally consumer 'gold' name appears on it). This is a bit more contrasty
    with slightly punchier colours and apparently was designed for use where you
    have less control over the lighting than in the situations Portra was
    designed for. Now, I use Portra in available light a lot and am perfectly
    happy - I prefer it to Supra - however Supra is a better bet in mixed or
    'odd' lighting. As an example, photographing the Chelsea flower show when
    they had a canvas marquee I found Supra coped better with the slightly
    off-colour daylight filtering through the canvas mixed with artificial
    lights - but now the marquee has been replaced with a pre-fab pavillion with
    much more neutral light coming in (and more of it, so there is less
    artificial light in the mix) I find I like Portra better. Whatever, it is
    close but different: if you like Portra give it a try and see what you

    I find Agfa Ultra 100 too eye poppin' bright for most natural subjects, and
    for the subjects I would use it for I'd genberally be shooting slide anyway.
    But it is quite a lot of fun...

    Of the faster Portra films, 800 is surpringly fine grained for its speed,
    and 400UC is impressive. 400VC is fairly grainy, but 400UC looks hardly
    grainier than 160NC. 400UC is becoming my prefered film to leave in the
    little 'snapshot' camera that often lives in my pocket.

    I also like Fuji NPC 160, which has very accurate colours and I find is a
    very nice food and still life film, though I use Velvia more for this.
    My most used landscape film. I can't wait for the Velvia 100 I've
    pre-ordered to arrive, even though it looks like it will be a little less
    saturated. I'll still use Velvia 50 when I can, but an extra stop at
    twilight could be very handy sometimes.

    My other much used E6 landscape film is Kodak Ektachrome E100VS. The VS
    stands for very saturated, and they aren't joking. If Velvia is like taking
    a typical Fuji film and turning up the colours, E100VS is the same for
    Kodak - only even more so. I don't like it much for anything with foliage
    or flowers in it, and some flower colours (the mauves and purples
    particularly) it seems to do very strange things to, but for bare rock, say,
    or paintwork it is superb. I like the two as they each seem strong in the
    areas where the other is weak - they make a good pairing. E100VS doesn't
    have Velvia's fine grain, but then it is a stop faster.

    If I need speed, Provia 400F is wonderful - very fine grain for the speed.
    I try not to need faster films, but this is the one when I do. Provia 100F
    is also very nice, but a little cold - good when that is appropriate, but
    for me it isn't very often the right film.
    Hope these musings suggest some worthwhile avenues. I am a landscape (both
    natural and man-made) and still-life photographer primarily - if you are
    interested in markedly different subjects then the films that suit me may
    not suit you at all. Come to that, whatever your subject, it eventually
    comes down to taste and personal style - have fun!

    Bandicoot, Jul 16, 2003
  13. Hmmm, so Reala isn't so real anymore, but Superia Reala is not
    Superia, which is different. Who's on first?

    Just kidding, I appreciate the explanation. But believe me, I still
    see plenty of boxes of film over at the local Wally World labeled
    "Reala" which are not yet expired. The metal cartridges are actually
    printed with "Return to Walmart for processing" adverts.

    Still confusing - I appreciate the explanation, but Fuji, what were
    you guys thinking?

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 16, 2003
  14. The Bill Mattocks

    Scott Guest

    Hi Dave,

    The new Kodak HD400 is Royal Gold 400 re-packaged (since they dropped
    the "Royal Gold" brand fairly recently)... It's good film - but where
    I live Portra 400UC is the same price (2-pack of 400UC is $14.99CDN
    here, and HD400 is around $12.99CDN for a 2-pack (I think)). I much
    prefer the colour rendition of the Portra films - I find the HD400 to
    have red/orange casts, and the colours are blown out almost too much -
    while the 400UC is more neutral (especially in flesh tones) but still
    has colours that "pop".

    Scott, Jul 16, 2003
  15. The Bill Mattocks

    Scott Guest

    Bill - if you just de-saturate your images in PS (or PE, or PSP)
    you'll get fairly dull, lifeless images. You need to play with the
    RGB levels and such... do a search on google for turning colour to
    black & white and you'll find a TON of tutorials on the subject.

    Scott, Jul 16, 2003
  16. Is it anything like Agfa Optima II? I tried the II, it was OK, but
    didn't seem to be anything special...

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 16, 2003
  17. I have used the HD400, and still have a 4-pack, which I may use soon.
    I tend to shoot outdoors, and here in New Mexico, 400 is a bit too
    fast for my older cameras with 1/1000 or 1/500 top speed shutters.

    I *liked* the HD400 fine - the prints were clean and the colors
    bright. I had trouble scanning it - skies were very grainy. But of
    course, this could be down to me making mistakes scanning!
    The only weakness I've seen, as mentioned, is trouble with grain in
    scans - and primarily blue skies. It's not that HD400 is so bad -
    just that I've been amazed and delighted by Portra 160NC.
    I've been trying everything I can get my hands on with wild abandon -
    pro and amateur alike. If I can find something that works for me, I
    don't care if I have it overnighted from B&H or buy it at the local
    Walgreen's Drug Emporium!

    It's not that any particular thing I've tried was so awful - they all
    seem to be fine for color prints. But I'm scanning everything I shoot
    - and I've discovered (much to my pleasure) that the Portra 160NC is a
    joy to scan. And the prints *do* look different than say, HD400.
    Softer, smoother, more 'creamy' if I can overuse the term. Obviously
    would not be appropriate for everything, but I love the way it does
    skin tones, and it seems appropriate for certain outdoor shots.

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 16, 2003
  18. Scott,

    I appreciate the advice, and I have been learning a lot about PS
    Elements (notably less powerful than full-blown PS), and I know I have
    a lot yet to learn. However, at the moment it seems less difficult to
    scan B&W film in the first place...

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 16, 2003
  19. Me neither - at least not yet. But I've had a couple of very positive
    results with a few films and wanted to see if others share that, or if
    their experiences differ (and if so, how).
    The only thing I really loathe about it is that the moment I remove it
    from the glassine envelope, it curls right up into a tight little ball
    and refuses to lay flat so I can stuff it in the negative carrier to

    I guess I wasn't really clear, judging from some of the responses -
    I'm not attacking anyone's choice of film, or trying to put down
    'non-pro' films or anything like that. I've had some decent results
    with most of them - both in prints and scans. But I've found a couple
    that seem really outstanding to me, the aforementioned Portra 160NC
    and Delta 100 - just wanted to share and compare, not attack.

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 16, 2003
  20. Yes, that's it exactly - smoothness. It's almost creamy, isn't it?
    I've never been able to crop so deeply into a 35mm neg and not have
    the result lose a great deal of detail and become grainy. It's
    When I was in high school and did my own darkroom stuff, I shot
    Panatomic X and Tri-X. I'd push the Tri-X until it grained out, and I
    preferred that gritty look. Now, I seem to prefer detail and subtle
    gradations of shadow to grain, but there is no doubt that some
    subjects need to be grainy and gritty.
    Thanks! I haven't tried that one - I will give it a shot! How does
    it scan?
    I'd kind of like to know what Scala will give me that isn't in any
    other B&W, as I live in Albuquerque, NM - not exactly a photographic
    mecca for processing.
    Interesting - I just picked up a roll of Macophot PO 100, which has no
    red sensitivity, I'm told. It was on special at B&H.
    Yes, I agree - not just for portraits!
    I didn't know that. Are there any others that were designed to be
    I was thinking of trying Portra 160VC (??? it's late) for extra punch
    when needed, but I could also try Supra and see what I get, thanks.
    I will do so - and by the way, I use Porta 160NC with flash indoors
    for people, and outdoors without flash - just did the Rio Grande
    Botanical and it was great.
    I shot some typical desert plants on a lava-rock hillside here in ABQ
    and was really pleased with how it pulled the plants apart - the tend
    to blend in with each other otherwise, in a most boring way. Each
    plant had it's own shade and it really opened it up for me. But I
    thought it was too punchy. However, I'm color-blind (like bad). I
    asked my wife, she thought it was not 'too much'. She liked it very
    much, and her color vision is normal.
    Just don't know when I'd need it. Haven't shot anything that called
    for film that fast in a long time...
    Yes, I have some 400UC and it also lives in my take-along Olympus XA
    (and my Zeiss Nettar 6x6 folder, hehehe). I like it, but it seems to
    me nearly identical to Fuji NPH (??? it's late) - I like them both,
    but the Kodak is cheaper, as I recall.
    Have not tried that, but I will, thanks.
    I've been playing a bit with the Kodak Elite Chrome 200 - been wanting
    to try the Elite Chrome Extra Color, but haven't seen any at retail
    outlets. My main problem with slide film right now is that everyone
    seems to be using cardboard mounts instead of plastic - really
    garbages up the scan.
    How do you think it would be in the southwest desert? Sounds like
    I'll have to put that on my list as well!
    I have only used the Provia 100F, and yes, it seemed 'cold' or
    'clinical' to me, too.
    Right now, I'm shooting everything, every style, trying to figure out
    what I like the most, and what I might have some little talent at. I
    love landscapes, but I suspect that I suck at them. Still trying,
    though. I'm having a lot of fun with post-industrial decay, urban
    settings, in B&W with a lot of mood. I want to do some street
    photography, but so far, I seem to lack the courage to get in there
    and start photographing the interesting people I see. I also want to
    do some work with models (non-standard portraiture), as I have some
    definite ideas I'd like to try, but so far, I have not done so.

    You are right that different films are made for different
    photographers, subjects, styles, and tastes - and bravo to that! But
    I've found recently that a couple of them stand out for me - and are
    easy to scan as well, and I wondered what else might be out there that
    I'm missing. I sincerely appreciate all the good advice you've given!

    Best Regards,

    Bill Mattocks
    The Bill Mattocks, Jul 16, 2003
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