Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New Fast Films

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

New Fast Films

Article excerpt

The film war continues with Fuji and Kodak vying to dominate the newspaper market with new fast color negative films.

Fuji Photo Film seems to have the edge with the photographers, if not with the people who buy the film, since its new 800 Super G film came out last year.

Eastman Kodak countered with new 400 and 1600 ISO color negative films in an attempt to trump the older Fuji HG films. Fuji has a Super G 400 film, but its 1600 film still uses the older HG emulsion.

And while the new Kodak 1600 film may outperform the carryover Fuji HG 1600, many photographers are instead pushing the Fuji 800 Super G one or two stops.

Photographers' film preferences always have been subjective, with a tendency in the past to stick to what has worked, but the move to color negative for both color and black-and-white photos has fueled an interest in new emulsions, especially among sports photographers.

For most newspaper photographers shooting color negative, pushing is just a matter of slowing down the processor. The limitations of shutter speed and minimum apertures that once restricted use of high-speed films in bright sunlight have disappeared with 1/8000th-second shutter speeds and lenses that close down to F22.

At the Philadelphia Daily News, photographers have a choice of Kodak 400 or 1600 ISO films for their assignments, unless they can find some Fuji 800.

Bob Laramie, a staff photographer at the paper, said most assignments were shot on Kodak Ektapress 400, but photographers shooting sports preferred shooting Fuji 800 and pushing it up to two stops, rather than using the Ektapress 1600.

George Reynolds, who shoots professional sports for the Daily News, said he prefers to push Fuji 800 one stop rather than use the new Ektapress Plus 1600 at normal speed. But he often used the Ektapress when he was on the road with one of Philadelphia's professional teams and had to depend on the Associated Press to process his film.

The AP doesn't usually push film in its processors, he explained. For the Super Bowl in Miami this year, he worked with Miami Herald photographers, who used Fuji 800 and pushed it two stops so they could shoot at F4 at 1/500th second and F2.8 at 1/1000th. Both the Philadelphia Daily News and the Miami Herald are owned by Knight-Ridder Inc.

Reynolds said the new Ektapress 1600 is a better film than the older emulsion. When Kodak was asked for some 1600 to test, we received the old 1600 and only discovered this when comparing the code on the film with that of some new 400 ISO film that Kodak gave out to photographers at last year's Super Bowl in Atlanta. …

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