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Fuji Eterna 500 vs. Kodak Vision3 500T


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#1 Seth Applebaum

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:10 AM

I'm going to be DP'ing a short S16 student film project in March and I'm trying to decide on a stock to use. I've heard that Vision3 is a great acquisition format and produces colors very accurately. I've also heard that Fuji's Eterna stocks produces great skin tones and nice, pastel colors. The film is all interiors and I plan to shoot it with fairly dim lighting, so I wanted some advice on what stock would look best for the situation and give me the most options in post.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 11:46 AM

For dim, I'd certainly go with the '19 stock from Kodak only because it tends to see into the dark more than other 500Ts and is finer grain if you need to pull it up in post.
I've shot all 3 500Ts, and I Really like the Fuji, but it is grainier than the other 2. Granted, Fuji is cheaper, overall... and it does render very nice skin tones in mixed lighting. The Kodaks strike me as more neutral; which is good for post because you can move them around, I feel, a bit more than the Fuji.
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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 08:37 PM

General rule of thumb is that for stocks of the same speed Kodak has more latitude, less grain and punchier colors than Fuji, but Fuji has a softer, richer rendering of colors that some people just like better. You really have to test them side by side to see for yourself.
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:34 PM

I agree with the above posts. I would add that the grain in Fuji stocks is so different from Kodak stocks it almost looks alive. I have been recently shooting 400 T and 500 T Fuji stocks and at first there was "grain shock" when I first saw the images. It grew on me, the grain is really gorgeous in its own right, but you gotta ask yourself if it is right for the project. Though, as Satsuki says, no better way than testing.
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#5 Deepak Bajracharya

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 06:37 PM

Namaste,

I am curious to know how will the project be finished, I mean with the optical blow ups or the DI route for the exhibition.

As I am also looking forward to use one of these highspeed stocks for my forthcoming project, S16 to Scope blow up for theatrical release.

With best regards,
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#6 David Rakoczy

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 06:59 PM

Deepak... then stay away from anything faster than 200t!

Seth... I don't think Fuji renders skin tones better that Kodak.. not at all.. I prefer Kodak skin tones.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:48 AM

I dunno, David. The time I had shot Fuji I did notice the skin-tones rendered a certain "creaminess" which I find appealing for that actor. I dunno if I'd use it always, as it was a bit pink-ish; but it certainly had a very specific look to my eye. I still prefer Kodak overall as I find it gives more range, though seems more naively neutral/flat in renditions (a good thing in the telecine suite).
As for speeds, try to keep it low, as David recommends. You can shoot 200T inside under "natural," lighting with a little augmentation. I'm personally not afraid of the 500Ts from Kodak, especially not the '19 stock but on the 500s you really ought keep them rated 'round a 320 or so to tighten up their grain structure. I am very impressed with the '19 stock from Kodak, though.
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#8 David Rakoczy

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:01 AM

I dunno, David. The time I had shot Fuji I did notice the skin-tones rendered a certain "creaminess" which I find appealing for that actor.


Yes.. it is that creaminess I did not care for at all. The Fuji Demo Reel DVD tells you everything you need to know compared to Kodak's DVD. Not saying one is right and one is wrong... but for me (personally).. I'll take Kodak any day!

btw.. we used Fuji on Silk Stalkings so I have an entire season of experience w/ Fuji...
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:03 AM

Ahh, gotcha. I Can certainly see the "Fuji cream," being unappealing for certain applications. For my young eyes, though, I will admit, it was a nice little change for that specific shoot.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:15 AM

The time I had shot Fuji I did notice the skin-tones rendered a certain "creaminess" which I find appealing for that actor. I dunno if I'd use it always, as it was a bit pink-ish; but it certainly had a very specific look to my eye. I still prefer Kodak overall as I find it gives more range, though seems more naively neutral/flat in renditions (a good thing in the telecine suite).


I have noticed a trend towards lower- and lower contrast with Kodak stocks. IDK if you could say that Kodak is less contrasty than Fuji but at the same time say that Fuji is "creamier". Those tend to be synonyms for the same quality, somewhat. I've definitely noticed the "pink" bias that Adrian mentions. My theory is that it either has to do with a byproduct of the "fourth color layer" a cyan sub-layer designed to render more-pleasing rendition under fluorescent light, or is just a result of certain compromises that have to be made to render correct flesh rendition. Kodak makes/made a stills stock at one time that was only available in Southeast Asia/India that was supposedly designed to better render darker flesh tones.

Compared to '19 (very low-contrast like '18), '80, the new Kodak stock, seems aimed at those who miss the qualities of '79 with (supposedly) improved grain of the newer V2/V3 lines.

In terms of film emulsion characteristics, there is a perceived sharpness increase the more contrast the film renders. While this can now be pumped up digitally, you'll still get the grain from a lower contrast stock to appear when you crank this up digitally with a low-con stock in a manner similar to what you'd get from just using a higher-con stock with grain that is more apparent natively.

Likewise, if you use a higher-contrast stock and digitally desaturate it, you'll have less-noticeable grain.


So there is no such thing as a free lunch. Frankly, with 16mm, you are fighting grain no matter whose 16mm stock you are going with. I'd say '19 is tops for least grain. IDK if '80 is available in 16mm, but it'd probably be a toss-up between '80 and Fuji's two 500-speed offerings (though I hear 500D is the grainiest film still made). The only reason I'd use '18 would be if I could get a great deal on it. It has neither the finest grain, nor the most "pop" built in.

So to summarize: Don't use '18 unless price is your primary concern. '19 is best for grain.

It'd be a toss-up between '80 and Eterna 500T and Reala 500D for "punch" or contrast (although Vivid 160 is probably even better!)
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:19 AM

Fuji may be creamier but it doesn't see into the darks as much, I have noticed, hence why the Kodak looks, to me less contrast-y. It gets more dark information there which lower the contrast to my eye at least.
I don't see any Kodak MP '80 stock Karl? Do you mean the new 5260?
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#12 K Borowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:26 AM

Fuji may be creamier but it doesn't see into the darks as much, I have noticed, hence why the Kodak looks, to me less contrast-y. It gets more dark information there which lower the contrast to my eye at least.
I don't see any Kodak MP '80 stock Karl? Do you mean the new 5260?


Sorry, you are right, that should read '60. Do you know if 7260 is made or is it only a 35mm offering?

Yeah, IDK how the stock can be creamier (a characteristic of less contrast) but fall off to black more-quickly, unless it is actually a fraction of a stop slower. The only other explanation I can fathom is that their characteristic response curves have different amounts of contrast in the toe and shoulder of the curve.

One other stock I forgot: '99, if it is still made/available from Kodak.
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 09:30 AM

The '60 is only in 35mm AFAIK, which is sad. Though it makes me want to go out and shoot it...
As for the Fuji, I noticed with it that while it's creamier in the mids it goes to black pretty quickly on the toe. Dunno why that is, and it's just my experience with the stock in my use with it. And of course perception of all of these things depends on where you're observing it and what colors are around. An Irishman with white hair.... might've been tricking my eye a bit ;)
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#14 Serge Teulon

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 10:23 AM

It's the old Fuji vs Kodak.

Surprised to see that Mr Holland hasn't yet chipped in with his expertise on Fuji.

I'm predominantly a Kodak man but I have to agree with Adrian on the skintones. I think Fuji hits the right button.....
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#15 K Borowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 10:31 AM

It's the old Fuji vs Kodak.

Surprised to see that Mr Holland hasn't yet chipped in with his expertise on Fuji.

I'm predominantly a Kodak man but I have to agree with Adrian on the skintones. I think Fuji hits the right button.....


To paraphrase what John would say: Fuji has been [best] stock choice; overall since Kodak axed my beloved 5254 B)

Adrian is saying, if I'm reading him right, that it depends, not that Fuji is bettter than Kodak or Kodak is better than Fuji; Fuji's grainier thank Kodak, but Fuji handles (because of aforementioned 4th Color Inter-Layer) flesh tones better in mixed lighting.
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#16 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 11:44 AM

Exactly, Karl. Or, rather, close enough ;)
I am a big fan of the big K, though in the end, you have to pick the right stock for the right shoot.
If I was doing something gritty, for example, I might go with the Reala 500D in 16mm corrected with an 85 but only rated @320, to keep that nasty grain. If you want something sharp[er] and need 500T well then you're stuck with the '19 stock which has an amazingly fine grain structure for a 500. if you've got mixed lighting and really want/need your skintones to look fantastic and creamy, then go Eterna.
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#17 Seth Applebaum

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for all the insight guys. I think after a lot of deliberation I'm going to go with Vision3, mostly because I want plenty of detail to show up in the blacks. If I had the time and money, I would love to do a shootout, but unfortunately for this project it's not quite in the cards. Although, I am very intrigued by the "creamy" aspect of Fuji that I've been hearing so much about. When I get an opportunity, I'm definitely going to give the Eterna stocks a whirl, especially after I see what Vision3 yields for this film. One thing I think that I'm definitely going to do on this shoot is rate for 320 and overexpose a bit, just so I have those details to bring down in post.
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#18 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 11:20 PM

I think you'll be a-ok on the '19 Seth. Do try to avoid white walls, though, it always brings out the grain but in a way that i at least never found appealing.
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#19 Serge Teulon

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 12:06 PM

Aside from aesthetics, in the past when I've shot with Fuji on 16mm, I've always had to put my jacket over the mag when shooting in a quiet environment. It seems to flap about more than K...(just for my loaders' reputation sake, it's not down to loose loading)

I've always put it down to, that in my hands Fuji feels a bit thinner than K......
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