Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 800 film from Fujifilm is a high speed daylight-balanced colour negative film offering a vivid tonal palette with accurate color reproduction in a variety of lighting conditions. It features a nominal sensitivity of ISO 800/30° along with a wide exposure latitude for use in an array of conditions, even under fluorescent lighting. The fine grain structure and high degree sharpness are well-suited to scanning and enlarging for printing purposes. In addition there is a good exposure margin, a good sharpness for this sensitivity, a decent grain and strong colours. This Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film has made a good impression on me when shooting in a low light situation, in indoor areas or with a short exposure time. I usually shoot Kodak ColorPlus 200 colour film as my general go to film for everyday shooting of a wide variety of subjects.
In 2008, Fuji made a revision to their earlier films, by adding in an extra layer to their films, a fourth layer called 4th Color Layer Technology. This works to faithfully bring out subtle shades of color and complicated patterns as the human eye sees it. All of the Fujicolor Pro films incorporate Fujifilm’s proprietary 4th Color Layer Technology, adding a cyan-sensitive layer (to the conventional red, green, and blue-sensitive layers) for a more natural rendering of delicate skin tones and neutrals, just as the eye sees them; and a more natural and balanced reproduction of color in varied lighting whether daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, flash, or mixed lighting. Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film multi-purpose color negative film, with fine grain and outstanding color and sharpness. Ideal for fast-action sports, non-flash stage photography, and general use with compact zoom lens cameras.
If you want something with more sensitivity, you can always grab a roll of Fujifilm Superia 1600 which can be pushed to ISO6400, depending on the results you would be looking for. I intend to shoot a roll or two of this film on some night time and Milky Way shots; at the moment, it is kept in the fridge until the conditions are right to do so. It is the fastest multi-purpose color negative film in the SUPERIA line and has a wide exposure latitude.
Click here for the data sheet in a pdf format.
Two weeks ago, I went out for the day with Kirsten Frost to do some bird photography at Intaka Bird Island and Rietvlei Nature Reserve Cape Town. I took along my Nikon F5 film body and a Nikon D4 digital body mated with a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR Lens and Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II and Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III. We arrived early in the morning around 07h45 and the sun was just getting up for the day. The hide was not busy at Intaka at the time, and we were able to set up in a nice spot inside the hide. The light was very pleasing with a warm yellow glow over the ponds as the sun started to shine passed the buildings in the background. I swapped between both bodies during our shoot there, first with the Nikon D4 as the film speed was too slow for any action shots above 1/500 second. I waited for the right opportunity to switch to film, and began using my Nikon F5 film body. Although I own the Nikon F6 as well, I really do like using my Nikon F5, and find myself using it a lot more than the Nikon F6. This was THE film body of professionals, press photographers and the like in that era, a truly robust workhorse.
People ask me, “Why film?” It is a simple answer. Anyone can shoot 14fps go back and check their memory card, click delete, and maybe keep one image out of that burst! But with film, you need to slow it down, think about your shot, compose, and make it count! From this roll of 36 shots, one was a complete miss when a Pied Kingfisher launched from a perch. I was not on continuous drive, and missed that shot. Instead I ended up with an empty perch! I paid NZ$25.00 for this roll of Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film which is around ZAR240.00 for a roll of 36 exposures, development and scanning gets done at Orms in Cape Town, which translates to around R110. Using rapid fire on a roll of film is nonsensical and a complete waste of money. I do have quite a few keepers from this roll, that I would consider printing on canvas, and overall are very happy with the results of every single image.
What impressed me as well, was the backwards compatibility of the modern Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR Lens to the Nikon F5. This is the first time that I am shooting a long G-series prime lens on an older generation body. I do own various D-series lenses, both primes and zooms, but nothing over 200mm. This was also the first time I got to shoot a roll of ISO 800 film and Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film. In the earlier days I used to use Agfa Ultra 50, Optima 100, 200 and 400 professional film, and slide film as well, that being Agfa RSX 50 and 100, Fuji Velvia and Sensei which produced fantastic results.
With digital images one tries to shoot the best quality images with the least amount of noise at any ISO, and that is what you get at high ISO, noise! Film has grain, the higher the ISO the more grain you will get. Grain can add much texture, grittiness and feeling to an image, particularly in monochrome at ISO 3200 or higher if you push it that far. As this was the first time to use Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film, I was not sure how much grain I would get. I edit my images in Adobe Camera Raw (ADC) and Photoshop. To satisfy myself and the purists, I edited with and without a noise reduction plugin (it is plain to see which were edited), my go to plugin for noise reduction is Imagenomic. The results speak for themselves, the Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film performed very well, is able to give amazing colour results under any lighting conditions, with and without the grain. I intend to shoot another roll of this film in the near future, but at night for astrophotography, hopefully I get some amazing startrails and Milky Way images from this film. Keep an eye out for my next blog on that review!
I have been importing film from both B&H in New York, USA; Nik & Trick Photographic Services in Kent, UK; Auckland Camera Centre in Auckland, New Zealand; and locally from Orms, and now particularly from The Film Guy who has a very wide range of lovely films in various formats available locally in South-Africa. If you haven’t tried a roll of Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 800 film, or any roll of film, give it a try, your photography can only improve, don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself!
Disclaimer: All watermarked images are © Craig Fouché Photography 2017, other non-watermaked images are manufactures’ images.
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