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|| News Item: Posted 1998-10-21

Tech Corner
A look at films from Kodak and Fuji

By Brad Mangin

Kodak E200 film impressions: The introduction of the Kodak E200 slide film in the beginning of the football season last year was a godsend for most photographers who covered the NFL. They didn't have to switch over to neg film when the shadows covered the field in the 4th quarter or when the rains came down in the second half of the season. The E200 has allowed me to shoot at plus-two (effectively 640 ASA) when I would have normally had to shoot 800 neg film. Others have reported good results at plus-three (1000 ASA), although I haven't had the need to push it that far.

It takes awhile to come up with your own system of metering for this film (I spot off a patch of dark grass and open up 2/3 of a stop in most situations), as you don't get a true "stop" of light with each full stop push. Once you do your own tests in real situations and come up with a system that works for you, you will be very impressed.

The E200 was a big help for a lot of us photographers in the Bay Area in April and May as many A's and Giants games were played under dark and sometimes rainy skies that demanded a faster film. By shooting the E200 at plus-one I was able to shoot at 1/1000 @ 4.0 or 1/800 @ 4.0 . At an early season A's/Tigers game played in a downpour a certain photographer (Robert Hanashiro) left in the fourth inning because of the bad conditions. I was able to get an outfield picture at the fence that was blown up quite a bit and ran as a doubletruck in the magazine that looked great with no noticeable grain.

Remember: all situations are different and your results will vary depending on the lab that does your processing.

Fujichrome RMS 100/1000 impressions: The new Fujichrome RMS 100/1000 is still too new for me to have a definitive grasp on yet, but so far I think I like what I see. After shooting nothing but RDP for the last five years the supply finally ran out, so I had to make a switch. The RMS came highly recommended from the lab guy at SI, so I started trying it about a month ago.

So far I have only shot the film at plus-one, but I have heard of others having good luck up to plus-two. The film is very saturated with very clean colors (white uniforms appear white, gray unis appear gray, not magenta like with some of the Kodak films). Some people have complained of a green shift, but I haven't really seen that yet.

The new film is more contrasty than RDP and needs to be exposed a little differently (at least here in the Bay Area at A's and Giants games where the light it very harsh and ugly until after 3pm). So far I have found the need to open up a little more with the RMS than the RDP just to get more exposure under the baseball hats.

I would like to get a chance to test both new films (E200 & RMS) side by side under the same lighting conditions and compare the results. As of now I don't know what would look better in the 4th quarter of a 49er game, E200 @ plus-one, or RMS @ plus-two. I would imagine the E200 would be much flatter than the RMS, and it might just be a personal preference whether you choose one film over the other.

Just like the E200, the way RMS looks at different pushes will vary depending on the ballpark and/or the lab you use (I have used Time-Life and Westside Processing in Santa Monica, CA. for my film). Do your own tests with your own cameras and lenses and your own lab before you make any strict decisions. I am still experimenting every time I go to the ballpark.

(Brad Mangin is a San Francisco Bay-Area based freelance photographer. His clients include Sports Illustrated, Major League Baseball, the NBA and USA TODAY.)

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