Gigabit film? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Anyone hear anything more about Gigabit film or is it still vaporware?

-- John Hicks (, September 28, 2000


If you're talking about the 16-megapixel CMOS and CCD chips that were announced last month by Foveon & Kodak, respectively, they're real. They won't hit the market for at least 6-12 months, but the results of the Foveon chip (an 6x8' print with no grain) was on display at Photokina and from firsthand reports I've heard it was impressive.

At 16 megapixels image quality will rival 2 1/4 square format chromes & negatives.

-- Mason Resnick (, October 01, 2000.

Uh huh. And the price will rival a BMW M3. Foveon has stated that they only want to produce products in the $10K to $30K range. The Hasselblad Dfiniity based on the Foveon technology has to be in the $30K to $40K range. I'm sure the Kodak 16 megapixel will be a screaming deal too. Then there's that problem of capturing the 48mb file - just lug your PC into the field? All of this is OK for studio catalog work, scientific or medical work - but practically, who can afford those kind of prices when a $200 Yashica TLR will make a photo that's just as good?

-- steve (, October 03, 2000.

No, not digital. Gigabit film is supposedly sort of a super-duper Tech Pan, which could be interesting if it ever makes it to market.

I don't mean to be ethnocentric, but that they can't even get around to translating their web site into english gives me the impression that they're not exactly marketing geniuses.

-- John Hicks (, October 03, 2000.

Hmm...Any of our German-speaking friends care to take a stab at translating/summarizing the gist of the site John mentioned?

Steve: to the best of my knowledge, neither Kodak nor Foveon has revealed their pricing strategies for their respective chips...although I admit I'm not as in the loop as I'd like to be, and may have missed something.

Here's what I know about Foveon's pricing: according to an article about a month ago in the Wall St. Journal, because a CMOS chip is supposedly relatively easy to produce, they feel the 16mpixel chip can be made in massive quantities. National Semiconductor is a major investor in Foveon, and they have the mass production capability that could would make it competitive with current consumer digital chips.

Their current products are definitely way high end, and this would represent a major change of direction for them. I'd be vert interested in any more specific info, links etc. about pricing that you may have come across.

-- Mason Resnick (, October 03, 2000.

Hello John,

to compensate you for the time testing developers for us and answering our questions, I'll try to save you from translating.

Basiclly I found 3 interessting chapters:

1) Product introduction

"Unlike classical photographie were a mixture of different silverhalogenid crystals average an value of gray , this film is supposed to give a single silverhalogenid-crystal gray value. So the lightsensitive particel is much smaller and a higher resolution can be obtained." (Sounds reasonable to me.)

"Data for 4*5" film: 25 ISO, 900 lines per mm at contrast 1:1000, panchromatic, app. 12 stop range. 50 sheet including chemestry, 150 DM+16% VAT."

2) Data sheet 35 mm film (As I do not have a 4*5" camera) "filmbase: Polyester; sensitivity: panchrom. slightly reduced red; resolution: 720 lines/mm (contrast 1:1000, speed 40 ISO)" "Development: Make sure reels do not contain photo-flo residues!, use Gigabit chemistry 1:9, 250 ml per film, app. 6 min at 20C, agiation every 20 sec. for gamma 0.5-0.6. CHEMESTRY NOT SUITABLE FOR ROTATION DEVELOPMENT! Air volume should be 60-100 ml in filled tank, otherwise use more developer solution! Too much air volume is not good. Stop with water for 10 sec. Fix 10-20 secs! Smaller crystals fix faster. Wash for 5 mins. Final rinse with destilled water." (This avoids getting photo-flo on the reels) " Neither the lens on the camera nor the lens on the enlarger should be used stopped down more than 5.6"

3) Data sheet 4*5" Please send a 4*5" first!

Generally it sounds interesting, but for me 300 lines per mm Technical Pan is fine and some of my favourite pictures are TMZ @ 6400 in Tetenal developers.


-- Wolfram Kollig (, October 04, 2000.

>> Gigabit film is supposedly sort of a super-duper Tech Pan,<<

John, there's a good liklihood it's what they call a Lippmann type emulsion where the silver halide crystals are said to be maybe 10 or 20 times smaller (diameter) than a typical film emulsion. I think you have it right when you say "super duper Tech Pan.", because it also exaggerates the bad parts; ie, low speed, high contrast. I don't think these emulsions are that uncommon; they just don't have any "normal use" in the real world.

Kodak has more than a few such emulsions; here's a URL for a high resolution glass plate with resolving power (high contrast) of 2,000 lines/mm. The exposure index, however, is stated at 0.01 (I guess a tripod is called for). I think their "high resolution" aerial duplicating films, holographic films, etc. are likely Lippmann type emulsions too. .shtml#expose i1073.shtml

PS: after seeing the translation (thanks, Wolfram), maybe the Gigabit film is more general purpose (ie, usable speed and contrast)??

-- Bill C (, October 04, 2000.

> 3 interessting chapters

Thanks very much.

It appears to me to be similar to TP but with higher potential RP, complete with limited range and rather fiddly development. This reminds me of the old H&W VTE Ultra film, which was an Agfa microfilm and needed to be developed in H&W's proprietary developer (probably actually POTA).

Could be interesting.

-- John Hicks (, October 04, 2000.

Thanks for your help, Wolfram!

-- Mason Resnick (, October 04, 2000.

Lippmann plates are extensively used in microlithography applications, but as far as I know they aren't made in a Panchromatic flavour, and have an equivalent ISO far lower than 25. Most of them are made to be exposed to near UV, or even hard UV, to get the best out of their potential resolving power.
A resolution of 900 lppm is a ridiculous claim for any general purpose emulsion, red and yellow light isn't capable of being focused to that spot size.

-- Pete Andrews (, October 05, 2000.

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