Fuji 160S takes its place in the Fuji Film professional range alongside Fuji 160C.
It's a nice film with very natural colors and a pleasing, soft look in its handling of light to prints. The 160C variety is the more saturated/contrasty version of the emulsion.
The film is joined by Fuji 400 (H) and 800 (P) speed pro films to round out the lineup from not really so slow to fast on the iso dial.
This print film touts Fuji's "single channel" color process that supposedly makes your local developer/processor smile. As he's probably doing all of this on a Fuji Frontier digital automated machine anyway, it's apparently a slam dunk to run a roll of Fuji 160S through and get great results. The prints I've received have had the appearance described above on the one-hour machine. Quite satisfactory would be my description of them to date.
The color saturation of 160S is not as great as you might be familiar from such stalwarts as Fuji Velvia or even Fuji Reala print film. Not everyone wants to take pictures of intense blue skies and blood-red cardinals and stop signs.
Natural...that's the word. Less contrasty handling of light and the muted colors make for a very pleasing image.
Best price I've found is around five bucks a pop. There's no discount for multiple purchase.
It scans very well, also; making digital possibilities a reality for those of us who reject the 'dark side' for its insane sensor-size games and constant mandatory upgrading.
Suggestion: try a roll or two and see how you like it. If you have been swayed by Velvia and Reala toward a flashier view of the world you can continue your journey with 160C all the way to Nirvana.
I'm giving it four stars. All the Fuji print films are good, this one no exception.
First thing's first. If you're accustomed to using Fuji Velvia or Fuji Superia Reala 100 (now sadly discontinued), you can't really compare them to a Pro 160S. The first two are simply high contrast films that make colors appear vivid and bold. This is very appealing. I was sold on Superia Reala 100 the first time I used it just for that reason.
But one day I decided to take a gamble on a 10-pack of Pro 160S. I crossed my fingers and hoped the different look would still be appealing. Of course, the most obvious difference is the sense of decreased color saturation. But don't let this turn you off because there are a hell of a lot of positives for this film. Color saturation may be lower but it is definitely not muted. In fact, you'll notice that the colors are there in a very creamy and smooth way. This does flatter portraits because the grain is finer than that of Superia Reala and there is noticeably more shadow detail. Flesh tones and flowers with pastel colors look extremely attractive. If you are thinking about taking pictures of nude subjects, this is the film to use.
In fact, if I were to make a choice between using this film in my old camera or using my wife's Nikon D700 on a nude subject, I'll pick the Pro 160S route any day. Even if you simply plan to shoot ordinary portraits, you owe it to yourself to try this film out. Pick a subject who's quiet and moody and see the results. You'll be stunned. It will definitely flatter skin with super smooth contrast, detail, and subtle color hues. Of course, there's no need to worry about seeing any blown out highlights either, something I keep seeing even with the best D-SLRs I've used. Exposure latitude is also quite forgiving, just as Fujifilm claims. I've been using both the Superia Reala 100 and the Pro 160S on young children and most of my frames are usable despite the fact that both are slower speed films. I'm just using older SLR lenses; not the newer VR (vibration reduction) lenses. Why would I use slower speed films like the Pro 160S and Superia Reala 100? For all the aforementioned virtues, of course, and the fine grain that you don't get with higher speed films.
If you ever get the sneaking suspicion that this film or its upcoming successor (Pro 160NS) will be discontinued, build a stockpile of this film.
Now for a word of caution. Do not develop this film at a drugstore or discount warehouse (think Sams Club, Cosco, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, etc.). If you do, don't blame the film, blame the developer. Take this film to a pro lab or a mom & pop developer with experience at a pro lab.