120 Neg Film for Portraits?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by thefizz, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Member

    Messages:
    2,106
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Irelan
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I am looking for recommendations for a 120 colour negative film to provide good skin tones on portraits of Caucasian skin, well I should say pale Irish skin :smile:, taken in a studio and RA4 printed.

    I have been using Reala and it looks fine to me but I haven't compared it to any other films so I would like to try some.

    Any suggestions?

    I did a quick search but didn't find any recent discussions on this subject except for a current thread about colour film with fine grain which has turned into a argument so I didn’t want to add to it and my question is a bit different anyway.
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,947
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I love Kodak Portra 400NC. Renders skin tones beautifully.
     
  3. martinhughesireland

    martinhughesireland Member

    Messages:
    278
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Location:
    Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Another one to try if its not too slow is FUJI PRO 160S. I had some of this in my car on Sunday, I could have given you a role or two to try:-(
     
  4. thefizz

    thefizz Member

    Messages:
    2,106
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Irelan
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks guys. Yes Martin I heard a lot of people recommend 160S so its one I'll have to try.
     
  5. seoirse

    seoirse Member

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    Ireland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Peter,

    I was in talking with Louise Gunn about a suitable film for colour prints / scans from a wedding and she said thatFuji 160S is the business.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,006
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    IMO, you are already using the best of the best...and it is also the cheapest.

    Also IMO, any 120 color neg film manufactured by a major company will be able to provide good-looking skin, if your lighting and preparation craft good-looking skin. Yes, I even mean Superia 100 and 400, which are "drugstore" emulsions.

    These things being said, I would start by experimenting with Portra 160NC, Portra 160VC, Pro 160S, and Pro 160C. The Portras are by Kodak and the Pros are by Fuji. VC and C are the more saturated versions, and NC and S are the less saturated versions. Any of these could work quite well for a portrait, depending on what you want. When first using them, try to shoot the same subject on all four types if you can...and on Reala and Superia 100 as well. It will let you make comparisons of all six 100-speed 120 color neg films. Heck...why not shoot a roll of Rollei Digibase as well (though it might be tough to make RA prints from it)?

    If in doubt, go for Reala, NC, or S. It is easier to add saturation and contrast than it is to reduce them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2009
  7. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

    Messages:
    1,062
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Prospect (Lo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Fuji Pro 160C, I find, renders everything with a vile green cast. This is true across emulsion lots and processing sessions, so I think it's intrinsic to the film. The 160S is fabulous, as are the Portra NC's, for portraiture.

    But I like 2F/2F's suggestion: try them. If I were grabbing one film for portraits in good light/studio, FC 160S. In other conditions, FC 400H or Portra 400NC. They are all splendid; matter of taste. I find the Fuji films more "neutral" in their rendition, with less "personality" than either variety of Portra. They also seem better able to handle a wider range of lighting conditions, from early morning/late day "warm" light to harsher overhead bright stuff to overcast diffuse gray conditions.
     
  8. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    From "ra4 printing" alone I would tend towards Kodak films because I trust their papers and I trust that their films will work with their papers. 160VC is very good.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    For skin tones I like Portra 160NC.
     
  10. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Either Fuji 160 S or Kodak 160 NC. Amazing, wonderful.
     
  11. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,071
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    When I was shooting weddings over 10 years ago, my portrait film of choice was Fuji NPS. Weddings themselves were shot on NPH
     
  12. AlexG

    AlexG Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I friggen loved Agfa Portrait 160....but like all good things, it has passed on.

    My current choice of film is Fuji 160S (previously 160)

    [​IMG]
    Here is a very pedestrian portrait I shot on 160s a few weeks ago. Very natural colors.
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,932
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I also like Portra 160NC.

    Jeff
     
  14. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you have been happy with Reala I'd stay with it.

    I say this because I have used a variety of films and when printed at good labs; the normal, non-vivid, varieties have all worked well for skin tones BUT I've just started enlarging color negatives for myself.

    Last night my tail got kicked but good because of switching film types toward the end of the session.

    For now, I'll only be printing one color film type per session.
     
  15. thefizz

    thefizz Member

    Messages:
    2,106
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Irelan
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for all the replies, think I'll try some Fuji 160S and Kodak Portra 160NC.
     
  16. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

    Messages:
    2,893
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Portra 160NC.
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

    Messages:
    9,181
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Another vote for Reala or 160NC. Reala is such a great film, I went to Barcelona for vacation and took ONLY Reala with me. I shot about 30 rolls of the stuff and came back with some real winners. Everything from street portraits to night shots to hand-held interiors. Amazing stuff.
     
  18. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,289
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Everybody has their favorite film. However, if you include a shot of an 18% gray card at the beginning of each roll, your printer will have a reference to adjust color to. When I worked for Olan Mills(a hundred years ago)the first shot was the gray card, then every so often throughout the day, adding another shot, followed by the final shot of the day. This allowed our printers to adjust their machines to optomize the settings on the machines for consistancy, even if you had to change film midsitting. I still shoot my gray card first thing when I shoot color, then use that as a reference for all my prints.

    Rick
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm going to start doing this, maybe even black, white, and gray.