best colour film for urban landscape?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by melmoth, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. melmoth

    melmoth Member

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    Hallo,

    I read about certain colour films - usually slow - being prefered to others for photographing the natural landscape because of their effect with greenery etc.

    I am curious to know what film(s) are preferred for use in built up urban areas (excluding the effect of glass).

    I know that it is subjective but I wonder is there a film that is, in general, more effective than others with muted colours. Or is it just: the slower the better?

    cheers Mel
     
  2. Gatsby1923

    Gatsby1923 Member

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    I have had good luck with 100 ASA slide films and 160 speed color print films in sunlight. But that is just me.

    Dave M
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I am very happy with Kodak UltraColor 400 for 35mm and 120 film for landscapes. Get the saturated colors that people remember - kinda like printing black and white on high contrast paper ... lots of impact.

    Steve
     
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    It's all about what film works for YOUR color urban landscape!

    Test, test, test.

    My choice probably won't be yours.
     
  5. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    There are many ways to approach this: you can aim for a film with saturated colors in order to highlight the punch and the vibrancy of artificial city colors, in contrast with the dull grit of concrete, or take the opposite approach with a very muted film like Astia or Portra NC to emphasize homogeneity, dullness, whatnot. You can use tungsten film to shoot interiors with a more natural color balance, or use daylight to get a warmer tone. You can use a very fast film to have grain, or very slow film to get details, etc.

    A medium is always subordinated to what you're trying to accomplish. If you want to think in terms of aesthetic parameters first, color films are spread across the variables of: saturation, palette (rendition of colors: some films will make greens more blueish, etc), contrast, grain, and light balance (tungsten vs. daylight).

    On top of that is the "character," the gestalt effect of all of these parameters plus more that takes people in white lab coats to describe properly.

    Go to the Kodak and Fuji websites, download their film information brochure, think about your subject, then go shoot a few rolls of various films to see what you like. That's about it. Oh, and check also the gallery of JD Callow here, he does some pretty fine urban color work by cross-processing slide film and printing on RA4, but that takes some more time and dedication.
     
  6. dmr

    dmr Member

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  7. ehparis

    ehparis Member

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    Kodachrome 64 is my top pick for great greens and red reds.
     
  8. mawz

    mawz Member

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    Superia 800. Lovely, just a bit of grit and nice and fast for handholding.
     
  9. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I'm not sure what the difference would be b/w rural and urban landscapes. I usually choose the speed of my film based on the light. The slower the better - but since I usually shoot 35mm handheld (espescially "urban street") - I adjust for the kind of light (sunny v. overcast; day v. night etc.) rather than by locale.

    There was a time when a sunny day in the city meant Kodachrome 64. I've given it up before it gives up on me and still trying to find my new "favorite" when conditions are otherwise "just perfect".
     
  10. melmoth

    melmoth Member

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    OK.

    I have some ideas there and I will try them. Thanks for the various input.

    Mel.
     
  11. wirehead

    wirehead Member

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    I use Velvia 100 for the urban landscape as well as the natural landscape.

    But I'm weird.
     
  12. PatTrent

    PatTrent Subscriber

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    For me it's K64, and I'm worried that if too many people stop using it out of concern that it's going to be discontinued someday, then that will only hasten that day! I hope that everyone who loves K64 continues to use it like crazy.

    I just scanned some old K64 slides today and was blown away at how well 22-year old color is still vibrant and correctly balanced.

    Pat
     
  13. dickie vaara

    dickie vaara Member

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    I shoot almost exclusively chrome films, and although K64 was a dandy, I have stayed with either of two films for all around great color saturation and fine grain: Kodak E100G, (and any of the Ektachromes still available) or Fuji Velvia 100. Fuji has always been a favorite for bluer skies and greener trees and vegetation, but Kodak won't let you down there either. They can both be pushed a stop if you need a little extra speed.
    Emulsions have improved so much over the last decade that really it just boils down to personal preference. An earlier post said to "test, test, test".
    'Nuff said.

    Richard
    Everett, WA
     
  14. donbga

    donbga Member

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    The simple answer is to try different films and see what works for you.
     
  15. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    colour brings emotion or incites it. I think it should be chosen based upon effect before or without regard to practical requirements. Serious and or dour might benefit from a subtle palette such as 160nc. Higher energy or excitement might be best served with UC, Realia or maybe nps. Drama benefits from contrast and therefore Kodachrome, (or most any chrome) or NPC. Sadly the differences between the colour neg materials have narrowed. You can adjust the saturation and contrast some by adjusting exposure, dev. and the use of filters. Techniques that work at the extremes are to pull fast neutral films for a grainy pastel / desaturated look or to cross process chromes for a highly saturated contrasty print.

    For me the bottom line is not to choose a film that meets the technical requirements, but to choose a film that meets the emotional requirements and adjust your technique.