Choice of 35mm colour film for 16 x 12 enlargements

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by RobertRF, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. RobertRF

    RobertRF Member

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    Hi Collleagues,

    Could anyone suggest which available film to use to continue a long-term project to produce large, framed photographic work to decorate my own home and office. I have material from my photographic "career" already but now want to continue learning and creating images. I've put 16 x 12 in the subject line but this would be a minimum.

    I can't make roll film fit my "practice", I'm sad to say. MEANING to go out taking pictures has been my failing, using Rollei, Minox and Voightlander RF has reintroduced me to the the art. I now carry one or other every day.

    Don't get me wrong, I covet the roll film folding cameras out there but really, really I must spend more cash and brains on FILM not more equipment...

    My subjects are urban landscapes and interiors, usually with people in shot. People pictures per se I prefer to shoot mono. Light conditions can be poor buit I understand the need for camera supports to get sharp images.

    Any tips would be appreciated, I'd prefer to standardise on one film or maybe a slow and fast film(if possible). I'm 53 now and really haven't got the time / energy / intelegence to learn a suite of techniques.

    Thanks in anticipation, I need to buy film and get shooting!

    Robert :cool:
     
  2. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    For enlargements of that size, I suggest Ektar 100 or Portra 160. If you need more speed, Portra 400. So long as Kodak film is being made, I expect these three films will be available. They are popular, have been recently introduced or refreshed, are exceptionally grain-free, and are C41 (which will definitely outlive E6.)
     
  3. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    hmm. tough with that size requirement and 35mm, but it can be done. what has worked for me is
    vevlia 50 or 100, but not for people
    provia 100 for people
    ilford PanF+ for B&W

    those gave me the best size possibilities assuming a real good scan
     
  4. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    At this enlargement you will see the grain, which is often ugly with 400 speed films. I agree with filmamigo - Ektar 100 or Portra 160 would probably work best, the choice depending on the subject.
     
  5. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    This is a huge enlargment (about 10X) even for Ektar, so grain might be slightly noticable if you get a
    very crisp enlargement. But I'd select the film for its color balance relative to subject matter, rather
    than just grain structure. Porta 160 is relatively low contrast and skintone balanced. Ektar is crisper
    and more saturated, and not something you'd choose for high school yearbook pictures of kids with
    zits.
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I enjoy a bit of B&W neg. film work in the landscape context, but I have never been a fan of colour negative film. :smile:

    Provia for benign grab shots because of its more forgiving contrast and softer palette. This would be especially suitable for the urban landscapes you speak of, where people might be involved and a less alien skin tone is desirable.

    Velvia 50 or its more sensitive 100 stablemate deliver in aces and spades, but you must be on its wavelength: it is not a film to be exposed willy-nilly: overacast to soft hazy light is best (pre-light in the morning and evening afterglow, especially, can be magnificent), in enclosed (e.g. forested) areas, a polariser will cut spectrals and provide a stellar image. Expose very carefully, especially in 35mm where a lot of contrast is compressed into a small frame — quite a bit easier in MF/LF manually metered. In any case, an enlargement (hybridised?) of the size you stated may be too big for 35mm, showing up inherent deficiencies in the format (grain, softness).

    Yes, equipment is the least of your concern; it's required of course, but need not be flash; first priority is to go out and get a few films of interest as suggested in this thread, run them through on your chosen subjects and decide what fits what, and when (we can't decide that for you!). And take notes as you go along (especially useful when coming to grips with Velvia). Even at 53 (a year older than me), you're never too old a dog to be taught new tricks!! :tongue:
     
  7. RobertRF

    RobertRF Member

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    Thanks already!

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the tips, more will be read and appreciated.

    I'll try some Ekta 100 as a first step, just a single roll to test my new (old) Rollei 35s. I have to put a film though it as it is an ebay purchase, risky but I have to live as well as shoot...


    Robert
     
  8. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I have been using Portra 160 and doing 8x10 enlargements from 35mm, the ones I have done at that size - cityscapes - are beautiful with lovely neutral colors and almost imperceptible grain. I'll probably do some 11x14's tomorrow. I am a big fan of Portra - I have some Ektar in camera at the moment but haven't printed anything from it yet.
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I like Portra 160, really nice film, but don't rule out the 400 speed color films until you give them a really good try.

    I use lowly Superia 400 regularly and love it, Portra 400 is in my fridge and really sweet too. They print to 12x18 really quite nicely for me and are easy to shoot. I'll happily shoot 400 speed C41 films from the equivalent of EI 50 to EI 800 if needed but most times I just stick to 400.

    The other thing that C41 films have up their sleeves is that extra exposure reduces grain and 2-3 stops of extra exposure is normally a breeze, no film development changes needed just adjust at the enlarger.
     
  10. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Bigger isn't always better. Plenty of great art much, much smaller.

    Ektar 100.
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Trying to read between the lines here but I take it that you will not be processing and printing your own or at least not attempting optical printing. If so then a good mini-lab will handle a hybrid process which is what it will have to be if you use slide film.

    Unless you have the time and enthusiasm to learn accurate metering with a spot meter then I'd bracket with slide film. I'd especially bracket if you see a great shot that may not be easily repeatable. A few "wasted" frames is a small price to pay to get the right exposure.

    pentaxuser
     
  12. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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  13. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Oh? Better than Ektar 100? By whom?
     
  14. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    It just may be that Bill (wblynch) is saying that even inexpensive colour film is capable of producing quality 12 x 16 enlargements from 35mm.
     
  15. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Matt is correct !
     
  16. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    That's why I mentioned Superia 400 above. I've used the inexpensive Kodak films with really nice results too.
     
  17. jm94

    jm94 Member

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    In B/W i get very nice results with ilford FP4+ 125 exposed at box speed and developed for an extra minute in ID11 1+1 (13 minutes), it gives me superb results and the grain cannot be seen at 12x16 unless you are very close to the paper. If you wanted to go one step further, using it stock virtually eliminates visible grain even at that size. When it comes to colour, i have blown up ektar 100 at that size with no visible grain what so ever and outstanding detail, but detail depends on the quality of your lens as well. I home process my C-41. Portra 160 might be another option but i cannot speak for that one at that size as i have never tried it. I print all of mine optically.

    and STAY AWAY from colour plus 200. It is utter crap! no offence, but i got horrible tonal results in nearly every way, unless it was indoors and casual, the moment i took landscapes or high dynamic range scenes in it, i got a very muddy result indeed! I found its latitude terrible if you need that. This was at 8x10, and three different rolls were used, one of which was lab-processed. And a sunset with it looked horrible. I get better results with ultramax 400 but i have never blown it up to 12x16. Ektar if you are going to be shooting landscapes, but it might make skin tones that bit red, in which case, use portra. Have never tried many fuji negative films apart from their consumer ones so cannot speak for those.
     
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Any decent pro lab can produce stunning virtually grainless 16" X 12" prints from 35 MM Kodak Ektar 100, I've personally shot loads of Ektar 100 both 35 and 120, and have had 20" X 16" prints from 35 mm negatives that I don't believe the grain is so fine .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2013
  19. tim elder

    tim elder Member

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    I don't think that 12 x 16 is very large for 35mm, especially if you are talking about paper size and not image size. It might be a little large for 800 speed film, if you don't want grain to be a part of the look and the feel of the image, but 400 speed film can be fine for that size, especially a pro film like Portra 400. If it's really a problem for you, I think you would need to use a larger format to be satisfied, not a slower film. Using a tripod and overexposing a bit never hurts.

    -Tim
     
  20. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    For optical printing, any of Ektar, Portra160 (Kodak) or Pro160S/160C (Fuji) will work very nicely and Ektar at least should give you a very smooth image at that size. If you're scanning or may consider projection, you must try Velvia (start with RVP50 even if only so you know you've been there, but the 100 is good too) and Provia.
     
  21. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    FWIW,
    I've got a buddy who shoots 35mm + 120 Portra 800, lab processes it, and makes BEAUTIFUL 15"x22.5"(ish) sized optical prints onto Fuji CA and Kodak Endura metallic papers(both cut from 20" rolls). Yes, grain is there, but its beautiful grain, and IMO, doesn't detract ONE TINY BIT from the photographs themselves. Most are 35mm enlargements btw...
    He shoots nudes primarily, lucky b*stard :tongue:
     
  22. Stew

    Stew Member

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    Ektar 100. I've had great results with 11x14 photos. You should have good results for your size too.