Colour negative film for portraits

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by modafoto, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Hi

    I want to hear some suggestion for a good colour negative film for portraits.
    I shoot with flash heads so speed from 50 to 200 is what I look for.
    Addtionally I want suggestions for colour negative films for portraits outdoors and in natural light generally (200 or above is needed for my use then).
    If you have suggestions for a good colour transperency film for portraits I want to hear that, too.

    Thanks in advance.

    Morten
     
  2. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    I just shot a friend's senior portraits and I used Kodak Portra 160VC, and I really liked it. Very nice colors. And I've heard the other Kodak Portra 160 film is good too, what is it, NC? But I recommend the 160VC. -Grant
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    After many years of shooting weddings and portraits, I used Porta for several years, but the last three years I have been using Fuji NPS 160 with a flash and Fuji NPH 400 with fill flash outside, the exposure latitude is great on both films and it is almost half the price of Kodak Portra, and I feel that it gives better color balance and flesh tones, what I would suggest is pick up a roll of Porta and a roll of NPS and do a test, as everybody has their own preferances, but the Fuji films have proven to be the best for me and most of the wedding people in the area I live.

    Portra actually has three different designations NC=Neutral Color, VC=Vivid Color and UC=Ultra Color

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
     
  4. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    I also have heard from a good friend who only shoots color that the Fuji color neg films are as good as the Kodaks. But since I rarely shoot color negs I have only shot Kodak Portra. I would do what Dave suggested, pick up a roll of each and do a test.
    -Grant
     
  5. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This is only my opinion...
    IT depends upon your taste. I prefer to shoot portraits that are a bit over the top when shooting in colour and very traditional when shooting B&W.

    As films go I prefer the palette of 160NC over NPS, but do not like 160vc at all. For faster films I like 400nc a little better than Fuji's NPH.

    I agree with dave about testing first. If you shoot 120 one roll of each may not be sufficient. I rate the portras and NPH at half their labeled speed or a little less depending upon contrast (desired or present). NPS is a bit strange, it requires a lot of exposure (~50iso) for shadows, but blocks up far faster in the highlights than the other films and the palette to me is too plastic without being exciting (like NPC or UC).
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    I prefer Portra 160NC and 400NC over the Fuji equivalents as well. I tried some Kodak 100UC (not Portra), not expecting to like it - and loved the flattering skin tones, extremely low graininess, high speed (I found it to be as fast as other 160 speed films) and remarkable handling of highlights (great latitude). I've read other reports that say exactly the opposite. Just goes to show how much it is a matter of personal preference and how much other factors influence the final image.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I also prefer Portra 160 NC when I need color neg. Really, the best thing is to test and see which one appeals to your own sensibilities and works best with your print method.

    Transparency for portraits--I like Fuji Astia, but I haven't tried the new 100F (still have boxes of the old stuff in the freezer). With old Astia, I felt it usually needed a very slight warming filter--81A or KR1.5--to produce a neutral result. The new version is finer grained, and is said to be a touch warmer.
     
  8. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Thanks!

    I will go and buy some rolls of Portra (NC and VC) and the Fujis.
    Another question:

    What about:


    Morten
     
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I am addicted to AgfaColor 100 and 400 - and certainly the Portra 160 is not out of the question for all my work. I *love* the stuff ... but there is probably something of pre-conditioning ... I've used these for a long time ... and I guess I understand them.

    As far as transparency film ... I've made the photography of art work - for submission to Art Schools and Galleries - a side line. No one will be more critical of color, definition, etc., than the artists themselves. I personally would not even think of using anything but Agfachrome RSX100. That is one area where being a "perfectionist" is very nearly a critical requirement.
     
  10. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi

    I vote for Portra to and use the VC on overcast days for weddings and the NC for everything else including 8x10 portraits in my studio!
    For artreprotuction I use the only film with the most acurate colours Kodak EPN the only and one film in my opinion with the most acurate greyscale!
    Good light to all of you!
     
  11. CraigK

    CraigK Member

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    I've tried just about all of the various colour neg films for portraits and have concluded that they can all be pretty good. I've settled on Fuji NPH and NPS for my needs but in the end I think the person doing the printing, the type of machine, the chemicals and especially the paper they are using have just as much influence on the final outcome as film choice.

    I use a proofing service at a local lab where I can speak directly to the person doing the printing. I have asked her for her opinion aboutt neg films. She tells me that the machine they use currently (Konica) loves Fuji and Konica films. It is rather indifferent to Kodak films and has a hard time with Agfa films.

    Another machine (different make, different paper) would probably have a different set of "preferences". Just because film xyz really looks great from one lab does not guarantee that it will look good from any lab. Custom labs of course should be able to get just about any film "just right" but that's why you pay the big bucks for custom printing.

    My suggestion is to spend just as much, if not more time finding good lab as you do checking out the various films. This is especially true nowadays with digital printers that tend to make prints from all neg films look more or less the same.

    If you already have a good lab, give Fuji NPH and NPS a try, you may like them as much as I do.
     
  12. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I have talked to the people who are doing my colour work, and they use Fuji equipment all the way through and I sent them a test roll of NPS and I was very satisfied. The price of these films (cheaper than Portra) makes me even happier :tongue:

    Morten
     
  13. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    I have used the Agfa Portrait film in the past... I would suggest giving it a bit more exposure (rate at 100). It is a subtle and smooth film designed for large contrast ranges (bright sun or black tux to white gown). It is also very fine grained. But the subtle pallete and contrast range are it's claim to fame.

    Having worked in a colour lab and having seen countless thousands of rolls of film processed, it has to be one of the best looking wedding films. If you can live with a 100 speed film (I know a lot of wedding photographers that prefer the 400s) it has to be one of the nicest out there.

    Good luck,

    joe :smile: