Fall color film questions

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by JW PHOTO, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    I'm usually lurking over on the B&W forums and don't play with color much anymore. This thread is for finding out what I need in a color film. It seems my digital camera's have taken over the snap-shot color work, but I have a little trip coming up and would like some info on color films. I'm heading into up-state New York shortly and the fall colors should be near peak when I go, which is why I want color film along. I'll be shooting both 35mm and 120 film and want something that gives fine details/good sharpness/moderate contrast/good color. I know that if I'm scanning I can play with contrast a bit, but color is a little harder. I'm leaning towards Ektar film, but if anyone has anything that might be more to the liking of Fall colors please fill me in. I'm not against slide film if it would be better. My equipment will be two Minox 35mm cameras and a Hasselblad SWC for the shots and a Nikon LS-8000 scanner plus 13x19 printer for the finish work. I don't do much serious color work so experience from others is what I'm going to have to rely on. JohnW
     
  2. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Since you are scanning and printing ink jet, you can pretty much go with anything. I recommend Fuji Reala in 120, and Kodak Portra or Ektar for 35mm. Ektar is a RPITA to print optically without gross oversaturation, but the prints can be awesome if done right.
     
  3. MattKrull

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    I shot the fall colours with Fuji Superia last year and was disappointing (I still hadn't learned the difference between "pro" and "consumer" film). I'm using Ektar this year. I don't have the film back from the lab yet, so I can't say how well it worked. But I put me down as a vote of faith for Ektar.
     
  4. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    I live outside of Ottawa and was really looking forward to the Autumn Colors this year, especially since we just moved and have 82 acres of tree covered land. However, the Color Gods fell asleep at the switch this year and it is really muted by comparison of other years.

    That being said, I typically use Velvia as the saturation Is fantastic. Don
     
  5. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    I should mention again that I'm more concerned about proper color response of the film more than anything else. Latitude is also important since you can't add shadow or highlight detail if it ain't there to begin with, which is why I'm leaning toward color negative film to begin with. With scanning and digital workflow I'll have a little control over some of this, but I'd like the color response to be pretty close to being "right on" from the start. I have a little experience with Kodak Portra films and find I do like its color response, but haven't used other color films (negative or transparencies) is such a long time that I'm lost. JohnW
     
  6. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Portra or Kodak Gold. No need adventure and lost your best shots to strange products.
     
  7. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    If you want accurate color in color negative, Ektar is your choice. It goes blue in the shadows, but then again so does the light. Slide films also tend to go blue in the shadows because the light does and there's no opportunity to correct it after you release the shutter. For saturation, nothing beats a Velvia slide, though Ektar is very chrome-like for a negative film. It just can't be projected because, well, it's a negative film.
     
  8. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    I have a little less then two weeks before I go so the colors should be pretty good at that time. I hope!
     
  9. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    IMHO Ektar is the strangest animal I have ever seen from Kodak or Fuji. If you want discusting cyan skies and brass colored trees , go for it but
    if you are after real kodak palette - I am writing for ,you have an idea - go for gold or portra.
     
  10. skysh4rk

    skysh4rk Member

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    For reds, I generally prefer Kodak films, especially the Portra stocks, so I would think this would be a good way to go for autumn foliage.

    That said, I've kinda been liking Fuji Pro 160NS recently, which seems to give some vibrant colours when overexposed a stop or two.

    Ektar could really be good for fall colours as well, I just don't really trust it though. With Portra, I know have the shot as long as my exposure isn't completely off the wall, but I've gotten some strange colour casts with Ektar.
     
  11. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    I've found that the Ektar 100 with an 81a and a cp do a great job for autumn colors. I'm waiting for the chance to test out Provia 100f. I love the Provia that I've done so far, so I think I'll keep the love going if I can get in some shooting.
     
  12. Pioneer

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    If lattitude is important, Kodak Gold 100 or 200 depending on what you can still get your hands on. I just shoot at box speed for pretty decent results. It is a consumer film so try to find fresh stock and it will be a little saturated, but for fall colors it does a great job.

    I also like Fuji Superia 400 shot at ISO200.

    Barring that, Ektar is another real good option. I use it but find it a little less forgiving when it comes time to scan. Exposure in the camera is important or scanning colors can be off. Though I find that my Plustek does a slightly better job than my Epson.

    Also, using a warming filter can help but I find that it works a bit too well for my tastes.
     
  13. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    For best color realness, Reala in 120. Even though you won't be, I can't help but wonder how many folks have tried printing Ektar optically. It does scan nicely and is a very good choice for a hybrid workflow, but it's way oversaturated otherwise. That too can be fun, but it's not real.
     
  14. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    Wolfeye,

    I love the signature line. If that's inappropriate to mention here, I apologize. I just couldn't help a hearty chuckle!
     
  15. peter k.

    peter k. Subscriber

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    I've used Ektar 100 in the past, and this week will shoot it again, but never used my 81a with the fall colors and will try that... interesting..
     
  16. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    Provia 100F is a good choice for fall color too. Not as saturated as Velvia but I did get some good shots with the Provia last fall.
     
  17. 02Pilot

    02Pilot Subscriber

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    FWIW, I just shot the fall colors in upstate NY last week. I used a roll of Portra 160 in my Canon P, and a roll of Ektar in my reversed lens Brownie Hawkeye. The colors and range of the Portra were really excellent; the Ektar was wild and saturated, but striking. If accuracy is your objective, go for the Portra; if you want to make the colors pop, Ektar it is.

    I'll probably be back out this week with a roll each of Portra 160 and Ektar in my Rolleiflex. I am curious to see how they behave with the camera variable removed.
     
  18. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    The thing I love about Provia is that the colors are vivid without being overly saturated. Viewing the resulting transparencies feels quite rewarding when they're exposed right!

    As for the Ektar 100 being hypersaturated, the 81a tames the blue shadows somewhat and lends to the fall warmth. If you slightly overexpose by 1/3 to 1 stop, the saturation decreases. It's best to try that during lower light periods, like early evening, prior to the middle part of golden hour. It also work in wooded areas.
     
  19. DREW WILEY

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    Ektar is quite accurate outdoors. Probably the most accurate color film I've ever worked with. But you do need to understand it. It needs to
    be balanced for color temperature because it doesn't artificially warm shadows like a portrait film does. Under an overcast sky, use an 81A filter. For deep blue shade, use an 81C. For high altitude or minor shadow control, use a pale pink skylight or 1A filter. Simple. And it needs to be properly exposed, just like a slide film. Know how to use a light meter. What's so hard about that. Even Aunt Maude in Peoria knew how to put on a slide show on her white refrigerator door. Nowadays the mantra is just wing it, then try to correct the mess in Photoshop afterwards. Garbage-in/garbage out. Do it correctly at first and life is a lot easier. But be aware that an accurate film might not be what you want if you are doing environmental portraiture under less than ideal conditions. What we've come to accept as photographically "pleasing"
    skintones can sometimes be at odds with the true color of foliage etc. And Ektar is rather saturated in comparison to garden-variety color
    neg films.
     
  20. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

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    I would second the nomination of Ektar 100. Not my first choice for people pictures, but for landscapes and those subjects for which good saturation is desired, it is my preference. If scanning, you can of course adjust these parameters, but it is naturally a high-saturation film in my experience.
     
  21. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    You said a mouthful there. I like the Provia palette too, but sometimes I just want that extra kick that Velvia gives. I've got Velvia 50 in the 35mm and Portra 400 in the 6x6 and hope to get some good fall colors soon.
     
  22. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Ektar 100. Set it at ISO 64, and you should be good to go. Very KR64 like in color reproduction in my experience.

    -J
     
  23. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    I just wanted to follow up on this. I've gotten two rolls of Ektar back now, and I'm smitten.
    I'm not sure if I'm going to buy slide film again after this. Ektar is cheaper, scans easily (my V600 can't resolve the grain), the prints are amazingly vibrant, and I don't need a viewer/projector to enjoy the final product. Nicer colour than the Rollei 200 slides I shot in the spring too. Definitely too strong for some things, but thats what I buy porta for. The only downside: blue shadows are pretty pronounced in a lot of my shots.


    I'm pleased with this scan, but it looks even better in print. I'll probably get this blown up to 8x12 on metallic paper. For reference, this was shot with an OM40, Zuiko 50mm 1.4 and a 25mm macro tube.
    tumblr_muzfy0Ultv1rwruaho1_1280.jpg