First steps into quality color film

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by zackesch, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    A big step was taken today. Up until recently, black and white was my primary. With a recent focus change from learning camera basics to rallfanning, I figured its time to shoot color along with B/W. As a test for color, I shot Fuji Superia 400 xtra. I liked what I saw with the exception skin tones were pretty red. After doing some much reading, I bought Ektar 100, Fuji Velvia 100F and agfa CT precisa 100. I wasnt aware of that agfa was sold here in the states, as I have herd very little about it, so I figured it was worth giving it a try.

    What the plan is, is to shoot the new film on my Elan II instead of my K1000 just to be sure that accurate exposure readings are being made. Also, it would be nice to use AF as I am learning to photograph trains. Any tips for this excited new guy?
     
  2. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    All of those are very saturated and contrasty films (suitable for scenes of narrow dynamic range) that I'd have second thoughts about using for portraits. You need to get the lighting and exposure exactly right for all of them and most of them will give red (Caucasian) skin far worse than Superia.

    Try some Portra160 if you want something more forgiving and with more accurate colour.
     
  3. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    My main focus is not portraitures. One of my test rolls was at Germanfest in Milwaukee. I like the look of saturated film. For Rail photography, slides were king, from Kodakrome 25 to provia and velvia.
     
  4. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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  5. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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  6. clayne

    clayne Member

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    You will be doomed (in a good way) when you get the Velvia back. :smile:

    Afterward it'll be a matter of days until you're looking to shoot (up) again.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    While it is true that each film type ones have certain biases, the only reasons I can think of for Superia 400 to give skin too red a look are 1-the light on the subject, 2-the choices the person printing made.

    I use Superia a lot and it can be color balanced really nicely.

    #1 is a real problem for any film when there is mixed lighting in the scene or if there is an underexposure of one of the color layers.

    When we look at a scene our big brains to a large extent can "fix" this in real time and we perceive normal colors even when they aren't. The film though is recording the real color of each subject in the scene under it's own lighting.

    The color balance of the scene may also fool the meter/photographer. Color film is essentially a 3 or 4 layer B&W film where each layer is sensitive to a different color and has different color couplers to create the dyes.

    Most meters simply don't measure and display exposure settings for red, green, and blue separately; they simply measure the aggregate. There is actually a certain amount of exposure needed for each layer and each subject on that layer to achieve "normal balance".

    A color imbalance comes when there is too much or too little of a certain color on a subject in the scene, this is one reason that many C-41 shooters lean toward a bit more exposure and avoid underexposure religiously but its not a perfect fix because each of the various subjects in a mixed lighting situation needs a specific fix it's color in the print. Global color corrections simply can't fix them all. I find that many times that color balance issues are actually caused by competing priorities for the print. When you fix the faces something else may look wrong or in your example the rest looks right and the faces are too red.

    #2 is more likely the issue you face given the normal latitude negative films.

    For example printing slightly dark can make colors look richer, some slide shooters lean gently toward underexposure at the camera to get this effect, with negative film though this is a placement choice in the printing process; camera exposure can vary significantly without issue. When the choice is made to print the background a bit dark from a negative for effect that choice will also drag the print placement of faces down too and that can easily make them look too red. That problem can be fixed with a little dodging.

    The other thing that I've found is that careful color balancing of any film is important. Small differences can make the whole thing look a bit off. Patience and a kit like this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/287849-REG/LEE_Filters_VK3_3_Density_Color_Print.html can help.
     
  8. JimCee

    JimCee Member

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    I don't do much photography of railroads and equipment, but I've done some. I recently took some photos at the Union Pacific Railyards in Tucson. I was using Fujicolor Pro 160s, which has unfortunately been discontinued. The characteristics of this film would, however, be quite close to that of Kodak Portra 160. I think you can see from the photo I'll post that the saturation and color of this type film is quite good, they're also much better for photographs of people with good flesh tones.

    I'm not sure what photographic processing is available in your area, but I've had my negative film processed in Tucson with prints and a CD for $15.00, a nice package.

    Jim Trains - apug.jpg
     
  9. Kyon Thinh

    Kyon Thinh Member

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    Agfa CT 100 is a bargain, at least in Europe. I've shot negative, get bored with its color, then change to B/W, but man can not live with only B/W, shot some slides and stuck with it. Now I shot only slides.
     
  10. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    Kyon, what's your experience with agfa ct? The only examples I can find are cross prepossessing for lomo, which is not how I want it to turn out. With this being my first experience with slide, I have nothing to compare it to.
     
  11. Kyon Thinh

    Kyon Thinh Member

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    I think it is similar to Provia RDP II (the old Provia, not Provia 100F).