My color film dilemma (rant).

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Kiron Kid, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    I started shooting back in the mid 70's. You know the drill, take a High School photo course, and become immediately addicted. Back then, it was all Tri-X and Kodachrome 25 & 64 for me. Up until about five years ago, whenever I needed color snaps, I always grabbed a slide film. Keep in mind that color negative films of the 60' 70's and early 80's, were pretty crappy. And I never liked the Ektachromes that were so popular back then. I still have those beautiful Kodachrome slides from days gone by, and they still look fabulous.

    Now, heres my quandary; today's modern color neg films are so good, easy, fast to develop and scan, that I find myself rarely burning slide film anymore. Heck, I have 10x16" inch and larger prints form modern 400 & 800 speed color neg films that look great. Wonderful color, fine grain, etc. And those are from higher speed color neg films! For commercial shooting, I can burn a few rolls of color negative film, drop it off for souping, scanning, and have it on-line for the clients perusal within an hour or so.

    Does anyone still use slide projectors? I guess I just feel somewhat gulity for pretty much abandoning the fantastic slide films of today...

    Kiron Kid
    "A photograph that mirrors reality, cannot compare to one that reflects the spirit"
     
  2. liquid695

    liquid695 Member

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    For color film I prefer slides, kodachrome and Provia 100 then I project the slides in a leica Pradovit.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Have to agree about the Ektachrome I never really liked the colours like many others in Europe I switched to Fujichrome back in the E4 days because the colours were just so much better for my work.

    I really liked Kodachrome 25 but it was just too slow, film speed & process time, also not available in sheet film sizes, and in comparison I always found K64 a dreadful, insipid film.

    I do have a slide projector, and I still use it occasionally, but for other reasons switched to C41 for virtually all my personal colour work about 20 years ago. although I kept using E6 for commercial work until about 7-8 years ago, stopping when clients wanted a different format/medium.

    Ian
     
  4. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    That's the difference between us. I abandoned tranny films and don't feel even slightly guilty. :D

    I've been shooting negative film exclusively for nearly a decade now and see no reason to use tranny film at all.
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Yeah for the old stuff.

    No guilt here.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Guilt is definitely not the right reason to stay with a product. Just use whatever makes you more productive.
     
  7. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I've been abandoned slide film since the mid 80's. Recently I shot a few slide films. My favorite is Kodachrome but I guess I have to find something else for now. I still use and have 2 Ektagraphic projectors and lenses from 50mm to 300mm.
     
  8. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    There is no reason to feel "guilty" about not using slide films. Today's C-41 emulsions are being constantly improved, and have much greater latitude than slides. Although I personally use slide film, I do not harbor any resentment over those that use negative film, nor do I regret not using negative film.
     
  9. jslabovitz

    jslabovitz Member

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    I've been shooting B&W negatives for a long time, and recently decided to try to understand more about color.

    As an experiment, I ordered a few rolls of most of the color neg film out there (at least in 120, which is my primary format), both for landscapes and portraits. Ultimately I found two truths, for me: first, I just didn't like the colors of any of them. They were okay, but just didn't move me as much as a great B&W film. The "neutral" films (Kodak Portra NC, Fuji 160C/400H/Reala) were boring, and the saturated versions of those films were, well, too saturated. (Fuji 800Z was okay, but still not quite right.)

    Second, I had a bear of a time scanning! I know, neg film should be easier to scan, not harder, but every time I looked at the shadows, I just hated the grit in there. Not the same sort of thing as B&W grain, at all. Perhaps I need to expose color neg film more, but I used the same technique I've used for years with B&W, where my exposures tend to be just about right. (And I'm using an Imacon Photo, an excellent film scanner, so it's definitely not my gear.)

    I should also point out that my ability to color-correct, well, sucks. When I see the image the scanner's made for me of the color neg, I can see that it's wrong (and often is), but I have a really difficult time figuring out how to "fix" the colors. I can see they're not right, but something about the workflow just doesn't sit well with me & my brain.

    Recently I tried Fuji slide film, specifically Provia 400X. I totally love it! If I expose it correctly, the grain is aesthetically pleasing (or just not there at all), and the colors are just muted enough without being boring or bizarre. Scans were much easier and more right-on out of the scanner than the color negatives. (The Imacon has a great dynamic range, which probably makes it more suitable for transparencies than some lower-end scanners.)

    So, my reason for using slide film isn't about projection at all, but about the "feel" of the colors, ease of scanning, and the more accurate rendition.

    Granted, slide film isn't for everything. I still plan to shoot a lot of Neopan 400 in my rangefinder, and Acros and other slower-speed films on my Mamiya. I've got a Fuji S5 DSLR for low-light color and quick-turnaround jobs. But the Provia has a real place in my toolbox.
     
  10. domaz

    domaz Member

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    I do find slides much easier to scan than negatives. I scanned quite a few negatives but find slide film is just easier to get right.
     
  11. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    In addition to the hybrid-workflow processes mentioned by jslabovitz, I don't like the short lifetime of colour print film. I'm mainly a b&w shooter, and I've gotten used to the idea that both prints and negatives should be hanging around in good condition for a hundred years or so if properly cared for. I'm not sure what the realistic lifetime of E-6 materials is in practice, but it's got to be longer than C-41.

    Also, medium-format transparencies just look delicious.

    -NT
     
  12. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    My "slide projectors" are my Apple TV and Mac Mini connected to a 1080p projector.
     
  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Absolutely. The impact of a well-exposed, projected slide cannot be overstated.
     
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  15. goldenimage

    goldenimage Subscriber

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    I have always enjoyed slide film, until i tried ektar 100, i really like the latitude of the negative film, really dont have to worry about blanked out shadows on sunny days, though i do like the colors better with the slide film, oh well you cant have it all i suppose
     
  16. mikez

    mikez Member

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    Did you try RA-4 printing? It's a different experience.
     
  17. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    This, but I like projecting too. I shoot slide film because I drop it off, and when it comes back I have slides. They don't need scanned, printed, or color corrected. I don't have to feel guilty about not scanning them or printing them. It's a black box-- exposure in, slides out. For me, color is about snapshots and vacation photos. Slide film does this perfectly for me.
     
  18. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I shoot a fair amount of color negative film, but I do some slides. I have two slide projectors.

    Jeff
     
  19. Stephen Schoof

    Stephen Schoof Member

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    I don't care much for post-processing, whether in a computer or a darkroom, so E-6 and in-camera adjustments have always been what gives me full control over my images. That plus the impact of a projected slide have kept me shooting it for my serious stuff, although I love the newer C-41s for family shots and messing around (it helps to have a local pro lab that makes great prints). I also sell some work and more publishers still prefer slides over color prints.
     
  20. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    From my point of view, slides offer the greatest total number of output options. Yes, the range of the scene has to be just right and the exposure latitude is smaller, but notwithstanding those constraints, which are really minor if a person knows what he/she is doing with a meter, slides can be used to...

    1) ... generate enlarged b&w negs in one easy step
    2) ... make polaroid/fuji image and/or emulsion transfers (which is much more controllable and reproducible than shooting straight to the instant film)
    3) ... make ilfochromes
    4) ... scan and get very, very smooth and high resolution results for hybrid techniques
    5) ... relish the slides on a light table
    6) ... last but not least, impress the living daylights out of the audience of a slideshow, most members of which will have never seen anything better than 800 pixel output from powerpoint run through a low-end projector
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2009
  21. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    Are publishers still preferring slides? The last few shots that I've sold to publications, wanted a high res scan. Not a slide or print. I suppose if I had a high quality dedicated film scanner, I'd burn more slide film. They really do look great on the light table or projected.

    Kiron Kid
     
  22. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I've never found negative film to scan well. Even 100 speed film gave me nasty grain and grit especially in the shadows. I had all but given up when I tried RA4 printing to Kodak Supra Endura (heh of course. just ordered several hundred sheets i hope that lasts...) this past march and found the results amazing. Skin tones came out neutral, I got great saturation and tonality printing a 400 speed film to 11x14. It was night and day. Scanning just doesn't do justice to what's actually on the negatives. Scans seem to magnify the amount of dust and scratches on the film too. Film that literally wouldn't scan because of scratches gave me amazing prints.
     
  23. Stephen Schoof

    Stephen Schoof Member

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    If they still take film at all they continue to prefer slides, but yeah, scans are increasingly the norm. Of course if you don't mind converting film to scans you can shoot whatever you want. Unfortunately I don't like messing with that (or the expense of paying someone else to do it), so I miss the days when shooting slides, stuffing them in sleeves, sending them off, and waiting for a check was standard industry procedure. I've found only a few publications that outright refuse slides and are digital-only, at least in their guidelines.
     
  24. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I shot lots of slide film during 2007-8 specifically because I hated scanning and photo editing programs - the results were always awful. I projected instead.

    Then this year I started colour printing in my darkroom and I haven't shot a roll of slide since. For me projecting slides is nice but making your own colour prints is nicer. I've compared some of my RA4 prints to prints made from scans and the wet prints look much better to my eye.
     
  25. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    I prefer color slides and I'm taking a slide workflow.
    No need to scan, no need to print. That saves me a bit of money. No guy that corrects my film, this is a nice bonus.

    I'd take B&W neg for low light work. The problem of not having an enlarger (and darkroom, but the chems, trays and everything else are easy to get and easier than an enlarger) is that I may not pass after the contact sheet. Maybe sending negs to a lab like Ilford and get machine RC prints.
    I've had the pinhole paper negative idea crawling on my head for a week. Paper to paper, printing with a desktop 25W light as source.
     
  26. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    Slides are VERY rare for me, although I like them. The only truly concentrated period that I shot slides was when I took a photo class in the 90s where we had to project each week's work for the class to discuss. I enjoyed the look of these results, it was certainly more interesting than bad vacation slides of my childhood memories, but I agree with perkeleellinen...there's nothing like holding a print in your hands. Maybe I just never hit on the right lab process but I never got a sharp print from a sharp slide...and I found myself REALLY wanting those prints after seeing the projections and holding the slides.

    I would only consider hybrid process for color now--get the exact color you want post-scan and send out for a good-quality digital print, which at both the local places I use and MPIX has a nice pearl finish. Have never been displeased with the results. Negative film works great for me. Personally I love the specific films that jslabovitz doesn't :smile:.

    **All that said, I have A LOT of challenges with color at times and still generally default to b/w.