Negative vs Reversal, choice choices choices....

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by xtolsniffer, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    Hi all,
    I shoot a range of films in different formats. I tend to use Fuji Provia and Velvia in 35mm, mainly for macro and natural history, Fuji Reala in 35mm negative for family shots for prints, and Ilford HP5+ in 35mm for the home darkroom. I also use a mamiya RB67. I've mostly been using FP4 or HP5 in the RB67, but some abstract flower shots I've taken on Provia in the RB67 have proven rather popular and I've been asked to do more. For me, and my way of working in 35mm, it's easy to match job to film. If I was going to do flowers I'd use Provia or Velvia, but in medium format, I'm not so sure. What are the relative advantages/disadvantages of reversal vs negative in this format for tasks like this? They would be made up to prints around 12"x16" in a decent pro lab. My temptation would be to reach for colour reversal, but I don't want to miss out on any tricks of the trade.
    Ta!
     
  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Well you aren't going to find many pro labs printing from reversal or negative films without scanning them first. So asking about scanning on a forum dedicated to optical printing is not going to help much. Otherwise for optical printing, go for C41 type film, Portra 160 or 400 would be my recommendation. Optical printing of reversal film is pretty much history, as the last call for orders of Cibachrome paper and chemicals was a few months ago.
     
  3. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    Yes, I appreciate that they'll be scanning first, I have prints made from my 35mm reversal materials with them anyway. I was more interested in the ergonomics, colour, exposure latitude and so on.
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    I'd side with Bob on C-41 materials. The new Portras are stunning, especially a 6x7 neg. Reala is another option. Velvia would be punchier but probably less realistic when printed.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I shot a lot of chromes for commercial work because clients demand it. Nothing is more beautiful than a well shot 8x10 chrome on a light box. Transparency film is sharper to me, but the latitude makes it tougher to shoot than neg film. A blown out highlight is gone on a chrome, while you might be able to retrieve it with neg film. If I were to do commercial shoots again with transparency film, it would be tough to do without proofing on Polaroid.
     
  6. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Chromes are easier in the sense that you can evaluate your shots on a light box. But it takes some
    experience to make good internegatives suitable for printing, so if you intend to print analog, it makes more sense just to shoot something like Portra or Ektar to begin with. If you scan, then you
    can choose either. One problem with 35mm is that low-quality proofing scans often fail to deliver
    an accurate representation of your shot when color neg is involved. Some labs offer low-res economy scans just for screen viewing as well as higher quality for actual printing use. Because color
    negs have relatively low-contrast, distinctions in hue as well as detail can be obscured by a marginal
    scan.
     
  7. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    I have to add that this decision is partly to do with convienience. I used to have three 120 backs for my RB67, one being on long term loan. Now that one has gone back to its rightful owner, and one is already taken with HP5, it seems sensible to make a choice between chromes and negative for the other.