on converting an ardent fan of of b/w to color: 4x5...

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Dean Taylor, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Dean Taylor

    Dean Taylor Member

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    hello



    Color film users (4x5) please take a moment to share your experiences with that one film you find to be without peer. I am a long-time devotee of b/w, large format--primarily admiring the work of others but, of late, jumping into the fray myself--but would like to hear from you pros why I "really need to try 4x5 color film ______," what ever that turns out to be.

    The thrust of my inquiry is that Spring is not far off, and I'm told, the mountains in the desert area to which I've just relocated will be abloom with flora, particularly poppies. I need to get up there at sunrise with my Speed and 'report back' with a photo journal...

    So, then, which 4x5 color film excites your artistic sensibilities...



    Best,



    Dean



    ps: any pro insights into using the Speed (particularly for the scenario I've outlined above) are gratefully received--e.g., is a light meter de rigueur for this press camera, etc.
     
  2. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    If you can get some a hold of some Velvia 50, which is a slide film, I have found the result of colour mountain photography to be spectacular. But a light meter is a must as it is very finicky as to exposure and tolerates little error. I actually really like the Provia as well but Velvia is better for landscapes.

    Can't find Velvia or looking for something with more latitude? Kodak's Ektar 100 is wonderful. Unfortunately, not a lot else is available and neither is anywhere near as cheap as B&W film.
     
  3. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Did I just reply to this on the other forum? Anyway, the orange of poppies reproduces relatively poorly
    on color neg film, really poor on Portra and better, yet still so-so, on Ektar (inherently poor differentiation between yellow and yellow-orange - and yes, I sure as hell have printed poppy shots from these films!). Velvia is very unforgiving, so you meter for the critical colors and either let the
    shadows go black or work in softer lighting. Provia gives a little more latitude; or if you can find any of the now discontinued Kodak E100G you will get wonderful flower results. Oh am I ever beginning to miss Cibachrome for the oranges and violets! I have one old 30x40 poppy print left over from a retrospective I shared a long time ago with some bearded guy, now dead ... other than that, I'm trying to figure out how to reprint it using interneg on Fuji CA paper... did some orange suject matter last nite
    onto 8x10 internegs.
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Do yourself a favour, and shoot some e-6 transparencies. The colour gamut will blow your socks off.

    Yes, I know e-6 processing is a challenge to find commerially for sheet film in particular.
    I process it myself, and love the results. I am luck enough to have a daylight tank that uses 1L of chemistry and holds 6 4x5 hangers.

    I usually run the 4x5's after mixing a batch of e-6 up and usuing the first runs on any 35mm or 120 film backlog that has built up.
    Replenish to suit, and on to the LF stuff.

    I display them taped to the window in my office, where people stop by to say wow.
     
  5. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Depends where you live. E6 processing is still easy to get here for everything except 5x7 film. But any
    of the current chrome films will handle yellows and oranges much better than color neg film. Things
    like Portra were engineered to give pleasing skintones, which means muddying up analogous natural hues. Orange becomes dirty pumpkin. Ektar is indeed an improvement in this respect, but it's primary
    flaw is right at the edge of diffentiating yellow-oranges from either yellow or orange; but it does a remarkably good job with warm and neutral earthtones.
     
  6. timparkin

    timparkin Member

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    If you're going into the desert to shoot flowers - do yourself a favour and buy some of the near discontinued Velvia 50. It will blow your socks off but I would spot meter if I were you and take some graduated filters. If you can't get Velvia 50 I would try Provia 100. I find Velvia 100 quite tricky - people call it Redvia for good reason.

    For exposing Velvia 50 I would rate at 40 and place highest detail at + 1 2/3 and the darkest area at -3 stops... You can get away with yellow/red highlights (i.e. setting sun sky) at +2 2/3 stops because the yellow layer seems to go on and on...

    On the negative film side you can't go wrong with Portra 160 or 400... they scan beautifully and you won't need any grads. Just expose the darkest shadow you need to be non-black at -2 stops.

    I've only just started liking Ektar but do not underexpose - I would place shadows at -1 if possible.


    So ... take some Velvia 50 and Portra 400!!
     
  7. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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  8. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Dean,

    If you want to enjoy printing them yourself, use negative film. The paper and process is handier and easier. They are all good (the slower the better) but you might not want to use Ektar if you've never printed color before.

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra
     
  9. Dean Taylor

    Dean Taylor Member

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    "They are all good (the slower the better)..."

    What are the trade-offs, then, between Portra 100 and Portra 400--from both an aesthetic as well as a technical standpoint?

    thank you!
     
  10. Dean Taylor

    Dean Taylor Member

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  11. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Re: the holders yes, the quick loads are in an opaque sheath and require a special holder. My understanding is that quickloads can also be used in a Polaroid 545 holder too, but I've never had occasion to test that.
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The 545 holder works better than the official ones, if you get a good one. They varied. They were just
    a bit heavy due to the internal rollers, which could be removed. But ancient history by now, unless you're lucky enough to stumble on a cache of film sleeves.
     
  13. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Dean,

    "What are the trade-offs, then, between Portra 100 and Portra 400--from both an aesthetic as well as a technical standpoint?"

    Mainly the obvious shutter speed/aperture and granularity. However, the reality is that we're starting to pick the fly poop out of the pepper. You simply can't go wrong. The Portras are nice true negative films that print in a straightforward manner. Ektar has a "juiced up" color look that many find truer to life (closer to Reala or Kodacolor 100 but with finer grain), but getting the balance right can be challenging under some lighting. If you are new to printing color optically, I suggest Portra 160. Fine grain and pleasing colors without the (for me anyway) challenge of getting the cyan (print color, not enlarger setting) just right with Ektar.

    Neal Wydra
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Other than the speed and associated slight increase in grain, Portra 400 has a little more contrast and
    saturation than Portra 160, but nowhere near as much as Ektar.