Suggestions on which film to use

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by micwag2, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I have been asked to photograph the annual company dinner. They want prints and I want digital scans of the negatives. I'll be doing some portrait shots and some of the entertainment and dining that evening. Some recommendations for the portrait film? The subjects are from various ethnic groups, so I need something good for all around skin tones. As far as the general photography of the evenings events I was thinking of using consumer print film but I'm open to suggestions for something more suitable. I haven't been to the location in person but, lighting seems to be pretty good from what I've seen of the pictures of the dining area. I'll be using two Nikons, N90s and an N70 also a Pentax K1000 for a backup. For flashes I have a Sunpak auto 144PC and a Nikon SB26 the N70 has a built in flash as well. Also have two tripods I'm bringing. The lenses I intend to use for the Nikons are a 35-80 and a 70-300 and for the Pentax a Kiron 28-85. I hope that's enough for a few suggestions.
     
  2. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    Portra 400.
     
  3. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I see you're in Horsham, PA. I'm in the Lansdale area. Besides Cardinal, any other reputable camera shops with film around?
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Kodak Portra films are designed to have the most accurate skin color and tones. Furthermore the newer emulsions scan well.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i'd use a fuji color negative film,
    i always had trouble with kodak color films ( pro films )
    being ultra contrasty ... fuji never gave me problems
    especially because it has the nth layer technology that
    is supposed to help you get good color temperature
    with a variety of light sources.

    the last color films i used were press 800
    200 and 400 and i had no troubles. if you are able
    buy a roll of 400, shoot it with your flash in a similar situation
    and see how you like it ( and how your lab handles it )
    dry runs can save your skin.

    good luck!
    john
     
  6. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    The Kodak Portra 400 should suit you well. If you think you would really need it, the Portra 800 is a great film too.
     
  7. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Second or third or whatever Portra 400. I get great scans and prints. Wonderful film. I shoot Ektar 100 when I want highly saturated color and Portra 400 for everything else.
     
  8. tnabbott

    tnabbott Member

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    Portra should do the trick!
     
  9. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Having read your post, I'm less concerned about the film you use, and more worried about things you may not have covered about the gathering e.g. fluoro, high intensity lighting and its impact on colour, auto flash illuminating only part of a sitting party, deep, distracting shadows... As a start, all the flashes should be diffused or bounced (not ever direct) and test runs should be done before the event to ascertain how the equipment delivers results (if you haven't done that previously). Having organised the unknowns, then deal with film. If the customer is not fussy about colour you can get away with anything in terms of film; ensure there are no casts when scanning (use neutral eyedropper to set white point as a start). If you are going to be working the floor from one end to the other, travel light, meaning just one camera and flash; you may otherwise fall victim to theft. I think it would be essential for you to visit the location before the event to make notes of lighting (natural and incidental), viewpoints etc. After thoroughly preparing the groundwork, film and cameras are then the considerations to actually exploring the venue thoroughly for opportunities and problems. Don't get too carried away with professional vs consumer emulsions. In the scan (where many problems come up) will not actually be 100% faithful to negative/positive colour.
     
  10. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Portra 800 is lower in contrast with more speed than Portra 400 if that helps you. Although for 35mm I might stick to Portra 400.

    I would definately go there beforehand and meter the light, also take a digicam if possible with manual white balance or RAW capability to going beforehand (so you can examine what temp the light is), because lighting is often much dimmer than people think and also well below 3200K in temp, making it a pita to work with the available lighting.

    In any case, flash is good, meter you flash, I'd be bouncing it off the ceiling.



    Nothing wrong with direct flash if you confident with your lighting, I've used it all the time. IIRC the SB-26 has a optical slave mode. Therefore you can place it off camera, such as on one of your tripods for ceiling bounce elsewhere, with another on your camera also ceiling bounce to cover a wider area with more light, or ceiling bounce the SB-26 off camera, and weak direct flash to fill a little.


    Take a meter with flash capability, borrow, rent, etc. Don't wanna shoot blind with flash.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2012
  11. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I really appreciate all the replies. I did stop at the local camera shop for Portra and they had none for 35mm. The person I spoke with there had suggested using Fiji superia 400. She went as far as bringing up images shot with Portra and Superia. The Superia is more saturated in its color rendition and that concerns me that lighter skin tones may look "bacony" due to the higher saturation. I really wanted to visit the location in person but unfortunately the event coordinator doesn't seem to understand the importance. So as much as I wouldn't want to go into this blind, I'm not left with much choice. Does anyone have suggestions as to an online source that can have the film shipped to me by the middle of the week so I can shoot a test roll to get the "feel" of it?

    Quote" Nothing wrong with direct flash if you confident with your lighting, I've used it all the time. IIRC the SB-26 has a optical slave mode. Therefore you can place it off camera, such as on one of your tripods for ceiling bounce elsewhere, with another on your camera also ceiling bounce to cover a wider area with more light, or ceiling bounce the SB-26 off camera, and weak direct flash to fill a little." End quote

    I generally never photograph anyone with flash directly if I can help it and if I have to because of circumstances compensate between -1 to -2 on the flash. That usually keeps the subject from looking burned out or like "a deer caught in the headlights" appearance. I just got the SB26 so I haven't had the chance to use it yet but I have read plenty on its use on various forums and in some books. The experience I have with other flash units and from what I have learned I feel confident on how to handle it.
     
  12. PeteZ8

    PeteZ8 Member

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    New York Camera in Southampton. www.nycv.com

    A little pricey compared to B&H but not bad. They also do 35mm and 120 E6 in house.
     
  13. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Forget the local shop. Call or web order from B&H or Adorama. You can pay for 2nd day shipping and still have it cheaper than you're likely to find at a local shop that has limited selection.

    Normally I'm all for supporting local shops when possible, but not when they don't have what you want and try to sell you something less suitable because they do have that.
     
  14. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    B&H and Adorama are both out of stock. I turned to eBay. Seller (theimagingworld) states its fresh and in stock. I'm hopeful they'll ship quickly.
     
  15. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Ouch - didn't realize that. I generally buy from Freestyle even though it's more expensive than from New York, because I have less trouble getting deliveries and because I'm usually ordering darkroom supplies anyway, and get film while I'm at it.

    You could get it at Freestyle, in stock as I just checked, but shipping it from California would add a lot of money if you need it quickly.
     
  16. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    The place I ordered from is in New York so less distance I'm hoping it arrrives sooner without paying higher shipping charges.
     
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Yeah, I should have followed the link. Hope you get it soon.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    poisson du jour
    says what i alluded to much better than i could have said it.
    know the place you are photographing in
    flash will kill your situation, any film will due,
    as long as you know your setting, and your processor
    doesn't hose you, and your repro is OK

    good luck
    john
     
  19. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    Well, looks like I'm set. The Portra arrived yesterday and its well within date. My gear is packed and I'm ready to go. This will be fun. :D
     
  20. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I want to again, say thanks for everyones input. I used the Portra 400 with flash and bounced it off the ceiling with good results. I was limited to using my tripod, N90s with the SB-26 and my N70 with the built in flash. The event coordinator didn't want me to go "overboard" by bringing additional lighting so all I had was the available light and the afore mentioned flashes. I had the processor make 4x6's and digital scans. I was disappointed with the printing job and the scans. Both prints and scans have a line going through all the frames. The scans in my opinion look very poor quality. The scans have dirt specs and seem more pixelated than i would expect. I didn't look at them at the store when i picked them up so I'll call them today to request them to be redone correctly. Here's one of the picture scans they gave me. If you look about 1/3 up from the bottom you can see the line.

    [​IMG]

    And here is another shot from a different roll they scanned.

    [​IMG]

    I took a few photos of the cat to finish the roll. Look at the lower left of the cat and below and to the right of the light switch in the photo and you can see the dirt in the scans. Also check both photos and you can see the line 1/3 up from the bottom. What do you folks think? Am I being fussy or is this unacceptable?