What fast 35mm colour films are good for weddings?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by ted_smith, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    446
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am shooting a wedding for a friend this summer in July here in the UK. The ceremony is quite late at 15:00, and it's a traditional church, and quite a small one at that. The bride is due to be wearing an ivory dress. Both bride and groom are caucasian.

    I use a Nikon F5.

    I've only done one or two weddings (for friends) and although I love to use Fuji 160S generally, I'm thinking I might need something faster for this booking.

    Having done a bit of reading, I notice the Fuji PRO 800Z seems geared to exactly this kind of thing. Has anyone used it who can tell me their views?

    http://www.fujilab.co.uk/catalog/800z-pack-p-52.html

    What 35mm colour film would you recommend for faster shutters? I am interested in natural tones - not over saturated one's. Prints are unlikely to exceed 12 x 8.

    Ta

    Ted
     
  2. eddym

    eddym Member

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd go with Kodak Portra NC400... or do they still have an 800 Portra? Normal saturation and contrast and excellent flesh tones. If you're shooting available light though, you may need filtration in printing to overcome the lighting in the church.
     
  3. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,960
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I shot a wedding one time with Fuji Reala and the bride complemented me on how I make her skin look good.
     
  4. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    if it were me, I'd shoot Portra 400nc or Portra 800. I'm a kodak guy by choice. Both are extremely fine-grained, and have a very natural color palette.

    leaning towards the portra 800, just for speed.

    most churches from what I've found when shooting as a 2nd for other photographers at weddings is that they are fine with letting you shoot a bit in the church say a week or month in advance to see what works best.

    try contacting the church to see if they can let you shoot a test roll or two to see what results give you what you want.

    Fuji 400h is a great film as well, similar to 400nc in contrast, the 800Z is higher in contrast and saturation, but a nice film nonetheless. shooting 400h at 200 or even 100, gives nice pastel colors from what I've found, similar to the link below.

    this guy shoots 400h primarily in a contax, also in 35mm, just for reference:

    http://www.josevillaphoto.com/

    -Dan
     
  5. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    almost forgot,

    most of Jose Villa's work is outside weddings, so adding a slight warming filter might help to keep the bluish cast of inside light from spoiling shadows.

    -Dan
     
  6. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    446
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Daniel

    Other than speed, what is the difference between Fuji 400H and 160S?

    I know everyone raves on about Kodak Portra but in my limited experience I did not get pleasing results with it. Due to having a bad start with Kodak films I have always since leaned towards fuji and prefer to stick with what I know.

    Ta

    Ted
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kodak 400NC
    Kodak 400VC
    Kodak Portra 800
    Fuji Superia Press 400
    Fuji Superia Press 800
    Fuji Pro 400H
    Fuji Pro 800Z

    For indoor pix, I would always favor the Fuji, unless using flash.

    It sounds like you are set, but FWIW, I would not use any one of these films in small format at a wedding for 8x12 inch prints. For my own personal work, or for smaller prints, no problem, but not for someone else.
     
  8. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    both are great films.
    both are slated and reputed to have a more "natural" color palette. the 400h having a 'slight' bit more contrast overall than the 160s.

    I've only shot the 160s on a few occasions when I was out of Portra, but from what I found it was a very nice film! A tad more saturated IMO than the 160nc from Kodak.

    400h is a neutral colored film(from what I've found), and to me, is best rated at 320, helping to reduce contrast(you can even rate it @ 250 if you want even lower contrast). of course this depends on your lab(or if you develop it yourself). consistency counts, especially with professional films such as Portra and the Pro line from Fuji.

    sorry though I can't really break down every little detail between 400h and 160s, cause I just don't know :sad:. But from what I've found from shooting film at weddings as a 2nd shooter, Fuji AND Kodak give great results.

    there are other factors of course(are you scanning yourself, assuming you're doing a hybrid process when going to print). both films scan very well(400nc vs 400h), but the level of competence and 'know-how' on the operators part(whether its a big money drum scanner or a Noritsu lab-scanner) plays a big part on the final output of the film in a digital format.

    if you want to stick with Fuji, I'd lean towards the 400h. Just for speed, unless you have all 1.4 and 1.2 lenses, and like wide-open shots in order to maximize shutter speed.

    -Dan
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pretty much everything!

    One is a normal-contrast, subdued saturation film, and the other is a slightly-higher-contrast, more saturated film. IMHO, 160S looks like a "normal" picture with about 20% of the life "pulled out of it in Photoshop" :wink:. 400H is a much more natural-looking film to me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2010
  10. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    just out of curiosity, are you shooting all available light for the church/ceremony/inside shots? or will you be bouncing flash off a nearby-wall as fill?

    my experience with mixed lighting(flash/ambient window light) favors the fuji.

    most of my portrait/headshot work I've shot is done natural light(genereally towards sundown, the last 1-1 1/2 hrs of the day)

    -Dan

    EDIT: what didn't you like with the Portra just out of curiosity?
     
  11. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

    Messages:
    447
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Fuji 800Z probably gets the nod for mixed lighting, or if there's any fluorescent lighting. But the color saturation is a bit on the peppy side, but tastefully so. Portra 800 has less saturation, probably more accurate color overall, but will not react well to mixed lighting.

    Mostly, fast lenses is the key. Got your 35/1.4, 50/1.2, 85/1.4, 105/1.8, and 135/1.8 lenses? Remember, one advantage of your Nikon F5 is that it's not hard to rent lenses!
     
  12. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,258
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I shot a wedding just like this last July. I used 400H and the prints I made were well received (I hand printed 10x8s for the parents / grandparents, the couple just accepted 6x4 machine prints). I used a weak flash to put pricks of light in the eyes. I didn't shoot inside.

    Bear in mind this is the UK in July. 50% or more chance of rain / overcast dullness, I'd say. I should think if you're shooting outdoors, 400H would be a very nice choice.
     
  13. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

    Messages:
    446
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm sure it was me and not the film. I just found the pictures lacked any punch and looked very washed out. I was using it to photograph police dogs and their handlers and so the contrast didn't really suit the theme. I used Ilford Delta 3200 B&W later in the day and they were brill. So perhaps just a bad choice of film for the event in question, but it put me off sufficiently not to use it again.

    I don't have a lot of lenses - standard 50mm 1.8, 60mm Macro, 20mm 2.8 prime and the legendary 80-200mm zoom. As was said, I will probably hire a 50mm 1.4 for the day.

    I am making the assumption (at this stage) that I won't use flash, but I have not spoken with the vicar yet so I may be able to. As it's quite a small church, if I can use flash I'll bounce it off the walls\ceiling.

    Well I think overall I have enough info to be going along with. In summary it seems most people would avoid the Fuji 800Z though no one has suggested an equivalently fast film that does offer the benefits of 160S, 400H etc? Is there any others?

    PS - re the format issue. If I had a Hassie I'd use that of course, but I don't, and I've never had the pleasure of using one, so I wouldn't dare use one at a wedding. I'd love to own one, but even today they are still quite pricey for anyone who's not got much cash lying around.
     
  14. Marcus S

    Marcus S Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Location:
    British Colu
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Fuji 400H has been my standard film for many weddings.
    The more weddings I photograph, the more I appreciate the simplicity and quality of prime lenses. Why not use your standard 50 prime lens? I hardly use my zoom lenses anymore.
    If possible I use a tripod and a monopod for better mobility inside the church.
     
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I did not get that impression at all from the replies. I would specifically recommend this film for the purpose.
     
  16. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

    Messages:
    3,107
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hey Ted,

    sounds like you already have a nice arsenal as it is! In a pinch though, I found that 400h pushed to 800 seemed to work out quite well. A little bit more contrast, but not all that bad.

    best of luck!

    -Dan
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,085
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    My father (and the photographer who employed him) would only use Reala for weddings because of it's ability to render skin tones correctly and make white dresses look white and black suits look black.


    Steve.
     
  18. Steffen Alexander

    Steffen Alexander Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Use Fuji 400H for more speed. It's the same look but faster.
     
  19. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,122
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Montreal, Ca
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Most of my colour work is done in MF, but it may be good for you to know...

    Like most people, for me high speed colour film is usually hard to find in MF locally in a store. In MF speed is more important to increase DOF in normal lighted shots. Finding slower fine-grained film is easy, finding 400 iso is unpredictable.

    I was in a position of needing to higher speed film for some macro flower shots, which further impede the DOF. I have never even considered pushing colour before. So I took a roll of Ektar 100/120 and pushed it 2 stops. I was impressed on how well it turned out.

    With that, I loaded some Portra 160NC into my F601 (35mm) and shot at ei 640. Just around the house, both flash assisted and natural light. Definitely usable, especially high key.

    I process at home with a drum at room temp. I find room temp is gentler on the grain, but takes a while longer to process. I suggest you take the finest grain film you can get and give it a shot, assuming you can get it push processed. If not for anything else, to know that if you get stuck you have a way out.