Which Film and Where, When & Why.

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by jd callow, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Boy oh boy, this part of the forum is virtual morgue! I have a small, but faithful palette of film that I use depending upon the subject. It took me a while to arrive upon these films. I assume I'm not alone. I thought it might be worth while for us to discuss what films we use and why. I am hoping that this might at least get the colour forum's heart beating again.

    As your host I will, of course, let you go first.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    When I shoot color, I like relative neutrality. Kodachrome 25 is the only color film I really like, but alas there are only 20 more rolls in the freezer, and I shoot less and less 35mm (except for birds, which require faster film). If I'm going to bother to carry a tripod, I might as well carry a bigger camera.

    So I use Kodachrome 64, Provia 100F pushed one stop in flat light, and Provia 400F in 35mm for birds. I like RMS and Provia 100F for medium format landscapes, birds that can be photographed with medium format, and such, and some Porta 160NC for people photos. In large format I like Astia for portraits, and I have some VPSIII in the freezer also for portraits (when that runs out, I'll move to Portra 160NC), Astia or Provia 100F for landscapes, still life, and architecture.
     
  3. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    Portra nc films for people.
     
  4. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    C41: Portra 160 VC seems to come closest to the late, lamented Pro 100T which to me was the most phenomenal color print film ever made. Why does Kodak always discontinue things when they finally get everything right?

    E6: Kodak EPY 6018, aka Ektachrome 64T. The king of kings. Responds beautifully to zone system control, has a contrast scale as long as Tri-X and perfect, I mean PERFECT color balance.

    With this winter we've been having I smell a glorious Springtime a' comin'. You guys have reminded me that I need to begin stocking up on color film.
     
  5. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    by format:

    8x10 - Portra 400 NC. Good color and grain is not a problem and because you can use higher shutter speeds, it's great film for the real world (where things move). I have a nice picture of a Norwegian Line ship passing in front of the World Trade Center, which I couldn't have gotten with an any other film.

    5x7 - Portra 160 NC. this is my primary format. Great color and excellent reciprocity (a 30 sec exposure is no problem). It's also the only color neg film still available as 5x7 (meaning I don't have to cut down 8x10). It's cheap too, at $3 a sheet.

    4x5 - Portra 400 NC. Primarily used with a press camera for people pictures.

    6x9 - Fuji NPZ (ASA 800) with a Fuji 690 rangefinder. Excellent film for the speed, though with slightly magenta skin tones. the camera itself is the ultimate Leica killer. Big negative, x snyc at any speed. At $650 used I don't have a qualm taking it on family vacations.

    Take care,
    Tom
     
  6. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    They have color film now? [​IMG]

    My list is a bit different -

    4x5 - Velvia. Mostly because it seems right to use it with a 4x5. Although I think the next film I will get will be different. I need to branch out a bit in my LF films.

    120 - Mostly Portra 400 and 160. NC for portraits, VC for some portraits and "general" shooting. I have been trying UC and don't really see much difference with it. Then again I only get the negs developed and scan them at home to save money. I am finding that my scanner (Epson 1660 w/the 4x5 adapter) and VueScan do NOT like the blacks that any of the Portra films give. They tend to be very weak and they break up a fair bit. Some Photoshop work will fix it, but this seems to be a scanner issue as opposed to a film issue. So maybe UC is vivid. I don't know.

    I also shoot E100VS when I want chromes. I just love the stuff. Great film and it scans well for me. I also use it as a X-process film. It works well for that.

    35mm - E100VS and Portra. Again for the same reasons. When shooting outdoors I tend to go with the Portra 160 since it is very bright here most of the time and some of my 35mm cameras only go up to 1/1000. I like to be able to have a full set of apertures to work from and I hate using ND filters if I can avoid it.
     
  7. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Black and white
    Ilford FP4 (my favorite of the day)
    Ilford HP5
    Kodak Tri-x
    Kodak TMax 100 (before the recent changes?)
    Color
    Kodachrome 25 (can't get it anymore)
    Kodak E100S (a touch less saturation than VS)
    Kodak Royal Gold 100 for 35mm (discontinued???)
     
  8. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I used to use nothing but Velvia.

    But now I find myself using 160 VC more and more, when I use color. Part of the reason is the palette, part is the wickedly wider contrast you get from c41 films, and part of it is the fact that I have a rental darkroom with a C paper developer machine available. It's much easier than BW, once you get the filter pack right. ANd I have not seen a cibachrome machine in 20 years. Also, it seems that the Lighjet process is as easy with c41 as it is with e6. And I have a feeling that I will be doing lightjest work long before I will be doing digital BW work.

    dgh

    PS for BW:

    8x10: HP5 in ABC
    4x5: Bergger and HP5 in PMK
    6x17/35mm: HP5 in PMK
     
  9. Super Graphic Guy

    Super Graphic Guy Member

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    For 35mm:

    Velvia: For total over cast days, and very drab/flat lighting conditions. The pop it adds is
    helpful, but otherwise, it can produce some very strange colors that never
    appear in nature.

    Elite Chrome 100 General use.

    Elite Chrome 200: Star trails and astro work.

    Kodak E100S: My main landscape film. Lower, more realistic colors, and easier to work
    with.
    Gold 100: General use print film. Available anywher, cheap!

    For 4x5:

    Velvia
    E100S
    Delta 100
     
  10. Brian

    Brian Member

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    Tri-X 400 (everything/everywhere! I just love the look of this film)
    NPH 400 (portraits, high contrast days, indoor shooting)
    Afga Portrait 160 (portraits, strong on the reds)
    Velvia (low contrast days & landscapes)
    Provia (don't really shoot this for landscape, more general purpose outdoor)
    HIE (mainly summer/foliage, but anytime I want real character and funky results)
    Plus-X 125 (trying it out in my YashicaMat)

    I just ordered some Kodak Portra (VC & NC) to try out on an upcoming ski trip.

    I used to shoot Sensia for landscapes, but after using Velvia, the price difference seems worth it. I also get weird results with Provia sometimes - I seem to get low tonal separation in a lot of landscape shots (which is why I don't use it much for landscape anymore).

    Been meaning to try EV100, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Have tried Ilford SFX, but it's really not much different than regular B&W, at least in my experience - if you're going for the infrared look, HIE gives it, albeit at the cost of mucho grain.
     
  11. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    Color:

    Velvia (travel, landscapes), great for enhanced color
    Provia 400F (travel) Cibachroming...
    Provia 100F (commercial, product, architectural) good grain, great Ciba's
    Fuji NPC (general, portrait) higher contrast without nuking color
    Fuji NPS (weddings, portrait) neutral'er, better for the "not so perfect" subject
    Fuji NPZ (weddings, travel) great grain!

    B&W:

    Ilford FP-4 (portrait, model) handles skin tones excellently
    Ilford PanF (portrait, architectural, commercial/industrial) smooth palette...
    Ilford HP5 (travel, weddings)...
    Polaroid 665 (based on Pantatomic-X, portrait work, architectural) something about Pan_X that has a great quality...

    All B&W processed in Ilfotec-DD-X or Rodinal. All color processed in appropriate process on a Jobo Autolab (or by wedding lab in case of wedding). Cibachroming on Ilford CAP-40 processor.

    Prints on Ilford Portfolio or FB paper, Ra-4 on Kodak Supra/Portra Endura papers, Ciba on CPS.1K paper.

    Kodak films suck. VC=very crappy, UC is better, but I personally like Cibachromes off of Provia 100F better.
     
  12. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    Wow, Mr. Holliday.

    That's a lot of different film to stock and pack.

    Do you have a favorite...one that you wish you could use in more situations than you do? If you had to narrow all that to two...one color, one B&W, which would they be?

    dgh
     
  13. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    Actually, it's not that much film to stock and pack (assistants [​IMG] ). And, yes, I do use them all, sometimes in the middle of a shoot. (I will sometimes shoot only a few frames, and wind off the rest of the roll.) Keep a pile of A12 backs around for the purpose.

    If it was one color, one BW, it'd be Panatomic-X (665) or FP4 and NPC. But, that'd never happen, so I shoot what is the correct tool for the correct time. If the time changes, so does the tool. But, those are the ones that I can adjust like crazy and somewhat meet the specs of the other films...

    NPC for color, but if slide were more practical, I'd shoot provia 100F more often. However, since I do my own Ciba work, it's not THAT practical...(spend 1 out of 10 hours actually shooting and the other 9 doing darkroom work is definitely NOT practical!)

    BTW, the UC vs Ciba line is meant to say: NC=nearly crap, VC=very crappy, UC is better, but the colors and quality of Ciba'ing a Provia slide blows away any neg film...
     
  14. steve

    steve Member

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    Provia 100 & 400: Color is clean although leans slightly towards blue or green depending upon lighting conditions. Needs to be filtered slightly (81 series), in my opinion, to look really good. I shoot both the 100 & 400 in 120/220 & the 100 in ready loads in 4x5. With this film plus the 81 series you get an almost Kodachrome look.

    Ektachrome E200: Longest scale transparency film & easiest to shoot. Color is OK but if you evaluate it carefully you will see a slight magenta bias (especially in the blues) that also kills some of the green color saturation. However, under extreme contrast lighting conditions, this transparency film will render more detail in both shadows and highlights than any transparency film I've shot.

    Portra NC: I really like the Portra films. Neutral in color with moderate contrast making them very long scale films. I shoot the 800 speed quite a bit in 35mm, 400 in 120/220 format & ready loads in 4x5.

    FP4: I use it for masking transparencies for Ilfochromes & shoot it for some B&W portait work. With Photographer's Formulary MCM 100 developer it gives very rich, smooth tones.

    Delta 400: I like the Delta 400 much better than the Kodak T-Max 400 film. The Delta film seems much easier to control contrast through using different developers and changing development times.
     
  15. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    </span><table width="99%" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1">
    <tr>
    <td colspan="3" align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Some
    history </font>



    Part One


    I was at one time a painter. I find myself inadvertently referring to
    my photographs as paintings even though it has been almost twenty years
    since I've painted seriously. When I went to college, I went to study
    painting and art history and, through an elective, discovered ceramics.
    I found a second love particularly in low fire white clay bodies and various
    oxidizing and oxygen reduced (Ra ku) glazes. I have always found a severe
    beauty in the balance of the material, and the process when filtered through
    my personal vision. In other words when my vision or idea was good and
    I chose the correct materials and worked the process just right wonderful
    things happened.


    Part Two


    I've always taken pictures. Eventually I started to shoot things that
    exceeded the capabilities of the films I used as well as the format. I
    was driven to replace my 35mm with an MF camera. I could now enlarge my
    images, was forced to think about film choices as well as go to pro labs
    for dev. and enlargements. I'm sure that the 35mm would have lasted longer
    if I had switched to better films and professional processing and enlargements
    sooner. I now own a 4x5 as well as a MF.


    <font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Reason for
    the history
    </font>


    I see film as a material to achieve an end. I could care less about
    the politics of Fuji v. Kodak (truth be told Japanese companies can more
    often then not teach their US counterparts a thing or two about being
    evil). I look for film with unique character or character that I have
    some empathy for and can find a place for in my toolbox/artbin. Accurate
    skin tones, color fidelity and or finest grain don't necessarily rank
    high with me. I also like films that will fit my work process or have
    requirements that I can accommodate.


    I don't have the same requirements as most. I would think I might be
    more of an aberration than anything else. Meanwhile, I do my own film
    processing and enlargements and I can't imagine having anyone else doing
    it for me. Enlargements for obvious reasons, but even film processing
    is personal. Who besides the photographer can decide if the next batch
    of film requires an extra half or two thirds of a stop? I don't tray process
    so I could go a step further at least with my B&W. I also prefer larger
    prints so how the film holds together or how gracefully it falls apart
    are important to me.


    &nbsp;</td>
    </tr>
    <tr bgcolor="#CCCCCC">
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Film</font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Description</font></td>
    <td align="center" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Example</font></td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Kodak
    160T
    </font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">This is an older emulsion with relatively large
    grain. I cross process it and use it for high contrast situations where
    there is strong colours or when I want a touch of punch to a low contrast
    situation. The grain has an almost velveteen texture when enlarged. I rate
    it at 100 with no filtration. It is a great film for night shots with strong
    manmade light sources (such as neon and sodium vapor). It has very, very
    good reciprocity characteristics. This film has the longest latitude of
    all the films I've crossprocessed whilst still providing some punch. It
    suffers from very little colour cross over as a crossprocessed material.</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">100SW</font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">I cross process this film, rate it at 80 to
    100 and filter it with a 30 cc Magenta filter. This film (along with its
    brethren S, and SV) produces a neg with a strong green cast, has wonderful
    punch, good reciprocity characteristics and I would guess about 6 stops
    of latitude. The palette is very plastic in appearance, but can be unmanageable
    if not filtered when shooting. The filtration also subdues the contrast.
    Color crossover occurs with the shadows going magenta and mid tones going
    green.</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">EPP</font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">I cross process and on occasion strait processes
    this stuff. Cross processed the shadows go blue and the highlights yellow.
    It has a very narrow latitude and some of the greatest punch of any of the
    crossprocessed E6 materials I've tried. It is great for broad daylight/mid
    day light street photography. When I need a little less contrast but desire
    similar punch and crossover I use EPN. I shoot it unfiltered and generally
    don't use it were reciprocity failure will be an issue. I rate this film
    60 -80 and on occasion shoot it with a tung filter to tame the yellows</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Portra
    160nc
    </font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">The palette of this film is like an oil painting.
    It can take an urban setting and really enhance the browns and greys it
    also has excellent reciprocity characteristics. Nothing I've used can truly
    capture the dinginess of an overcast Detroit night sky like this film. Oddly,
    I find it's palette too muted for people</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Portra
    100T
    </font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">This is my favorite tung balanced film. It has
    great latitude, is reasonably punchy, excellent reciprocity characteristics.
    It is the film I use when I wish to manage mixed lighting. I shoot it unfiltered
    and rate it just under 100.</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Agfa
    Ultra 50
    </font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">I realize this film is no longer made, but I
    have 20 or so rolls left. It needs to be shot right on the money much like
    a tranie, has so so reciprocity characteristics and will block-up (everywhere)
    if over exposed. The palette just screams and what it does for midday sky's
    is unequaled. I rate it from 50 to 100.</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Fuji
    Velvia
    </font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">This is, in my opinion, the best of the Fuji
    materials for cross processing. All fuji reversal materials when crossprocessed
    have a nearly uncorrectable (either when shooting or at the enlarger) limegreen
    cast - purple on the neg. Velvia is the most manageable of the three. I
    like to use this film for shooting flesh/people. By the time you've tamed
    the cast the midtones (read: flesh) really warms up. Oddly the latitude
    of the film, when crossed, is wider than provia or astia. The reciprocity
    characteristics suck making it suitable for studio or sunny days only. I
    rate the film at 40 and will sometimes use either a magenta or a blue cc
    filter.</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">&nbsp;</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">64T</font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">This film, along with its 160T variant, can
    be fun to use. They have good reciprocity characteristics, great punch and
    contrast. The downside is they both suffer from a very strong cyan cast
    (when crossed). I shoot it with a red cc filter at 64 (and ~120 for the
    160). I have found this film to be the perfect match for metal objects (as
    in cars). The palette complements the metal and the contrast enhances the
    metal and chrome's reflective nature.</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Reala</font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">This is the leading candidate for replacing
    Agfa Ultra. It has a strong palette very fine grain and extremely wide latitude.
    It is a bit flat and I believe benefits from overexposure. I use it for
    night shots under mixed lighting and rate it at no more than 50.</td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    <tr>
    <td align="left" valign="top"><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">NPC</font></td>
    <td align="left" valign="top">I have come late to this film. I have been so
    theroughly unimpressed with NPL and NPS, that I figured this film was no
    different. I was very wrong. I haven't shot enough of it to give a good
    report, but it appears to be everything PortraVC claimed to be. Great contrast,
    very good punch and very easy to use. My early assessment is that the reciprocity
    characteristics seem to be good and that it should be rated about 100. </td>
    <td align="center" valign="top">[​IMG]</td>
    </tr>
    </table>
     
  16. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    Good to see that I'm not the only person who only uses one or two films to "do all"! Now, Mr. Callow, what about the B&W's?
     
  17. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Mar 16 2003, 10:11 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Good to see that I'm not the only person who only uses one or two films to "do all"! Now, Mr. Callow, what about the B&W's?</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    This was to be a colour thread, but since you asked. I like tri-x probably the best followed by Plus-x and fp4+. these latter two I have grown to like simply because I was given a large quantity of it. I have also enjoyed techpan and HIE, but haven't shot enough of it . Many of my photography friends think Tmax is top dog and I really like the look of a TMax neg, but don't generally like the prints. I have some 50 speed illford Pan F in the freezer I'm looking forward to trying and I have some SXX which I'm in the midst of testing. The SXX may wind up replacing tri-x as my personal top dog -- Probably about the time I shoot my last sheet.