Why not take a break from color and shoot some black and white?
Why not take a break from color and shoot some black and white?
Slide film has a much higher dynamic range, which is also good for scanning-printing, because you can adjust the photo for print much better. That's why slide film used to be the reference material of pros in the old days. Exposure has to be precise, because the material can transfer precisely what you want and most light meters can do that. Negative film is less sensitive to exposure errors, which also means that it cannot transfer everything right. after scanning the colors come out perfect and saturated, because there is no conversion required. I use Provia 100 and that works great for my Nikon coolscan as well as for the reflecta MF5000. Adjustments one has to make depend on the paper you want to print on and not so much on the film. I will always prefer slide over negative. I have not much experience with high ISO films, but grain is mostly visible on the monitor and not so much on the print. I had scans (b&w), with strong moiree from the scanner, but there wasn't any visible on the print!
I respectfully disagree with your statement of slide film has much higher dynamic range. While I do love the sharpness of slides and how how they glow on your light box, color neg has higher dynamic range. When I shot for commercial clients, I don't know how many Polaroids I shot to make sure that I filled in shadows enough and gobo'd off the highlights to make sure that they aren't blown out. Pros shot chromes because art directors like to see positives for color balance and it's much easier to view without proofing. If you over expose highlights on color neg film, there's still data. Highlights are denser if you over expose them. If you over expose highlights on slide film, no data for scanning. Correct me if I'm wrong.
What graubär means, probably, is that slide film itself - the product - has a higher density range than negative film. The higher dynamic range of the negative film is actually "compressed" in a shorter density range on film. That makes scanning easier (any scanner has a dynamic range sufficient to record the entire density range of a colour negative, not many scanners have the density range sufficient to record the entire density range of a slide frame) but than one must, so to speak, "uncompress" again this density range.
Also, the nature of the scanning process is such that scanning of a negative frame shows the noise mostly in the highlight region (where it is more disturbing) while scanning of slides shows the noise mostly in the shadows region, where it is less disturbing. It is also my experience that scans of slides look much more natural and convincing than scans of negatives, on screen.
White balancing of scans from slides is also much simpler than white balancing of scans from negatives. White balancing of a scan from a negative can be very (very) tricky if one doesn't use a proper colour-managed workflow. Negative film in theory should give higher colour precision but that is true only when a proper colour-managed workflow is used, both in an analogue workflow and in an hybrid workflow.
Unfortunately the original poster is no longer part of this thread, so for the sake of other readers Ill state my experience.
1) slide film scans MUCH better than negative film in all respects - , far less grain, sharper, and better colors. Negative film is not even close in any of these respects
2) if you have an in camera multisegment or matrix meter, metering is not an issue. Even a simple Olympus stylus epic point and shoot handles slide film perfectly.
3) slide film captures less dynamic range in the scene, so in bad high contrast lighting when you should not be shooting anyways, it can have more issues than negative film.
4)slide film captures less total scene dynamic range, but the resulting image on film has much higher dynamic range than negative film, so it generally looks better.
5)be careful with flash on older cameras that don't have ttl flash metering if using slide film, until you know how your camera will react. Back to the stylus epic example, it doesn't have title flash, instead it measures distance at focus, sets flash output accordingly, and if subject moves closer after focus, the resulting flash shot will be over exposed. If no movement closer, still comes out perfect though....
6)if you have never even tried slide film, you need to shoot it at least once, and be prepared to be impressed, no, blown away by the results shot in good lighting....
Many good points here. With C41 at least you have options - darkroom enlargement or scan, but with E6 slide there's not much. Both films have their usable fields. For landscape I just love slide films, for people I shoot color negatives.
Now, when the mighty Cibachrome is gone, the bottom line is how you scan your slides.
I always got goosebumps when looking my slides against the light table, but most shooters I know aren't mostly satisfied with the scans viewing them through the computer. It's nowehere near as good as viewing them with your own eyes.
Widely used consumer and prosumer scanners just don't take the "juice" out of them and if you want to score anywhere near only the very good prosumer scanners do with VERY good operator, or if you want the "real thing", only the high-end scanners with a skilled operator will do the trick IMO.
The best way to scan your slides is by way of a fluid-mounted drum scan. In my flickr travels, I've come across a couple of guys with their own ton-and-a-half drum scanners (possible exaggeration). The only downside is the cost. Otherwise, if you like the look and feel of film, it's the only thing second to viewing the original slides with your own eyes.
Drum scan and colourimetrics + high end printer (not ink jet) will give you just devo prints from either tranny or negs, but negs are inherently sharper and will enlarge much easier with less USM required (unsharp masking). You must have a well-exposed tranny/neg before starting (critically with tranny film); anything like dark shadows or blown highlights will be picked up by the scanner and cannot be corrected: "blows" and "blocks" are literally final, so spot meter sensitive films (like RVP, RDP3 etc.). There is typically an 0.3 to 0.5 stop loss of light in the end print so images slightly over-exposed often scan the best, but it's quite a balancing act. .
Trannies illuminated on a lightbox are a tour de force and the best way to knock the sox off clients coming in for stickybeak, that's for sure. But don't discount at all how well that beauty translates into a finished print, on the right media under the right viewing conditions (e.g. framed, under spots). There is a lot of skill involved in scanning and carrying through the beauty to print stage and it cannot be rushed.