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  1. #1
    John Bragg's Avatar
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    Favorite Portrait Recipes: Camera/Film/Dev Etc,

    What is your ideal recipe for a portrait ? Choose your camera, lighting, film stock, development and any other variable in the equation... I like "simple" and tend to use Leica M6 and available light with 400 iso film (Tri-X or Neopan) @ Ei 200 in HC-110 1:63 or Rodinal 1:50. My brain is hard wired for black and white and this combination does it for me. How about you ???


  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    When I shot portraits commercially back in the early 70's I always used FP4 in ID-11, using natural light and a Pentax Spotmatic F or Mamiya C33. The ID-11 was replenished which gives results more like using it at 1+2 or 1+3. In low light I used HP5 but only if I really needed to.

    Shooting rock bands, on the odd occasion where I shoot film I generally use Tmax100, sometimes 400 and process in Xtol, again replenished, although more recently I've started processing nearly all my films in Pyrocat HD.

    Ian

  3. #3

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    This week my favourite combination was

    Penatx 67
    Tri-X 400
    skylight & open shade
    Xtol 1:2
    Leitz IIC
    vintage Oriental warm tone grade 2
    Dektol

  4. #4
    Kvistgaard's Avatar
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    Camera: The best I can afford :-)
    Lens: 85 mm (that's 85 mm on a 35 mm camera, not MF)
    Consumables: I've had great results with Tri-x rated at 320, developed in xtol.
    Natural light, preferably. Otherwise a single 500w flash unit with a 60x80 (i think it is) softbox
    S°ren

    "We are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than think our way into a new way of acting." - R. Pascale

  5. #5
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    What is your ideal recipe for a portrait ?

    It is usually an intuitive choice,
    made at the last moment. not impulsive,
    mind you, but having to do with how I feel about the subjects,
    the conditions, all that.

    My normal lunch is an apple and a bit of cheddar.
    I suppose the photo corollary would be a Nikon F & 85/1.8,
    APX 100 or TMY depending on the moment, or the light.
    Xtol/Rodinal/Edwal12, depending on the .... feel.

    It's ALWAYS an intuitive choice.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  6. #6
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    If we're not restricting this thread to 35mm, my favorite combination is Fomapan 200 (aka Arista.EDU Ultra 200), shot at 100, in 5x7 sheet film. Process in Pyrocat HD 1:1:100. I shoot an old Century Master studio camera with a 14" Seneca Whole Plate Portrait (aka Wollensak Vesta). Print in platinum/palladium.

  7. #7

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    In 35mm I've been practicing with an 85mm Jupiter-9 M42-mount lens (it's a Sonnar clone from the former Soviet Union), mounted to either a Bessaflex M42-mount camera, or more recently a k-mount ME Super with an adapter (the aperture-priority of the latter makes balancing fill flash, if required, a bit easier for me).

    I normally use Kodak BW400CN for this - I've found it holds detail very well - very hard to blow out highlights even if fairly close up with a flash. Also the B&W "creaminess" works quite well for many people, especially female subjects and children.

    Recently I acquired a Mamiya C330 with 80mm and 180mm lenses. Last weekend I was experimenting with performance portraits using the 180mm lens and XP2 (locally BW400CN in 120 isn't a big seller, I'm told, so it's not readily available). The film is out for processing - I'm very curious to see the results.

    Overall, I'm still in what I would consider an experimentation stage - I had a local part-time pro look at what I've done, and his main criticism was that often I don't get the subject's eyes perfectly in focus, which can be distracting in a portrait - while I prefer shallow DOF he suggested a minimum of f/8 is usually "safe". I've been trying to perfect that, I guess practice makes perfect

    Also I've acquired a whole lot of Tri-X in 35mm and 120, so I'm probably going to try more portraits using that, as well...
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

  8. #8
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    85mm Jupiter-9 M42

    A lovely, lovely lens.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    80, 85, 90, 100, or 105 at F.4.0 in 35mm
    FP-4 @ EI of 64, souped in replenished D-23
    Open shade or bright natural room light
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  10. #10

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    Kowa 66 with 150mm 3.5 lens, northern exposure natual light, Trix professional developed in Polydal, I still have 5 or 6 cans, printed on Salvich Warm tone paper developed in Zonal Pro Warmtone developer.

    Alternative would be Mamyia Uinveral with 150mm 5.6 lens. Same film and paper.

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