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  1. #1

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    Film for skin tone

    Hi all, what are your recommendations and experiences in choosing a mf b&w film for shooting portraits whether it's outdoors or inside with flash and how a particular film may affect skin tone. As for filters please give your opinion on this also.
    I'm looking to add handmade b&w prints to my portrait bookings, is there an interest for this type of work?
    Last edited by rufusm; 09-26-2010 at 10:45 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    This will likely be the least experienced opinion you'll have, but I like XP2 and other C41 BW films for this sort of thing, very fine grain, easy to scan if you're into that, and just very pleasing and smooth.

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    If you really want to do it with film, any of the currently-available films will do, but none of your clients will know the difference between a digital B&W and a film one. They care zero about the media used, only the result.
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  4. #4
    Rolleijoe's Avatar
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    Ilford XP2-Super is an excellent choice for portraits. Also HP5+ and FP4+. Ilford has always been known as an especially perfect skin film. It seems to hide blemishes very well, with it's smoothness. Each of the 3 mentioned has a slightly different look. Try them all, and decide for yourself. Although XP2-Super uses dyes which WILL fade over time. So keep that in mind. Good luck.
    If the lens doesn't read "ZEISS", then it just isn't.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the feedback all.

    thegman: I've used the C-41 b&w and they are fine films but not what I was looking for. There are wedding and portrait photographers using these with success but I'm after the grain and tones available in traditional b&w. As for scanning, I scan prints.

    Wolfeye: That's unfortunate, sign of the times I suppose. Good thing I can run around the digital playground well enough.

    Rolleijoe: Ilford it is, although I will test T-Max as it is very sharp and I don't like the Delta's.

  6. #6
    Rolleijoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rufusm View Post
    Thanks for the feedback all.

    Rolleijoe: Ilford it is, although I will test T-Max as it is very sharp and I don't like the Delta's.
    HP5+ and FP4+ are not Deltas (I don't care for those either). They are traditional b&w films, with exceptional skin tones. They run rings around T-Mud from Kodak.

    Let me know how it goes.
    If the lens doesn't read "ZEISS", then it just isn't.

  7. #7

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    With any film lighting will be the key. I've used Delta 400 with excellent results. Everyone has their favorites, try several to see which one works best for you.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolleijoe View Post
    HP5+ and FP4+ are not Deltas (I don't care for those either). They are traditional b&w films, with exceptional skin tones. They run rings around T-Mud from Kodak.
    In your humble opinion, of course?

    TMax 400 is my favorite portrait film, because it's the one I know the best.
    It's about as far from 'muddy' as I can get with a film, and I think you are misrepresenting Kodak TMax films with your statement. It's sharper than either FP4 or HP5, has finer grain, and better resolution.
    To me, none of that really matters. I just love how the film looks. Five pictures attached. Four of them are TMax 400. Four 120 and one 35mm. Not easy to tell which is which; the prints are even more difficult. Treated differently for different lighting situations and desired results.

    I always advocate to learn one or two films and learn to use them well. Explore all possibilities with it, and once you get to that stage, you will be much better equipped than switching films for certain effects, be it skin tones or anything else.

    I don't know much about filters. I never use them.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2010-02-02_08.jpg   2009-10-11-12_sm_410302.jpg   2009-10-01_26.jpg   100901-05.jpg   2010-02-64_01w_199059.jpg  

    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

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    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolleijoe View Post
    HP5+ and FP4+ are not Deltas (I don't care for those either). They are traditional b&w films, with exceptional skin tones. They run rings around T-Mud from Kodak.

    Let me know how it goes.
    Yesterday I picked up 5 rolls of HP5+ in 120, from what you are saying I should be pleased with the results.
    T-Mud eh? I've ran a roll of 400 through Ilfosol 3 and I was impressed with the sharpness and tones but I also like the pleasing grain in traditional b&w.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I always advocate to learn one or two films and learn to use them well. Explore all possibilities with it, and once you get to that stage, you will be much better equipped than switching films for certain effects, be it skin tones or anything else.
    Of late I have settled on HP5+ and T-Max 400 so your statement rings true for me. As for exploring (testing) these films further I will run them through D-76/ID11 and decide then. One film/developer I suppose is what I'm really after.
    Very nice examples btw.

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