Choice of 35mm colour film for 16 x 12 enlargements
Could anyone suggest which available film to use to continue a long-term project to produce large, framed photographic work to decorate my own home and office. I have material from my photographic "career" already but now want to continue learning and creating images. I've put 16 x 12 in the subject line but this would be a minimum.
I can't make roll film fit my "practice", I'm sad to say. MEANING to go out taking pictures has been my failing, using Rollei, Minox and Voightlander RF has reintroduced me to the the art. I now carry one or other every day.
Don't get me wrong, I covet the roll film folding cameras out there but really, really I must spend more cash and brains on FILM not more equipment...
My subjects are urban landscapes and interiors, usually with people in shot. People pictures per se I prefer to shoot mono. Light conditions can be poor buit I understand the need for camera supports to get sharp images.
Any tips would be appreciated, I'd prefer to standardise on one film or maybe a slow and fast film(if possible). I'm 53 now and really haven't got the time / energy / intelegence to learn a suite of techniques.
Thanks in anticipation, I need to buy film and get shooting!
For enlargements of that size, I suggest Ektar 100 or Portra 160. If you need more speed, Portra 400. So long as Kodak film is being made, I expect these three films will be available. They are popular, have been recently introduced or refreshed, are exceptionally grain-free, and are C41 (which will definitely outlive E6.)
My other camera is a Pentax
hmm. tough with that size requirement and 35mm, but it can be done. what has worked for me is
vevlia 50 or 100, but not for people
provia 100 for people
ilford PanF+ for B&W
those gave me the best size possibilities assuming a real good scan
my Nikon cameras: F5 F4 N90 N80 FA FE2 F D700
At this enlargement you will see the grain, which is often ugly with 400 speed films. I agree with filmamigo - Ektar 100 or Portra 160 would probably work best, the choice depending on the subject.
This is a huge enlargment (about 10X) even for Ektar, so grain might be slightly noticable if you get a
very crisp enlargement. But I'd select the film for its color balance relative to subject matter, rather
than just grain structure. Porta 160 is relatively low contrast and skintone balanced. Ektar is crisper
and more saturated, and not something you'd choose for high school yearbook pictures of kids with
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I enjoy a bit of B&W neg. film work in the landscape context, but I have never been a fan of colour negative film.
Provia for benign grab shots because of its more forgiving contrast and softer palette. This would be especially suitable for the urban landscapes you speak of, where people might be involved and a less alien skin tone is desirable.
Velvia 50 or its more sensitive 100 stablemate deliver in aces and spades, but you must be on its wavelength: it is not a film to be exposed willy-nilly: overacast to soft hazy light is best (pre-light in the morning and evening afterglow, especially, can be magnificent), in enclosed (e.g. forested) areas, a polariser will cut spectrals and provide a stellar image. Expose very carefully, especially in 35mm where a lot of contrast is compressed into a small frame — quite a bit easier in MF/LF manually metered. In any case, an enlargement (hybridised?) of the size you stated may be too big for 35mm, showing up inherent deficiencies in the format (grain, softness).
Yes, equipment is the least of your concern; it's required of course, but need not be flash; first priority is to go out and get a few films of interest as suggested in this thread, run them through on your chosen subjects and decide what fits what, and when (we can't decide that for you!). And take notes as you go along (especially useful when coming to grips with Velvia). Even at 53 (a year older than me), you're never too old a dog to be taught new tricks!!
Canon EOS1N ('Brutus', 1993—), TS-E 24mm f3.5L, 20mm f2.8, 17-40 f4L, 70-200 f2.8L
Pentax 67 ('Pentaximus', 2010—) + SMCP 45mm f4, 55mm f4 & 165mm f4LS;
Zero Image 6x9 multi-format pinhole (2008—); Sekonic L758D;
Olympus XA, Nikon Coolpix P7700
"If you're not having fun, then you're not doing it right!"
Thanks for the tips, more will be read and appreciated.
I'll try some Ekta 100 as a first step, just a single roll to test my new (old) Rollei 35s. I have to put a film though it as it is an ebay purchase, risky but I have to live as well as shoot...
I have been using Portra 160 and doing 8x10 enlargements from 35mm, the ones I have done at that size - cityscapes - are beautiful with lovely neutral colors and almost imperceptible grain. I'll probably do some 11x14's tomorrow. I am a big fan of Portra - I have some Ektar in camera at the moment but haven't printed anything from it yet.
I like Portra 160, really nice film, but don't rule out the 400 speed color films until you give them a really good try.
I use lowly Superia 400 regularly and love it, Portra 400 is in my fridge and really sweet too. They print to 12x18 really quite nicely for me and are easy to shoot. I'll happily shoot 400 speed C41 films from the equivalent of EI 50 to EI 800 if needed but most times I just stick to 400.
The other thing that C41 films have up their sleeves is that extra exposure reduces grain and 2-3 stops of extra exposure is normally a breeze, no film development changes needed just adjust at the enlarger.
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size." Albert Einstein
Bigger isn't always better. Plenty of great art much, much smaller.