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  1. #1

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    New to the world of color. Help.

    I got into shooting film just about a year ago. I've only been shooting black and white up to this point. But I've been thinking more and more about grabbing a few rolls of color film and seeing how it goes. I had been shooting digitally with color previously for a year or so. But since then, my shooting style has changed quite dramatically and I'm curious as to how that style will translate over to color.

    Here's my problem: I know nothing about color film. The last time I bought color film, I was about 10 years-old and shooting with a point and shoot. Are there any reccomendations for a specific film? I'm shooting 35mm and my preferred subject matter is urban/industrial. Not much nature stuff and no people whatsoever.

    Also, any basic pointers on the differences between shooting black and white versus shooting color? I seem to remember reading that color is nowhere near as forgiving when it comes to exposure? <--- See, that's the level of my color knowledge.

    Thanks for any help anyone can throw my way.
    Richard

    siorai.com

  2. #2
    naturephoto1's Avatar
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    Hi Richard,

    If you will be shooting color it will be less forgiving than B&W. If you are going to shoot color transparency film it will be far less forgiving. Most color transparency films can only be expected to comfortably (or almost comfortably) record 3 1/2 to 4 stops. Let us know if you plan on shooting color negative of color transparency film so that we can provide more guidance.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  3. #3

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    Ahh yes, forgot about that. I won't be developing or printing the color work myself, so I would think that slides would be easier? At least from the point of taking them to a lab to be printed in that I would only need to take the exact slides I want instead of whole strips of negs?
    Richard

    siorai.com

  4. #4
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Prints from slides, in general, are a lot less satisfactory than those made from negatives. Negatives were designed for printing, but slides were not. That is the short answer to a long technical description.

    So, if you want prints, use negative film for the best results.

    PE

  5. #5
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    Hi Richard:

    I like your Black and White work and expect I'll like your colour print work as well.

    I don't know that I would necessarily recommend starting with slides, if your goal is to make prints. If you intend to project the slides, my advice would change.

    What I would recommend is being sure that you deal with a good lab.

    I have had good success, over many years, with ABC Photocolour, on 4th.

    G King Photo (no relation) off Cambie also has served the professional photographer market well over the years.

    I would suggest you try some colour print film first, because I think you will find that your Black and White experience with issues like metering will more easily transfer. If you deal with a good lab, they will be able to provide both good work, and technical feedback.

    Once you have some colour negative experience, you may decide to try transparency film too, but I think you will find it requires a significantly different approach. OTOH, you may also find that your experience with colour digital may help you somewhat, given the similarities between digital capture and transparency film (narrow latitude). I guarantee, however, that if you have never shot and then projected a colour transparency, the first time you do, you will be blown away by the result.

    The handling of negatives is much the same for colour and for Black and White - your lab will happily tell you how best to deal with them.

    Hope this helps. If you have any questions that my local knowledge (or any other knowledge I might have) might assist with, don't hesitate to ask.

    Matt
    Last edited by MattKing; 10-18-2006 at 05:28 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: realized 1 question had already been answered

  6. #6

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    Test test test

    No one can tell you what will work with your vision.

    You simple need to buy a selection of color films and try them out.

    You're the ultimate critic of what works.

  7. #7
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Prints from slides, in general, are a lot less satisfactory than those made from negatives. Negatives were designed for printing, but slides were not. That is the short answer to a long technical description.

    So, if you want prints, use negative film for the best results.

    PE


    Quote Originally Posted by Pinholemaster View Post
    Test test test

    No one can tell you what will work with your vision.

    You simple need to buy a selection of color films and try them out.

    You're the ultimate critic of what works.
    Hi,

    I am in somewhat of an opposite position as you in that for many years I only shot color and much more recently have been adding B&W to the mix. More on that in a bit.

    I started years ago with slide (chrome) film and, as PE notes, it is NOT the preferred format if you ultimately want prints. To my way of thinking, chrome film should be reserved mainly when you prefer to view your work in a "projected" mode. And, while I still once in a while pull out the old Kodak Carousel Slide Projector - it's less and less often.

    If you want prints, then print film is the way to go. Now, if like me you're willing to sell your soul and be a "hybrid" then you can scan your negs to identify which ones are "worthy" of being printed and bring that negative in for printing (or, DIY). But, if after doing this for a year or so your spouse starts to complain "Where are the pictures!" then you also have the option of having the developing lab make a set of prints etc.

    Now, as Pinholemaster so aptly puts it - you have to try different films and in different circumstances. There's a reason for the wide array of choices out there. And of course, some film will work better in some circumstances than others and vice versa etc.

    Now as to training your "eye", I think that shooting color is very different from shooting B&W. Partly because color is a "dazzling" experience to the eye - so you have to discipline yourself to pay attention a lot of attention to framing and composition and not just let the "colorfulness" overwhelm your shot.

    I actually think that since you are first and foremost a B&W shooter this will be less of a problem than going the other way. I am now paying much more attention to texture and grey scale tonality - literally training my mind's eye to "see" in B&W rather than be "distracted" or "dazzled" by the color.

    But most of all, rememer, this is supposed to be fun. Grab some inexpensive color film this weekend and just shoot to get "used" to how to "see". Then, as Pinholemaster says, "test, test, test" to see which films "work" for you under what circumstances.

    Good luck and have fun!

  8. #8
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    I'm out of the mainstream again...

    I really do not see a great difference in the *exposure* latitude of transparency film, compared to color negative. From my experience, the exposure error is more noticeable when projected than when printed. I have had fairly ... make that DAMN good results printing transparencies to "direct positive" color papers .. Cibachrome (later, Ilfochrome) as well as Kodak's and Fuji.

    I have seen truly *outstanding* work on Cibachrome.

    Another method is to make an "internegative" from the transparency. *IF* this is done properly, that is, exposing the transparency to INTERNEGATIVE film, the results *can* come close to Cibachrome. The trouble is that many labs use off-the shelf color negative film, either "daylight" or "tungsten" balanced in place of the internegative film... and I've never seen acceptable results from that shortcut.

    BTW ... Internegatives, even the crappy ones, are *expensive*!! ... usually on the order of $10 to $15 EACH.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  9. #9
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    I agree with Copake ham. Ed, having designed color negative films, I can show how reversal films lose detail when printed and it is the same reason that reversal films are not used in motion picture production. They do not dupe well due to the physics and math of the system (reversal - reversal). The work on Cibachrome may be outstanding, but does it match the original color? Detail across the tone scale? No, it does not due to 'image compression'.

    Negative films have huge latitude. A 160 film makes good prints from 25 - 400 or beyond. See my posts on that on APUG and Photo Net.

    PE

  10. #10

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    Another point to consider: It sounds like you're relying on others to make prints for you at the moment. Most commercial photofinishers have gone digital, so they'll make digital prints from scans of your slides or negatives. This means that prints should cost exactly the same for either type of medium, but of course a retailer might try to gouge for one (probably slides) just because they can.

    If and when you start making your own prints in a traditional darkroom, or if you go to a shop that does traditional (non-digital) prints, you'll find that prints from negatives are less expensive than prints from slides. Ilfochrome is the only remaining official method of making color prints from slides, and Ilfochrome materials are expensive compared to the RA-4 materials used to make prints from negatives. Of course, if you've got money to burn this isn't an issue, but if you're anything short of independently wealthy it should at least go into the equation.

    If you rely on commercial photofinishers to develop your film, you'll find that most photofinishers will have to send out slide film, which can take several days (even over a week), whereas negative film will be done in between an hour and a couple of days. Pro labs are likely to be quicker with slides, and they're also likely to produce better results with both types of film, but they'll also be more expensive than corner drugstores.

    As to film products, Kodak and Fuji are both active in the color arena. Agfa has gone under but some of their products are still for sale. Konica-Minolta is pulling out of the film market but you may still be able to find some of their products available. Both used to sell a lot of film as store brands. Ferrania is the third remaining player in color film. In the US (and I presume also Canada), they sell mostly under store brand labels. Check where the film was made if you buy a store brand: Italy means Ferrania, Germany means Agfa, and Japan means either Fuji or Konica-Minolta. IMHO, Ferrania film is a few years behind Kodak and Fuji film in most technical respects. It tends to be grainier and have less saturated colors. (Some people prefer the more subdued colors, though.) Beyond this, you'll just need to try a few products to see what you prefer.

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