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  1. #1

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    Differences between new 4x5 negative & slide films?

    I have never shot color film before in the past, but am interested in starting soon with 4x5. Recently I took time to read through some literature, but most of it was dated. What I gathered was slide film was able to produce very fine images, while negative film had wider exposure latitude. My question is, does this still hold true with the new offerings from Kodak and Fuji?

    Both companies have introduced new color films, and have a saturated version of each, so will these compare in sharpness, grain, and color saturation to slide films?

    Any additional suggestions or comments about starting with color sheet film are welcome also.

    Regards,
    Martin

  2. #2

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    In general, my experience has been, if you are going to make darkroom prints, color negative film stocks are superior, but if you are going to scan your 4x5 and make inkjet prints, then there are some advantages to shooting color transparencies. Many scanners work better in color with transparencies.

  3. #3
    roteague's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with the previous post. Too general in his statements.

    Color negatives are easier to print in the home darkroom, for many people, while printing transparencies take a lot of time, effort and are difficult to do well. However, transparencies are sharper, generally much more saturated in color, and IMO, have a better response to subtle color. You will find that most, although not all, landscape photographer rely on transparency film.

    If you are scanning your images, and scanning doesn't necessarily mean ink jet - you can make fine prints from scanning on RA-4 or Ilfochrome paper (traditional papers) - you will find that transparencies are easier to scan and to work with in Photoshop.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  4. #4
    Helen B's Avatar
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    I use only negative film in 4x5 - and I honestly wonder why anybody would use reversal film if they don't need slides. It is personal preference, of course. Whatever works best for the individual photographer. I think that negative film gives more accurate colours (thanks to the mask), and is easier to print or scan well. Shadow and highlight detail looks better in most cases because you rarely extend the film to the limits of its latitude. You don't need graduated ND filters to cope with high scene brightness range - and there are many cases when an ND grad just can't work. Graininess is so low, and sharpness so high with film like Pro 160S that I don't feel any need for improvement.

    Best,
    Helen

  5. #5

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    It is a little like painters selecting certain types of paints. To me, most negatives films render a flatter look to a scene than I want. My preference is the relatively higher contrast of some transparency films, despite technically having less dynamic range than many negative films. So it comes down to preference in how you want to express your creative vision. My suggestion is to try a couple films of each, then decide which you prefer.

    When showing images to a prospective client, transparencies are easier to work with than negatives. However, the comments about scanning are very general; some scanners and software combinations work better with transparencies. These might be other considerations to make in your choice.

    My two personal choices in transparency films that I use most often in 4x5 are at opposite ends of results. One is Fuji Astia 100F, considered a very subtle colour rendering film. The other is Kodak E100VS, which is considered a highly saturated (especially reds and yellow tones) film. I recommend trying out either, or both.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio

  6. #6
    Baxter Bradford's Avatar
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    There are advantages for both and so I choose depending on the scene and way I want to render it.

    I agree with Helen, the new Pro160S is a lovely film which I find I am using in increasing amounts. The wide brightness range opens up lots of compositional possibilities where use of ND grads and tranny film is impractical. Don't need to shoot more than one sheet for any shot either!

    As Robert indicates there are many ways to make your prints. The reality is that most colour ones now involve a digital stage. On my Flextight scanner, the transparency film and B+W (Acros + HP5+)comes out appearing far less grainy than the colour neg. This I believe is attributable to something called 'grain aliasing'. You can use software to remove this issue which has been induced by the digitising process. Details to be found away from APUG for obvious reasons!

  7. #7
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    Generally it just makes more sense to shoot color negative at that size.

    Transparencies are much more critical of exposure, more difficult to print, and was intended primarily for reproduction (scanned then printed).

    Color negative is more forgiving, and generally easier to print in the traditional method, as well as scanning.

    Far as sharpness and such.... you are shooting 4x5, how big is the destination going to be?
    -Karl Blessing
    Karl Blessing.com
    The Bokeh
    Color Film always existed. It's just the world was always black and white till recently.

  8. #8
    Alex Bishop-Thorpe's Avatar
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    At 4x5, I think the main difference is holding a positive up to the light and being utterly amazed at yourself, really. E-6 is also an easier process than C-41 to do at home from what I have read. But as people have said, it's really a personal preferance. Slide vs. Negatives each have their own supporters, that's why both types remain prominent. I prefer slides for anything larger than 35mm, mostly for my own dumbstuck amusement.
    The Analogue Laboratory, or 'so you built a darkroom in an old factory in the industrial zone'.
    Blog thing!.

    Worry less. Photograph more.

  9. #9
    kb244's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleath View Post
    At 4x5, I think the main difference is holding a positive up to the light and being utterly amazed at yourself, really. E-6 is also an easier process than C-41 to do at home from what I have read. But as people have said, it's really a personal preferance. Slide vs. Negatives each have their own supporters, that's why both types remain prominent. I prefer slides for anything larger than 35mm, mostly for my own dumbstuck amusement.
    Sometimes I just wana take an 8x10 transparency and build a custom frame for it with a built in lighttable on the back.
    -Karl Blessing
    Karl Blessing.com
    The Bokeh
    Color Film always existed. It's just the world was always black and white till recently.

  10. #10
    Baxter Bradford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleath View Post
    At 4x5, I think the main difference is holding a positive up to the light and being utterly amazed at yourself, really. E-6 is also an easier process than C-41 to do at home from what I have read. But as people have said, it's really a personal preferance. Slide vs. Negatives each have their own supporters, that's why both types remain prominent. I prefer slides for anything larger than 35mm, mostly for my own dumbstuck amusement.
    I think you have this the wrong way round.

    The C41 is much easier than E6. The Tetanol kit I use for C-41 is a faster 2 bath process. E-6 can be either 6 or 3 bath. I now use Fuji-Hunt 3 bath and prior to being discontinued, the Fotospeed 3 bath. All makes ought to be similar.

    There are many more experienced and better educated E-6 processors than I on this, but the Second Colour developer stage has to have the correct pH in order to get the colours to render accurately. Thus I end up adding NaOH by syringe each time to get the requisite pH indicated on my digital pH meter. The temperature also needs to be accurate for consistent results. In contrast, the C41 chemicals just get wellied together and bunged in the bottles!

    I do agree that a tranny in the hand, even poorly exposed/processed is far more impressive than a sheet of C41. But first appearances can be deceptive!



 

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