Color negative basics
I am quite new for color negatives. I started to take some test pictures using color negative films about year ago. Before that I did all my color work usin color slides.
With using color slides, it's quite easy to found favorite film or films. You can watch actual picture either at illuminated desk or using projector.
Then you know exactly what you got. If you scan the slide, you can try to tune colors as precise as you want, either similar as original slide have or correct possible color errors.
Now comes the color negative.
So far I don't have possibility to print negatives at darkroom, so I can only develop them by myself and then scan&print using hybrid workflow.
That leads to the question that has been in my head all the time: How should I choose the favorite film?
How will I see the differences between different films? The contrast, the vividness?
These all are things that scanning procedure equalises a much. Not speaking the post processing...
I the darkroom, you can see clearly differences between films in the contrast and color saturation I believe. But how many of color negative shooters will print negatives themself?
So how do you choose your film?
I hear often tips like "Use reala for landscapes", "use portra for portraits", etc.. But when I test these films and scan them, the result at the end is pretty much same.
If you can't see the difference between various colour negative films in the print you've got a bottleneck somewhere in your workflow. A device or a procedure that limits the gamut and simplifies the tonality. As C41 processing is pretty standardized, it must be somewhere in the computer-riddled part of the processing chain, and that is beyond the scope of APUG.
Originally Posted by Usagi
Last edited by phaedrus; 06-06-2009 at 09:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Check with HybridPhoto, http://www.hybridphoto.com/forums/, the sister/brother website for digital and alternative processing. They may be able to help you more with digital side of you processing.
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I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
Yes, thats pretty much what I am guessing. In my current workflow (hybrid), the nuances of the different films will be hidden by scanning etc..
Originally Posted by phaedrus
Just thinking - perhaps some studies with published charasteristic curves of different color negative films would give some hints?
Checking hybridphoto-side about scanning issues and possible solutions.
The color negative is way more difficult than color slide or black and white negatives
Oh my gosh, Color is so much fun! You are in for a treat if you ask me.
Having worked in a professional color lab for 25 year. Makes one understand color a little.
You found your favorite chrome film by comparing results. Well, its the same with C41 film. Do some research on the various films, long exposure, short, warm cast, neutral or cool. Buy some rolls of the film and experiment. Keep notes of what you photographing and what the light was like. Sunny, shade, overcast and morning or evening light.
Have your film processed and compare. Find a lab that you like to use. Ask that they run the film mid run. The chemicals will at its peak. Include a color and black and white scale in your images.
Like you I have been using chrome film and gotten away from neg film. I bought a roll from a friend did some of my usual photography. When the results came back I thought "Wow!", why did I leave in the first place.
The pallet of neg film is softer, more of a water color or pencil drawing. Where chrome is more like a deep oil painting. Both are wonderful but why limit yourself to one form of expression?
I love color and plan to use both in my photography.
Hope this help.
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One colour neg film can look similar to the next as there is process bias and paper bias that can 'normalize' results. Digital prints (found at most labs and 0ne hour places) does the greatest amount homogenization. Papers have their own palette and contrast range and can further sway the final print's appearance causing one neg film to look similar to another. To a lessor degree the tendencies of the darkroom worker can also have an impact. Each colour neg film will have its own identity. This identity will include palette, contrast, reciprocity characteristics as well as how it responds to different light.