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  1. #1

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    Latitude of colour negative film

    Hey guys,
    I haven't been able to find any solid info on the number of stops one can expect out of colour negative film. I read somewhere that it was between 7-9 stops and elsewhere that it was -2 to +3. I am specifically interested in portra 400nc and 160nc. Can anyone help thanks!!!!

  2. #2
    AlexG's Avatar
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    Direct from the KODAK Darkroom Dataguide 1990 (I don't know how this info holds up today, though.)

    Color neg Film Acceptable Exposure:
    3 stops over
    2 stops over
    1 stop over
    Regular exposure
    1 stop under
    2 stops under


    Transparency Acceptable Exposure:
    2 stops over (very overexposed - possibly unusable image)
    1 stop over (whites are blown out)
    Normal Exposure
    1 stop under (contrasty image)
    2 stops under (very contrasty and dark - possibly unusable image)

  3. #3
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    For both 160nc and 400nc(I use these as well as the VC lines), I've found them to have the standard -2 to +3 latitude. Regrettably color can't be treated the same as b/w, and with the zone system, due to color crossover.

    but the -2 +3 works for me, but I try to get things within a -1 to +2, just so it makes printing, and scanning, easier in the end.

    -Dan


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    Thanks so much for the help!!

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    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    I have posted photo examples made over this range several times on APUG. I hesitate to do it again as it takes up storage space. I suggest that you look up either the direct negative scans or the prints from the negatives. I used Portra VC.

    PE

  6. #6
    hrst's Avatar
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    It's usually said "2 under and 3 over" but that's marketing. 2 under may be usable but it's usually not good at all, but 3 over can be quite good. I would rather say 1 under and 3 over, or 2 under and 5 over.

    Today's films have better highlight linearity and thus overexpose latitude than before.

  7. #7
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    my father used to pull portra 400NC down to ASA 6 when he was shooting glamour and beauty, and those negatives apparently came out beautifully.

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    The best thing you can do is to figure it out yourself. Forget the in-camera metering of the composition that you will be photographing, as it will introduce too many possibilities for error. Unless the composition is a scene that averages out perfectly to a middle grey tonality, your in-camera metered exposure will, quite simply, be wrong. Use an incident meter or a grey card (and open 1/2 stop from the card for your "normal" exposure). Take a bracketed roll, underexposed all to hell through overexposed all the hell, drop it at the drug store, and get automatic 4x6s back. (If you can find a place that still prints 4x6s optically, I'd go that route instead.) The most underexposed neg that still made a decent print is how far under you can be, and the most overexposed neg that still made a decent print is how far over you can be. That is the definition of latitude. If you really meant dynamic range, and not latitude, that is another issue all together.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Lange View Post
    my father used to pull portra 400NC down to ASA 6 when he was shooting glamour and beauty, and those negatives apparently came out beautifully.
    That is not pulling. That is grossly overexposing (six stops). If no changes are made in processing, it is not called "pulling".
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 12-04-2009 at 03:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  10. #10
    David William White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa83 View Post
    Hey guys,
    I haven't been able to find any solid info on the number of stops one can expect out of colour negative film. I read somewhere that it was between 7-9 stops and elsewhere that it was -2 to +3. I am specifically interested in portra 400nc and 160nc. Can anyone help thanks!!!!
    Point of clarification (without arguing the figures quoted):

    The '7-9 stops' is a description of the total range of luminance the film is able to record, from highlights to shadows. The '-2 to +3' is the variance from nominal exposure allowed for respectable, standard prints.
    Considerably AWOL at the present time...

    Archive/Blog: http://davidwilliamwhite.blogspot.com

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