120 Neg Film for Portraits?
I am looking for recommendations for a 120 colour negative film to provide good skin tones on portraits of Caucasian skin, well I should say pale Irish skin , taken in a studio and RA4 printed.
I have been using Reala and it looks fine to me but I haven't compared it to any other films so I would like to try some.
I did a quick search but didn't find any recent discussions on this subject except for a current thread about colour film with fine grain which has turned into a argument so I didnít want to add to it and my question is a bit different anyway.
I love Kodak Portra 400NC. Renders skin tones beautifully.
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Another one to try if its not too slow is FUJI PRO 160S. I had some of this in my car on Sunday, I could have given you a role or two to try:-(
Thanks guys. Yes Martin I heard a lot of people recommend 160S so its one I'll have to try.
I was in talking with Louise Gunn about a suitable film for colour prints / scans from a wedding and she said thatFuji 160S is the business.
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IMO, you are already using the best of the best...and it is also the cheapest.
Also IMO, any 120 color neg film manufactured by a major company will be able to provide good-looking skin, if your lighting and preparation craft good-looking skin. Yes, I even mean Superia 100 and 400, which are "drugstore" emulsions.
These things being said, I would start by experimenting with Portra 160NC, Portra 160VC, Pro 160S, and Pro 160C. The Portras are by Kodak and the Pros are by Fuji. VC and C are the more saturated versions, and NC and S are the less saturated versions. Any of these could work quite well for a portrait, depending on what you want. When first using them, try to shoot the same subject on all four types if you can...and on Reala and Superia 100 as well. It will let you make comparisons of all six 100-speed 120 color neg films. Heck...why not shoot a roll of Rollei Digibase as well (though it might be tough to make RA prints from it)?
If in doubt, go for Reala, NC, or S. It is easier to add saturation and contrast than it is to reduce them.
Last edited by 2F/2F; 12-09-2009 at 10:11 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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The Fuji Pro 160C, I find, renders everything with a vile green cast. This is true across emulsion lots and processing sessions, so I think it's intrinsic to the film. The 160S is fabulous, as are the Portra NC's, for portraiture.
But I like 2F/2F's suggestion: try them. If I were grabbing one film for portraits in good light/studio, FC 160S. In other conditions, FC 400H or Portra 400NC. They are all splendid; matter of taste. I find the Fuji films more "neutral" in their rendition, with less "personality" than either variety of Portra. They also seem better able to handle a wider range of lighting conditions, from early morning/late day "warm" light to harsher overhead bright stuff to overcast diffuse gray conditions.
From "ra4 printing" alone I would tend towards Kodak films because I trust their papers and I trust that their films will work with their papers. 160VC is very good.
For skin tones I like Portra 160NC.
Either Fuji 160 S or Kodak 160 NC. Amazing, wonderful.