Seeking C41 film with excellent reciprocity characteristics
So, I like the occasional night exposure therefore I like Acros and Provia a lot but E6 soup is kind of expensive and I would like the greater latitude possible with a negative process.
Is there anything in C41 with similarly near-perfect behaviour as those two Fuji emulsions?
If not, has anyone put in the hard yards to determine exposure (and colour) correction factors for any C41 films?
Maybe I'm saying something very incompetent here, but I think this:
With slides, you worry about chromatic deviations, and you carefully read technical sheets, and maybe adopt colour correction filters, because a slide is a positive that you want to use as is.
With colour negatives, colour correction filters will give you only an approximation of correction of the colour deviation due to reciprocity failure, and, being negative, masked etc. you have to filter them in any case.
So I would just experiment with various negative film, and see with which I might obtain good results, without worrying about colour-correcting filters.
Fuji for their Superia 200 gives this aperture compensation table:
4 seconds: 1/3 stop;
16 seconds: 2/3 stop;
64 seconds: 1 stop.
They don't indicate a suggested filtration.
If for "night exposure" you mean lighted artifacts (buildings, monuments, squares etc.) then you should be well within the safe range (no compensation at all) which is up to 2 seconds.
If for "night exposure" you mean moonlight or starlight, then you will probably pass 1 minute exposure. Be careful the moon moves and, in five minutes exposure let's say, the shadow on the object will change. This might give a blurry appearance to the picture as if it were motion blur.
So, even if the advice is stupid, I know, when taking moonlight shots with a tripod you might be better off with a high ISO film (if you care about fine detail, that is).
I shoot MF and LF, so typical apertures are f/11-f/32, given how hard it is to focus at night. That means times of 30-1000s for ISO100ish films before reciprocity-failure correction. While it's possible to filter the C41 after the fact, it's NOT possible if one or more layers fail so much earlier than the others and end up entirely blank. While obviously one can't post-filter Velvia, if a C41 film had the same per-channel failures that Velvia has and you shot it at 1 minute without correction, there would be detail only in green while both the red and blue layers would be blank; no amount of post-filtering will bring back details not recorded in the neg.
Similar reasoning as to why people use blue filters when shooting under tungsten. Sure you can "just shoot" but unless you add two stops of exposure, your blue layer will be blank and no amount of filtering during printing will bring it back. Might as well shoot with the filter, wear the same 2-stop penalty and end up with a reasonably-balanced neg that won't max out the enlarger filtration.
I did some bracketing tests with Portra 160 the other night but they were just a matter of wandering around outside and taking some photos, certainly nothing controlled. I was hoping someone had done the controlled-experiment thing and posted a table of results...
A friend of mine does long exposures at night. Food trucks, etc...
He was really in love with the 160NC from Kodak, but since its been replaced with the Portra 160. He has shot a box or two to compare it with his 160NC(which he bought a case or two, yes, cases(50sht boxes to boot), he's a little more "flush" than I ). So far, he doesn't like the new stuff(Portra 160). For him, it goes cyan after about 30s or so, enough that it makes "proper" color correction very difficult, in both optical printing AND drum scanning.
Fuji has the 160NS(same as 160S) which handles mixed-lighting situations VERY well IMO, and its available as a special-order from Japan. Possibly someone down-unda is able to order some, maybe as a group-type purchase?
Colour shifts aside, portra 160 nc (old) does not seem to suffer from reciprocity-failure easily. Last winter I went to Vegas and tried some night shots. Using standard failure rules, all my film was over exposed. I plan to play some more with it and I would suggest it might be a good start for you.
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Mmh, I've got a side solution, Polyglot. Contax G2, active infra-red beam auto-focusing, f/2.8, ISO 100, down to 2" or so (I know it's not the kind of answer you were expecting, but it could simplify that kind of work a lot).
Konica Centuria Super, even the 3200 speed stuff had no correction out to 10 seconds.. all gone now.. except the lot of 100 speed stuff in 120 I have.
Anyway, just overexpose the C-41, reciprocity failure increases contrast and drops shadows, overexposing will drop contrast and lift shadows, which you cant do on E-6 or you'd get too thin in highlights and mid tones.
Whatchu talking 'bout? E-6 chems is cheap!
Filtering C-41 with 85A in colder light temperatures I've found from limited testing improves saturation when corrected to the same colour balance. I would suggest some kind of filtration would be very handy at night.
I too used to love Konica Centuria Super for long exposures. Grainy but great reciprocity! At present Kodak only recommends you shoot Portra or Ektar up to 1s; after that they just say to "test".
Fuji Reala and 400H say use +1 for up to 16s but still don't recommend really long exposures, up to 64s for Reala.
I used to shoot really long exposures with E200 for astrophotos but haven't done that in a long time now. It was too red sensitive normally but good for astronomy in long exposures. Fujichromes were generally more cyan/blue sensitive at the time for longer exposures.
Bugger. I currently have a lot of new Portra and Ektar, so I guess I'll be using my Provia for the night exposures for a while. I've tried 160NC and really don't like the look; VC was OK. At least I'll get to soup my night-tests on P160 before I leave to see if I have the cyan issue with the 15-60s exposures I used. I tested it 'as metered' and +1.
I've tried a few rolls of 160S and really liked the colour, at least for hybrid processing but I can't tell if my processing is bringing out punch and saturation that wouldn't be present on an RA4 print. I intend to shoot a whole bunch of film on holiday shortly and want to be able to make awesome optical prints when I get back, not just hybrid. For example, 160S vs Ektar, both with CPL - anyone want to tell me if what I'm getting is unrepresentative?
It's a pity that 160C is gone, I suspect I would've liked it. Maybe I'll like Reala.
What is your hybrid process?
I used to use 160S a lot, I understood it was low contrast, low saturation, but when I shot sunset and dusk on it.. much of the colour was not simply low contrast and saturation, but not present at all in the sky, grey/white sky highlights and plain blue skies.
160C is not gone, it's called 160NC, it's just not on B&H etc.