Slides vs Negatives
I'm at crossroads at the moment.
The pro labs around here now create digital files of colour slides and negatives for printing. Since they create digital files anyway I was thinking I could use slide film for my colour portraits that I do rather than film. I love my Blad and using slide film (NPH400) 120mm with my own children I'm happy to say I love the results I'm getting.
What are your thoughts on colour slides vs film?
What are your thoughts on scanned prints rather than machine prints?
Thanks and kind regards, Nicole
I've done a little colour portrait photography and found Fuji Astia slide film to be very nice material indeed. The colours were punchy enough and it still did an outstanding job on the skin tones. I'd prefer it to a C41 emulsion like Reala.
As far as obtaining prints from transparencies, I'm not the best person to advise you there...
The destination is important, but so is the journey
Nicole, I think you have an interesting decision to make here. If it is mostly portraits, there are some wonderful print films out there for skin tones. Fuji NPS 160 (I think that's right) is very nice for color and tonality when you want an honest rendering of skin and surroundings. For landscapes, I still like a saturated slide film (E100vs, Velvia, etc.), but color here in the desert can be very muted at times, so the extra punch isn't too garish.
Digital prints are here to stay. Use the best your lab has to offer and find a good printer who understands and is sympathetic to your method of work. tim
P.S. If it aint broke, don't fix it?
This will be interesting. I use mostly slides as I like to throw my photos up on the screen in the studio and watch them BIG.
I don't know if negatives scan better than slides. I get nice scans with slides at home and use slides for all work where I need to digitalize as scanning is great. But whether negatives holds more or less info than slides I don't know, but I look forward to learn more about it.
The main thing to me is that the end result satisfies you. Try shoot a roll of your favourite slide film and a roll of your favorite negative film shooting the same things on both films and get prints from both film for evaluation.
Thanks for yet another good question here.
Transparency vs. Negative ...
Each has its own particular flavor. Transparencies TEND (not always) to be a little too intense for portraiture in my opinion... but as far as digital prints go, there is enough modification ability to minimize any such differences.
"Wet" prints from transparencies CAN be VERY good - certainly equal to those from negative film, but that DOES take more care - either from an internegative (there is a GREAT difference between Internegative film and the run of the mill "standard Daylight CN) or a direct positive.
"Wet" vs, "Digital" prints? Again, I've seen some truly worthy "Fine Art Prints" produced digitally... but none that did not take a LOT of time, effort, and skill.
"Equal to wet prints?". Some come close, but I really don't think so.
At the top of the scale, after all the dust has settled, I think the wet print STILL holds a definite edge, in terms of quality and aesthetic "feel".
Again, it depends on the end experiencer. Most "Professional Portraiture" is NOT "at the top of the scale", and the end users are perfectly satisfied with the results.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
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hi nicole -
i think slides are great but my exposure + processing is not always "right on" so i tend to use a film that is more forgiving.
Colour negative film has a much wider exposure latitude than colour slide film - it has a very long straight section of the H&D curve. This means that some films have thirteen stops of usable range, most of it above the midtones. If I dare say it here, digital can utilise the full range of film more easily than wet printing because of the ease with which contrast can be varied, and your digital printer may be capable of a producing a greater density range and colour gamut than your wet printer - it all depends...
You may have very few situations in which there is that kind of scene brightness range, but it is there when you need it.
Perhaps a less obvious use for this range is the ability to cope with different colour temperatures of light without using a filter. Just 'overexpose' a stop or two and all three layers can contain the normal scene brightness range within the straight line section. If you expose daylight slide film in tungsten illumination, for example, you often have the choice of losing blue shadow detail or red highlight detail.
PS Doesn't the 'digital or traditional' part of this question belong in the Gray Area? It seems inappropriate to discuss that fully here.
Last edited by Helen B; 08-25-2005 at 12:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I was always told that neg film has greater latitude verses Chrome film. Fir my abstracts and nature work I use trans and for people its negs. But, I also like to switch them and get interesting results as well ie Fuji Velvia on a model who is in deep shadows. The warmth of the film contasts nicely with the coolness of the shadows.
I would also suggest you read Charles Cramers article in latest issue of "View Camera" magazine.
Best thing to do is explore and then stick with what you prefer.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit"
My opinion is that for a wet print it is easier to get a decent portrait with negative films. I find I have a much easier time scanning slides however. Astia (buy Sensia in 35mm to save $) is a great slide film for portraits. But, I think your choice will come down to what works best with the lab's equipment. Or you could setup a color darkroom for not much money and print them yourself (my choice). A used enlarger and Printo processor and won't set you back more than $500 if you shop around (in the US).
Colour neg would seem to have a lot to offer over transparency. I am looking at using it more commonly when Velvia 50 finally beomes unavailable; due to the poor results Velvia 100 produced in my tests. I am not enamoured with the palette of Velvia 100f which is almost opposite to that of Velvia 100 when shooting Dawn/Dusk skies. The former omits the red/magenta, the latter producing images seemingly from another planet.
There are several reasons why I am looking at moving in this direction (please keep off your A vs D Soapboxes, I am aiming to discuss the merits of film!):
1. It should have a lower grain than the transparency from the RMS figures, but I haven't yet managed to set the scanner up in a way which produces these results. It must be possible because the bulk of the Imacon presets are for colour neg emulsions and the since film type is widely used.
2. The better exposure latitude offered by colour neg should mean that for static scenes only one sheet of film is needed. The extended range offers the ability to shoot scenes where contrast cannot be controlled through the use of ND grad filters. This has proved to be a great get out of jail card and offers ability to shoot scenes that previously I would have had to leave unphotographed. Once I have sorted the scanning, then they will become avialable to me. I am determined to crack this!
3. The colour palette is very flexible and indeed tonal range can be carefully controlled as can Saturation and Hue. The problem for me here is the lack of a benchmark which a vibrant tranny on a lightbox neatly provides.
4. I am looking to start doing my own processing and do not relish having to do 1/3 and 1/2 stop push processing!
5. The other benefit would be conversion to B+W once scanned and digitised. Although I really love Acros in PMK.
Currently I have no ability to 'read' a colour neg on the lightbox, other than check focus and basic composition, but am aiming to improve on this. I have been using Quickload Fuji NPS but am going to try the replacement when it becomes available which has been designed to offer lower grain and better scanning characteristics.