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  1. #1
    sterioma's Avatar
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    Which film has a good latitude for indoor window light portraits?

    Hi everybody,

    I am about to explore indoor window light portraits. I need your suggestion for a black and white film which, in my (beginner's) mind should have the following characteristics:
    1. A good latitude to handle the high contrast light
    2. Has a good rendering of skin tones
    3. Possibly, it's not too difficult to scan (I will evaluate the negatives scanning them into my PC)

    There might be other properties of the film which are not coming to my mind right now, and I will appreciate any indication that you might find useful.

    I shoot Nikon MF 35mm and will most probably be using a Nikkor 105/2.5 (maybe also a 50/2).

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by sterioma
    I am about to explore indoor window light portraits. I need your suggestion for a black and white film which, in my (beginner's) mind should have the following characteristics:
    1. A good latitude to handle the high contrast light
    2. Has a good rendering of skin tones
    3. Possibly, it's not too difficult to scan (I will evaluate the negatives scanning them into my PC)

    There might be other properties of the film which are not coming to my mind right now, and I will appreciate any indication that you might find useful.

    I shoot 35mm and will most probably will be using a Nikkor 105/2.5 (maybe also a 50/2).
    I like Tri-X for this type of shots because it's got good tones and is good latitude.
    About scanning this film is ok, but if you plan to print the negs traditionally evaluationg the negs exclusively on the PC isn't good enough though. You need to "read" the negative directly.
    Another good film is HP5 from Ilford.

    Greetings Morten

  3. #3
    sparx's Avatar
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    I have just started trying portraits by natural light. So far i have used FP4 if the light is quite bright which i am very pleased with, HP5 and TMax 400 for handheld . Out of the two 400 films i much prefered the HP5, the tmax being too soft and grainy, this might have something to do with the developer (ID-11) though i'm not sure.
    [size=1]the all new darkplanet photoblog[/size][size=1]
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  4. #4
    sterioma's Avatar
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    Modafoto, Sparx: thank you for your quick answers (and links).

    In my initial post I forgot to mention that I don't to my own BW development, therefore I have no control on the developer (unfortunately!).

    Since I don't expect to have a very bright light, I think 400 makes sense. I haven't tried TriX and HP5, will buy a few rolls and start experimenting. What about the 320 TriX flavour? Is the rating the only difference between the 320 and the 400?


    Quote Originally Posted by modafoto
    You need to "read" the negative directly.
    You mean I should get a table light and a loupe? Or is there any other way to evaluate the negative before scanning/printing?

  5. #5
    gma
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    My personal favorite is Tri-X rated at 250 and developed in Microdol diluted 1:3.

  6. #6
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    I vote for tri-x for b&W, Reala, and portra 160nc for colour. I like tri-x in microdol-x or d76 both at 3:1 dilutions.

    *

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by sterioma
    I don't to my own BW development, therefore I have no control on the developer (unfortunately!).
    Maybe you should try Ilford's XP2. It has ton's of latitude, great skin tones, scans fairly easily, and can be developed consistently by a lab of your choice. See some of Cheryl Jacob's work for examples of XP2 in natural light.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt miller
    Maybe you should try Ilford's XP2. It has ton's of latitude, great skin tones, scans fairly easily, and can be developed consistently by a lab of your choice. See some of Cheryl Jacob's work for examples of XP2 in natural light.
    XP2 has the drawback that it is made to be printed on B&W paper. Try Kodak Portra BW400 which has a base that prints good on colour paper. Therefore you'll get black & white prints with the convenience of colour. XP2 is made for people who needs fast development on high street but wants to make their own prints.

  9. #9
    Cheryl Jacobs's Avatar
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    I do like XP2 with natural light (and it can be printed on B&W paper just like any true B&W film with beautiful results -- just as well as Portra). However, I do also LOVE Tri-X for this same purpose -- and for an added benefit: if your light is low and you need a faster shutter speed, you can push it with excellent results. This can be a great advantage, and it's why I keep several rolls in my camera bag for every session.

  10. #10

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    I second the Tri-X and HP5 suggestions. With decently fast lenses and/or a tripod, Plus-X and FP4 may be good alternatives with smaller grain. I really don't like T grain films (T-Max, Delta) for people subjects.
    Last edited by erickson; 07-27-2004 at 08:11 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Grammar correction
    Jacob

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