Take both some scene cry out for color and some for B/W. India is a colorful country but color can sometimes be distracting. Make sure that your color photographs are about more than just beautiful color or your risk to come home with the same photographs as everyone else (with exceptions). McCurry is a good example although his photographs have beautiful colors they are about more than just color.
Have a nice trip.
I went to India 11 years ago and shot only B&W...which I regret now.
If it's the streets that interest you [and more so since your itinerary mention only 3 cities], B&W is fine. But if your interest covers other stuff as well, colour would be your best pal. However, as someone earlier said that the focus of your attention shifts the moment you switch between colour and B&W, you will have to take a call accordingly.
And by the way, pack as much film as possible since the chances of getting the films of your choice is almost zero in most photography stores here. If you need any help, please feel free to PM me - have stayed in Delhi + Bangalore for the last 18 years and so may be able to offer some help.
Have a great time here.
ISO is important too.
This is going to complicate your thoughts further, but after a very recent trip to India I found myself shooting at ISO 1600/3200 a lot more than I expected given that you are scarcely ever allowed tripods in interiors. Even outside in the markets I was very often at ISO400 given that the sun was very bright and shots containing both sunlit and shady subjects were ugly so I concentrated on shade. In short I think you need to be equipped to handle a very wide range of exposures and two bodies may not enable you to handle all conditions in B&W and colour.
When I went to Thailand - they told me that I must shot color also - so I carried 35mm color film in small minox and B&W in nikon. Color photography is simple not for me - and this did not changed in "color screaming" Thailand. No good color photos from Thailand...
But You can bring some color films and some small camera extra - just in case :)
I think it is a mistake to go there having decided in advance.
Is it so hard to have some color film and not use it rather than going there and regretting not bringing it?
And maybe it is a sin what I am about to say but a color photograph may be converted.
India for me is one of the most color-demanding destinations.
Shot 100% color and have not regreted it.
So I've got a bunch of Portra on the way to supplement the B&W.
Darkosaric, don't worry. Neither my black and white nor my color photos are likely to be very good. Half the fun is trying.
Stavrosk, I love "Windows and Door".
David Henderson. I can't agree with you more. I had the same problem on a different trip a few years ago. That's why my initial preference was one body at mid iso and one at high.
If I could get my Olympus XA to meter at 1600, I'd use that in a minute. I have a stylus I could bring instead, but P&S makes me want to vomit and medium format is so much more enjoyable in the darkroom.
I also need to keep things light and compact, as I'll have a baby strapped to me for much of the trip.
I guess I could just shoot the interior stuff with the Portra and see if all the raves about its wide latitude are for real.
Thanks for the tips.
While I agree that Portra has great latitude, it does have real limits and the quality is generally better close to its rating.
Originally Posted by 36cm2
Interiors also introduce color temperature problems, extra exposure can help fix that but it ain't perfect and rating your film slower isn't normally what you might want indoors.
I would bring a bunch of Portra 400, and some Velvia for outdoors. You can always print black and white if you need, but if you shoot BW negs, you sure can't make it color later.
FWIW, my ratio is about 3/4 black and white and 1/4 colour films...hedging my bets, I guess. Seems like good advice