Which film for landscapes/portraits?

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Can someone please give me a recommendation on which film to use (make and speed) for landscapes and which to use for portraits. I hope to enlarge the better ones into a size suitable for hanging on mey wall. I have recently purchased a Kardan Color 4X5 with 90 1.8 Super Angulon, 150 5.6 Symmar and 240 5.5 tele Arton. Thanks Max Auckland NZ

-- Max Taylor (maxt@bigfoot.com), September 16, 1997


Over the last 20 years, I have had extremely good results using Kodak Plus-x 4x5 (rated at 100) developed with Kodak HC-110 developer, Tri-X (rated at 250) with the same developer gives very good shadow detail, but with more grain. I am currently working with T-max 100, again with HC-110 since Kodak does not recommend the T-max developer for sheet film. I'm still not sure if I like it better than Plus-X.

For color work, Fuji's Astia is rather amazing for skin tones and overall quality. For general color work, Ektachrome 64 is my stand-by, mainly because its predictable and readily available.

I print the B/W on either Ilford Galerie, or Oriental Seagull (now hard to find) for prints up to 16x20. I always tones the prints in Selenium.

For color prints from transparencies, Ilfochrome (formerly Cibachrome) looks greats and also has the benefit of having good long-term color stability. This is important if you are interested in selling your work through galleries.

Good luck Greg (Downey, CA USA)

-- Greg Fisch (gfisch9862@aol.com), September 30, 1997.

Black and white or color ? Negatives or slides ? What will the end result be used for, publishing or prints ? Due you prefer preloaded films or are you using standard (load 'em yourself) film holders ?

-- Peter Thoshinsky (camerabug1@msn.com), December 18, 1997.

..........that's "do" not "due". I'm not illiterate. The best spell check would know what I want to say not what I type

-- Peter Thoshinsky (camerabug1@msn.com), December 18, 1997.

I use Fujichrome Velvia exclusively for my landscape work. As a professional stock photographer I have found the saturated colors, high contrast, and exceptional sharpness of this film to be readily accepted, even appreciated, by photo editors. I have also made Type R and Ilfochrome prints from masked Velvia chromes with excellent results. Many pros rate the film at ISO 40 rather than the suggested 50.

-- Mark Windom (mwphoto@nwlink.com), December 23, 1997.

For my 8x10 work, I use T-Max 400, processed in T-Max RS developer (in a tray, as a one-shot), nominal time 5 minutes @ 75 degrees F. I like it because its reciprocity characteristics are far superior to Tri-X and other non-T-grain films. This is very important when your exposure times are over 1/2 second. I don't recommend developing T-Max films in anything but T-Max developers. It's expensive but well worth it. By the way, I strongly disagree with those "pros" who recommend rating Fuji Velvia at ISO 40. Velvia (like all slide films) likes to be slightly UNDERexposed, and thus a rating of 64 or 80 seems far more appropriate. Test first, then bracket.

-- Peter Hughes (ravenart@redshift.com), January 11, 1998.

I suspect that many folks who accept both parts of Peter Hughes' advice:

"...Velvia (like all slide films) likes to be slightly UNDERexposed, and thus a rating of 64 or 80 seems far more appropriate. Test first, then bracket."

--will find themselves happier with part two than part one.

My experience supports the numerous recommendations I have read regarding the exposure of Velvia: I find that it gives me better exposures at ISO 40 than it does at its nominal rating of 50. With some of my gear, and under certain conditions, a rating of 32 works better still. Films that are arguably overrated with respect to their speed do not "like" to be further underexposed.

-- Gordon Vickrey (krmhlz@earthlink.net), January 12, 1998.

I shoot landscapes in the 4X5 format and after spending several years with T-Max 100 and 400 I found myself trying a box of Tri-X when my supplier was out of T-Max 400. While I never really cared for Tri-X in 35mm or medium format I found that when I used it for 4X5 it gave me a gradation and tonality that I found quite nice. The increased grain is slight but I think it adds something subtle to my work. I generally develop in either Rodinal or HC-110 (dil B) and print on Kodak Polymax Fine Art FD or Kodak Elite. Try it, you may like it as well.

-- Bob Parsons (tedrow@scican.net), February 05, 1998.

For landscapes, I shoot almost exclusively velvia rated at 40. At 50, it's over-saturated, IMHO. For portraits, I really like E100SW. The extra warmth looks really good on skin tones. It also works well for photos in the high mountains/snow since it sort of acts like a built-in warming filter.

-- Jim Chow (jchow@atom.isl.melco.co.jp), February 23, 1998.

Well...It seems most everyone likes Velvia for landscapes (I do too), and I also like Provia (rated at 100), but you got very little info on a portrait film (aside for a recommendation for Fuji Astia). I strongly feel that if you are going to make prints, use print film. It will be far cheaper than making high quality Ilfochromes. For portraits, I also recommend films made for portraits, such as Kodak VPS (160 daylight, 125 strobe, 80 outdoor shade) or Fuji NPS. These films are reduced contrast films, necessary for getting a full range of shades onto print paper. You may want to refer to Kodaks excellent book 'The Portrait'. It has much usefull info on all aspects of portraiture.

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), February 25, 1998.

I've never been able to understand why photographers recommend to others their personal EI for certain films, or why photographers blindly accept others' recommendations. (This also applies to everyone's favorite film/developer/development time combinations, as well as a host of other recommendations.)

I am not saying that anyone's recommendation here is incorrect. It's just that one's own personal experience does not necessarily apply to anyone else's camera/lightmeter/metering method/etc.

Determining one's "best EI" for a color transparency film (like Velvia) is so simple. Just make several consecutive exposures of the same scene, using your normal metering/exposure methods (incident, spot, reflected, center-weighted, 3-D matrix, or whatever), at several EI settings on your meter (40, 50, 64, 80, and so on).

Develop these, lay them side-by-side on a light-table, and make YOUR OWN DECISION. Which EI setting do YOU like best? Remember it, and use it.

Everyone's equipment and metering methods are unique, so why should their EI settings correspond to yours? Trust your own opinions. Sorry about the diatribe, I guess I'm just feeling cranky today.

-- Sergio Ortega (s.ortega@worldnet.att.net), April 01, 1998.

Im glad someone said that.....!

-- Phil Brammer (filsta@goconnect.net), July 20, 2001.

Stupid question alert!!!

When some one is shooting velvia at iso 40 are they simply over exposing the film or are they also adjusting the developing as well?

-- Edward Kimball (edward.kimball@ns.sympatico.ca), February 07, 2002.

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