Color Neg or Transparancy Film? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Which is the "best" film to use for LF?

For my own work, I want to make poster-sized prints. This can be done with either film type, although it is more expensive to use transparency film for this.

With transparency film, there is no need to make a proof print so there is a cost savings there. Unfortunatly, there is less exposure latitude so bracketing is desireable and the cost savings is negated.

What do you folks out there in Large Format Land shoot with and Why? What is the end purpose of your images?

-- Robert Beech (, July 13, 1998


I use Fuji RVP (Velvia) and RDPII (Provia 100) in the QuickLoad format (and in the QuickLoad holder). Most recently several of my images were blown up to approx 8ft.x10ft for use as set dressing on "The Wheel of Fortune" game show. I find that when I do bracket extensively it is either because the light or the scene was changing rapidly. usually however I meter carefully (Minolta Spot F) and shoot on the average of 4 to 6 sheets per image. I also use Polaroid Type 79 to check on my metering skills, since IMHO, the Polaroid has less latitude than real film. I process one sheet normally and one at plus 1/2 and evaluate from there, unless I know I want something different done. Experience also helps. I like shooting transparency because both my printer and I can see what I shot directly and do not have to be dependent on subjective evaluations. on the other hand we just made a 50x60 print for a clients office from an 8x10 negative and it just sang. Good luck finding your magic film, Ellis Vener

-- Ellis (, July 13, 1998.

If you want prints, its better to start with print film.

-- Ron Shaw (, July 13, 1998.

There is no 'best' film. If you want prints, why not opt for the transparency film and get all the benefit of Ilfochrome Classic prints from a good custom printer. One who will work with the image including contrast masking if needed. Ilfochromes have the 'still wet' look, saturation and depth that can really make an image jump off the frame. Only you can say what type of print does it for you and to do so try shooting a few with both chrome & neg film back to back and then making prints from each on different materials. You may find some matched work very well and some don't. Then choose your materials to match what you feel works best for the different imates. You might even give Agfa Scala printed on Ilfochrome Classic a try for a very different and eye-popping experience, especially with industrial, heavy equipment and metal objects.

-- Dan Smith (, July 13, 1998.

Most people who shoot LF shoot transparency film. I guess the main reason is that a LF transparency is a beautiful thing in and of itself.

I guess if you don't want Ilfochrome then a negative will be slightly easier (maybe), but the slide on the lightbox is so beautiful it seems a shame to miss out.

-- Chris Bitmead (, July 15, 1998.

Like the posters above, I use slide film. Quickload Astia and Velvia in a Polaroid 545i back. Quickload is an expensive habit, but for backpacking and remote locations, it is lighter than individual holders and dust is not a problem. There are limited emulsions available, but it can work out well because one is forced to get to know the characteristics if a couple films and learn how to us them.

The end purpose of the images is 16 X 20 Ilfochome and Fuji Super Glossy R prints. There is the school of thought that one should shoot print film to get prints. It does not work for me because I want to be able to evaluate exposure and composition with a loupe and a light table.

-- Doug Herta (, July 16, 1998.

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