B&W to Color; which film?

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Having deluded myself into believing that I have a minimal working knowledge of B&W large-format techniques, I would now like to mess around with color. I'm not planning to process my own film, and I think I have a lab that I can work with. What suggestions would anyone have for film, that would be an appropriate and relatively painless introduction to color work? What advice can you give me for metering? Thanks.

-- Jim Poehling (poehling@tranquility.net), November 01, 1999


You don't say if you wish to shoot print or slide film, nor what format you're shooting, let along subject matter, so this may not be totally applicable...

In slide film, I've been happy with Velvia for landscapes and Astia and E100SW for city work in 4x5. In 5x7, EPP seems to be the only thing available that's reasonably "normal." I develop my own slides and B&W though, so I haven't done anything with print film in large format.

The availability of Quickloads seems to influence some people in 4x5. That's worth condiering if you plan on shooting a lot and don't like loading holders or have dust problems. It probably also makes giving the results to a lab simpler.

You might want to ask the lab what they work with the most and what they see the best results from though, especially if you're planning on shooting negatives.

Metering is pretty much the same as for B&W, find a mid-toned region with spot, or use incident and then adjust from there.



-- Paul D. Robertson (proberts@clark.net), November 03, 1999.

Metering is the same, but don't forget that positive transparency film has much less latitude as compared to color neg or B&W film, especially velvia.

-- James Chow (jchow@isl.melco.co.jp), November 03, 1999.

I would like to second the opinion on the limited lattitude of chrome (slide) film like Velvia. It's nothing like shooting B&W. I shoot a lot of chromes and can tell you that many times the film just can't handle the brightness range of a scene. I'm constantly passing up photos because the light isn't right for the film, 1/2 stop off and you lose the shot. Usually the standard way to shoot chromes is to base your exposure on the highlights, letting the shadows fall where they may. The limitations are tolerated because the color is very rich, much more so than that of print films (a good cibachrome print is stunning), **AND** because the film presents an objective view of a shot, making reporduction and printing less subjective.

You might want to try color print films which have a much wider exposure lattitude and some have great color too. Getting the results printed can be pot luck when it comes to color balance (like making B&W prints, different labs will give you different looking prints).

Good luck


-- Todd Tiffan (newhope@4dv.net), November 11, 1999.

Unless you're shooting for off-set output or stock agencies, there's no reason to shoot chromes.

Color negative film is so much more ver7sa7tile (had to look it up) in printing compared to transparency film. Using the Fuji paper, you can dodge and burn pretty hard without color shifts. But compared to printing black and white, it's like "dancing with a robot" (who said that?) but the robot's getting pretty good. Start with portra 160 vc. Have fun...t

-- tom meyer (twm@mindspring.com), November 16, 1999.

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