Choosing a color film for scanning in later years : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I currently use only b/w film in 4x5 format as I want to be in control of the entire process from exposure to final print and do not have a color darkroom or experience. That said, I can well imagine doing color work (for hobby art photography -- landscapes and still-lifes) in the future when I can better afford high-end digital printing.

So I am tempted to make color exposures this year with the plan of ultimately making high quality scans of the more successful exposures and working further with those. I've read what I could find in the archives and one terse magazine article, but would like further opinions.

I would prefer a film that will likely be available for years in 4x5 sheets as I would prefer to have a single calibration. Negative film seems to require more careful calibration at the time of scanning but perhaps this is not much of an issue if I can keep to a single film (under similar storage conditions). On the other hand, slide film if pulled for low contrast might give most of the range of negative film. E.g. Ektachrome Pro 100 (EPN) at EI50 might have most of non-pulled negative film's contrast range with all of the advantages of a positive image on film and easier calibration. I'd lose a couple stops compared to e.g. Portra 160NC though...

Since I don't expect to be making the scans for a couple years this might involve some forecasting about what the optimal parameters for scanning will be in the future. Also, color fidelity does not seem particulary important, but capturing as much information on the film does.

So with that orientation, what should I load my holders with? Thanks in advance for all your conflicting opinions!! :-)

-- Eric Pederson (, January 03, 2002


fwiw - the library of congress only accepts CTs for the color work it requests. i use the kodak readyload system exclusively for my habs/haer projects, so i use ektachrome for all my color work, and t- max100 for all my b/w work. the approx. 60MB files i use to make digital 8x10 prints of my CTs yeild far better prints than prints from either color negatives or R-type prints directly from CTs.

-- jnorman (, January 03, 2002.

Looks like Fuji Provia for 4x5. Fuji already chopped their Astia and Velvia in 8x10 size.

-- Andre Noble (, January 03, 2002.

I guess you're not going to shoot action scenes. So you usually have the time to take one more shot. Film cost can usually be neglected compared to the overall effort. So I would recommend to take both, slide and negative film (or even three - plus B/W). Negative film yields always better conventional prints, because color side densities are masked. On the other hand, digital prints from slides can be excellent, too. And the slide will  keep the option to sell a picture for publishing. Digitalization is possible with both film kinds. You may select the better one when the time has come.


-- Thilo Schmid (, January 04, 2002.

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