NPS vs. Portra (compared to Provia 100F) : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am getting ready for a color landscape workshop and the instructor has suggested bringing a small amount of color neg film "for situations that exceed the latitude of transparency film."

I almost always use Provia 100F. The choices for color neg film in 4x5 format are not many. As between NPS 160, Portra 160-NC and Portra 160-VC, what is closest in look to Provia 100F?

Is the drum-scanned and lightjet output final print from the neg going to look the same, better or worse than that from the transparency? Am I making a sacrifice at the print stage to gain latitude at the film stage? If the latter is true, then what is the point?


-- Josh Divack (, May 09, 2002


Doubtful that a color neg would look much different as a print if you compare Lightjet prints made from "perfect" transparencies and color negs...

One way to control transparencies - in situations of high contrast - or as your instructor states: "for situations that exceed the latitude of transparency film", would be to pre-expose your film slightly. (Not so much that it appears as fog.) Pre-exposure will also work quite well with color neg. film. Here you do have the advantage than you can print through the "fog" to create absolute blacks. Of course you can do the same with transparencies scanned, dodged and burned in photoshop and output on a Lightjet...

-- Per Volquartz (, May 09, 2002.

Also consider pulling the Provia. Fuji recommends pulling by a full stop (EI50) and I have seen no color shift in doing this. You might try pulling by more than a stop and see if you can gain even greater latitude. You will probably get some color shift, but if you are scanning anyway...

There would be a certain advantage to reducing the number of films you carry, and if you are pleased with Provia 100F, you should see if you can make it meet your purposes. My estimate is that it can be pulled to have as much latitude as normally processed negative film. Of course, it will never match pulled negative film in capturing a very long contrast range, so if you are photographing serious dark and light (e.g. sunlit church interiors), you probably have little choice except to use negative film. If you are scanning the negative, I would expect that the scanning settings would have more to do with approximating the Provia than which film you are scanning, but I'm emphatically not an expert here.

-- Eric Pederson (, May 09, 2002.

Hi Josh

I take the Fuji Astia for getting very contrasty situation under control and thad works very good for me! And a partial grey filter helps also to cut the contrast down! With thad together there are not many situation left where you realy need a color neg film. Because my mag which I work for they only accept transparency films!

Good luck!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, May 09, 2002.

I'm not sure your question got answered - of the films listed, Portra 160 VC will give you the closest look to Provia. Saturation will be slightly less with the Portra. You might try bracketing the iso rating of the Portra at 100 and 200, rather than 160, or get the printer to fiddle with the print. The neg film will give more info to pull from the scan if the scene brightness range is managed to suit the latitude. I'm not sure there's an advantage one to the other if the final output is always digital, assuming that the negative is exposed to maximize the info in the scene. If you're printing traditionally, you should be able to produce a better print from the neg.(some will argue and you're mileage may vary...:)

-- Paul Coppin (, May 10, 2002.

Got it. Thanks.

-- Josh Divack (, May 10, 2002.

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