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Thread: Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    Not a Troll (at least I don't think it is). My question is why in the world anyone would shoot transparancy film instead of negative film (I'm presuming here that the final product is a print, whether digital or traditional)? It has such limited exposure latitude, and high contrast by comparison. Processing is also a lot more critical, and I believe that a lot of labs have stopped doing reversal processing.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  2. #2

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    The simplest answer is that they are incredibly beautiful. Who needs a print with such big transparencies? Plus, E-6 films really don't look like the C-41 ones. Name one C-41 film that looks like Velvia. Even with digital wackiness, it does matter what you capture the image on.


  3. #3

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    Bill, have you ever seen an 8x10 tranny? I am guessing not since you are asking this. Even medioocre pictures look awesome if the tranny is exposed well. I know I was speechless the firt time I saw one... :-)

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    Not all E-6 films are high contrast. Kodak's EPY, aka Ektachrome 64T has a gentle, low contrast scale which is longer than some black and white films. It responds well to zone system controls.

    I've used C-41 films which had even more zones of exposure in them, but you can't control those in development at all. The reaction goes to completion and that's it. So I use E-6 because of the control it gives me.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2000

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    Remember those advertising billboards for Apple iTune....? the electric guitar...? not long ago...

    well...I have seen those 8x10 trannies...and I worked on that project... and believe knock my socks off... and I love to shoot 4x5 trannies myself.....

    so.. this is my guess... trannies take away the guess works... "what you see on the light table is there..."

  6. #6
    Old School Wayne
    Join Date
    Dec 1999

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    basicaly because my eyes dont have an orange minus filter. Now if your question was why do people PRINT trannies....I would be more sympathetic tothe question. Not a lot, but more. I've wondered that one myself sometimes, staring at some of the Ilfochromes I've done over the years. Maybe I should try Ektachrome 64T next time I get the urge. Anyone have any sample images made with it that I can see?

  7. #7

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    It's consistant and dependable. I realize I'll probably sound pretty naive here, but I started shooting transparencies because when I got my prints back from the lab (cringe) the final image was nothing like what I thought I shot.

    For those that can develope their negatives and print them themselves, negative film is probably the way to go. But for those of us that have to send film out to be processed, I know I want to take as much control away from the developer and put as much control into my hands as possible. Slides let me tell the person developing my film, 'just do it the same way, all the time.'

    And they do look really great on a light table. :-)
    I cried when I saw my first LF tranny, and I'm man enough to say it.


  8. #8

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?


    I've shot both colour negative and transaparencies of the the same scene. On a light box, the tranny looks exactly how I remember the scene, unlike the -ve. The time and effort to get the colour balance right (whether in the dark room with filters, or with photoshop) can be frustrating to say the least.

    When I have a scene where the range is too great for tranny film, despite copious use of graduated filters, I'll reach for a sheet of -ve film. I'll also shoot in B&W. I cannot think of a single occasion where the -ve image has won over the B&W version.

    As to the look of a 10x8 transparency, I must agree they can be beautiful, and extremely useful in choosing an image to print, just examine through a loupe - you can't do that with negative film.

    Having said that, I'm sure there are many people, especially shooting in a studio with full lighting control, who are very happy with -ve film and have a work-flow that produces expected results.

  9. #9

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    I personally shoot E6 because it's self proofing; put it on a light table and it's obvious. Negatives require printing. I cannot do color printing in my darkroom at present, and my main color lab (already quite expensive for C41 in rollfilm) makes it very difficult to get contact prints (else they won't get filed with the negs) from 4x5 color negatives.

    I would probably prefer to shoot negatives, however.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Orange, CA

    Why does anyone shoot LF Trannies?

    I shoot E6 because the fine art digital printers I work with all say they can produce (all else being equal) superior digital prints from chrome rather than color negative film. I know not everyone agrees with this, but as I like very much the results I've been getting I see no reason to change. In the past when I've compared drum-scanned E6 vs. drum-scanned color neg, the color neg scan was noticeably grainier due (I was told) to the neg film's orange mask. I've stuck with E6 since then and never looked back.

    Having said all that, for situations where the contrast is clearly too great for E6, then I'll fall back to color neg or B&W (or, if possible, return to the scene later when the lighting is less severe).

    E6 also gives me more flexibility in flat or reflected lighting conditions, in that I can raise the contrast by pushing at least one stop to give the chrome more "punch." Plus E6 is an original image, and does not require the color adjustments required by color neg when producing digital prints (even when shooting color neg, I try to take at least one E6 image as a color reference).

    No doubt it is a huge thrill to put a big, beautiful 8x10 E6 chrome on the light table for the first time. But carrying around a print portfolio is obviously much easier than carrying around a light table, so I rarely display my original chromes. I pick the film type that produces the best digital prints in my workflow, and for color that has been mostly E6.

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