Me too, Tim. But that wasn't the case a few years back. Color neg films have come a
long way. My main motivation for shooting chromes now is for Cibachrome and dye transfer printing; but I have plenty of older shots on hand to keep me printing these
media as long as I wish, or as long as the supplies can still be scraped together. So I still keep a little 8x10 E100G loaded in the holders just in case the subject matter warrants it. But mainly, it looks like the new Kodak neg films are going to be more versatile and much more affordable to print; and the less types of film I have to lug around, the better. Strictly speaking, one cannot simply interchange one type for
another in just any situation; but neg films have become versatile enough to cover
most of the bases, and with better contrast range. Yet there's nothing like Vevia in
a deep fog when the entire scale is only two or three stops. I suspect even Ektar
would be a bit disappointing under those circumstances.
Combined with some slide films colour couplers ability to push colours out to the primaries, it makes shooting in overcast conditions a treat. choice between e6 and c41 is like N-1 and N+1 ... maybe ... :-)
Tim - I just don't know how far Ektar can have its contrast boosted before something
goes awry. I do have some interesting 8x10 low-contrast fog shots to try, but just
haven't got to them yet. With the moderate amount of magnification generally involved
with large format negs, I suspect I can control the issue with basic contrast increase
masking. I'll let folks like you experiment with the Photoshop options. With small format,
however, major contrast changes become a lot more difficult because of the way the
dye curve geometry tends to change. With chromes you have relatively high contrast
to begin with and work backwards, which is sometimes easier, sometimes not. Anyway,
it's all a lot of fun, and I certainly enjoy the opportunity to learn some new tricks.
The one thing I couldn't do in my quick jiggle of the contrast in your image was to simulate the way Velvia and other saturated films push all colours towards the primary hues. When I switched from small format slides to rollfilm and LF negative I was initially disappointed by the yellowy-greens I was getting in a lot of grass and foliage. Then I looked again, and realised that I was simply used to the way most slide films turned all greens into a single undifferentiated colour. One of my favourite uses of neg film is to (try to) capture the subtle minimalist variations in colour across salt marsh grasses and moorland.
But those deep blues are nice.
Traditionally color neg films have been engineered to dump the neturals into a pleasing
skintone range, and then try to sort out any saturated primaries on the side if possible.
To some extent 160VC and now especially Ektar do a much better job of rendering saturated hues cleanly, but you really need to find the sweet spot in the exposure,
color temp balance, and finally printing contrast. But once you do that, the results are
pretty remarkable and don't look stereotypically color neg at all. A wide variety of greens with reproduce vividly and cleanly. Blues and reds can be done nicely too. I can't speak for inkjet output, but with the newest Type II Crystal Archive paper, even yellows will come out cleanly and vibrant. Not exactly a substitute for the gleaming primaries and deep blacks of Cibachrome, but overall, even better with the wide range of subtle hues. You just have to more finicky with your procedure if you want those especially saturated color to land squarely. Every week lately I'm putting difficult
color negs in the enlarger just to learn some new idiosyncasie of the system. It's like
learning to ride a bicycle all over again. You get a few scrapes and bruises, but that's
just part of the learning curve.
Here's my attempt at Portra 160NC > Velvia 50 - maybe a touch overcooked . I added a high radius USM layer to get more "pop". Interesting exercise. I was working with the 3rd Velvia image on your comparison page: Whole Photograph (added grad to neg and shadow/highlight to slides).
Last edited by JimL; 1-Jul-2011 at 02:10. Reason: added