View Full Version : Kodak 160NC for landscape?

Tim Hyde
23-Dec-2005, 08:51
I've fallen in love with the 5x7 format, but film choices are limited--something discussed here before. I am normally a Velvia/Provia user, but want to experiment with 160NC, which is more-widely available and cheaper in the 5x7 format. I don't have much experience with this film, or color negative in general. Any experience in using this film for landscape? How do you rate it--100? /Thanks.

Leonard Evens
23-Dec-2005, 09:02
I've used color negative film for quite a long time. I presently use Portra VC 160 but I've used NC 160 in the past. I scan, and I find very little difference between them. With conventional darkroom printing, there may be a greater difference. When compared to reversal film, color negative film tends to produce less saturated, more natural looking images. If you scan, you can digitally manipulate the image and change the saturation if you want. But I prefer less saturated images anyway.

Negative film has real advantages in exposure latititude when compared to reversal film. The latter won't tolerate any significant overexposure, but negative film will allow quite a lot of latitude. Also, if you scan, it allows better control of contrast. You can photograph scenes with a relatively wide range of values and deal with that digitally later. You can do something of the same with darkroom processing, but it is harder.

Mark Sampson
23-Dec-2005, 09:05
It's a great film- I like it a lot in 120. EI 100 should be fine. Contrast will be lower than any chrome film-think of it as a longer-scale material. It has much more realistic color rendition than over-saturated Velvia- 160VC would be the choice if you like that look, not sure if it's available in 5x7 though.

Bruce Watson
23-Dec-2005, 09:40
You'll be coming from what is arguably the most saturated film on the market. None of the color negative films will be as saturated as Velvia. As long as you know that and view it as a good thing, you'll be all right. If you spend time trying to pump the staturation back up to Velvia levels, you'll know you should just bite the bullet and go back to Velvia.

From a technical standpoint, there are a number of really good reasons to go with a color negative film. The primary one in my book is the superior latitude. With color negative film, there is no scene that you'll want to skip because the subject brightness range (SBR) is too great. I've got a lovely passion flower (http://www.achromaticarts.com/big_image.php?path=flowers&img_num=2) photograph made with 5x4 160PortraVC that metered around 11 stops IIRC. This is the sort of scene that makes transparency films weep ;-)

Of the color negative films out there, the Portra line is among the best. Excellent color balance, excellent grain quality, nice grain size (amazing considering the number of layers in a color film), and excellent sharpness. I myself use 160PortraVC. I'd use NC, but I can't get it in readyload packets.

PortraNC should work work well for you. The only way to find out for sure is, of course, to try it, because YMMV.

23-Dec-2005, 13:22
Landscape for me: I use both in 120/4x5 and like them; my preference leans toward Kodak's color rendition.

Rated at 100 or 125, my experience with NC is that it's little more forgiving than VC in strong overhead sunlight/bright haze conditions, meaning you get a bit more out of the shadows. Also, under such conditions, I've occasionally found VC to display some extra saturation in certain colors; it seems to occur randomly and hasn't happened with NC.

The films compliment each other nicely when adjustments are made in PS; with a little practice you can learn how to "match" the saturation, contrast, and colors so prints made from either are difficult to tell apart.

My only complaint: NC isn't available in Readyloads- obviously no issue for the 5x7 user. Hope this helps.

Wayne Crider
23-Dec-2005, 18:16
Tim, I believe it was last year that there was a photographer on one of the forums that was shooting NC and posting images of Venice. The work looked real nice to me and I thought that it would be a good film to try for landscapes. I've shot it as a portrait film and of course it excells, but what impressed me was the vibrant colors I got indoors. I say shoot a roll of one subject and shoot a few frames at different speeds overexposing a 1/3 as you go and then get it developed normally. See how the low and high values print and what happens to the saturation.

Aaron van de Sande
24-Dec-2005, 06:35
I use nc for high contrast and vc for low contrast situations.
Undersaturated films have as much a 'look' to them as over-satured films, which you can exploit and comes out in the print. The portra fims are the only kodak color film/slide material that I like, it is very fine grained as well.

25-Dec-2005, 11:21
NC is a fine film, definitely worth a try. I have not seen dramatic differences between it and VC. I use VC for 4x5, because it is available in ReadyLoads, so that makes it my standard color negative film. But NC seems somewhat more available in 120, so I've used it instead, with no problems.

25-Dec-2005, 19:20


kinda crummy scans but these are shot with 160NC 4x5
definitely kinda desaturated looking, and they do print like this

its a fantastic color film imho