View Full Version : LF color film

1-Jun-2006, 14:25
Im new to LF and was wondering what types of 4X5 color films people feel strongly about. With 120 and 220 i've historically gone with portra, but I'm looking to try some new things...negative or chrome. any ideas?

Sheldon N
1-Jun-2006, 15:01
I'm partial to the Fuji lineup of color slide films (in quickload version). Velvia 50 was the standard for landscape, and has since been replaced with Velvia 100. Velvia 100F was never quite as popular. If you are looking for something a little less contrasty and saturated, Provia 100F is a good all around film. Astia 100F is known for being very neutral, accurate and less contrasty, great for portraits. It's also enjoyed by some as a good film for scanning since you can always add saturation and contrast in Photoshop, but it's harder to do the reverse.

I haven't tried color negative film in 4x5, primarily because I find it easier to scan color slide films. It's also cheaper to process color slide film, and more places do it. Not many places develop 4x5 C41 color negative film. All my 4x5 color work is done digitally, so that's my focus when choosing a film.

Svante Johansson
1-Jun-2006, 15:11
I think Kodak E100G is the greatest film ever, in any format, and it comes in Readyload. I love it!

Stephen Willard
1-Jun-2006, 15:12
I use Portra VC 160 and expose it at ISO 100. Portra is an amazing film with am amazing dynamic range of about 9 stops plus.

You can also do contracted development such as n-1 or n-2 just like Adams does to control contrast with the Zone system. If you have a JOBO processor you can developer the film easier then you can b&w film. It also is a lot cheaper too.

I shoot 4x5, 5x7, and 4x10 with it. The grain is almost nonexistent. When I enlarge 5x7 I am not able to use my 10x grain focuser until I reach a 16x20 enlargement size because I am not able to see the grain until I reach that size.

When printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper the colors can be very bold a brilliant.
I have a prototype website with a small sample of photographs taken with Portra VC 160 at www.stephenwillard.com.


Please note that this image was completely process and printed use only traditional darkroom methods. No digital imaging was done other than scanning a master print and saving it as a jpg for my website.

Bruce Watson
1-Jun-2006, 15:20
It depends on what you want, and how you like to work.

Slide film clearly wins if you want that WYSIWYG experience on the light box. Negative film clearly wins if you want a large dynamic range.

Not that it will mean anything to anyone, but I personally use negative film exclusively. I like the higher speeds, I like the higher dynamic range. I don't have any trouble at all drum scanning it.

That said, both 160PortraVC/NC and Fuji 160S/C are excellent color negative films. Different looks, both excellent. Kodak also provides LF versions of 400PortraNC if you need speed.

Eric Leppanen
1-Jun-2006, 16:17
When shooting color film, I like to match film contrast to each particular image. For low contrast situations, I am partial to Velvia 100, as its high contrast and color saturation can add punch to otherwise bland lighting conditions. For moderate contrast situations, I prefer Provia 100F (a moderate contrast film, which is very receptive to additional contrast control via pushing or pulling). For high contrast situations, I use low contrast print film (most recently Fuji Pro 160S), which allows me to open up shadow areas by at least two stops versus chrome film.

The advantage of matching film contrast to each particular image is that you can (in theory) maximize tonal separation without blowing out highlights. To some extent, you are simulating Zone System controls by varying film stock. It is certainly possible to separate tones after-the-fact by making adjustments in Photoshop, but if the film contrast is too low it can be difficult to make such adjustments without introducing digital processing artifacts (posterization, etc.). Of course, much of all this depends on the specifics of your actual printing process; I just find that this particular setup works well for me.

Gordon Moat
1-Jun-2006, 16:24
Mostly I use Fuji Quickload or Kodak Readyload, so that limits my choices a little. However, I have found that I like E100VS for most things I shoot that are advertising, automotive, or fine art related. When it is architecture, or people, then Fuji Astia 100F.

What I would like is E200 in Readyloads, since I like the lower contrast, and the push capability. Unfortunately, I have to downsize to medium format to use it.

One other film I am awaiting hitting the market is that new Fuji 64 Tungsten film, with really low grain. I do lots of night urban images, and a low grain Tunsten film might make things interesting.

I tried Velvia 100F against E100VS, and found I did not like the bluer shadows on the Velvia 100F. I think the Velvia 100 (without the "F") would be a better choice. E100VS tends to be stronger with reds and yellows, while Velvia tends to be stronger in blues and greens; though this is very generalized impressions of these.


Gordon Moat

Ron Marshall
2-Jun-2006, 06:26
On a recent trip I tried my first color negative in LF, Fuji Pro 160. I used to shoot only Astia or Velvia, for high or low contrast lighting, respectively, but now I intend to shoot much more of the Pro 160. Scanned, it is not grainy and has great color and tonality. I exposed it at EI 100.

2-Jun-2006, 10:09
I'm happy with Portra VC, but I'm not convinced that there is any vast difference amongst the competing color negative films available in sheets. I doubt there is a color film, neg or tran, available for LF that isn't pretty dang good nowadays.

6-Jun-2006, 12:42
HEY THANKS EVERYONE! for all the great ideas. i really appreciate your thoughts on this,