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Thread: Reasons for using reversal film?

  1. #31
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    I know the inside story of our big local labs quite well, not only because the owners were friends, but because I was a supplier to their facilities and maintenance needs. One of them was highly successful until they allowed Kodak to talk them into getting on the ground floor of digital printing, which came with not only big equipment payoffs, but with mandatory expensive service contracts. But it wasn't long until more practical and more affordable equipment was being offered by competitors, so Kodak had second thoughts and shut down their own service while still demanding payment on the unserviceable equipment! In that case, the lab owner simply called it quits and liquidated everything in a bankruptcy sale while he could still salvage enough funds for retirement.

    Another lab threw in the towel because the owner had become so sensitized to RA4 and Ciba chem that he broke out in hives even entering his own building. Yet another needed lung surgery. That's why I'm a small quantity guy doing just a print at a time in a drum on a portable processing cart outdoors. One of these guys had 250 gallons of Ciba dev and bleach each in working solution on a daily basis - that's a hecka lot of sulfuric acid! I work with less than a quart at a time.

    Then local labs got pushed out by skyrocketing leases in a deliberate attempt to clear out all industrial and warehousing businesses in order to make room for very expensive condos and techie office spaces. Ironically, one of the biggest local re-developers earned his money with a photo lab first. He still has a giant lab space, but now in his late 70's, now only uses a small portion of it as a high-end cuisine photography site, replete with gourmet kitchen. His remaining help is very well paid and incredibly good at multi-tasking. They can digitally output the studio shots directly to pre-press, and simply swivel a chair to man a real estate or construction issue in a kind of command-central computer station. He's never himself taken a vacation in his life, even though he owns multiple resorts. Work adrenaline keeps him going. The studio work is done mostly at night with Sinar and Broncolor gear, now itself re-purposed for digital capture. But a well-done cookbook is no comparison to the giant intricate Ciba prints he used to make from 8x10 chrome film, mostly for Japanese clients. Seeing a superbly designed suite of Sushi atop a classic plate of intricately painted Japanese porcelain, then printed in extreme detail onto five by eight foot Ciba stock was quite an experience.

    Several smaller labs have filled in the niches. Some offer film development plus scanning and digital printing. Some just do printing, some mainly just development. Laser printing onto RA4 chromogenic materials is also available in the area. But I don't know if any big optical enlarger printing is still going on commercially. I'm very well equipped for it myself, but don't print the work of others.

  2. #32

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    I agree with everything Kiwi wrote. Slides have their own right and reason of existence and use, even if you scan for printing. The special color palette of Provia for instance, my favorite, or Ektachrome 100, cannot be emulated by color profile appís out of color negatives or digital takes. Iím not a good scanner but itís even sometimes very difficult to get the special color palette from a color negative film like Ektar 100 out of a scan from it.

  3. #33
    multi format
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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    I'm planning a large format project and I have to decide whether to use color negative or reversal film. Where I am, the choices for the latter are FujiFilm Provia F and Kodak Ektachrome. I'd appreciate comments from people who are using reversal on their reasons for using it. It would be helpful to know whether the end product is projection or a print from a scan. One other question. If the end product is a print, what is the rationale for scanning a positive rather than a negative?

    Thanks
    sorry, but I see no reason for the added hassle and expense of shooting chromes.
    I've shot plenty of them over the years and maybe back in the day they served a purpose,
    but not anymore.
    have fun with your project !
    John
    enjoy your coffee

  4. #34
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Quote Originally Posted by otto.f View Post
    I agree with everything Kiwi wrote. Slides have their own right and reason of existence and use, even if you scan for printing. The special color palette of Provia for instance, my favorite, or Ektachrome 100, cannot be emulated by color profile app’s out of color negatives or digital takes. I’m not a good scanner but it’s even sometimes very difficult to get the special color palette from a color negative film like Ektar 100 out of a scan from it.
    Quote Originally Posted by jnantz View Post
    sorry, but I see no reason for the added hassle and expense of shooting chromes.
    I've shot plenty of them over the years and maybe back in the day they served a purpose,
    but not anymore.
    have fun with your project !
    John
    Beside liking the color palette of Velvia 50, I just find chromes easier to scan than negative color film.

  5. #35
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Just go to any decent art store and look at the selection of pigments available. You've got oil colors, acrylics, pastels, crayons, dye markers, tempera colors, on and on - many types, each with its own justification and following. There is no "best" category. You choose what works best for you. Likewise, there simply is no silver bullet color film or color capture method. Many hues are difficult to bag with any method of photographic reproduction , let alone just one kind. The story of my life. Even when I shot strictly color, there was never only one film involved. Maybe that works in certain studio situations where all the color problems are choreographed in advance; but it sure doesn't work well in nature where it is doing the decorating.

  6. #36

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Now ready to test Ektar and Portra, having received two screw-in Heliopan filters today:

    Heliopan Skylight aka KR 1.5
    Heliopan 81A aka KR 3

    My screw-in filters are standardised at 82mm, which is not an inexpensive size. I was able to find these on eBay, and the vendor delivered 100%. If they've ever been used, it isn't apparent.

    Heliopan only makes one Skylight filter. It may be closer to a 1A than the 1B that Drew Wiley suggested. I'll see how it goes. If I need it, Hoya makes a 1B that's reasonably priced.

    Skylight and 81 series colour correction filters seem to be endangered species. There aren't a lot of makers. Hoya looks to be the best bet for inventory. Heliopan's are out of stock everywhere, with a long wait time. Schneider/B+W appears to have stopped making these filters altogether.
    Last edited by r.e.; 30-Jul-2021 at 12:18.

  7. #37
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Slide show is a good reason for me
    image

  8. #38
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    81A and KR 1.5 are similar. If I'm trying to remove a bit of excess overall blue, I'll use the 81A, if cyan instead, the KR1.5. Since Ektar mainly suffers from a shift toward cyan, I'm more apt to carry the KR1.5, but seldom both. I always have some kind of weaker skylight filter along too. Under deep blue shade, like early morning shade at high altitude under open sun and very blue skies, I like to have along something even stronger like an 81C. But the nature of the Euro KR-series concept is that you can stack filter to add up to a sum value. For example, two KR 1.5's stacked would equal a KR3. I don't like stacking because it potentially affects sharpness a bit; but it can be done in a pinch.

  9. #39

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Thanks Drew. Helpful once again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    81A and KR 1.5 are similar. If I'm trying to remove a bit of excess overall blue, I'll use the 81A, if cyan instead, the KR1.5. Since Ektar mainly suffers from a shift toward cyan, I'm more apt to carry the KR1.5, but seldom both. I always have some kind of weaker skylight filter along too. Under deep blue shade, like early morning shade at high altitude under open sun and very blue skies, I like to have along something even stronger like an 81C. But the nature of the Euro KR-series concept is that you can stack filter to add up to a sum value. For example, two KR 1.5's stacked would equal a KR3. I don't like stacking because it potentially affects sharpness a bit; but it can be done in a pinch.

  10. #40

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    This project involves making photographs, mostly outdoors, in my neighbourhood in Queens. It's a National Historic District, lively and culturally diverse. It's also where Hitchcock's The Wrong Man and Maria, Full of Grace were filmed, as well as a recent Frederick Wiseman documentary. Hard acts to follow

    My current inclination is to use 8x10 film for the project. I'm finally set up to do some film tests this weekend, which I'll do with 4x5 film:

    Camera: Arca-Swiss

    Lens for the Test: Nikkor-W f/5.6 240mm
    I want to keep variables to a minimum, but I also intend to try a Docter Optic f/4.5 210mm, although it doesn't cover 8x10.

    Film:
    Kodak Ektar 100, expires November, 2022
    Kodak Portra 160, expires May, 2023
    Ilford FP4+ 125, expired but probably OK

    I've included the Ilford partly for comparative purposes and partly because I haven't ruled out shooting this project in black and white, or a combination of colour and black and white. If I prefer Portra to Ektar, I may do a further Portra 160/400 test. At B&H, Portra 160 is less expensive than 400, by enough that it would add up over time.

    I'll shoot a sheet of each film one after the other for a given test subject. The objective is simple. I just want to see how each film interprets the scene and light. I'm not in a hurry to use filtration during the test, but I have the filters that users of Ektar tend to recommend.

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