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Thread: Reasons for using reversal film?

  1. #11

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi7475 View Post
    In other words— what they give me is a combination of different rendition and different ability to handle a scene. Beyond that, there’s nothing really that creates a practical difference between the two, that translates into a print.
    Except if you go for “extreme” (drum) scanning for very large prints, then slides may show a resolution edge all things equal.
    Thanks, for my situation this points to shooting Ektar or Portra negative.

  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Labs won't be able to help you with quality internegs. The special kind of film they once used relative to sheet film work is no longer made. Current Portra 160 does it superbly, but requires supplemental contrast masking, so is simply too fussy and labor-intensive for the few remaining full-service labs. If I offered such a service, I'd realistically need to ask about $500 per interneg. But I almost never print for others anymore. So on commercial scale, outputting from scans is the only realistic way when original chromes are involved. That gives you the option of either inkjet or laser printing onto chromogenic RA4 media.

    Ektar is capable of achieving a look resembling chromes in terms of hue purity and saturation, but has certain idiosyncrasies requiring attention for optimal results. I have posted about these many times before, but they basically involved correction for color temp imbalance at the time of the shot using filters, rather than presuming it can be post-corrected afterwards. It just doesn't work that way. Ektar does give you distinctly more wiggle room in terms of contrast range than chromes; but don't mistake that for forgiveness of carelessness. There will be a qualitative penalty to incorrect exposure. And it is balanced to true 100 box speed. Ignore antique advice about overexposing these modern pro versions of color neg film.

    Portra 160 is, as its name implies, engineered for optimal portrait use, being balanced to skintones, much less saturated, less fussy about filtration, and considerably less contrasty, with a wider latitude. It's the evolutionary pinnacle of classic color neg films at this point in time. Ektar is a completely different kind of animal, and more of a realistic option to the look of chromes. You should experiment with both.

  3. #13

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Ektar is capable of achieving a look resembling chromes in terms of hue purity and saturation, but has certain idiosyncrasies requiring attention for optimal results. I have posted about these many times before, but they basically involved correction for color temp imbalance at the time of the shot using filters, rather than presuming it can be post-corrected afterwards. It just doesn't work that way. Ektar does give you distinctly more wiggle room in terms of contrast range than chromes; but don't mistake that for forgiveness of carelessness. There will be a qualitative penalty to incorrect exposure. And it is balanced to true 100 box speed. Ignore antique advice about overexposing these modern pro versions of color neg film.

    Portra 160 is, as its name implies, engineered for optimal portrait use, being balanced to skintones, much less saturated, less fussy about filtration, and considerably less contrasty, with a wider latitude. It's the evolutionary pinnacle of classic color neg films at this point in time. Ektar is a completely different kind of animal, and more of a realistic option to the look of chromes. You should experiment with both.
    Thanks very much for your observations. I've used Portra, but not Ektar. As you suggest, the next step is a Portra/Ektar test.

  4. #14

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Re Portra and Ektar, the following 2019 thread is helpful, especially Drew's comments in post #52 on page 3: Ektar 100 vs Portra 160 - what's the exact difference?

  5. #15

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Better question, what are your image goals and what are the images intended to be small-large-whopper size, photochemical process or digital file printed, web based viewing only or book printing or ?_?

    There is no ideal film, there is no ideal digital image process, there is no ideal photochemical process. Going far beyond the often overly focused object of camera-lens, the post process aka image making process is often FAR more important than camera-lens. Yet it tends to be the most ignored, taken for granted and difficult.

    Don't fall into the higher contrast transmitted color image is "sharper" than a reflected light color image. The visual perception of transmitted color -vs- reflected color is not the same and do not believe higher contrast aka "snappier" is sharper or "better". Image quality is FAR more complex than that.

    As for color transparency film, it's broad and extremely common use back in the day was due to the color printing process. Back in the film centric color printing days, GOOD color transparencies were the essential ingredient to make color printing happen. This demanded high quality color transparencies made in very specific ways-process-techniques. There is an example of color transparency contrast control and more in this Sinar info sheet# 31:
    https://www.pacificrimcamera.com/rl/01388/01388.pdf

    Notable is this contrast ratio line of what is possible with color transparency film -vs- color printing.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is one of the reasons why spot-on exposure and overall control of lighting WAS so extremely important back in those color transparency centric days. Note the 4000w/s strobe behind the diffusor in the set up notes. That kind of studio strobe power was extremely common back in those days for any serious studio view camera work. It is also why the Meh reaction to producing color transparencies with outdoor light which is not controllable with significant color temperature variations over the course of a circadian day of light.

    And yes Drew IS correct on inherent color personality of any film to discover what is might be requires testing that is likely extremely difficult to achieve today, yet extremely common back in the film centric days (anyone serious about doing color film images understood and practiced this process-method and understood well what color was about).

    See post# 33
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...gray+card+test

    See post# 20
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ght=elinchrome

    If the color images are scanned into a digital file, worked on in software following the digital work flow, not a lot of advantages to using color transparency film.
    What IS more important to revealing and achieving the innate color personality of a given color film spot on exposure, light used for exposure to the rated color temperature of the specific film then testing using a calibrated color densitometer and that entire film density testing process.

    Spend the 2 1/2 hours to what these two Tim Hall videos on color:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mss_EnQsq0o&t=2212s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5x7TDsHRV8&t=2695s



    Bernice

  6. #16

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Thanks Bernice, interesting comments and links. I've narrowed my options to Ektar and Portra. I'll be trying out both with 4x5 sheets of each that I'm picking up at B&H tomorrow.

  7. #17

    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    A reason back in the days was that slides are easier to check. The redactor in charge puts the slides onto a lighttable and sorts them in two piles: the ones usable for his needs and the others. Time needed for this operation being seconds or few minutes.
    Some magazines not only had the policy of asking for slides, but some would accept only middle format. Reason being that direct visual inspection was easier.

  8. #18

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugen Mezei View Post
    A reason back in the days was that slides are easier to check.
    I know a commercial photographer who did a lot of catalogue shoots who says that this is one of the reasons why he and others used reversal film for those shoots.

    I started this thread because my favourite black and white prints are 8x10 contact prints, and from that perspective reversal film was a potentially interesting option. However, in light of the responses, for me the sensible decision is to go with negative film.

    I am curious about what the current market is for reversal film. I don't know what the economics are of the film business, but I have the impression that reversal is a fairly small niche market in what is already a niche market. I sure wouldn't choose it for a long-term project unless I was prepared, if necessary, to buy and freeze a lot of it in one go. I'm also inclined to think that the question of future availability weighs in favour of Portra over Ektar.

  9. #19

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Well, duh. You need to use reversal film to compensate for the reversed image on the ground glass.

    ... and for full correction, you really should be using an authentic Australian made ground glass for right-side-up viewing. Definitely worth the premium, in my view.

  10. #20

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    Re: Reasons for using reversal film?

    Much to do with the color lithographic printing process. Back in those days color printing began with color separated half tone negatives. These were easier to make from color transparency film positives or color paste ups. Color negatives or B&W negatives required an inter-positive film which is then used in the same way as a color positive transparency film to make the half tone color separation negative set. Eventually scanning was introduced to the color printing process which addressed the demand for positive images (transmitted or reflected light) for the lithographic printing process.

    Some history on the color Litho printing process and color correction:
    https://cmykhistory.com/a-color-correction-maskerade/

    Added advantage of color transparency films was ease of assessing if the image was any good and if the printing check copy was close enough to the original image. Keep in mind the print contrast ratio noted in the Sinar Image Tech# 33 of the printing contrast range of 16:1 -vs- color transparency contrast range of 64:1.

    This was the primary and main market for color transparency films back in the day. It is why SO much volume of color transparency film was consumed and common.

    Personally, color transparency sheet film images were used to make Ilfordchrome / Cibachrome prints. When properly done with lower contrast lenses (Kodak Ektar and similar) controlled lighting (lighting ratios and all that), contrast masking, proper color control and all the finished print was very special in many ways. Once that print process was gone, color images stopped.

    Largest volume of color transparency film consumed was 35mm (many thousands of frames), mounted up then projected using an Elmo Ominigraphic (the better dounut slide tray projector) or Kodak projector with a Golden Navitar, Isco AV or Schneider Cinelux AV projector lens. This made GOOD color images to enjoy. Done properly, think this remains one of the better ways to use color transparency film today.


    IMO, today color transparency film images have a "moth attracted to the light" effect where the transmitted light image tends to suck or lure in many viewers in the same way moths are attracted to light at night.

    As a personal judgement on current digital based color prints.. Meh..
    What digital imaging has made easy and available to many is the ability to bend the data based image to an individual's will, intent, desires and more. Inherently not a bad thing, just very revealing of the vision, imagination, creativity much of who the individual bending the image might be.


    Bernice
    Last edited by Bernice Loui; 18-Jul-2021 at 11:45.

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