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Thread: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

  1. #1

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    Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    Hi all,

    I've been shooting 4x5 b&w for about 4 years now. About two weeks ago I was in Tom Till's gallery in Moab, UT and was amazed at some of his color prints, so I got to thinking about giving color a try. I was thinking about buying a new Fuji Quickload film holder and a sinlge box of Velvia quickloads to start things off. The reason I'm going with the quickloads is I only have 4 film holders, and I like to keep those stocked with Tri-X.

    Here's some questions:

    1. Is this a good way to begin?
    2. What would be the best film to start with? Velvia? Provia?
    3. About how much do labs charge for processing 4x5 transparency film?

    Thanks,

    Curtis

  2. #2

    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Curtis Nelson
    I was thinking about buying a new Fuji Quickload film holder and a sinlge box of Velvia quickloads to start things off.
    1. Is this a good way to begin?
    2. What would be the best film to start with? Velvia? Provia?
    3. About how much do labs charge for processing 4x5 transparency film?
    Curtis
    Hi, Curtis

    If you want to leave your options for film open, I'd suggest getting the Kodak or Polaroid holder over the Fuji Quickload. Both the Kodak and Polaroid holders will accept Fuji film, but I'm 95 percent sure the Quickload holder only accepts Fuji film. I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong.

    The lab I currently use charges about $2.50 for processing transparency film. Hopefully there's a lab in your area that will do it for you.

    Good luck!

    Larry
    Larry Mendenhall
    www.quiet-places.com

  3. #3

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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    Curtis, I'm in similar situation. I've only shot 4 sheets of LF E-6 in the past 25 years. I, too, plan on shooting more color but will likely go for color negative film. The transparency, though, is SO impressive to look at!

    Rather than a QL holder, I'm more interested in using it in Polaroid 545 holder. I believe I read that it can be done. For one thing, I already have a 545, but if I were starting out I'd also be thinking about versatility. Perhaps others with experience can straighten me out if this is not good thinking!

    I like Velvia in 120 and 35mm so that's probably what I'll try first, but that's a personal choice.

    The lab I use (Southern CA) charges $1.60 for E-6 processing of 4x5 with 4-hour turnaround. Interestingly, they don't list a price for C-41 of 4x5... so maybe I'll have to retract what I said earlier about shooting color neg!

  4. #4

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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    Oh... the thought I forgot to say: Why not buy a few more holders?

  5. #5

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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    I use Fuji Quickloads in the Kodak Readyload holder on the occasions that I expose color film, but there's one caution if you do that: if you invent a new way to screw up, and insert the Quickload into the holder backwards (with the "this side toward lens" not toward the lens), the clip on the Quickload gets stuck in the holder, and you'll have to take it apart to get it out.

    And, if like me, you have to do this in the field, it's best to have a spare holder, or be acquainted with Tom Westbrook's instructions on field stripping the holder! Tom's web site has a description, along with pictures.

    You *can* reduce sheet costs by using sheet film in film holders rather than Quickloads, but for me, the overall cost of 4x5 color is such that I prefer to be ensured of the cleanliness of the film, i.e., in a Quickload or Readyload.

    The lab I use in San Diego charges $2 for a sheet of E6, but they will also correlate an ID number on the Quickload envelope with each slide so that I know which exposure is which (don't know whether that service is common).

    John Clark
    www.johndclark.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    I bought the Kodak holder, and use it with both Fuji and Kodak.

    Since I scan I prefer to shoot neg, Fuji Pro 160.

    I also have shot Astia.

    It is more expensive to process neg than pos, but the extended range is worth it for me.

  7. #7

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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    Make sure that transparencies suit your needs better than negs. Many folks find negatives easier to shoot and to scan; others prefer the self-proofing of slides.

  8. #8
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Curtis Nelson
    1. Is this a good way to begin?
    2. What would be the best film to start with? Velvia? Provia?
    3. About how much do labs charge for processing 4x5 transparency film?
    1) First thing to decide is how much dynamic range do you need for your subjects. The B&W you are used to is good for 10-14 stops or so depending on how you process it. Color Slide film is good for much less depending on the film. Somewhere in the range of 4-6.5 stops more or less. This limited range won't let you shoot in sunlight and retrieve much (if any) shadow detail. This is one of the reasons tranny shooters love overcast conditions...

    Color negative film, on the other hand, is good for nearly the same dynamic range as B&W. IOW, you can shoot in direct sunlight and pull complete shadow detail.

    so... "is this [transparency film] a good way to begin?" depends on what scenes you are going to be capturing among other things.

    2) Again, it depends on your subject. If you are shooting lots of sunsets, Velvia might not be a bad way to go - really punch up the contrast and the colors. For general landscape I tend to back off from the really saturated colors of Velvia. I tend to think more in terms of Astia.

    I use 160PortraVC negative film mostly. I would use the NC version (less saturation) if I could get it in readyload format.

    3) My lab just went up to $2.00/sheet for 5x4 160PortraVC. I hand it to them still in the readyload packets. I don't have any idea what their E-6 charges might be.

    Bruce Watson

  9. #9

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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    I shoot almost exclusively Velvia in QuickLoads. The QuickLoad holders are well built, although I did have to replace one after about 5 years of use. I use primarily Velvia 100 these days, but you should try both Velvia and Provia to see which you like. The Velvia has much higher saturation. My lab, Calypso (Santa Clara, CA), charges $1.30 a sheet, and they do an excellent job.

  10. #10

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    Re: Shooting transparency film - advice needed

    Thanks everyone. This has been excellent advice.

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