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Thread: First film

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Question First film

    Noob Qs'

    Ok, so my Technika will be here tomorrow, and I plan on spending the rest of the week getting to know the camera, eg; set it up, focus, run through checklist, take the "shot", zero out, break it down, repeat ad infinitum. I want to go out this weekend and take some real shots. Landscapes, NW scenery, water, etc.

    Unless someone here can give me some good reasons why I shouldn't, I am planning on shooting chrome. The question is which chrome? At this point I am leaning towards Fuji Velvia 100F, partly because there are no reciprocity corrections required (per Fuji) up to 1Min. exp, and I don't forsee getting into any seriously long exposure scenarios in the near future. When I intruduced myself here, Steve Simmons, in his kind welcome, suggested I pick a film and stick with it for at least a year. While Steve made this recommendation for B&W, It seems to make a lot of sense to me regardless of the type of film I shoot. My dilemma, if there is one, is that If I am going to stick with just one film for the next four seasons, I do want to hopefully make a reasonably "correct" choice for a beginner.

    Note:
    I will be having Ivey Imaging in Seattle do all processing, and for the time being, I will be scanning the slides on a crappy old HP all-in one.

    Any input, suggestions, or guffaws of amusement?

  2. #2
    Paul Cocklin
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    May 2006
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    Roseville, CA
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    Re: First film

    fwiw, I think Velvia's a fine choice for chromes. Personally, when I shoot chromes I shoot Kodak readyloads, so Ektachrome is my choice right now, but that's really only because I haven't bought Fuji films yet. I'm sure you'll get much more knowledgable answers than mine, though. This forum is the greatest resource I've ever seen in terms of photography.

  3. #3

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    Re: First film

    Talk to the people at Ivey Imaging. They see more film than anyone so they may have some useful insights. Good luck and don't forget to have fun.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2002
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    1,031

    Re: First film

    I used the original Velvia 50 when I started into LF; abandoned it in favor of Ektachrome because of the color shifts and unforgiving reciprocity curve. Currently, I'm using E100SW which I find very predictable and forgiving.

    I haven't tried the new Velvias, but have been told they are now similarly easy to get along with. Steve S.'s suggestion (one film/one year) is a good one IMO, and I expect you'll be happy with your choice.

  5. #5

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    Re: First film

    Quote Originally Posted by village idiot View Post
    My dilemma, if there is one, is that If I am going to stick with just one film for the next four seasons, I do want to hopefully make a reasonably "correct" choice for a beginner.... I will be having Ivey Imaging in Seattle do all processing, and for the time being, I will be scanning the slides on a crappy old HP all-in one.... Any input, suggestions, or guffaws of amusement?
    I forgot to read your initial posts about your experience with 4x5 cameras, but since I have just started (Jan.) I created a list of places to photograph with different lessons to learn the camera (controls), composition and film (exposure). They are mostly city scenes (building, plazas, parks, etc. in Tacoma/Seattle), but also rural landscape (anywhere I can find) and nature (Mt. Rainier NP). Each scene has different perspectives or subjects to work with the camera, and being local I can always go back to the same place to try again.

    The list was made over a two years of normal errands and work while I sorted out the camera decision, simply seeing and noting interesting places or scenes, from simple building fronts to angle views of places and open plazas/parks. It sounds easy until you get the results back and go, "WTF did I do?"

    I agree to focus on one or two films (I also use Ivey Imaging because they charge the same no matter the film or push/pull), and I use T-Max and Provia, the latter because I use it with 35mm film. I'm not a fan of saturated films. One advantage to transparency film is errors show up quickly, especially wrong exposures or camera movements.

    And lastly, two personal suggestions. First, take lots of notes. I use a "Rite-in-the-Rain" notebook (my from field work days). Second, a digital camera helps to take the same image (approximate focal length) to bracket the scene and compare later. It works for me.
    --Scott--

    Scott M. Knowles, MS-Geography
    scott@wsrphoto.com

    "All things merge into one, and a river flows through it."
    - Norman MacLean

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Re: First film

    Quote Originally Posted by village idiot View Post

    Unless someone here can give me some good reasons why I shouldn't, I am planning on shooting chrome.
    Cost. Assuming you want to end up with a chrome then that can't be helped. B&W is so much cheaper and if you process it yourself that much cheaper. That makes it easier to shoot more.

    OTOH there are advantage to handing the film to a pro lab and letting them process it.

  7. #7
    Doug Dolde
    Guest

    Re: First film

    Velvia will be more frustrating than Provia. The contrast is so high making it very hard to expose and scan well.

  8. #8

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    Re: First film

    Hi,

    The advantage to a transparency film is that (if correctly processed) what you do shooting will be exactly reflected in what you get. If you are new to photography in general, transparencies are a great (albeit frustrating) way to get basic exposure technique down fastest. Be prepared to have to reshoot things a few times to get results. It's money and time well spent.

    BW is forgiving, and will get you tolerable results more reliably, but won't teach you as fast. There are just too many variables when you get all that extra power of manipulation from negative to print.

    Velvia is more demanding because it is quite contrasty, but it will show you clearly what you are and aren't doing. Bracketing a lot can often save you much grief.

    If you have done much BW and color photography with other cameras and formats, and are new only to the Technika, then shoot what you want.

    Best,

    C

  9. #9

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    Re: First film

    Hmmmm, lots of food for thought.

    I do plan on talking to the folks at Ivey today. I’m going to follow the suggestions in other threads about asking if they have any empty film boxes available, also if they have any “damaged” 4x5 film to practice loading/unloading. I will try and get input on film choice from them at that time.

    Alan, I saw in another thread where you use Photoassist. Do you use the reciprocity function in this program, and if so, do you find it accurate/helpful?

    Scott, I’m considering Photoassist (above) for notetaking. Good suggestion, thanks.

    Nick, re; cost- it is not in the cards right now to set up a darkroom, and Ivey charges the same for processing any type of 4x5 film, so there would be no cost savings there. Obviously, the film would be cheaper, but I’m willing to take that hit.

    Doug, are you saying Provia is more “forgiving” of exposure errors?

  10. #10

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    Re: First film

    CG, I shot 35mm in the late 70s-early 80s, and what I have retained from that wouldn't fill a thimble.

    I am planning on using my Nikon digital to bracket, and try and narrow down my exposure window. I will be taking notes, and the EXIF info from the digital captures will hopefully help in learning the demands of whatever film I do choose.

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