Color transparancy vs negative film (again)

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by rob_haury, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. I'm relatively new to color work in large format. I've been using
    Fuji Provia 100f scanned, photoshopped, and then printed at my local
    pro photovision. I'm thinking that because the saturation and
    contrast can be adjusted in photoshop the advantages of using
    chromes is not so important. i.e color saturation. Has anybody done
    any side by side comparisons between the two types of film? It seems
    that the increased exposure latitude and reduced contrast of
    negative film would be a benifit when using scanned images (more
    information available)Any opinions will be appreciated.

  2. Each color film, whether reversal or negative, will have its own characteristic rendidition of colors, and that "color signature" may be as or more important than other technical characteristics. Although specific scanners may favor one type of film over another, both film types now scan reasonably well, I think. Thus, I'd choose a film that provides the style of color you personally prefer, taking the other factors into secondary consideration.
  3. For me it all depends on what I'm shooting and what kind of look I want to end up with. If I'm shooting straight up color landscapes, then I usually go for RDP III for the contrast and the colors. If I'm shooting portraits or something that I know I'll be scanning and retouching/tweaking, then I'll shoot color neg, as I find that it has a smoother, more skin-friendly tonality and seems to be easier to get a good scan out of with an Epson 2450 or 3200. I shot this photograph and the rest of the series it was part of on color neg on 4x5 both because I knew I'd be scanning it to put it in a layout to hand in to my professor as well as for the softer contrast I wanted in some of the images.
  4. I asked just about the same questionin a previous thread. See the following:
  5. I will repeat the conventional wisdom. Transparencies are designed to be viewed directly, iether on a light table or by projection. So they have to have a fairly large densities. This can cause problems with moderate priced scanners, particularly in the shadows. Also, exposure is very critical with transparencies.

    Negative film has much greater latitude, particularly in the direction of overexposure. Since it is not designed to be viewed directly, the densities don't have to be as great, which means that almost any decent scanner can handle them. But you don't have anything to compare to directly in deciding on color balance when making prints or when adjusting scans.
  6. The fact that slides have much higher Dmax (and lower Dmin due to the orange mask on negs) and a steeper curve has a significant impact on how the image looks; the density contributes to the somewhat contrastier look, but midtones are are better separated and saturated with slides. Of course, the particular film used makes quite a diffeence too.

    Try to shoot a scene on slide, then on neg, scan both and see how they match (after you've made your adjustments, that is)
  7. Leonard's comments are right to the point. I would add a couple of things:

    It is true with negatives that when it comes time to scan and make the print you do
    not have a visual to use for reference, and at first I thought this might be a problem
    for me. But over time I have proven to my own satisfaction that it really is an
    advantage, at least for me, in that I find that I look at the image in a more critical way
    during the digital part of the process. This helps to keep this as part of the creative
    process, instead of a more mechanical process attempting to "match trans," which is
    impossible anyway. The result, for me and the kind of work I do, is more natural
    looking color and more expressive prints. I find myself thinking more about color and
    the nature of light than ever, even though I have been working with color
    reproduction professionally for a good 30 years.

    Scanner hardware, scanner software, and the film profiles you use will have a huge
    impact on the nature of the image produced from a color neg, more so than with a
    transparency. So if you have the chance try different options and combinations do so.

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