NPS, other color 4x5 film

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by tadge_dryja, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. Hello-

    So, I'm new to this whole "Large Format" thing (and pretty exited). I
    posted a similar question in the "film" forum, but this seems like a
    much more active forum, and people might have more relevant

    I bought a little box of NPS. It says it's for exposures of 1/8 sec
    or shorter. Fuji's data sheet says not to use it for exposures longer
    than 2 sec.

    So, how much do I have to worry about reciprocity failure? Will it
    really ruin color that much, or is it easily corrected? At the small
    apertures that I will probably be using, long shutter times seem

    Also, I understand that NPL is fuji's color film for longer exposures,
    but it's tungsten balanced. Can I easily correct this color shift in
    the darkroom, by turning the Y knob up a lot? Would this get me
    better results than NPS?

    Also, there seem to be only about 4 or 5 c-41 films in 4x5 format. At
    least that I can find. NPS, NPL, and 2 or 3 Portra films from kodak.
    Is this the nature of large format in general, or is color unpopular
    with large format photographers? What are people's preferred color
    negative sheet films? Does anyone else even use color neg films?

    Well, thanks for any responses or advice!

  2. The manufacturers seem to be cautious in their exposure time recommendations. I wouldn't worry about exposures up to a couple of seconds. Even much longer ones probably wound't cause uncorrectable shifts.

    If you want accurate color reproduction, it would be a poor idea to use the wrong color temperature film without corrective filtration on the taking lens, e.g., don't use tungsten film in the daylight without filtration. Without corrective filtration when the photo is made, the color shifts will be difficult to correct. It would probably be better to use the correct color temperature film even if the exposure time is a bit outside of the recommended range.

    The exposure time of 1/8 shouldn't be a problem during daylight. Typical taking apertures with 4x5 are f16 to f32, which will typically gives exposures of 1/8 second or less during the day. (Of course, "typically" means that there are exceptions.) Under what conditions do you think that you might need exposure times longer than 2 seconds?

    There are sufficient types of color negative films in 4x5. There are choices from more than one manufacturer, in several speeds, and both daylight and tungsten. What more do you need?

    One factor in determining the number of types offered is that there is little point in selling budget films, which cuts out the bewildering number of amateur color neg films seen in 35 mm. Another factor is that professionals have frequently preferred slide film, probably mainly because one can show the slide to a press operator and say "make it look like that". That aspect shouldn't be important to an amateur making prints -- we can judge the prints ourselves. A final factor is that there is sometimes an attitude that "real men" photographers use slide film. Negative film offers real advantages, such as greater exposure range.
  3. I've used NPS as slow as 4-10 seconds, and not noticed a great shift on flower colors. However, flowers are forgiving, especially if colorful and the greens are right, and the orignal has wilted away. However, I cannot say that I saw a huge difference between 1/2 and 10 seconds -- a little additional time thrown in, estimating reciprocity.

    I do, however, usually try to stay within guidelines. This was not exhaustive testing, just 1-2 times. I have never tried color critical work, or human face, at such slow times. It is a good people film under normal studio flash, gives good whites in daylight, etc.

    I can say one advantage of c-41 negatives is my local pro developing shop gives pretty good "proof" 8x10 prints off a 4x5 color neg at $2.50-3.00, which is cheaper than slides, then copies, etc. Well exposed stuff does pretty good, though obviously a 4x5'er is after high quality at every stage. A disadvantge is not having that beautiful transparency to look at.
  4. jbq


    If you're worried about reciprocity failure, look around Provia and Acros, both advertised good for 2 min exposures without compensation (I did a 2min exposure on Acros without a problem).

    I've wanted to try NPS but my local shop never seems to have is in QuickLoads.

    Anyway, in full daylight, ISO160 film is going to allow for reasonably short exposures, even at f/32 (should be 1/50s if I'm not mistaken). This leaves enough margin to take pictures in the shade, on during a slightly overcast day, without having to worry too much about large apertures or about reciprocity failure.
  5. I've been shooting a lot of 4x5 NPS recently. I shoot it at EI 100 with no change to
    development, and with this I haven't noticed any problems with color shift or
    reciprocity to at least 10 seconds. I've also done some long-exposure stuff with it in
    the range of about 8-12 minute exposures, and while reciprocity was significant, the
    color shift wasn't anything to get excited about.
  6. Not to sound like a smart ass, but if you're really worried about color reproduction, I hope your using a color temp meter and have a set of decamired filters. Seriously, it's only a REAL problem when shooting chromes as you can correct most (but not all) color shifts at print time when using color negative. I would however, use the proper color correction filters when shooting tungsten film in daylight or vice versa.

    I have a 2 sets of Tiffen decamired filters - a set in series 7 and a set in series 8 - and use a Gossen color temp meter when shooting chromes where color is critical. The filters turn up on that famous on-line auction on a regular basis. It's not a bad idea to have at least 4 handy, R-1 1/2, R-3, B-1 1/2, and B3 for minor shifts. Having R6, R12, B6, and B12 is icing on the cake.

    As for color sheet films... you'll have to experiment with what's available and find what YOU like. I'm an Ektachrome E100G and EPP kinda guy...
  7. cxc


    I use pinhole cameras that require much longer exposures, often in the minutes, occasionally in the hours. I find that Portra color films (120 and 4x5) give pretty reliable colors for long exposures. I would recommend them for minimizing reciprocity concerns. I also happen to like the palette. However I wouldn't worry about any film shot in daylight for under 5 seconds.

  8. Hi,
    you already have pretty good and interesting answers to your question.
    Let me add my 2cents...
    I think this film is going to stand a long exposure very well. But for the exact color reproduction of a scene I would follow Fuji recommendations or I would stay under 2 to 4 sec.
    I found that with a longer exposure time you should be very accurate with the exposure...means the film doesn't support an overexposition and can easily shows a 'crossover'. The highlights become slightly Red and the shadows become Cyan.
    So that's my experience with that film...that I really like I have to say.

    Good luck

    Michel Legendre
  9. The Kodak Portra family is supposed to maintain reciprocity well into the longer
    exposure range, meaning up to 10 seconds or so. I have read that when reciprocity
    departure starts to occur it primarily effects exposure and not so much color balance.
    My own experience with Portra, with exposures up to perhaps two seconds, would
    tend to confirm these statements, though I have not done any specific testing or
    made very long exposures to really check it out.

    I must say that I have become a big fan of Kodak Portra NC films (160 and 400),
    which I scan directly and get excellent results! What I particularly like are very natural
    color rendering and much exposure latitude. Expose for the shadows and scan for the
  10. Hey... thanks for so many responses.

    So, this is reassuring. If the reciprocity mainly just affects exposure, I can certainly deal with that; I have plenty of experience with reciprocity failure in black and white films. And most of the situations that I will probably run into, color accuracy won't be critical - dusk, twilight shots, etc.

    I just wanted to make sure I shouldn't be buying NPL for longer exposures.

    During daylight though I realize I won't have much of a problem. Today in class we were all running around with 4x5 color polaroid backs, whcih were iso 100. The shutter speeds were usually around 1/15 or 1/30.

    No one really knew what they were doing so we all got lots of fun pictures with crazy tilts and swings. It was great!
  11. The availability of sheet film for 4x5 is sad. For example, I really liked Optima sheet film. But, I was told by Agfa that they couldn't sell all the film they made for the smallest sized run on their machines before the expiration date.

    Of course, my contradictory nature wonders why they couldn't experiment with shorter runs and how to obtain them.

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