What type of film is this?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by patrick_p, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. Does anyone know what type of film is used to get the color and
    contrast of the portraits like those of Steve McCurry? Here is a
    link to what I'm after.


    I'm afraid he is using kodachrome, which is very hard to find and
    develop these days. If so what is the closest thing on the market?

    Thanks, Patrick
  2. If you haven't already, send him an e-mail and ask him what he uses. That's probably the best way to find out. :)
  3. For what it's worth, the older photos (like the famous "girl from Afghanistan" National Geographic cover photo from 1984) were probably shot on Kodachrome, since that's what most National Geographic photographers shot in those days.
  4. If you like the look of Kodachrome 25, you will probably like Velvia 100F.
  5. From the dark shadows, I'd agree that they are likely chromes, presuming that they are on film.

    They are certainly not a "high saturation" film, most of the colors are subtle, except where the clothing is really bright. So these aren't Velvia. Nor are they EPP or E100VS.

    Kodak E100GX is one film I've tried. His look appears to tend towards a bit of under-exposure, although that might be in the printing or web preparation stage.

    Another note. These don't appear to be taken in bright light. Many are in dark places. Maybe it's 200 speed film, like Kodak E200?
  6. jtk


    National Geographic USED TO specify "Kodachrome" or "Ektachrome" with each image. Ektachrome was usually specified in low light because there was no high speed Kodachrome, and Kodachrome could only reliably be pushed one stop (and only if you knew how to ask for that service :), whereas Ektachrome could be pushed 2.5 stops and still look relatively normal.

    Patrick, that's nice color, but what is it you especially like?
  7. That's a good question John. I like the realistic skin tones and the contrast. All the shadows quickly move to black giving the image a sombre feel. I think he may be under exposing on a lot of these shots like John S suggested. It also looks like he is using a macro lens, perhaps the Nikon 105mm or 60mm (I read he uses Nikon).

    Currently I use Provia 100F, Velvia 100F and sometimes E100VS. These are very saturated films, nothing like Steve's shots. I wanted to try something new. I read that E100SW was pretty good but I think it is discontinued. Has it been replaced with E100GX?

    Could he be using Astia, Fuji's portrait film? Maybe I should send him a mail.
  8. He has used a lot of Kodachrome in the past. From the look of these, I'm guessing Kodachrome for the tibet shots. When he spoke at Kodak, I think he said he was now using some E100VS, but the Tibet pictures don't look like E100VS. The skin tones are gorgeous and not over saturated, which is a difficult achievement with today's more saturated film. So I stick with Kodachrome as the most likely film.
  9. In an interview I found somewhere on the net a couple of years ago (but I cannot find it now!) he said he was using Kodachrome 25, E100S and E100SW and Provia. The evolution of E100S and E100SW is E100G and E100GX respectively.

    Try this in google:

    "steve mccurry" "film type" site:nationalgeographic.com

Share This Page