Which film and why?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by bryn_evans, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. I've shot a few weddings mainly for friends and family on my EOS 5 Ive tended
    to stay with colour film on the main camera using Kodak 400NC sometimes 160NC
    in summer. These seem to give flattering skin tones without overdoing the
    colour saturation. I then use Kodak TMAX 400 on the second camera usually
    without flash with a 50mm 1.8 lens but recently ive been using Kodak BW400
    which is more convienent to process at the same lab as my colour films but just
    slightly lacks the impact of TMAX though the smoothness of the print I feel
    flatters the skin a little more than the tradional black and white emulsion. At
    one particular church flash wasn't allowed indoors so I used Fuji Neopan 1600
    and was pleased with the results (less grainy than expected) though there was
    an increase in contrast.
    Do most professionals tend to stick with print film for wedding jobs as it has
    the wider exposure latitude and "prints" are usually the end product required?
    I would be interested top hear which films people use and why?
  2. I stick with film for everything. That Fuji 1600 is nice stuff, but like all other traditional B&W films you should run your own tests to determine the optimum ISO and development time to give you the prints you're seeking.
  3. I get my film processed and printed on a Fuji Frontier. I found the Kodak BW400 to always have a funny tone to it, and sometimes would get a magenta hue. For B&W work I switched to Fuji Superia, printed B&W. What once was a mistake by the lab turned out to be to my benefit. The film has less grain than a true B&W (Tmax or Tri-x, etc.) which is great for the group or family shots. I also use the Superia for back-up group shots. Real advantage is that if the lab (or me) was to ever mess up the color stuff, I can always have the back-up shots from the Superia reprinted in color. So... Superia, but printed B&W.

    Love 160 and 400NC. I like 1600 Neopan for tight shots of the B&G. The grain looks great.
  4. Camera on +3 for most of the day, + 1.3 for the Neopan 1600.
  5. OOPS.... +.3 most of day.
  6. You are correct. Medium contrast color portrait films (like Portra NC), are designed for high contrast situations, and balanced for good flesh tones. Contrary to popular belief, they don't need to be over exposed. Just correctly exposed for the shadows, at the box speed.

    None of the chromogenics (C41 B&W) films have very good contrast. A slight over exposure helps some, but not much. If you want good B&W results, shoot silver based real B&W film.
  7. Q: "Do most professionals tend to stick with print film for wedding jobs as it has the wider
    exposure latitude and "prints" are usually the end product required?"

    A: I'd venture a guess that film users are now in the minority.

    Q: "I would be interested top hear which films people use and why?"

    A: When I shoot film I use all types depending on the circumstances.

    The C-41 chromogenics: Portra400B&W is good for contrasty scenes due to its flatness,
    where Illford XP2-Super is slightly less flat and nicer on overcast days. Both scan well and
    gain more snap during the scanning process compared to traditional darkroom printing
    and analog prints using a diffused light source of an enlarger. If lab proofs have a color
    cast to them from these films it is because the lab isn't using the correct B&W paper.

    For Medium Format real B&W I use Tri-X Pro rated at the box speed of 320. This year I will
    be experimenting with some B&W films that are new to me ... like Bergger BRF-200. I will
    be firing up the darkroom to process my own negs for scanning as the labs are folding
    fast. You get better negs anyway,

    Color Films: The ubiquitous Kodak NC selections are a no-brainer choice, but not the only
    choice. For years I primarily used 400NC. I did rate the 400 at 320 because that's what has
    worked for me since the film has been introduced. Within a reasonable margin, neg. film is
    more forgiving of overexposure than underexposure, and scanning especially makes this

    I now also use Fuji Pro 400 H, which is also a neutral contrast color neg film that is
    perhaps a tiny bit less contrasy than Kodak 400NC (which I would not like for optical
    prints, but love for scanning which originates from a harsher light source). Very nice skin
    tones. I feel it is an excellent alternative to digital color when faced with harsh outdoor
    lighting conditions at a wedding.
  8. Marc made a good point. Ask your lab if they switch papers to a B&W paper when printing B&W. If they do, use XP2 or 400Cn. If they don't, use a color film like Superia and have them print it B&W. In other words, Xp2 & 400CN look good on B&W paper, not so good on color paper. Color films printed B&W look good on color paper.

    This is info for a Fuji Frontier, probably the most popular printer out there.
  9. I don't shoot weddings, but . . .

    You can get creamy skin tones with traditional B&W films if you meter the skin and open up 2 stops (Caucasians). Zone VII for us zone system geeks.

    I really like Fuji low contras films for color neg work - Pro 160S and Pro 400H are my favorites. And Pro 800Z is surprisingly good for high speed film.
  10. Hey Marc,

    Don't know if you've tried them, but H&H Color Lab out of MO still processes negs and will scan them. They also still print optically! So far their customer service has been excellent! www.hhcolorlab.com
  11. Fuji Reala 100 is my color film of choice. My lab prefers it over all other Kodak color films as well.
  12. If you're shooting available light in mixed lighting, whether flourescents, tungsten, window light, whatever, any combination there of, the "pro" films have problems. They're either balanced for daylight/electronic flash (about 5,500k) or else for tunsten studio lights (3,200k). Fuji and Kodak both make films designed for dumb amateurs who have no concept of "degrees kelvin" as a measurement of "color temperature". The films are inexpensive too, when you buy them in four-packs on sale at your local drug store, usually $6.99 for ISO 200 and $8.99 for ISO 400.

    These films tend to have "punchier" color than the pro wedding and portrait films, but nowadays people are so used to seeing oversaturated digital images anyway.
  13. Thanks very much for your replies, I get the BW400 processed and printed on "traditional" plant with black and white paper so I have never had any issues with colour casts. My lab uses the Kodak Endura paper for colour prints which seems to give very nice skin tones, they have been experimenting with a new metallic paper that is very interesting. I have traditional Black and White film developed then scanned into an Agfa digital plant then printed which gives very good results too.
  14. It's been a while since I shot film, but when I did, I really liked the response I got from Kodak Royal Gold 100 for events like weddings. It gave me very flattering skintones, even under a variety of lighting situations.

    As a rule, I like to keep the ISO pretty low, usually around 100 or 200. The more light sensitive the film, generally the more issues you'll have with grain.
  15. I still use either Fuji Reala or Kodak NC..........
  16. Fuji Pro-H (NPH) and Fuji Neopan 400CN for the B/W shots. I've also gotten very nice results with Kodak's newer Portra line of films.

  17. Portra-II 160NC is currently the best neg film out on the market with regards to skin tones, grain, and tonal range. You will not get better results from any Fuji offering. I'd be happy to show you some 17MB samples from a shoot I did back in April if you email me. It's on 6x7cm, and not the most exciting stuff, just headshots, but you can really see the sharpness, smooth tones, and neutral color fidelity that this film is an industry standard for.



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