Lexington, Kentucky, US
So in a few weeks I should be the proud owner of an RZ67 Pro ii, can't wait! So my question is about film both b&w and color. I'm planning to use this camera to shoot portraits both with light and without. My subject will be both men and women ranging in ages 80-100. I'm looking for film that can bring out the best facial characteristics of these subjects in both of these lighting situations. I know trial and error will help me to know which I'll want but with all the options I'm looking for some help to narrow down my starting point.
So could you list your top 3 film choices in both color and b&w? If by chance could you also tell me a little about the characteristics of the films and why they might be a good option for my starting point? Thanks for any help in narrowing down where to start.
May 20 13 06:14 am Link
Washington, District of Columbia, US
For what its worth.
Ilford Pan F (ISO 50) a great B&W super fine film!!
Ilford Delta 100 Also real nice to work with
Maybe Fuji Aeros 100, I have only used this a few times but was happy
Color, Kodak Portra 160 (NC, I think they still do that)
Kodak Ektra 100,
My guess is that if you are shooting older folks, it is all about textures, shadows and contrast. I'd go with B&W unless they have amazing eyes. Just say'n
May 20 13 07:13 am Link
Columbus, Ohio, US
I shoot people in a studio with artificial lighting almost exclusively with Ilford Delta 400. The Ilford Delta Pro films are t-grain films (Delta calls it Core Shell technology) for a smoother look. I like the way it scans and I like the smooth skin tones.
All black and white films behave differently in different developers. Even in the same developer, they look different with different agitation schedules and development times. I like Delta 400 in replenished Kodak Xtol developer for normal studio shots and Ilford Perceptol for the smoothest look when I'm willing to give up almost one stop of film speed.
I don't shoot much color film, but when I do it's Kodak Portra 400. The slightly reduced contrast renders the skin tones better to my eye. That gets developed in standard C-41 chemistry.
May 20 13 07:27 am Link
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Perhaps it would help if you were a little more descriptive. Do you mean artificial light or natural light? What do you mean by "best"? Do you want to highlight the wrinkles, age spots and texture of an elderly face, or diminish them? Can you provide an example or two of what you're trying to accomplish? Are you developing your own film, or sending it out?
May 20 13 07:31 am Link
Tallahassee, Florida, US
For some reason when I shot a ton of film I liked fine grain, so I shot tmax 100 developed it in D76 I believe that 78 deg temp was where I felt I got the best results. For outdoor color I liked shooting Fuji Reala 100, it had good colors and was very sharp.
May 20 13 08:12 am Link
Louisville, Kentucky, US
TriX is the best all-around black & white film made (IMHO).
Next I would use TMax 100.
Color, I'm no help, I'd shoot digital.
The majority of these were shot with TMax 100. Most of the interior bar shot portraits and all of the 35mm stuff is TriX.
May 20 13 08:22 am Link
Martin, Tennessee, US
I've been fond of Arista... for 120 & 4x5. I've never really gotten into the meat and potato's of the differences between all of them. I just started shooting film last year.
Having said that, this was shot with Portra 100 color, and converted to b/w.
Shot with a RB67
Arista EDU 100
May 20 13 08:26 am Link
Portland, Oregon, US
For B&W: I like the convenience of "fast" (higher ISO) films. With the large 6x7 negative, film grain is not an issue unless you are blowing up your prints to 30" x 40". With a "fast" film, you can still create good ambient photographs in lower light situations.
I've always used good ol' Tri-X, but I don't even know if you can still get this anymore. T-Max 400 is a good substitute, and I'm sure there are great Ilford versions.
Speaking as a snob -- It's a sin to shoot in film and then get some cheap lab to develop it. The key to maximizing the quality of the print is to first maximize the quality of the negative, and if you send it off to a lab, you will not get consistent development -- their developer temperatures will be inconsistent, their timing will be inconsistent, and they might even use diluted or used developer. Further, if you want to practice the Zone System, you definitely need to do your own development.
I could say ditto for printing. If you get someone else to print your images, you'll get all sorts of results, and none of them will be top quality.
Finally, if all you are doing is scanning your images or prints for the Internet, you are going through an awful lot of time, effort, and expense to get the same results you can get from digital.
The foregoing is my unsolicited opinion, of course.
For color: Dunno.
May 20 13 08:32 am Link
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
I like Fuji Neopan Acros 100 or Ilford HP5 Plus for BW and Fuji Provia 100 and X400.
Never liked Kodak.
Strangely enough, all my film cameras destroy Kodak film if it's loaded after Fuji or Ilford, so another point for me to steer clear of it...
May 20 13 08:33 am Link
As far as color there is only one choice for me...
Kodak's new Portra...color are natural but still rich. Skins tones are superb Pushes very well and scans very well...just look up the reviews. The downside fairly expensive.
As far as Black and White...this gets a little messy.
Most films are going to give great results provided you exposed and processed correctly. Also that said the developer you use will have a lot to do with how the negative will look...Also are you looking for smooth little to no grain, contrasty, lots of grain etc...
With the 6x7 format I honestly would look at Fuji Acros if you want superb clarity with little to no grain. Its also nicely priced.
After that buy whatever is easy to get. My go to film is HP5, and also might be a good choice for beginners as far as shooting film. It is a very forgiving film in terms of exposure. It also can be pushed to 3200 easily the grain "structure" I love. Even at 6400 the negatives come out great. Provided care is taking during processing.
this is hp5 at 6400 developed in Adonal 1+25
One film I personally do not like is kodaks new TMAX 400...labeled 400 tmy-2. I got terrible results.
have fun and remember developing is just as important as shooting!
May 20 13 09:16 am Link
WOODY CREEK, Colorado, US
according to the MM codex, this is TFN (trade for nada, zip, nothing, zilch)--
neopan acros 100-120
http://www.freestylephoto.biz/16010291- … cat_id=403
http://www.freestylephoto.biz/629035-Il … cat_id=403
http://www.freestylephoto.biz/901029-Il … cat_id=405
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/7 … _film.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/3 … ional.html
Use negative so that you have easy scan. Slides will let you edit the shoots easier. Slide film narrows your choice to something made by Fuji. such as: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/control … &A=details
I would shoot the BW with filters...
light blue (or 30CC cyan) for women; light red for men.
(do not use filter for color)
Watch for effect on makeup. Doubtful that any MUA is knowledgeable about film makeup.
Best of luck on your project.
May 20 13 09:23 am Link
Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
You can type the type of film and the photos taken by the film will pop up.
However, some of the films were photoshopped. The scanner sometimes edited the orginal colors as well. They are not actual.
May 20 13 09:33 am Link
Salt Lake City, Utah, US
If by chance could you also tell me a little about the characteristics of the films and why they might be a good option for my starting point?
T-MAX 100 is a good example of modern B&W negative film. Fine grain and high resolution. Like all negative films, expose for the shadows (it has more than enough latitude to cope with the highlights in all but the very highest contrast scenes). I happen to like to develop it in D-76 and have had poor results with Xtol, but others will tell you differently, so don't blindly follow anybody (including me!). All except one of the B&W shots in my portfolio were on T-MAX 100.
May 20 13 09:49 am Link
La Quinta, California, US
When you start with B&W, I strongly recommend that you pick one or two and stick with those to get good at it while you learn what what film can do for you. Don't jump back and forth trying everything under the sun because you won't really learn a lot.
As others have said, if you want consistant results, you need to have consistant processing. Taking your film to labs for processing and printing won't give you that unless they're real high end labs. Their numbers are getting few and far between for 120 film and it can get pretty expensive. Most dedicated film users will tell you to process your own film and bulid yourself a darkroom. If all your planning is to scan the film and work in photoshop, then you probably won't get the most of what the film has to offer.
May 20 13 09:54 am Link
Lexington, Kentucky, US
I want to thank everyone for the info and I will be sitting down to view images and review the different types of films y'all suggested. I know I have a lot of new things to learn in respect to film but looking forward to that new learning curve.
May 20 13 11:42 am Link
I'm surprised that nobody has asked how large he plans on printing. PanF+ and Acros are both very fine-grain films with excellent sharpness. They're also both very contrasty, especially PanF. If you don't plan on regularly printing larger than 11x14, you'll never see the difference in sharpness or grain. And if you're not printing 16x20s, the difference still won't be huge.
Personally, I went through about five bricks of PanF doing tests to try and get the sharpness and the grain without the silly high contrast. I never could figure it out, even using super-diluted developers with longer developing times. If you dilute the developer too much then your contrast looks better, but the grain gets worse, and you end up with uglier-looking negatives in general. Maybe you can figure it out, but I gave up. Many of my best 6x6 shots were taken with PanF, but they were all on extremely overcast days.
For the best combination of tonal range and ease of use, I think that Tri-X or HP5, shot at 200 and developed normally, is the way to go. It's really personal preference between those two, but either will give you an excellent image. FP4 is a little sharper, and has lower contrast ... I like it better, but others like it worse. Personal preference there too, really.
I always used FP4 in the studio, since the lower contrast gave me more latitude with my lights. But now I shoot 4x5, and I've found there to be a much smaller difference between FP4 and Tri-X/HP5 when using a larger piece of film. So now I shoot Tri-X at 200 ISO; large format lenses often have much smaller working apertures, and the extra speed really helps.
If I were to go back to 120, I would probably use Tri-X at 200 with available light, and FP4 at 64 with studio lights or on really bright days. The tonal range is very similar between the two if they are developed the same, which means that your images will all be a lot more consistent.
If you only want to use a single film stock, Tri-X/HP5 can also be exposed and developed at 100 ISO, and that comes out awesome as well. Lower than that, and you run the risk of blocked up highlights. Just remember to carry a Sharpie, so you can mark your rolls with their proper ISOs.
If you DO plan on printing these 16x20 or more, then maybe Acros is a good choice. If you're scanning it yourself, then Acros will make a much cleaner big print than Tri-X/HP5 at that size. If you get it scanned by a lab with an Imacon or something then the difference will be much smaller, but you can expect to pay about $50/scan.
Lastly, you may want to consider Pyrocat, or other staining developers if you're printing large. Pyro negs need to be handled VERY carefully when wet, as it's incredibly easy to put a fingerprint in the stain and screw up the negative. But the stain 'fills in' the film grain, and makes everything look like it was shot with lower ISO film that it really was. Just don't try to develop anything over 800 ISO with pyro - it'll take you all day
May 20 13 06:39 pm Link
Zack Zoll wrote:
Im sorry but Acros is not contrasty at all. It's actually known to help with limiting contrast. One of the reason along with limiting reciprocity failure is why is the go to for night photography. Also why pull hp5 to 100 when Acros will do a better job. And printing at 16x20 from a 6x7 negative should be easy peazy regardless of what film you use and regardless of whether you do traditional or scan.
May 20 13 07:23 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
I don't really shoot black & white, so I'll skip right to my color film recommendations.
1. Fujifilm Pro 400H - What's good is that it can be over exposed 1 or 2 stops easily, the more it is overexposed the more pastel the colors tend to get. Doesn't do as well as Portra for underexposure though.
2. Portra 160 - Neutral colors and kind of medium or low contrast. I like this way better than Portra 400, for some reason 400's colors never seem quite right without more correction.
3. Ektar 100 - Works great for some types of photos.. not every subject is going to do well with this since it pumps up saturation and contrast, but it can still work well for portraits. (I would have said Fujifilm Pro 160NS here, but since it's not distributed by Fujifilm US anymore it isn't so easy to come by).
May 20 13 08:04 pm Link
Hayward, California, US
I don't have a current favorite color film. I mostly use expired color film. stuff that isn't made any more.
tri x 400
agfa 100, which isn't made any more and also won't fit your camera.
and ilford 3200
May 20 13 08:12 pm Link
Acros 'limits' contrast by more aggressively compressing tonal range in the shadow and highlight areas. Almost all T-grain style films work this way. This results in less blocked up highlights and shadows, but much higher midtone contrast. If you're photographing people, guess where the skin tones fall? Yep, they're midtones. Why does it work so well for night photography? Very few midtones
May 20 13 08:19 pm Link
Damon Banner wrote:
Fuji Neopan 400 is gone in 120 size. But if you can find it, buy a LOT of it. It's another t-grain film, but it's the best one.
May 20 13 08:22 pm Link
Zack Zoll wrote:
ah ok gotcha. curious though what trying to achieve by shooting at 200 and developing at 400, to get more contrast without adding grain? or something else
May 20 13 08:46 pm Link
Blackpool, England, United Kingdom
I tend to use Rollei 400s as my general purpose film. I prefer working with natural light on location and it often cloudy here. Yes, I could use HP5 but I have always found it to be rather "flat" tonally.
Foma 100 is a splendid film both in MF and LF.
And finally, Rollei Orthochromatic 25 is a wonderful film when resolution is important. Here's an example -
I use Rodinal to develop my films
P.S. With panchromatic monochrome films you may find that a yellow, green, or yellow/green filter may be necessary to give good skin tones. I have found that a yellow filter and halogen constant lights eliminate most skin blemishes.
May 21 13 01:05 am Link
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Black and White:
Use Tri X with Agfa Rodinal.
Make some tests with different dilutions and different temperatures until you find something you like. This will be laborious but truly worth it. Just whatever temperature it is, make sure it is constant.
Use Fuji 100.
RZ67 is a nice camera, but I found it difficult to handhold in comparison to Hassleblad. It's going to grow muscles on you if you handhold a lot.
May 21 13 02:58 am Link
Well for starters, most films are rated at a slightly higher ISO than they really are. 4x5 Tri-X, for instance, is rated at 320. It's the same film as regular Tri-X, but they put 400 on the box because what the hell, it's a round number and the average consumer wants that. Portra 160 would probably be rated at 200, if it were sold as a consumer film.
May 21 13 05:36 am Link
Roseville, California, US
Ectra 100 color is my fav 2 1/4" film
May 21 13 06:00 am Link
Zack Zoll wrote:
yeah I understand the higher ratings I just tend to ignore it to keep things simpler and honestly since my development times are 18:00 to 30:00 minutes that half stop difference would be negligible...But how is the process you describe more advantageous than just the standard expose for the shadows develop for highlights? Not doubting your method at all just curious. Why not just shoot the film at 400 and over expose by one stop and back off developing time to keep the highlights in check?
May 21 13 07:45 am Link
New York, New York, US
If I were shooting film, I'd want to use Fomapan.
May 21 13 09:34 am Link
Hayward, California, US
Zack Zoll wrote:
I totally forgot that. I didn't shoot w/ that film enough!
May 21 13 12:19 pm Link
It's the same. You expose for shadow areas by overexposing, and develop for the highlights by not overdeveloping. If you're using a film with a long tonal scale, the film will catch the highlights just fine. Almost every image in my portfolio was shot this way, less the three digital ones. If you're shooting colour you'll get a colour shift, but every BW film, and most every colour film, can handle a stop of overexposure without blocking up highlights. Except maybe the crazy cheap 'academic grade' stuff.
May 21 13 05:30 pm Link
Columbus, Ohio, US
It's clear there is no consensus. There isn't even a leader.
Everyone has their own favorites and their own reasons for what they like.
May 21 13 07:50 pm Link
Zack Zoll wrote:
Ah ok and no the long developing time is for hp5 pushed...if your curious I develop in adonal 1+25...used to use xtol 1+1 but prefer adonal.
May 21 13 10:16 pm Link
Oh, that makes more sense.
May 22 13 04:58 am Link
New York, New York, US
May 22 13 06:17 am Link
Seattle, Washington, US
In medium format, my go to film is generally Tri-X. If I want a really grainless negative, I go with Fuji Acros, which is also my go to film for 35mm.
May 22 13 05:41 pm Link