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05-15-2008, 02:00 PM   #1
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Film Question for Experienced Portra Users.

I'm going to be travelling to Ireland in July and will be using both film and digital cameras while there. When last I used professional color film, the name for Kodak's film was I believe, Vericolor. I'm totally unfamiliar with Portra's VC and NC designations and was wondering the best one to use for landscapes. Also, is there any significant difference (other than speed) in the 160 and 400?

Thanks,
Calvin

05-15-2008, 02:08 PM   #2
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VC is more vivid but both are portrait film so they may not be the best choice for landscape. 160 has finer grain so stick with it. If you must, there is also Fujifilm Reala which I like better.
05-15-2008, 02:15 PM   #3
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Portra is fantastic for portraits, but I think it's too flat for landscape.

For negative film (C41) most folks recommend Kodak Ultra Color KODAK PROFESSIONAL ULTRA COLOR Films / 100UC and 400UC

My absolute favourite colour film is Ektachrome E100VS, if you are willing to shoot reversal (slide film.) KODAK PROFESSIONAL EKTACHROME Film E100VS
05-15-2008, 02:56 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
For negative film (C41) most folks recommend Kodak Ultra Color KODAK PROFESSIONAL ULTRA COLOR Films / 100UC and 400UC
Thanks. In the Ultra, which has the finer grain? I used to shoot what was then called High Speed Ektachrome (ASA 160) pushed to 400 back in the early '70s. As you may have surmised, I have been away from film photography for a number of years.

05-15-2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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Portra's beautiful, and if you're scanning them, not significantly different to the UC, as you can adjust to suit in Photoshop.

I'd also suggest Fuji Reala, as it's a helluva lot cheaper than any of the pro line, but with good saturation - a lot of people still regard this as a pro-level film, but it's equally marketed either side of the line. Kodak UC is very expensive.

C41 films like Reala are great for smooth gradients and delicate shading. Their saturation can be jacked up in PS.

The main thing I find with slide film it that the colours look "solid," not necessarily more saturated. Bright reds and yellows look like they've been carved from coloured acrylic, or layed on thick with paint. It's a different look than C41, and is what I think is the main difference between slide and neg, not necessarily more saturated.

Portra is a fine film, and the lattitude you get with can also help you saturate it more if need be, on the same roll of film. Push the 160NC to 320, and the colours'll be more forward, pull it to 50 and it should be more subdued. That's one of the areas where neg has an advantage over slide.
05-15-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the information. I really do appreciate the input as I've forgotten so much over the years along with all the changes in film.

However, I knew someone would mention Fuji and try to convert me to the "darkside." I guess I'm just mule headed, having always used Kodak and probably always will. I did get some Portra 160VC and I've ordered some Ultra 400 along with some Tri-x. What I'll do is shoot some digital with my K100D Super, Tri-x in my Super Program and the color films in my Spotmatic II. All the films will be processed by a pro lab here in Atlanta and I plan to get cd's made with the prints.
05-16-2008, 11:07 AM   #7
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Straightshooter, no need to apologize. I also am more comfortable with Kodak colour films (although I do think Fuji make a really nice 800-speed C41 film.) I know they are all multinational corporations, but it also is nice to support domestic North American industry.

Lithos, I agree about the "solidity" of colour in slide film. I guess it's the result of the clouds of dye used. It produces a delicious (almost lickable!) visual texture in the E100VS.
05-16-2008, 02:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
I guess it's the result of the clouds of dye used. It produces a delicious (almost lickable!) visual texture in the E100VS.
I know! Isn't it just yummy?

...

Er.

Ahem.

I'll be willing to bet once you get to Eire, you'll find Fuji and Kodak equally available.

I'll also be willing to bet that Reala's a helluva lot cheaper than Portra. The only darkside in photography is Kodak's TMAX films - how could a company that makes the world's best BW - Tri-X, rightly the king of all silver halides - make such a mediocre BW film as well?

05-16-2008, 09:04 PM   #9
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Of course I was joking about the darkside but it may be that Reala would be easier to find since my nearest camera store has now become more interested in selling "stuff" than in photographic equipment. They no longer carry any kind of pro film. I did notice in Freestyle's catalog that Reala is only 90 cents cheaper than Ultra but 2 bucks less than Portra. However, like I said, mule headed. LOL

As far as how Kodak could make something as great as Tri-X and something as bad as TMAX. It's probably cheap to make and for sale to people who wouldn't know silver halides from silver mines. When I shot BW 30 years ago, I used Tri-X only and that's all I would use now.
05-17-2008, 03:27 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by straightshooter Quote
...my nearest camera store has now become more interested in selling "stuff" than in photographic equipment. They no longer carry any kind of pro film.
Let me guess - MP3 players and mobile phones? Novelty table-top tripods? Am I right? It's a disease, sadly, is what it is.

QuoteQuote:
As far as how Kodak could make something as great as Tri-X and something as bad as TMAX. It's probably cheap to make and for sale to people who wouldn't know silver halides from silver mines. When I shot BW 30 years ago, I used Tri-X only and that's all I would use now.
The thing is, it's much more expensive down here than Tri-X. About four bucks more expensive TMY. I buy Tri-X for about eight bucks a roll of 36. I've only been doing it for eight months, though. I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that while TMAX probably uses less silver, it costs more to get the silver to be laid down in flat crystals.

And the extra stop in latitude without the need to change dev times is a godsend. And the tone's fantastic.
05-17-2008, 11:37 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
Let me guess - MP3 players and mobile phones? Novelty table-top tripods? Am I right? It's a disease, sadly, is what it is.
Yep, that's it. Where they used to have an entire wall of cameras; one compartment each for Nikon, Canon, Minolta and Pentax along with one compartment for everything else, they now have one compartment with cameras and the rest filled with junk. Two of the compartments now are cell phones and one is MP3 players. Basically they are trying to be an electronics store instead of a camera store and failing at both. I don't know if they were already headed that way when Ritz Camera bought them out or if it happened afterward.


QuoteQuote:
I buy Tri-X for about eight bucks a roll of 36.
Wow, at close to .96 AU to 1.00 US, that's a pretty steep tariff. I guess the shipping charges from the US though would negate any advantage of buying online from here at about 3.99 per 36 exp roll?
05-17-2008, 12:00 PM   #12
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I'm sure all camera stores are turning that way, the chain ones, anyway, as the decision would've been made by corporate higher-ups looking to increase turnover rather than bother themselves with the purpose of a camera store.

Importing for myself? I'm sure I'd have to start shipping in hundreds of rolls before I started saving any money, and that'd be before tariffs, me reckons. However, it should be noted that my knowledge of Australia import laws is rather deficient.

Of course it's gonna be cheaper to buy it in the US; that's where they make the stuff. So it's not really a complaint, I guess.

Kodak use to have plants all over the world. I perused a book in the library about photogramettry - the art/science of interpreting photographs, normally for intelligience purposes - that had a list of all the location of production codes Kodak put on all their films. There were factories in Brazil and even Australia, in the old days.

Here's a question - you've been using Tri-X for ages: have you noticed any differences between film that was made before 2005 and after 2005? I've heard that the medium format 320 Tri-X Pan is closer to the "old" Tri-X 400 than the new Tri-X 400.

There was a rather large murmur on the internet about the changes Kodak made to the film. Rumour was they halved the silver content in it, as apparently they changed the dev times in the 2005 Tech Pub. I'm guessing it was to help keep a profit up on a product whose popularity started to wane with the advent of digital (Tri-X was the photojournalism film, what with its latitude and all.)
05-17-2008, 01:15 PM   #13
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I haven't noticed any difference in the films but that doesn't mean anything as I've just gotten back into shooting film after several years away. However, in a few weeks, I hope to be shooting a covered bridge that I also shot in the 70's with Tri-X. I have a wonderful BW 11X14 of that bridge so by making a similar enlargement of the new pics, I should be able to get a good comparison of the two.

What you need to do is befriend someone who flies for Quantas and have them pic some up each time they fly to the US> I know, I know, easier said than done but being a retired airline employee, that was the first thing that came to mind.
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