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12-10-2009, 01:13 PM   #1
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Film Reccomendations?

I'm pretty much a complete lurker here and hopefully you won't hold that against me.

My nephew has started into shooting, we long term loaned him my wife's zx-30 and now decided to just give it to him.

Christmas has come and his Grandmother is at a loss for what to get him so I say "Just get him some film." She asks the inevitable "What do I get?"

Now I ask you film shooters.

I don't want her to get him something he could get at Walmart. I want something he wouldn't really consider. I'm thinking some true B&W, Tri-X 400 and T-Max 400 which should be available at the brick and mortar Ritz store here, I know they used to carry Ilford when I worked there but now I'm not sure.

There's also some Fujifilm (Pro 160c, pro 400h, Provia 100f and Velvia 100) that I should be able to get locally. I know the Velvia is supposed to be nice for landscapes but know nothing about the others. Would it be wise to get him slide film at this point?

What I've seen of his shots are mostly cars/trains/motorcycles, graffiti and a couple of street landscapes. I know he wants to do some night/long exposure shooting - I've got to get off my butt and take him though. He's shooting his first band for fun tomorrow night so that's also something he may get in to.

What do you all think?

12-10-2009, 02:35 PM   #2
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Traditional b&w film will cause development issues - he'd have to set up to develop himself, send out, or find a camera store to do it for him. Otherwise Tri-X or T-Max 400 are excellent ideas. For B&W Ilford XP2 or Kodak BW400CN can be developed by any drugstore minilab, though he'd want to desaturate the results as often they get printed/scanned with a color cast. Both are excellent films.

Slide film's great too, though you might consider buying film mailers to go with any rolls, as he'd have to send them out for development, or take them to a Wal Mart. Velvia would give him a huge pop in color/saturation, which seems to be suited to his interests. Provia/Astia is toned ddown a bit fom Velvia, and maybe the best current general purpose slide film.

The Fuji pro print film is excellent - 160C and 160S are my favorites, and Pro 400H is excellent too. The 800 ASA Fuji film (I forget the name) gives good results - you don't pay the price you used to 20-30 years for higher speed. Actually this 800 stuff might suit his needs very well indeed.
12-10-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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Thanks Nesster. I hadn't thought to look at developing costs, the last time I touched anything other than massmarket was sometime around 2002. I can't believe how much prices have gone up! Developing and scanning the slide film would cost more than the roll through the local camera store, $13 + $6 to scan for slide and a 24 exp. of B&W is $17 + I'm assuming the $6 for scanning.

You're right about the C-4 B&W, it gets that awful color cast. I worked at a Ritz way back when and no matter what I did I couldn't get rid of it, the best I ever got was a very faint yellow/sepia cast. I doubt most minilabs would even try to minimize it that much.

I think I'm looking at three options now. I'll be with him tomorrow trying my hand at the concert/band photography so I'll try to see if he or any friends have acess to a dark room. If not then it's either a roll or two of the Pro or a gift card to the store.

It's just too bad they don't carry Pentax gear anymore.
12-10-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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slide film is a lot of fun because seeing a picture on a piece of film is a really cool feeling
if it's economical to develop, i would definitely recommend

and anywhere that does E-6 processing probably does black and white as well. in that case, do get some black and white, tri-x is the usual standard

12-11-2009, 04:11 AM   #5
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Veliva 50 vs 100

You mentioned him wanting to do some night shooting/long exposures. I'd recommend Velvia 100 (not 100F) for that type of shot. Velvia 100 does not suffer reciprocity failure nearly as quickly as Velvia 50 does, plus it has the extra stop of speed.
12-11-2009, 09:19 AM   #6
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If he's just starting out, I'd stay away from slide for now. It's a bit expensive, and harder to use than C-41. If he thinks he can nail exposure, and you can pay for processing, by all means go nuts.

I prefer the Portra films over Fuji Pro; that cyan sensitive layer tends to freak me out a bit, makes things cool a little cooler, a little greener (I think the stuff was tuned for Asian skin tones.) Portra's probably cheaper to get in the US than Fuji Pro (just a guess, since they make Portra in the US.)

I've come to the conclusion I'd rather convert colour negative film (even the consumer stuff) to BW in Photoshop than use the chromogenic C-41 stuff. Mostly because I push the everloving crap out of it; the BW stuff tends to end up being all highlights and shadow, no midtones.

I'm not much on the other stuff, but for shooting bands - ISO 1600 to 3200 is what I used at metal gigs, unless it's very well lit (it never is, for metal.) Performers are moving, and the light's low.

I used Tri-X pushed either two or three stops, in D-76. Embrace the grain! It works, Tri-X has beautiful tone (pisses all over TMAX, in my opinion. TMAX was designed for the anal-retentive types.) It's cheaper than TMAX P3200, Delta 3200 or Neopan 1600. Remember, pushing Tri-X to ISO 800 doesn't require any change in development time.

Neopan 1600 is the only other one I'd really recommend for gig shooting. It's also great for gritty urban streetshots. The entire range of Neopan is bloody beautiful, in my opinion.

Colour, go with high-speed neg, again, pushed two or three stops if necessary. C-41 has a lot less grain than BW, whatever you do. 400 does well at 1600, 800 does fine at 3200. Recommended films: the 400 and 800 Portras and Fuji Pros. If you can get hold of Fuji Press, so much the better (consumer film, but made with much better quality control and kept refrigerated right through the supply chain.) Press 1600 is good.

Need any samples so that I may back up my ramblings here, just ask!
12-12-2009, 12:15 PM   #7
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Well we finally settled on the economical choice and she's just getting him a gift card, in the end it makes it easier.

On a positive note we went to the battle of the bands thing last night and since my knees were hurting (and it was all teens) I let him use the K20 and went and sat down. He did alright with it considering the lack of a hot shoe flash and only the kit lens. He's going to post process them and I think if he likes the results I'm going to let his mother know that a small shop had an old 50 f1.4 and 50 f1.7 for under $60 each and either would make a nice Christmas present.

I will definitely be subscribing to this thread though so I can refer back when we can finally get him more than one roll at a time and be able to get them processed. I did ask him about friends having access to a dark room, if that's a yes I may get him some B&W in the near future.

Thanks again all.
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