Best color film for daytime outdoor scenes
August 17, 2004 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I while back I got some good recommendations on lenses to use for documentary style photography. Now I come to the Green looking for insight on color film. I'm shooting with a Nikon FM2 and a Canon Rebel 2000. The work is for a grad thesis film, mostly daytime with some scenes right after sundown.
posted by inviolable to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
I like Fuji, particularly for blues and greens. Kodak seems to accentuate reds.

But those are just my impressions; the real photographers on here can school us!
posted by Vidiot at 11:58 AM on August 17, 2004

Best answer: I LOVE Kodak Portra VC for prints. Excellent grain and color saturation. Really vibrant colors that jump off the paper. The 400 speed is great for all around work. Vidiot is right, it does seem to skew a little toward the red side. But, I really like it. For slides I generally rock the Fuji and that seems to lean a little more green or bluish to me.
posted by trbrts at 12:43 PM on August 17, 2004

I like Kodak Elite Chrome myself. It's a slide film so processing is a little more expensive. I'm not a real photographer, I've just had very good results with it. I've tried Fuji Velvia for outdoor stuff but I always disliked the fact that lush green things ended up looking lusher and greener than I remembered them.
posted by substrate at 12:47 PM on August 17, 2004

Are you shooting slide or negative? Unless you're going to be making prints I'd recommend going with slides. You're going to be happier with the richer saturation and better contrast and slide film + mailers for developing is way cheaper than negative film + developing and printing.

And, to answer your question, depending on what you're shooting you may want to try a roll of Velvia. It's kind of lurid for portraits, but very eye-popping for landscapes / plants / etc.
posted by bshort at 2:24 PM on August 17, 2004

Best answer: On the other hand on the slide v. negative debate, you have a few stops' latitude with negative film in terms of getting a decent exposure. When you're using color slide film, your metering has to be dead-on, or you'll lose lots of shadow detail or have highlights burnt out. It might depend on how accurate you feel your metering skills are, as well as how quickly and off-the-cuff you want to be able to shoot.

In the recent MF thread, I mentioned that I've become slightly disenchanted with Portra VC ... some of my past exposures seem a bit flat, color-wise. (Granted, some rolls were grey-market from B&H.) I've lately been trying Fuji NPS & NPC (160 speed), though if you're always hand-holding you might prefer NPH (400 speed) or NPZ (800 speed.)
posted by lisa g at 3:06 PM on August 17, 2004

Response by poster: The director (my friend) prefers prints so I'll be going with negatives instead of slides. The director wants pictures of cast and crew, behind the scenes shots and of actors acting.

Thanks again, AskMe!
posted by inviolable at 4:36 PM on August 17, 2004

There's lots of pontificating about film choice amongst photographers, but most of it can be boiled down to personal preference. The only practical considerations are how much light are you likely to have to work with and what's the final product required to be.

For light, it's a question of film speed, natural or artificial, how much action you want to freeze, how much depth of field you want or like and all the other technical fundamentals.

For product, it really is simply a question of slide or print. If you want prints, shoot print film. If you're going to be scanning, I'd use slides, but with care - some slide films scan a lot better than others. If you're inexperienced with film to digital conversion, negative films are a safer bet.

In practice, it's pretty much impossible to buy poor quality film from any of the major brands these days and disagreements between photographers tend to be hair-splitting and matters of taste. Personally, for example, I hate Velvia, but it's be one of the most popular slide films. There's no substitute for buying a few rolls of different types, brands and speeds and trying things for yourself.

If you don't know about it already and if you're contemplating long exposures for your night scenes, you may need to familiarise yourself with reciprocity failure. This is phenomenon where there is a genuinely significant difference between films (slide films, very generally, tend do do better here).

If you're in a hurry and don't want to mess about, just go and buy as much Fuji NPH as you need, if in doubt err on the side of over-exposure, and don't worry any more about it.
posted by normy at 2:22 AM on August 18, 2004

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