PrePress for Photographers®

The E-6 vs. C-41 debate

Wow what topic. Its been raging in the pre press and photographic community for years.
Which film to use. Slide film (E-6) or Negative film (C-41).

The short answer.....If you use one of the current "Pro C-41 Films" from Kodak or Fuji, it doesn't.

The long answer.....It doesn't, but.........
Before you pick out the film, you have to think about the light. The light is the key to all!!
If you are shooting medium to high contrast scenes (high key) that are more than 3.5 stops from shadow to highlight,
the best choice is negative film.

I know what your thinking. For years the mantra has been, for advertising you must shoot chrome.
That was true, at one point in time. These days, you are free to shoot what you want.
With negative film, you have almost a 7 stop exposure latitude. Thats huge! Chrome has half that at the best of times.
The nice thing about negative film, your highlights are protected and your shadows detail is there.
With chrome, you will probably loose both. There is so much data in a negative compared to a chrome.
So much so that we scan 40% more color and B&W negatives than chromes.

The second thing to think about is the size of the image on the page.
You will see little if any difference between the 2 if the page size is a single. It's a bit larger than letter.
Double page spreads may be tricky on 645. There might be some grain but it's unlikely.

Now dont get me wrong, im not knocking the chrome. Velvia 50 has the finest grain of any film available
with outstanding color. I have shot allot of chrome over the years and I love the feel of it.
Put a 4x5 or 8x10 chrome on a light box and heads will turn. But there are many times that chrome will never be able to
record any highlight details. If I expose for the highlights, I would loose the shadows. I now shoot & recommend
the new Kodak Portra 160nc & Fuji Pro 160s. When I need a chrome, I reach for Velvia 50, Provia 100f and E100G.

There is a great discussion that I have participated in at Click here to view it.

Film, Alive or Dead?

Alive!! And its not just my opinion.
One of the greats, John Sexton agrees. A modern master, he has been sponsored by Kodak
and consulted on the new Tmax 400 film. Recently, he was interviewed for Kodak's Blog. I had a brief chance to
meet him at Photo Plus East '07 in Kodak's booth. He sees a future in film as do I. Kodak & Ilford have stated a commitment to film.
With the current emulsions, B&W & Color, we are in great times.

Kodak's just revamped there Portra series of film. In addition to Fuji's Pro 160s, these color negative films
have the tightest dye clouds ever. They drum scan beautifully. B&W is also thriving! Kodak revamped
Tmax 400 with even finer grain. They have also committed to not using a UV blocker in there large format sizes.
There are also rumors of a new Fuji B&W emulsion. The rumor was confirmed at Photo Plus.
While there is no timetable, it is a step forward. I personally love Fuji Acros is 120.
Ilford's continued commitment to film is commendable. FP4 & HP5 are both wonderful emulsions.
Ilford's yearly ULF run is a boom to the industry. Kodak is getting into the ULF swing also.
Sometime this year (hopefully) we will see a large Tmax 400 ULF order!

Personally, I cant think of a better time to be shooting film!

Now to the saddest news that I have heard in a long time. Polaroid
They are officially out of the film business. Sad & scary. Here is the timetable for film availability.
The really sad part is that most of the films are sold out already. The 8x10 films are almost completely gone
and Type 55 is hard to find. Many are hoping that Ilford, Fuji or another 3rd party investor will license the
technology or coating facilities and continue the tradition that Edward Land started so many years ago.

Let's all keep shooting film!

-Ian Mazursky