Exposure for Portra 400 and Tri-x 400


DSolZ

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Mar 6, 2010
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I am noob when it comes to film.
When you guys shoot Portra or Tri-x 400, do you shoot at rated ISO or do you overexposed or underexposed? ( assuming no pushing or pulling)?
 

catchlights

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negative film have a larger exposure latitude than slide film, and the black and white film even greater,

for negative film, you should exposed for the shadows area.
for positive film, you should exposed for the highlight area.

usually I overexposed colour negative by ONE FULL stop, to get more saturated colours, but you should run your own test to know how should you rate your favourite film.
 

DSolZ

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Thanks catchlight .. When you say expose for shadow ... Do you place it at zone 3, 4 or 5?

I did one roll of portra 400 and set my meter for 400 iso. The color seems washout/desatuated. The shadow area still have details but .. Abit too grainy .. My thoughts now is to up one stop of exposure.
 

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catchlights

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Thanks catchlight .. When you say expose for shadow ... Do you place it at zone 3, 4 or 5?

I did one roll of portra 400 and set my meter for 400 iso. The color seems washout/desatuated. The shadow area still have details but .. Abit too grainy .. My thoughts now is to up one stop of exposure.
zone system? you carry a spot meter to meter every parts of the scene before making an exposure? seriously?

for colour negative, when you see the prints or scan images (scan by others), is already adjusted, so you don't how screwed up is the exposure.
Most of the time people shot underexposed without knowing, and the lab people pull up the exposure, that is why the colour looks mute and grainy.

try shoot a same scene or subject with color chart and gray scale on a test roll and make bracketing on the ISO, write down a exposure chart for referencing later, when you send your film for processing, tell the lab people to print or scan at it is, do not do colour and density correction, and promise you will pay the same cost when you see the result.

you think you might waste a roll of film on this, but trust me, you will save a lot of money in future when you know the film exposure well.
 

DSolZ

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Thanks for this. Very useful. I probably will do that. Didn't know they will do correction.
 

LKSC

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It's fine to always err on the side of overexposure for C41 film. Esp Portra 400, it has huge overexposure
latitude. Ive overexposed it by 5 to 6 stops with no problem. Portra 400 also has the best underexposure
latitude of any colour negative film, but shadows will always look grainy if it is underexposed. The
consumer scans you get from the lab make this problem in the shadows worse because their default
setting applies very aggressive sharpening.
 

DSolZ

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Mar 6, 2010
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It's fine to always err on the side of overexposure for C41 film. Esp Portra 400, it has huge overexposure
latitude. Ive overexposed it by 5 to 6 stops with no problem. Portra 400 also has the best underexposure
latitude of any colour negative film, but shadows will always look grainy if it is underexposed. The
consumer scans you get from the lab make this problem in the shadows worse because their default
setting applies very aggressive sharpening.
You developed in lab? So when you overexpose by 5 stops do you pull process?
 

Superfuji

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This is interesting, I have the same problems too. So I shot roll at ISO 320 to see if there's any difference.
 

LKSC

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Normal development. This is Portra 400 overexposed about 5 stops:

 

mambo ferido

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Thanks catchlight .. When you say expose for shadow ... Do you place it at zone 3, 4 or 5?

I did one roll of portra 400 and set my meter for 400 iso. The color seems washout/desatuated. The shadow area still have details but .. Abit too grainy .. My thoughts now is to up one stop of exposure.
I thought zone system is more utilized in large format or single slide/ films. I knew because I tried to learn this technique with my medium format but because I'm shooting a roll, that means I'm shooting with different varieties of exposures.

Also, I find portra a bit desaturated anyways.
Just shoot more and experiment more. Just ask yourself what kind of mood you want to get from the scene/ portrait. If you want the shadow to create a harsh or dark mood then expose for the brighter areas of the scene. If you want to reduce harsh shadows, then expose for the shadows. Sometimes the correct exposure doesn't always give you the best image. But how you interpret the scene can nail a really good photo.
 

DSolZ

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Mar 6, 2010
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I thought zone system is more utilized in large format or single slide/ films. I knew because I tried to learn this technique with my medium format but because I'm shooting a roll, that means I'm shooting with different varieties of exposures.

Also, I find portra a bit desaturated anyways.
Just shoot more and experiment more. Just ask yourself what kind of mood you want to get from the scene/ portrait. If you want the shadow to create a harsh or dark mood then expose for the brighter areas of the scene. If you want to reduce harsh shadows, then expose for the shadows. Sometimes the correct exposure doesn't always give you the best image. But how you interpret the scene can nail a really good photo.
Hmm the thing is I am just not used to film, my self being a beginner in film. In digital I would never imagine overexposed by 5 stop as it will likely result in clipping which you can't recover. Was rather surprise that 5 stop over exposure in film could still render the image usable. I guess I just need to do a test roll to understand the response of film.
 

DSolZ

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Thanks for sharing the photo. Is that scanned by lab or you scan it yourself? Is there additional processing done to it during scanning?
 

LKSC

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Was rather surprise that 5 stop over exposure in film could still render the image usable.
This is one of the reasons why people who still shoot film shoot film.

In general, just overexpose by one stop, like catchlights advised. When you
overexpose C41 the dye clouds in the emulsion expand; this makes the image
appear less grainy.

If you have seen this test on Portra 400 you will have no qualms about overexposure.

http://theyallhatesheep.blogspot.sg/2013/03/kodaks-portra-400-vs-5d-mark-2-latitude.html
 

DSolZ

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Good info!
 

albertri

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awesome info being shared here...

For color film C41 its best to expose correctly or over expose....

For black and white film best to under expose? or black and white could go either way?
 

DSolZ

Senior Member
Mar 6, 2010
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Seriously, can consider invite old bird who have been shooting film and developing and printing themselves to give a talk at the funan CS gallery. Would benefit new birds enomously and create more interest in film photography.
 

zguy

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Seriously, can consider invite old bird who have been shooting film and developing and printing themselves to give a talk at the funan CS gallery. Would benefit new birds enomously and create more interest in film photography.
Do look under the Tradition Darkroom section. A few of us have been holding informal sessions exchanging our bw darkroom prints regularly.
 

Superfuji

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Recently shot a roll of potra 400 at ISO 200 and results were amazing.

A pity there isn't kodachrome anymore though :(