120 Neg Film for Portraits?

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thefizz

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I am looking for recommendations for a 120 colour negative film to provide good skin tones on portraits of Caucasian skin, well I should say pale Irish skin :smile:, taken in a studio and RA4 printed.

I have been using Reala and it looks fine to me but I haven't compared it to any other films so I would like to try some.

Any suggestions?

I did a quick search but didn't find any recent discussions on this subject except for a current thread about colour film with fine grain which has turned into a argument so I didn’t want to add to it and my question is a bit different anyway.
 
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I love Kodak Portra 400NC. Renders skin tones beautifully.
 
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thefizz

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Thanks guys. Yes Martin I heard a lot of people recommend 160S so its one I'll have to try.
 

seoirse

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Peter,

I was in talking with Louise Gunn about a suitable film for colour prints / scans from a wedding and she said thatFuji 160S is the business.
 

2F/2F

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IMO, you are already using the best of the best...and it is also the cheapest.

Also IMO, any 120 color neg film manufactured by a major company will be able to provide good-looking skin, if your lighting and preparation craft good-looking skin. Yes, I even mean Superia 100 and 400, which are "drugstore" emulsions.

These things being said, I would start by experimenting with Portra 160NC, Portra 160VC, Pro 160S, and Pro 160C. The Portras are by Kodak and the Pros are by Fuji. VC and C are the more saturated versions, and NC and S are the less saturated versions. Any of these could work quite well for a portrait, depending on what you want. When first using them, try to shoot the same subject on all four types if you can...and on Reala and Superia 100 as well. It will let you make comparisons of all six 100-speed 120 color neg films. Heck...why not shoot a roll of Rollei Digibase as well (though it might be tough to make RA prints from it)?

If in doubt, go for Reala, NC, or S. It is easier to add saturation and contrast than it is to reduce them.
 
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MikeSeb

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The Fuji Pro 160C, I find, renders everything with a vile green cast. This is true across emulsion lots and processing sessions, so I think it's intrinsic to the film. The 160S is fabulous, as are the Portra NC's, for portraiture.

But I like 2F/2F's suggestion: try them. If I were grabbing one film for portraits in good light/studio, FC 160S. In other conditions, FC 400H or Portra 400NC. They are all splendid; matter of taste. I find the Fuji films more "neutral" in their rendition, with less "personality" than either variety of Portra. They also seem better able to handle a wider range of lighting conditions, from early morning/late day "warm" light to harsher overhead bright stuff to overcast diffuse gray conditions.
 

nickandre

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From "ra4 printing" alone I would tend towards Kodak films because I trust their papers and I trust that their films will work with their papers. 160VC is very good.
 

df cardwell

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Either Fuji 160 S or Kodak 160 NC. Amazing, wonderful.
 

wiltw

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When I was shooting weddings over 10 years ago, my portrait film of choice was Fuji NPS. Weddings themselves were shot on NPH
 

AlexG

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I friggen loved Agfa Portrait 160....but like all good things, it has passed on.

My current choice of film is Fuji 160S (previously 160)

fh000009copy.jpg

Here is a very pedestrian portrait I shot on 160s a few weeks ago. Very natural colors.
 

markbarendt

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If you have been happy with Reala I'd stay with it.

I say this because I have used a variety of films and when printed at good labs; the normal, non-vivid, varieties have all worked well for skin tones BUT I've just started enlarging color negatives for myself.

Last night my tail got kicked but good because of switching film types toward the end of the session.

For now, I'll only be printing one color film type per session.
 
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thefizz

thefizz

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Thanks for all the replies, think I'll try some Fuji 160S and Kodak Portra 160NC.
 

Rick A

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Everybody has their favorite film. However, if you include a shot of an 18% gray card at the beginning of each roll, your printer will have a reference to adjust color to. When I worked for Olan Mills(a hundred years ago)the first shot was the gray card, then every so often throughout the day, adding another shot, followed by the final shot of the day. This allowed our printers to adjust their machines to optomize the settings on the machines for consistancy, even if you had to change film midsitting. I still shoot my gray card first thing when I shoot color, then use that as a reference for all my prints.

Rick
 

markbarendt

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if you include a shot of an 18% gray card at the beginning of each roll, ...

I'm going to start doing this, maybe even black, white, and gray.
 
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