by David Simm Published 01/04/2000
Incidentally, on the subject of 3200 speed film, Konica have the most stupendous high speed colour film, SR-G 3200, if you like to shoot available light when there's no light available, go for it, talk about catching a black cat in a coal hole that's one thing, but when you can do it and get the colour balance right, you're really onto something.
Chicago isn't all that unlike Wigan at four O'clock on a winter Saturday, it is every bit as black, last November I went out with Ilford Delta 3200, Konica SR-G3200 along with my usual supply of NPH and NHG films and Tri X pan professional. Isn't it just great when the client says "Gee I never imagined the photos would be so bright, it looks like we had a nice day, not bad for November".
You couldn't really look objectively at emulsions for the social photographer, without mentioning Kodak's range of Portra films 160NC, 160VC, 400NC and 400VC, even tough I am not a great fan of the great yellow father. I have to say that I was one of those people who received samples of these terrific new films, before the launch and sure enough, they do deliver all that they promise. VC stands for vivid colour and NC for natural colour, the four emulsions are very well balanced to each other.
For a wedding photographer that means that you can mix all four emulsions without seeing a significant difference in the print quality, sadly most American labs can't manage that from the same film, the same batch, shot on the same day, in the same lighting, with the same camera at the same wedding. I've never thought to send them four different films and expected anything so radical as a colour match.
During the winter break I had and at home portrait, not far from the studio, for one of my regular clients, we had taken the same five people several times and I knew she would be looking for something different this time. For a change I took a roll of the Kodak 400VC with me, I suggested and available light picture in her music room, a white piano in an all white room. The 400VC would give me extra punch over our normal portrait films and turned out to be just what the client wanted.
Just as a sequel to the early days of VPS and apple green, we now have teal, sort of not far off kingfisher green, well try to get a true rendition of that with any film but Konica SR-G 400, fortunately, unless you are a commercial photographer, shooting that teal green for a corporate colour on a corporate brochure, you're not likely to be given grief about the colour it turns out, but at least you know now that one film can handle it well.
In fact Konica, from what I was told by one of their American technical sales people, target their different emulsions to people of different ethnicity's. The 200, I am told, is targeted toward Asians and as such leans toward the cyan. Chinese, Korean and Japanese people like to see their black hair, shining blue black and would hate the warmer tones that Europeans are so fond of. Konica have produced films with a red bias especially for us.
The other salient feature of all these modern emulsions is their enormous exposure latitude, in those badly lit situations you can easily get away with being a stop under exposed, even at two stops under the negatives will still yield a respectable print, that would not happen a few years ago. O'K so you load the high speed film and the lighting changed for the better... OOPS! you're over exposing, well, one or one and a half stops over won't affect the print quality that badly, but I didn't tell you that, just go out there and get it right... you are a professional!
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