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Photography Question 

Confused About Best Film Per Situation

I've been reading so many suggestions about the best film to use for various situations that I think I've confused myself. Just to verify, would someone tell me the best film to use for the following?
1) Shooting studio portraits w/flood lights. I've used Kodak Portra 160NC, but now I'm not sure if I need something that is tungsten balanced.
2) Outdoor pics (family portraits, weddings).

By the way, I use a Pentax (I have an old MESUPER, ME and a new ZXL). I have various lenses and a VIVITAR 385 External Flash on a bracket.
Thank you!

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9/22/2004 2:03:35 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Kodak Porta and Fuji's nph thru npz are made for portrait. They include weddings in there too.
Kodak has a film made for portraits: tungsten film Porta 100. Fuji has Reala that they say is good for portraits and is good for flouro lighting.

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9/22/2004 4:40:48 PM

REGINA D. YOUNG   Gregory,

Thank you for responding! So, would you recommend the Kodak Portra T100 (I assume the name is something like that) for flood lighting? And then stick w/the Portra 160NC for outdoor and weddings?
Thanks, so much!

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9/23/2004 5:08:08 AM


BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Hi Regina,
I would recommend trying them and seeing what you like. No one here can tell you what to use, only what they use. And what others use should not have any influence on what you wind up using.
Also, remember to ask your lab if they have a recommendation for optimum results. It's not just your camera, but processing and printing, which I assume you leave to them, is a big part of the process.

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9/23/2004 11:54:04 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  That's right, because I've never used Porta. So make your own choice after a roll. All I can tell you is I like Fuji over Kodak.

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9/23/2004 2:25:01 PM

Michael McCullough   I really love Fuji NPC 160 for indoor and outdoor portraits and fashon work really great film and do highly recommend it for your needs ,try it I think you'll like it much!!!!!!

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9/28/2004 9:58:35 AM

Norbert Maile   Not sure what type of bulbs you are using. There are "daylight" bulbs available and do not cost too much. The only thing is, they have a short life. A 500w bulb has a working life of about 6 hours, so you use them only when needed, and record the time so you know when they are not effective any more.They cost less that $10 here anyway. The plus is, you can use any film that you like. I usually expose a 400 film at 360. The tone is quite nice. No filters, special film needed, and you can use the same film outside or in, since both are daylight!

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9/28/2004 10:10:45 AM

REGINA D. YOUNG   Thanks, everyone, for the great replies. Norbert, I'd like to follow up /you....Where can I get the 500w 'daylight' bulbs? This definitely sounds like something worth checking in to...What brand/type of film are you using as per your reply?

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9/28/2004 2:08:59 PM

Norbert Maile   I'm up here in the great white north. Not sure where you are. I can buy daylight bulbs in most any good sized camera shop that sells lighting equipment. I too was struggling with the problem of film and lighting. I was told that Fuji pro film would work with flourecent lighting especialy if printed at a lab using digital printing. They said just expose it right and they will fix it. Then I asked about studio lighting for portrait work and they showed me the daylight light bulbs. Too easy!!! Now I can use any color film that I like! They said that anything over 500w would need a ceramic socket though. Cheaper plastic sockets could handle 500w and less in your lighting shade. The lower wattage bulbs have less working life span so watch out. You need to set up your lighting and turn it on when needed and off again shortly after.They are a bluish color when not on. The bulbs will still work after that time but will not be daylight quality anymore. I guess the coating breaks down after time from heat.

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9/28/2004 4:45:39 PM

REGINA D. YOUNG   Thanks so much for the help! One more question....Do you use a dimmer on your lights? I'm considering buying one, but I'm on a tight budget (just starting out) and wonder if it is worth the money?? Thanks!

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9/29/2004 5:06:05 AM

Norbert Maile   I am on a tight budget too so improvise is the key word.I don't use a dimmer. I use different wattage bulbs in each of the three lights. The main light being 500 watts, fill 350 and side 350 then just move them closer or farther for effect. The lights can get hot so you may want to have a little fan around to make your subject more comfortable. Use a reflector in front also for fill light under the face. That can be almost any white board or plastic.The library has good books and you can put together alot of ideas to make what suits you your own. A dimmer could be used and made for you by a friend with only a little electrical knowledge for about $20. Not a bad idea! I will have to think about that.

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9/29/2004 6:33:10 AM

REGINA D. YOUNG   Norbert -

It sounds like you have alot of good ideas and definitely more experience than I.....Would you consider giving me your email address - I would love to 'pick your brain' from time to time?

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9/29/2004 8:10:25 AM

Ken Henry   Go to They have it all, dimmers for high wattage lights, light bulbs, light systems. I burned up a couple of dimmers from the local hrdwr store.

Since you can correct daylight negative film, I do not use the 6 hour life blue bulbs. I use the 3200k 500w @ 60 hours life and the 250w @20 hours. And they put out more light. The blue bulbs are 4800k.
I also use blue metalized reflective umbrellas from which correct 3200k to 5500k daylight, very accurate, soft lighting and cooler. And there is no lose of light.
I may also drape or hang from the ceiling a 4ft x 6ft white cloth in front of the umbrellas for softer light. I don't use sheets, they block out too much light.
Or just use white or silver umbrellas and the lab will color correct for you.
Yup, you still need a fan or two.

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9/29/2004 3:25:16 PM

Norbert Maile   Sure. It's:

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9/29/2004 5:19:51 PM

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