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Positive or negative


Active Member
I'd be keen to hear the views of regular MF shooters as to when or why they chose to shoot positive film over negative film and vice versa. Likewise if anyone exclusively shoots one type, the reasons would be equally interesting to hear.

If there are issues like ease of scanning or such that drive your choice , I'd also be interested to hear about that. In fact even if you shoot digital now, what were you shooting before and why.
Oh and by the way in case anyone wonders - I posted this here because I could not find a film forum and the camera area is model specific. So since lenses put the image on film, I posted the thread here.
I primarly have used negative film for a few key reasons:

#1: Subject application: people and weddings.

Neg film has the more forgiving exposure latitude when working in fast changing lighting conditions ... and wedding clients order prints.

#2: I also shoot a fair amount of MF B&W.

There's a good range of emulsions, and prior to scanning I processed my own film and produced prints in my darkroom.

I like transparencies...

I just found a lab that at the time of processing E6 120 will also scan and provide a disc for an additional $5.00, I don't know about the resolution yet.



BTW- I the weather bad everywhere today? Lots of activity today!

I generally use negative film. More forgiving is the key word here.

I also use B&W negative film. For people interested in grainless: get some Efke 25 or Efke 50. And a tripod for obvious reasons. A 60x60cm portrait on Efke 25 proved to be, eh, stunning in detail and lack of grain.

The reason for trying Ektachrome is that I was A. curious how MF chromes look like on the light table (answer: stunning ;-) and B. I had the opportunity to buy a reasonably sized batch of Ektachrome from a guy getting out of architectural MF work. He used a 6x7 MF back on a small TC for that.

Now I need to go back to Utah with the positive film..

Simon, I'm a 90% positive film man.
IMO, nothing compares to a MF transparency projected on a screen.
I'm also 95% Velvia when it comes to colour. I did use Kodachrome 64 when it was available in 120.
For B&W,(part of the other 10%) I'm experimenting with Kodak's Tech Pan in 120, otherwise it's typically Ilford's Pan F.
As you can tell, I'm a low ISO man. I did shoot Tri X once...just once!


Negative for BW of course ... Ilford Delta 100 just because I have used it for a long time now it seems. I do like low ISO. I see some new film coming out of the UK and Europe. Might also give the Rollei stuff a try. I suspect some of the newer film will scan better. Interesting that we will be looking at analog (film) to get the best digital (scan) solution. :)

Colour - I used to use ER64 trans. then it was pretty much unavailable, so shifted to Fuji RDPII and now RDPIII Provia. At places like Adorama etc, Velvia 120 is "back order"

The Delta scans OK - the Paperwhite picture was Delta. (The compressed jpg image does not do it justice I'm afraid). I will post a couple more bye'n'bye.

Cheers, mate.

Interesting comments guys. Thanks.

Of late I have been shooting positive for all early morning and late afternoon shooting - typically landscaps at those times.

But whatever I am shooting between those times I shoot negative film - as everyone comments that is due to its latitude. And whatever the light I shoot people with negative film for the reasons Marc mentioned.

I used to shoot Fuji positive film but now shoot 100VS and 100GX instead - prefer the colour tonality.

For people I shoot Fuji portrait negative films. Otherwise when shooting negative colour I have taken up Portra 160NC and VC which I really like - they scan very well too.

Colin I have used Ilford's Delta 100 in 35mm but feel I prefer Acros 100 in 120 - my B&W outback landscapes come up with a superb tonal range and my silver printer loves working with those negatives - good density he says.

Gilbert, I too have all 120 films scanned high res at the time of developing for a low bundled price. But those scans don't match Marc's job on his Imacon

Wilko, I'm hunting down some Ektachrome/Kodachrome to give them a go having often read about how shooters rave about them. Yes, I'd get to Utah too with a bag full of positive film if I could!

Marc, what MF B&W do you prefer to use?

In B/W I only use ILFORD DELTA 100 (DELTA 400 4x5 sheetfilm) and FUJI Neopan ACROS .
Also available as sheetfilm 4x5 . And I am feed up with more experiments . These 3 films bring me the results I want .
I find the ACROS more suitable for technical images or architecture , because of its sharpness , especially when developed in KODAK X-TOL .
For landscape I prefer the ILFORD family and develop in ID-11 . (zone system) .
Practically all of the personal colour work I have done has been on positive film; negative, of course, for B&W although I often used the reversal process back in the mid-80s and often found the results appealing. Of note is that I prefer shooting colour transparencies with relatively slow film whenever possible; but for B&W I almost exclusively use Tri-X. But then, the final choice is determined by the circumstances and the desired results (loved Pan-X when it was still available).

One of the reasons I prefer shooting transparencies for general shooting is the need to get exposures bang-on due to the relatively narrow latitude -- great for keeping one's corresponding skills honed. One of my unspoken pet peeves is the corresponding indifference to achieving proper exposures shown by many of the young (and, sometimes not so inexperienced) photographers who post on forums such as The almost pervasive attitude in that respect seems to be that such things can be fixed in photoshop, the result being a degree of sloppiness. But then, that is just the craftsman in me speaking -- mind you, discipline is as equally important to the artistic side also
Relax Wayne, that sloppiness will take care of itself after those guys spend enough time on PS "fixing" shots that should have been done right in the first place. Aint no fun shooting for an hour and "fixing" for three:D.
For all of you who love B/W images here is one of my favorites .
Film is ILFORD DELTA 400 format is 4x5 inches . I have taken the same image with HASSELBLAD 201F and ILFORD DELTA 100 . But the 4x5 turned out better .
I have it as a poster in the size of 50x60cm .


And for all of you , who have seen the comic film SNOW WHITE and the seven dwarfs (from Walt Disney) , this is the waterfall which you can see in the film .
Great picture, Jurgen. It must be a 'knockout' in poster size.

(It is a shame that the bathing girl walked back behind the waterfall just before you made the exposure !!)


Cheers, mate.


BTW, after reading these Topic posts, I am going to try the Neopan Acros. I may also try the Rollei Pan 25. Sounds enticing for 'old timers'. They also have an Infrared - but will it scan???

Loved your reply: in large part, accepting sloppiness in one's work is one thing; but for them to promulgate such a view in a public format is quite different, particularly in instances when such people given corresponding advice to newbies. Perhaps such is just a sign of the times; or, on my part, just an age-old lament in a different guise


Loved the shot! FYI: the scene could easily have been located in the Juneau Region (Alaska), as many of the streams I made photographic studies of while living there had similar views. All my shots were on Astia or Provia though; seeing yours, I wish I had brought along some B&W film also.

One thought that regularly hit me while working on those studies (using 503 or SWC) was that I should have been using at least a 4x5 or larger, given the time I was spending setting up the composition, etc. Something I hope to do eventually in the future is acquire an 8x10 or 11x14 and explore platinum/palladium printing -- just imagine what your shot would look like if it could be contact-printed at that size.
Gilbert, I too have all 120 films scanned high res at the time of developing for a low bundled price. But those scans don't match Marc's job on his Imacon>


I know, I know, I know, you get what you pay for. Just rub in!

I never thought for a millisecond that they would.........

Have Fun:

Jurgen that image is SUPERB!

Wow, who would have thought that B&W would have such a wonderful impact. Most shooters would have shot colour with something like Velvia and create a "chocolate box" image from it.

I guess that you made your own soup and even did your own scan - a real credit to you. I like it as much as the beautiful silver birches print you sent .

You did real justice to the Delta 400.
The "glow" from the tonality is excellent. Was the lens 150mm or 180mm or something else?

All this reminds me that pancreas willing I just must get the Linhof out and shoot some 4x5!
Wayne and Melton,

It is a sign of times in particular the digital era that many think you can correct things in postproduction.

The digital blast started about 15 years earlier in audio where the same wrong idea was developed.
An sub standard image or recording are processed later to make it reach an acceptable level.


Postproduction already began before the shoot: the choice of film made/makes a big difference. And so does the choice of how to process film.
You could buy photographic paper in many gradations. Split gradation printing was very popular ever since multigrade paper became available. And rightly so. Before that using contrast masks was not uncommon. Burning and dodging were routinely done.
Adams tried to skip all that by doing it all during selection and processing of film, but even he used all the tricks the darkroom offered. And even more so than we, mere photographers, do.
And after the paper came out of the tray and was dry, spotting, partially bleaching and toning were not uncommon either. Composites, either during or after paper was exposed, 'did happen' as well.

Postproduction is not an invention of the digital age. 'Digital' just made it much less of a hassle.
Colin pal

The bathing girl is a "water black bird" (cinclus cinclus) and has his nest behind the waterfall .
I saw the bird flying behind the waterfall for a couple of times . Never saw that before .

Wayne , Gilbert , Simon
Stones and waterfalls are my favorites . This waterfall is located in the northern part of the Black Forest . Thats south-west Germany , not far away from the french border .
The original comes quite a bit darker and gives the image more mystery .
But in ALASKA you would find many more of these fantastic places . Yes .
A very peaceful place in deed . Although the flowing water is quite "noisy" , you get very quickly used to it and you can also hear many other sounds of nature .
I also have a lot of HASSELBLAD shots , but my scanner does not give a good resolution for MF format . It's the ARTIX SCAN 1800f scanner . The resolution is 1800 for all formats .
Very good for sheetfilm up to 8x10 inches . For MF I am dreaming of a FLEXTIGHT X1 .