Film And Skin

You guys are insatiable - no sooner than I hit the post button on "what sucks about digital" and someone wants to know "hey - what do you mean digi-cam skin tones suck?".  Hmmmm, well, It's kinda hard to explain and I really don't have anything cooked up to "prove" it, I am lazy, but I do happen to have the folder of that 10 year expired drug store processed Kodak Portra 160VC sitting here so….

Two random shots with skin EXACTLY how they came back from the lab scanned at crappy resolution, with too much compression, a teenage delinquent operator,  and in 8bit. The funny thing is you can still tell what I mean about skin…

Exhibit #1 Daughter #2 (don't tell her about this - she wasn't exactly prepared for pictures, this is her fisherman barbie look)

Exhibit #2 Daughter #3

Now let's not go into how not so great the images are as stand alone works of art but if you have a monitor that is even close to color correct and get get even remotely close to displaying sRGB you should be able to tell what the heck I am talking about. Now… You should see them with a calibrated scan - what a joy. Can you get good skin in digital - yea sure it just takes a lot more to get there. Kodak has been figuring out how to render caucasian skin for 100 years. The really cool thing is that Kodak and Fuji both have films that are optimized for skin tones - same church, different pew. Want some subtle but noticeable variations? just switch to Fuji's wedding films. No fuss, no muss just great looking skin - think it's some sort of "trick" - go look at Jose Villa's portfolio or any other shooter that still shoots on color neg - you will notice an amazing similarity in the way skin is rendered from a color, highlight gradation, etc, etc.

For the techno-geek - this was shot on a Leica M with 50mm Summicron - I guess this would be a reasonable example of "The leica look" in terms of the way the focus fall off looks.


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