Fuji Velvia, or, I want those saturated colors...

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by john_silvey, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. I have a question regarding film choice. For certain applications,
    I want a vivid, saturated color. I do not develop color film of any
    process nor do I print color film, I just don't have the adequate
    materials. I suppose I could scan it, but alas, I have no film
    scanner. So what should I do to get those vivid, saturated colors.
    It seems as if Fuji Velvia is the way to go. But there is little to
    no latitude with slide film, so is there a color negative film that
    anyone could suggest? Or should I just bracket Velvia, and
    hopefully I'll obtain that shot? And what about Kodachrome?
  2. Kodachrome is not being produced any more. Forget about Kodak. Fuji rules, and Velvia
    100 is the no. 1. Get a newer Nikon film scanner as well. That should do the trick.
  3. Kodachrome is still on the market, unlike what the above poster said, but it is not really what you are looking for. K64 has muted colors and K200 is very grainy, and colors conservative compared to Velvia. I like both in a way, but not for applicatiations you stated. They are both hopelessly outdated. They give a kind of vintage look though which is the only reason to use them if you are into that. I am.

    If you want to have control over your results with color film, you will have to get a film scanner sooner or later. There is no way around it.

    For films with extra saturation and contrast Fuji Velvias and Kodak E100VS are the way to go. There are three Velvia films on the market today: original Velvia (50ASA) which is discontinued and will disappear soon, Velvia 100 which is the replacement for original Velvia, and Velvia100F which is less saturated. No one seems to like the 100F which is sad really because I like the color palette. I find the other Velvias a bit too much.

    E100VS is Kodak's answer to Fuji's Velvia series. Same idea. There are differences among these films though. Somebody more experienced wil fill in I am sure. My experience is that E100VS blocks up strong colors easier than the Velvia.

    You need to be pretty careful with exposures when using these films but don't let that discourage you. Take a roll and see what mistakes you have made, if any. The second roll will be much better.

    In digital darkroom you can play with saturation so you can use some other films to get that saturated look. However, matching something like Velvia exactly in digital darkroom with any other film is nearly impossible since the high contrast of Velvia captures some details and tones (in mid-range) that gives the pictures something that cannot be re-created later. That is why these films excel at low contrast scenes . There are high contrast negative films on the market but for the above stated reason they will not give you the same results as Velvia/E100VS.
  4. I find Kodak , Elite, extra color to be a very good color slide film with very saturated colors and sharpness.
  5. For bold colors in negative film, you can't beat Kodak 100 & 400UC (ultra color).

  6. The obvious first question for me anyway is, do you want slides, prints, or electronic display as your final output? If you want scans or prints, there is absolutely no reason to use slide film. Go with a C-41 film and take advantage (or not) of all the extra information that can be packed onto a piece of film. You'll get better shadow detail without blown highlights and a higher percentage of "keepers" because of the film's inherent ability to capture a wide dynamic range. Kodak Ultra Color would be a good choice. Color saturation and contrast can then be manipulated to your liking by using the photo editing software of your choice.

    If, on the other hand, you want a slide projection show, you don't really have much choice. You must use a reversal film. Fuji's Velvia films are noted for their bold colors as is the Kodak Ektachrome Elite Extra Color film. Both are good, but different. It's up to you to decide which you like best.
  7. For a less expensive, easier to manage option, Fuji's Reala 100 gives some great results and can be processed by any one-hour lab. It's not as contrasty as Velvia, but if you're converting film-to-digital on a budget, this has been my favorite so far. Great, vivid color saturation and good contrast with a good latitude, and you can have prints made to scan from on the cheap.
  8. Since you have no desire to develop or print your own film, and you have no scanner and apparently no desire to obtain one... why not use a digital camera? Maybe I'm missing something but that seems like the obvious answer.
  9. "Maybe I'm missing something but that seems like the obvious answer."

    Maybe projecting?

    Maybe submission of slides for juried art competitions of things like quilts or paintings?
  10. "Maybe projecting? Maybe submission of slides for juried art competitions of things like quilts or paintings?"

    Yes, those are valid reasons for using slide film, but Mr. Silvey did not mention any of those applications. He simply wants saturated color.
  11. jtk


    Velvia's inaccurate and fake-looking. Some folks like that. If you value subtle tones and accuracy you will prefer Astia or Provia.
  12. John, what 'certain applications' are you trying to satisfy? Do you have to have slides or do you want prints made? Do you have a print scanner? What are you working with now and what is your intended output? There's nothing but Velvia that's quite like velvia, but it's not the only option for deep saturation.
  13. "Some folks like that"​
    Yes, such as the majority of world class landscape photographers for fifteen years now, and their customers.
    John (Silvey), you will just have to try some films for yourself. If prints is the end result, and you shoot 35mm, try Superia Reala at ISO 80, and also try 400UC and Pro400H. I have seen excellent Frontier prints from Velvia as well (the heresy), given appropriate subject brightness range (not much, 3-4 stops). The labs know people want bright colours so most any film can be used to deliver them.
  14. John (Silvey) - I asked a similar question last week - it may be helpful for you to look under "First time slide user-please help" thread dated April 26, 2006. :0)
  15. Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Color 100 or Fuji Velvia 50 or 100 (not 100F). Just got back from Florida, and shot all 3. In broad daylight, I liked the Elite Chrome Extra Color, it really amped the colors, and has those wonderfully warm Kodak earthtones. I was suprised the Velvia looked more tame, normal really. I guess you need evening light to get those really vivid amped velvia shots we see in magazines.
    Also, you can pick up the Extra Color for about $3 a roll vs 5-6 for Velvia. But, either way you cant loose.
    As for limited lattitude in slide films, I think this fear is a relic of earlier times when multi segment in camera exposure meters were not avaialable, and most people went by the sunny 16 rule. I have NEVER had problems with this issue, even using (excellent) Olympus Stylus point and shoots. The meters handle this. But I HAVE had MANY times where my prints from negative film have blown highlights, usually the faces and foreheads of people on a sunny day. Many times, and it sucks, ruins the shot. One time I had the same shot on both negative and positive film. The print from the neg was blown, while the slide clearly was not!So, if you have a decent in camera meter, DONT WORRY ABOUT IT. This myth about blown highlights on slides is BS and worst of all, discourages newcomers from trying slides - one of the most beautiful products in all photography.
    Oh yes, my other favorite myth, also stemming from the early days is "develop your film IMMEDIATELY or else you will loose details/ruin your photos. I have never had any issues, even weeks or months later. Modern emulsions have excellent latent image stability.
  16. Randall,
    With all due respect you really are talking rubbish. If you had results from both slide and neg of the same subject and the neg had blown highlights and the slides did not, then you either did not expose the neg right or the neg did indeed have the correct values but your printer balls'd it up. Neg film holds far more more highlight and shadow detail than any slide film, period. Many people use this as part of the creative process, not because they cannot get exposures right on tranny and not everyone wants highly saturated landscapes - ever looked at the work of Joel Meyerwitz? However, if you do want saturated colours, Portra 160VC or 400UC can deliver.
  17. This myth about blown highlights on slides is BS - Randall
    Certainly NOT a myth. In fact, it's INCREDIBLY EASY to get blown highlights with slide film, and I've got a whole bunch of slides to prove it.
  18. Hi John,

    Concerning the slide films, I still can find FujiChrome Velvia 50 Asa or Kodak Ektachrome EPY 64T, especially for landscapes shoots which will be scanned later. Also, I don't avoid to use common films like Kodak Ultra or Fuji Reala, overexposed with 0,3 ... 1 stop. There is "no shame" in doing this. I do prefer to scan myself the negatifs because I don't like the standard work done by ours common minilabs. And because I want to scan my own b&w negatifs.
    Finally, I think Kodak films are superior to Fuji ones.

    Hope that helps.

  19. "This myth about blown highlights on slides is BS and worst of all..." Slide and negative film behave very differently. The following examples were taken with the same equipment a few minutes apart: Canon A2, 50mm f1.8 at f8, mirror locked up, scanned on a Nikon CS5000 at 4000dpi. The films used were Reala and Provia 100, two of the finest films available to 35mm users. What you'll notice is that the slide film has less grain, but the negative film is both sharper and has much more shadow detail. Both images can be "fixed" in the digital darkroom, i.e., the slide capture sharpened, and the negative capture noise reduced. However, the killer in this instance is that the scene exceeded the dynamic range of Provia: what's not on film is gone forever. Velvia would have been even worse. This is not to say that slide film has no utility, just that one needs to be more mindful of its characteristics. Oh, by the way, the same scene was shot also on a Canon XT digital camera. I can throw that up here if there's interest.
  20. Now, Reala
  21. Provia, 100% crop
  22. Reala, 100% crop
  23. Another Provia 100% crop
  24. Another 100% Reala crop
  25. Applying large edits to neg scans in a different color space can
    influence color and saturation as well.

    I was surprised at what a neg could capture even using a simple
    point and shoot and minilab scan shown in the link below.
  26. To Philip: Can you explain why you would shoot Superia Reala at ISO 80. Thanks.
  27. "Can you explain why you would shoot Superia Reala at ISO 80. Thanks"

    Yes: That's shooting it 1/3 stop slower, which compensates for manufacturing tolerances in the toe of the curve; i.e. you get cleaner shadow detail

    Since I process my own film, I shoot at box speed and push process 1/3rd stop; in other words the film spends 205 seconds (instead of the normal 195 seconds) in the color developer bath, in order to clean up the toe.
  28. Re Velvia's inaccurate and fake-looking

    When Veliva first came out, some early batches were real wonky. Thats how it got is slang name Velveda, after the fake processed chesse. To some straight commerical studio product shot shooters weaned on Kodaks stuff, Velvia was more like a Toys are us pumped up fake colors, that now folks love!
  29. I'm stunned.

    So many of you have provided valuable insight (and opinions) as to which film I should use. I think I should clarify by stating that I have two very good labs available to me here in Austin, TX. Moreover, my equipment is limited to a Nikon N90s, and Nikon F3. I cannot afford to purchase what I'd like in a film scanner, nor can I afford the digital camera I desire. In the meantime, I use film, and need to have it printed. Of course, C-41 processing is cheaper, but I can still obtain prints from E-6 for a reasonable price.

    What I'd like is those saturated colors. I will try Reala, and also EktachromeVS. I've seen some phenominal shots done with Fuji Velvia, and I'd like to use it... but it may not be the film choice for me.
  30. I think there is some confusion between what the film is capable of actually capturing and what can be seen on a print. A correctly exposed slide will give excellent colours and dynamic range when projected in a darkened room. Overexpose the film and you will ruin the highlights. Negative film can record a much wider dynamic range, but much of it is lost at the printing stage. The printer has to decide whether highlights burn out or shadows get crushed to produce an adequate print that can be viewed under typical conditions. Most compromises end up with a bit of both. However, if I scan a neg to produce the full range of tones the print looks very flat and dark. However, take that same print and put a really strong light on it ( like in an exhibition) and it jumps into a different league.
  31. Some comments here.

    (1) The subject matter used in R Lee's test support my mocking of film tests that only shoot boring, monochrome architecture. Try shooting a subject with a lof of strong color range, and watch the Reala barf.

    (2) The quality of the scans is wretched. The Provia shot looks both soft from the camera perspective, and also lacks sufficient sharpness in the scan. either learn to scan slide film unmounted, or get a scanner that can handle floppy, mounted slides correctly. I've made sharper scans with my Epson 1640 flatbed.

    (3) Astia 100 has more lattitude than Provia, so stop using low lattitude films like Provia and Velvia as 'straw horses' for the lattitude arguement.
  32. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Your initial concern is that the films you know will give you the saturation you seek are also hard to use- because they have no latitude. In essence this problem is real, and whilst exposure error can be overcome by bracketing, the possibility that the brightness in the scene is simply too great for the film to hold cannot be. In that case you need a metering method that allows you to see what the brightness range is (any more than five stops with Velvia and it wont cope without either black shadows or blown highlights depending on how you expose it). The things that might well help are polarisers -if the problem is glare- , neutral density grads - if there are distinctly bright layers in a scene; or fill in flash. But basically if you want to use high saturation slide film you have to be able to expose just right.

    I have to say that my experience with colour neg film and volume (amateur) processors is also that I was more likely to get blown highlights than with slide film. But of course thats comparing a print with a slide and it seemed to me invariably the case that the neg. could hold more detail only for the printer to mess it up. But of course different labs perform differently- and charge differently. If you choose you printer and paper carefully, you ought to be able to get good brightness range on a print from a neg. But I don't think you'll get the same saturation as you'd get with a velvia.

    Either you vote for the most saturation and learn to expose it; or take an easier film to shoot and make do with less saturation.
  33. Gary, 1)my Print from negative film(not the negative itself) had blown facial highlights, while the slide did not. Yes, the negative had this highlight detail on it, but that was not very useful, I needed it on the print. Yes, a custom dodge/burn or software could fix it, but what a hassle.
    2)I do NOT claim slide film has the same dynamic range as print film, I know it is far less, I simply have not had issues with it, as Prints (the photos) themselves have less dynamic range than slide film. So, you will blow your prints befor your slides (unless you scan/use phtotshop or SHO or similar fixes), particularly with standard processing at local labs.

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