Is there any reason to stick to Velvia ?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by qtluong, May 19, 2001.

  1. I have been using Velvia since its introduction and I really
    like the saturated colors and sharpness which add depth to
    landscape. I know that many many color photographers think the
    same. However in light of recent developments in imaging,
    I've been wondering about this choice.
    <p>
    The developments I have in mind is digital printing. It seems that
    with the exception of a few notable and very skilled printers
    (such as Burkett or Fatali), most other color photographers, including Muench, Neill, Crammer, etc... have switched to Lightjet printing.
    I have also done so four years ago, and I am convinced by the
    advantages of this technology.
    <p>
    If you print digitally, you can enhance color saturation and
    contrast as much as you want. True, the original transparency
    might not look as good, but unlike in 35mm where it is often
    what you show to clients, in LF, the transparency is just the
    "score" to be played.
    <p>
    What you need is a film which records
    as much information as possible. With this respect, a film like
    Astia is much better at maintaining shadow/highlight detail.
    Besides, the extra speed is very useful for the landscape
    photographer to combat wind blur or reciprocity failure. The paradox
    is that although we all use tripods, we need the extra speed for LF much critically than in 35mm where one doesn't stop down so much !
    Velvia is
    sharper, but again, this might be more relevant to 35mm. With the large chunk of film that we use, this doesn't seem so critical either.
    <p>
    What do you think ? Do you see any compelling reasons to stick to
    Velvia in view of the above ?
     
  2. I have had the same thoughts but I hedge my bet by using Velvia if
    conditions permit; otherwise Provia or Astia. I have been meaning to
    deliberately experiment by using two or three films on the same
    subject and then trying a blind test of all three in Photoshop and
    with a Lightjet prints to see if I like one over the other or if any
    differences have been obliterated by the process.

    <p>

    My instincts tell me to use Velvia if that is what I like on the
    light table but it more speed is needed then I just go it. I wish
    there were an even faster positive 4x5 film I could like.
     
  3. I, as well, have thought of the same situation. I have found that the
    new RDPIII (Provia 100F) is a great film to work with. This way, I
    use it in both my 35mm and 4x5 gear.

    <p>

    With my 35mm gear, I love to shoot wildlife, and Velvia would need to
    be pushed 1 stop to get me there. This way, I can really learn the
    film well, while satisfying both large and 35mm formats, and subjects.

    <p>

    Anybody else in the same situation?

    <p>

    I am heading out today to Costa Rica for a week with my wife, and I
    am actaully leaving behind my 4x5, and opting for my Nikon gear. I
    feel very confident that lighting will be incredibly difficult under
    the rainforest canopy, so I am taking some higher speed films. I
    testing the new Provia 400 last week. Not the greatest film I have
    used, but it can be pushed to ASA800 if needed. I figure I would
    rather have a decent photo on crappy film, than a crappy image on
    great film.
     
  4. Hi all

    <p>

    I don`t work with Velvia anymore since 2 years! I prefer Provia and
    Astia and the thungsten 64 RTP II. In Negativ I like very much the
    Kodak Portra family!
    Good light!
     
  5. QTL,

    <p>

    I have been thinking about the same thing since I made my first
    digital print last fall, and it became apparent to me that the old
    status quo is no longer the best way to work! (for me, anyway)

    <p>

    If you make submissions to publishers, I think you may still want to
    use Velvia, to have the 'pop' on the light table. If not, then I
    think you are exactly on track.

    <p>

    One additional note is that the use of another film may be beneficial
    for other reasons. The additional speed is one reason, but the great
    reciprocity characteristics of Astia, may be another, and the
    slightly lower contrast is a third.

    <p>

    However, I suspect that this could be taken a little further,
    shouldn't you consider using a print film? Assuming you can get a
    good quality scan (some people have reported difficulty with negs)
    print film has the widest latitude, and a great deal of exposure
    tolerance. I'm not too familiar with the available negative films,
    but it seems that there might be one that would be able to produce a
    better digital print than any of the slide films out there.

    <p>

    Any thoughts, anyone?

    <p>

    ---Michael
     
  6. hallo Quang and everbody

    <p>

    there are still reasons to use different types of films, therefore I have the Velvia in the fridge, but I admit that the RDP II (exposure untill 5 min, without color shifts !!) is much more in use now:

    <p>

    If you can't really control the contrast of the light, cause you have to shoot outdoor on a day x (thats part of Pro live) , the wheater report is never really precise, Velvia can help you to enhance the contrast, if the light is getting "foggy" .

    <p>

    You are right about saturation and contrast control about computer. Yet, my experience was, that digital image data will be read very different on the different screens and systems, i.e. contrast of mac vs. win. If sending some datas to someone to print (in books & magazines), ist always good, to add a slide, because they have then a precisley defined reference.

    <p>

    Using-neg films makes sense to me in lightcritical shootings, (color balance, night shootings, etc)
     
  7. Clearly, lots of people are thinking along similar lines here. I spoke
    very recently to a magazine editor with considerable experience of
    scanning transparencies, and he commented that Velvia trannies are not
    the easiest to scan. I already felt dubious about the performance of
    Velvia in high contrast lighting conditions, where the shadows block
    up into dense black - only yesterday I carried Velvia and Astia on a
    small outdoor job (shooting a couple of commercial exteriors) so that
    I could use the Velvia in case of cloud and soft, diffused light.
    Otherwise, I'd use the Astia. The latter and Provia F are excellent
    films, and the saturation is very easily enhanced in Photoshop. Velvia
    is incomparable to inspect on the lightbox, but increasingly it is no
    longer king of the hill.
     
  8. While in theory the idea to have a "palette" of different films
    to use is an advantage of LF, I found that for myself, especially if
    not using quickloads, having films of different speeds is
    an invitation for exposure errors. Maybe it's just me who is always
    rushed and forgetful.
    <p>
    Negative film ? I really want to have an
    original I can view. A small fraction of my transparencies end up
    enlarged, and I don't think I would be happy looking mostly at
    contacts. Besides, negatives are much more difficult to market.
     
  9. I recently asked some people about this as well. The reason for using
    negatives when you know you will be scanning is that they have far
    less contrast to begin with, a little over half. That means you need
    to increase it when scanning, but you have that control. Negatives
    also do not block up extremes anywhere near as badly as slides. Just
    like in B&W, a color negative can hold highlights on the film far
    above what papers can reveal. But, they can be scanned! Same goes for
    shadows. Their range allows a much broader scale, one that can be
    defined as needed.
     
  10. I'm tired of Velvia for other reasons. Since I print everything on
    Ilfochrome, I grew wary of battling the contrast. Almost
    simultaneously I realized that the Velvia-Ilfochrome combination was
    giving me saturation that was way beyond what I was seeing in the
    field and really wanting. I sort of fell under the Velvia-Ilfochrome
    spell, I guess, and didnt realize what I was doing for about 5 years
    there. But I really dont see color like that in the field or in my
    head so now I'm going for a more subtle look. Astia will be my film
    of choice for a while, and hopefully I can kill (or wound) the
    saturation and contrast birds with one film.
     
  11. Q.-Tuan
    You may already be familiar with this, but here is a commentary
    comparing Provia to Velvia for scanning: http://luminous-
    landscape.com/velvia_vs_povia.htm
     
  12. Roger, in 35mm (and possibly MF) Provia F is a better choice than
    Astia for scanning because of the finer grain. However, in LF (and
    especially 5x7 and up) grain is not an issue, and Astia has
    a wider exposure latitude than Provia F, whose characteristics
    are mid-way between Velvia and Astia. Otherwise, the article
    supports my thinking. I have decided on Astia for my next 500 LF
    exposures.
     
  13. I just got finished editing 10 rolls of 35mm film I shot last week
    on a quick trip to Weisbaden, Germany. Some was Velvia, some
    was RDPIII and a couple were Provia 400F (it would be great if
    that film was available in Quickload!).<P>
    The Velvia really stands out even with a quick glance: the colors
    are more emotionally vivid and appear to have more depth,
    especially for scenics and details of trees and plants and
    cityscapes. BTW: this was the first RVP I've put in any camera in
    over a year as I have been relying on RDPIII for the bulk of my
    color image making<P>
    Astia is about the last film I would choose for landscape
    photography. While it would be great to have the addtional
    shadow detail, you gain that at the expense of of saturation &
    seperations in the mid tones and that is where most color exists.
    ithink if you are pretty cognizant of what a film is going to do,
    something that comes from experience, Velvia is still a great
    choice. I hate it for the slow speed, but <P>BTW:Making
    Cibachromes is a horrible thing to do to a wonderful image,
    unless of course you enjoy making contrast and red masks for
    each and every image you print.
     

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