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Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by edhead2008, Mar 4, 2009.
I'm looking for opinions and advice on what's the best slide film to use?
For what purpose? There is no absolute answer to that question. I can tell you my favorites...Kodachrome, for skin tones and just about any general photography; Velvia 50 for landscapes because of its resolution (but don't use it for people); Provia 400X is a very nice film for general use also when you need something high speed; Astia 100 is a nice film also. Those are the ones I use pretty much.
Velvia 50 has the highest resolution and the lowest grain. Many landscape shooters use this although it is very highly saturated. Kodachrome is not all that fine-grained but it is a beautiful film that has no equal, especially for skin tones. I suggest you try some of that while you still can!
Ektachrome 100 Plus, nice, easy to use film, perfect skin tones...
Thanks kodachrome, petras. What I shoot mostly is landscape, but I'm becoming interested in portraiture/people photography, and will certainly take on board your opinions.
My current choices:
Velvia 100 for landscape;
Provia 400x for things that move;
Astia 100F for skin;
and 64T for the night.
Overall, p400x probably shows the greatest versatility, and astia the best overall range and tonality and ease of use (esp. for newcomers to slide).
P.S. I should add, 64T for indoor macro (under tungsten light).... and scala for anything I truly love!
Lovely saturated film, great punchy colours, but more 'realistic' than Velvia with its overdone greens in my opinion (and yes, it is just an opinion.) Also much easier to deal with in a hybrid workflow (i.e. scan) if that's your thing. Astia is good for people, and Provia 400 for flexibility. Kodachrome for when you can't be bothered to process it yourself and want the convenience of just sticking the thing in the post and the slides coming back in a week (Kodachrome sold on this side of the pond is all sold process-paid with a mailing envelope in the box.)
When I got into slide I hoovered up every slide film I could buy in a deeply unscientific over-excited rush. Now that I'm a little wiser, I'm cutting back down to a sensible standard stock of three - Ektachrome E100VS and Provia 400X are guaranteed to be two of the three, and I'm currently undecided between Astia and E100G - need to do more shooting of these to decide.
No... both Velvia 100 (at RMS 8) and Astia 100F (at RMS 7) are finer grained than Velvia 50 (RMS 9).
In 35mm, I enjoy Kodachrome 64.
In MF, I shoot Astia for portraits, Velvia 50/100 for nature/landscapes, and Scala for architecture.
Also, Velvia 100F has an RMS of 8, Provia has an RMS of 8, and I believe 64T has an RMS of 7, if we're naming finest grained films here.
KODACHROME 64! I love everything about it. Amazing colors,great depth to all images. Next in line I would have to say the Ektachromes. Each film is great.
Ektachrome 64T is my favorite. Longer scale and better color balance than the Fuji equivalent.
Elite Chrome 100
Which Fuji equiv do you mean? In my experience, the new T64 is superb. I haven't heard anything negative about it regarding colour balance and reciprocity, and I have been nothing but satisfied. There were problems with a prior Fuji tungsten slide film, the original rtp, I believe.
Longer tone scale? Slide?! Do tell...
Everybody has their own opinions as far as which is the best slide film. For instance, MANY people think that there is nothing better in the world than Velvia for nature/landscape. However, many others just don't like its sometimes harsh and overdone 'Disneychrome' colors (especially the overdone greens), and prefer a film that better captures the scene as they actually saw it. The only way you will know where you fall is to actually go out and try shooting it. The same goes for virtually every other film out there. On the other hand, I consider Kodachrome to be one of those 'hard to go wrong with it' kinds of films. Yes, there will always be those who want more saturation (although Kodachrome 64 saturation is still higher than, say, Astia or most C41 films). But few people are actually going to have that 'yuck' reaction to its colors (as can happen with, say, Velvia). So you might want to give Kodachrome a try while you still can.
Well put Matt. Kodachrome is probably the most forgiving, Velvia the most dramatic.
Without a doubt: Astia 100F
Fuji has quietly changed it in the last couple of years, to the point where it still has the beautyful skin rendition AND absolutely stunning colour saturation, almost like Velvia 100 and with smoother grain than Velvia 50!
Second best would have to be Velvia 50 and Kodachrome 64.
Followed closely by Provia 400X, which I am liking more and more particularly in the 120 format.
But, that's just me. And I scan a lot, so I'm biased compared for example to anyone using traditional printing.
Very well put! That is one of the reasons why I stay away from Fuji Films.
I guess I shouldn't be TOO harsh when it comes to Velvia. After all, I have gotten in some shots where the 'Velvia effect' works out REALLY well. But the problem is that film is not digital (where I can change things from shot to shot), and I have to deal with having the same kind of color response throughout a whole 36 exposure roll. And with Velvia, this means LOTS of shots I don't like to get a few that look REALLY good (unless I want to lug around multiple bodies). But with something like Kodachrome, I get good colors, shot after shot. And I can always enhance colors using polarizers or other filters if I wish. But with Velvia, it is impossible to tone things down when I DON'T want 'over the top' colors.
Scanning is a good point. After all, as much as we would like to do it, traditional printing of slides is becoming less and less feasible with each passing day. If you do alot of scanning, this certainly affects your film choice. Kodachrome, for instance, looks BRILLIANT in a slide projector. But it just does NOT scan well. Velvia scans a little better, although the colors can be hard to adjust to what you want. But films like Astia, Sensia, and E100G are probably best for scanning. All have fine grain. And all have relatively neutral colors and more subdued contrast. This means that colors can easily be manipulated in post-processing.
you have to try kodachrome 64,before it becomes extinct which will be soon.
with good light and exposure it is unique.
when that goes i will be fuji's man,astia is very special.
EPY has incredibly long scale, more than some black and white films. It also responds well to zone system controls in the first developer. Don't take my word for it.
The Fuji 64T is sharper and finer grained than Kodak's but the greens are not as natural and it has more contrast. It's very good but Ektachrome 64T is just my favorite of all films manufactured today. To me it's perfect in every way.
But again, are you talking about the old Fuji 64T or the current T64, with the new couplers? The colour fidelity of the new T64 is superb in my opinion. I'd just like to know what has better colour fidelity and whether quantitative data is available on this particular count. IMHO T64 may actually be the most colour-accurate film I use. Astia is much more tolerant of mixed light, but the new T64, under tungsten light, pretty much nails the colour exactly as I can tell with my human eyeballs.
Anyway... T64 has rms 7 as well.
My favorite is Kodak Ektachrome E200. You can pull process, push process, or even do extreme push. This is medium contrast, favorable to skin tones, and renders blue tones better than any other film I have used. The only downside I see to this is no 4x5 choices, only 35mm and 120 rollfilm.
My two main choices in 4x5 films are Kodak E100VS and Fuji Astia 100F. Those gives me the extremes of super saturation (E100VS) and pleasing skin tones (Astia). In medium format, and 35mm, I will also use Fuji Provia 400X, since it pushes farther than any other film now on the market.
While I do continue to use other Kodak and Fuji E-6 films, those four are my main choices. I really like the Kodak E family of film, am not so crazy about Provia (except 400X), and will sometimes use the new Velvia. I have yet to try Fuji T64, though I might soon.
Gordon Moat Photography
This has come up before, and there are probably several old threads dealing with it. As a summary from my observations (I do primarily landscapes):
Velvia - Oversaturated primaries (RGB), sometimes to the point of garish. Non primary colors come out dull and gray. Very contrasty. Shadows are black with no detail. The 50 and 100 look about the same to me.
Provia 100 - Very nice, sharp and bright, snappy colors. Overall blue cast, though (all Fuji films are "cold"). A warming filter helps counteract this. This would be my choice if some horrible tragedy made VS unavailable.
Provia 400 - Very good for its speed. I've pushed it to 1600 for taking hand-held "natural light" shots of formations in caverns. It works very well for this, and seems less blue than it's slower sibling.
Sensia/Astia - Good for skin tones. Softer colors and overall look.
VS - The love of my life (full disclosure). Wonderful, realistic colors - warm bright and snappy. (All Kodak slide films tend to be "warm") Everything nicely balanced. Has great dynamic range, preserving highlights and shadow detail. Looking at a slide thru a good viewer literally is like being there. Some folks don't like it for skin tones, but I think it gives a nice warm rendering. Overall this is a landscape film, though. Elite Chrome Extra Color (or Colour as it only is marketed in Europe now) is the consumer packaging. Unique Photo used to sell this, but it seems to be gone from their site.
G/GX - IMO these are studio films. Fine if you are shooting people. I don't find them "snappy" enough for landscapes. A good film for the correct subject matter.
Kodachrome - Absolutely beautiful reds and blues. Does not oversaturate the reddest red (as VS can, and Velvia certainly does). Incredible texture and tonality. My one and only choice for flower close-ups. Anyone shooting flowers should at least try it once - it is literally breathtaking. Unfortunately, greens come out sort of pale and washed out. As such it isn't the best for landscape. Many people like it as an architectural and a people film.
From what I have seen, Velvia 100 is not quite as 'over the top' as Velvia 50 when it comes to saturation.
100 or 100F? And the difference is...?
Velvia 100F has ultra-high saturated primaries and is useful for early morning, twilight or night sky photography where extra 'lift' in colour rendition is desired. Used with a polarizer, this film can take on ridiculous hues, not at all helped if printing to the Ciba process, so employ it judiciously. In overcast conditions the palette is noticeably flatter, more subdued than its stablemate Velvia 50. This can be beneficial too: knowing when and where to exploit this feature is a key skill learned through experience.
Provia 100F is my choice for people and natural-tone landscapes and is ideal for night photography (star trails, for example). The lower contrast is much easier to manage than Velvia 50, a film I first started to use 15 years ago. The Velvia 50 (RVP 50) film strengths lie in the green spectrum, though it can be very blue in marginal shade so does need warming up. Colour shifts can be unpredictable over long exposures, but many photographers actively exploit this to artistic effect.
IN short, there is no best film for all seasons and reasons and your experience and application over time will determine what you like now and well into the future.