Just a quick question about Slides

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by denmark.yuzon, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    San Pedro, L
    Shooter:
    35mm
    ive always avoided using slide films.. well, they are not cheap to begin with.. but i dont see why its so special? i tried googling it.. ok it gives out great colors.. but why is it not appropriate for shooting people / portraits? is it only for landscape? if it gives vibrant colors, why cant i use them with people / portraits, then it will give me better skin tones.. the newbie that i am.. i only use black and whites and some 400 iso "normal" films..
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,079
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ignore people who say things like, ".......is not good for......." Blanket technical rules based on someone else's idea of what a proper picture is will not help you. Shoot some and see what happens! It is fun looking at the slides, and you can use the film to shoot anything you want. Ask any professional photographer since its invention.

    Most of the attributes connected to transparencies are due more to the fact that they are a positive, and are often viewed directly as a piece of film. You have to compare real-world prints before you make such judgments about color, contrast, grain, etc. I think the reason so many people say that slides are so awesome is because they are seeing the film directly, with absolutely no compression/alteration of dynamic range or color or contrast introduced by the printing process. Look at a black and white neg on a light box, and you see at least as much dynamic range as, and probably more than, a color transparency.

    The real question with transparencies nowadays is: Why? Why do you want them? What is your intended final product? What is your application? The choice of transparencies over negatives has less to do with the properties of the films than it has to do with your specific application. I am not saying you should not use them...just bringing up the point that they are really about "workflow" more than anything else (to use an overused and annoying modern word).

    It used to be that transparencies were the preferred medium from which to make color prints for magazines, newspapers, leaflets, and other litho printing applications. The printer could take the transparency and work directly from it, rather than having to work from a print, so it was quicker and gave better-quality reproductions. Due to the fact that the printing process (and thus all the equipment that goes with it) is unnecessary, you are more-easily mobile with transparencies. All you need is a lab or all your film processing equipment. No enlarger, no paper chemicals, etc., and no having to print before showing people the pix. They quickly and relatively easily gave others a positive image to look at and judge. If you shot transparencies in anything other than a fine art application where photographic prints were needed, you would not print anything yourself, but deliver the transparency to your client or to a litho printer.

    ...or have a slideshow on the wall!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2009
  3. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

    Messages:
    1,936
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Greece
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Groups:
    You can use slides for portraits, but you need to pick the right stuff. If you use a saturated slide film like Velvia, the result will be just ugly. Astia on the other hand is fine for that purpose. The same is true for negative films too. Some are good, some are ok, some are bad...
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,179
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well shot slides are absolutely stunning in their natural environment, with the light behind them.

    Slides are great for portraits too as long as you pick a film that is appropriate for the situation. Astia is great for portraits, Provia can be great to, but gets a bit warm for me at sunset on skin with out a filter. Velvia IMHO isn't suitable for portrait work, great for a technicolor sunset/landscape though.

    As to cost, that depends on your need for prints. A slide is a finished product as soon as it comes out of the chemicals, negatives have to be printed to be truly usable which add to their real cost and balances the equation. If you use a light table, slide viewer, or projector to show off your work slides are the bees knees. There are also advantages to scanning slides vs negs but that's a conversation to have over at http://www.hybridphoto.com if you are going that way.

    Slides do require different techniques for getting good exposure and the color of the light source becomes much more important than with C-41 films (camera lens filters my be required).

    Slides are intolerant of exposure mistakes. +/- 1/3 of a stop is about the normal limit.
     
  5. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

    Messages:
    790
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Location:
    East Anglia,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Different films for different uses, thats not to say you can't use Velvia for portraits and Astia for landscapes...
    Skin tones different with different films, Velvia for me with fair skinned people is too red, can make people look like they have sunburn, I like Astia with my kids who have fair skin and blonde hair, I also used to love Ektachrome 64 Pro which had lovely porcelain like tones to skin, but obviously that colour palette wasn't always preferred.
    I think the advice you have had so far is good, try out a few films on the sort of subjects you shoot, try to stick with one or two while you learn.
    The neg/slide issue is often as 2F states down to workflow, some like slides because they can see the colour/character just by holding them to the light, negative evaluation can be harder but they can be better if printing is your goal IMHO.
    At the moment I like Portra NC or Astia for people, Ektar 100 or Velvia for stronger colours although I occasionally use Kodachrome and Fuji 160/400.
    Have fun!!!
    Mark
     
  6. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,154
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Slides were originally intended to be a finished product. i.e. you put them into a projector and viewed them on a screen. Obviously there were other uses as stated above such as for magazine illustrations.

    Later on came Cibachrome for prints. Now, it is more likely that they will be scanned for printing.

    As the twice a year family slideshow (as my father used to put on) is not so popular now, then transparency vs. negative is a valid question for today's colour photographer.

    Unfortunately, the only way to find out which is for you is to try them.


    Steve.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    San Pedro, L
    Shooter:
    35mm
    thank you people! now im wiser.. its just there are so many people trying to discourage me from using slides in my everyday use.. i got stuck in using neopans, because im too scared to try slides, ilfords are rare, and most of the time, if not always, i push my film one stop because i shoot at night.

    i will definitely try slides now.. and see how it goes.. thank you so much!
     
  8. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

    Messages:
    224
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Location:
    Cincinnati,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I only use Astia for color portraits...well, I take that back, I did use Fuji Pro 400H and 800Z once each for a project. All are very nice films for portraits, but slide film is so much more fun.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    San Pedro, L
    Shooter:
    35mm
    wow.. really? now im excited to try one for myself! gona try a few rolls and see how it turns out..

    another thing.. when shooting with slides.. do i have to get exactly the right exposure? or a half stop underexposure is allowed?
     
  10. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes. You're using generalizations for "slide film" when in fact there are many slide films, each good for different purposes. For portraits, try a portrait slide film.

    Just shoot the film at box speed to start. If you have a modern camera with "matrix" metering you should use that. You will learn with time what situations the in camera meter will "misinterpret" and how to compensate. I have found in camera meters to be correct **almost** all the time with slide film.

    Have fun.
     
  11. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,977
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The cost of a roll of slide film + processing is greater than the cost of a roll of color negative film + film developing + 4x6 prints of each frame. That is the cost of slide film today. In the past slide film is less expensive if you don't make prints. Prints from slides were significantly more expensive than prints from negatives but today, they cost the same.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    21,102
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  13. OP
    OP
    denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    San Pedro, L
    Shooter:
    35mm
    i have nikon fm2n.. i think its TTL metering? and i always shoot half stop underexposed.. because i dont like my pictures looking bright.. i like it a bit dark.. if i use slides, do i have to continue what im doing or i have to get my exposure exactly right everytime?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My experience is to err slightly on the underexposed side for rich colors - however - you will have to try how things work with your equipment.

    I take slides to use in a projector. To me, there is no better photo than a good slide thrown up on my 70 in. lenticular screen. For everything else I use negative films.
     
  16. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,020
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Location:
    Whitestone, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Looking at well exposed slides with a very good loupe is the one of the greatest aesthetic pleasures to be had in photography, right up there, I think, with watching a great B&W print emerge in the developer. For this sensation alone, I continue to shoot slides.
     
  17. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

    Messages:
    749
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Horsham, PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you are looking to project, I would underexpose by a bit. It makes the colors richer (not brighter). However, it sometimes makes the slides difficult to scan. If you are looking to scan, I would shoot anywhere from box speed to 1/2 stop overexposure, depending on the film. It makes certain films much easier to scan, and any problems can be corrected in Photoshop. If you are unsure, or are going to be using both methods, shoot at box. It gives the best balance, and you usually can't go wrong.

    One tip: bracket, bracket, bracket! By bracketing ±½-1 stop, you will all but ensure getting one correct exposure. If this is your first roll, it will also tell you which exposure compensation works best for you and the meter in the camera.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    San Pedro, L
    Shooter:
    35mm
    ok.. thanks.. i cant wait to get my hands on some slides.. thanks people!
     
  19. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Woking, Surr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I normally set the meter to the film's rated EI on my Nikon FE/FM/FM2N, and the results generally turn out fine with slide films.

    In the type of situations such as a subject silouetted against a bright sky you just have to decide whether you want the detail to be in the dark or light areas. Bracketing (keep notes!) helps with this sort of shot, even more so than when using negative film.

    Ian
     
  20. tim_walls

    tim_walls Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,122
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I meter at rated EI usually as well, with the exception of Velvia which I rate at 40.

    I've never bracketed (can't afford it :smile:), but I always spot meter a bright highlight and a dark shadow which gives me the full range and the computed exposure 'in the middle'. I then adjust the exposure up or down to get the picture I want, working on the assumption that anything much more than a stop above or below my chosen exposure will be blown or blocked.

    This is a lot harder to explain than to do - if your camera or handheld meter has a spot memory function, then it's dead easy - meter high, meter low, observe range and midpoint on meter, bump up and down to taste.


    Of course I wouldn't claim to be a brilliant photographer but this technique works for me. The only time I've had a roll of slide film that made me want to cry wasn't because metering technique had failed me, it's because the blasted aperture ring on the lens I was using had slipped out of the 'A' position... (FD lens on a T90 - I forget the lens but it's the only one I have which doesn't have a push button you need to hold to move it out of automatic; with the breech lock mount it's far too easy to catch the aperture ring when mounting the lens. Lesson learned the hard way...)
     
  21. StorminMatt

    StorminMatt Member

    Messages:
    257
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That all depends. Yes, it is cheaper to buy C41 film and have it processed at the local Wally World (or similar establishment) than it is to buy any kind of E6 (or K14) film and have it processed. But the results will leave something to be desired. On the other hand, if you buy professional quality C41 film and have it processed and printed at a quality lab, the cost will FAR surpass that of professional E6 film and processing. Also, even cheapie E6 film (like Fuji Sensia or Kodak Elite Chrome) is worlds better in quality than ANY consumer grade C41 film. And pretty much ALL E6 processing is going to be of professional quality. So even if you go with the cheapest stuff you can get, you will generally always be able to get professional quality results from slide film.
     
  22. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

    Messages:
    2,941
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I think one of the main reasons to shoot slides is the quality of the images that you can get off them. I do not project my slides often any more. Now my slides basically just act as negatives and I have prints made from them.
     
  23. Stephen Schoof

    Stephen Schoof Member

    Messages:
    93
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Location:
    Asheville, NC, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I like slides because I can make all my creative decisions pre-exposure and have nothing to do afterwards except sorting and filing the results. Printing (darkroom or digital) never interested me much, but I still want control over the final image. I can give a well-done transparency to the lab, tell them to print to match it, and have a print that completely meets my intentions. They are also still preferred over negatives by publishers, except for the few that have gone all digital, and then I suppose it doesn't matter what you start with.
     
  24. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,179
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The only caveat I'd offer here is that it depends on what print film you shoot and where its processed.
     
  25. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,748
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Geelong & Richmond AUS
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Groups:
    Slides are technically the finished image so you have the opportunity to learn about the mistakes of exposure and fine tune them to produce a technically very well exposed image, especially critical if chroming from them (producing Cibachromes) where exposure errors will look terrible.

    Gross under- and over-exposure will be very obvious as errors, as opposed to the much more forgiving C41 (negative) process because slides have such a narrow latitude (in this vein, the majority of photographers expose in 1/3 stops as 1/2 is very often too much). By the way, you should note that there is no such thing as a perfect image or a perfect exposure in the aesthetic sense, as each professional or artist or whoever will have his or her own preferences. In the technical sense slides will refine your skills.

    I agree with other posts that Velvia 50 is better at EI40 in diffiuse light (don't use it at all in bright sun), 100F is best for early morning and evening hues and Provia 100F with its forgiving contrast but muted palette can be given a little more lift at EI125. But this sort of tweaking on tranny film is best done on a personal experimental level over time in many different conditions.

    The majority of E6 films will last a very long time if projected occasionally, rather than stashed away forgotten to time.
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,079
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The fact that transparencies are positives is what accounts for their exposure sensitivity. The fact that they are positives does not make them the "finished image". They are the finished image *only* if you plan to view them on a light box or as slides for their whole life. The finished image is the reproduction made from the transparency for whatever purpose the pix were desired, such as a page in a magazine, to use just one example.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2009