Versatile, general purpose slide film for noob

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Care to recommend a versatile transparency film?
    I know about Velvia, but I hear it's bad for skintones, plus it's like $10 a roll on freestyle. Maybe a more versatile transparency film, maybe even a cheaper one?

    I've never shot slide film, ever, but I've come to realize that people that take color film photography seriously don't seem to shoot print film. Plus, I really want to shoot some slides just because I've never even SEEN developed slide film. I'm a materials scientist working with mostly electronic materials. I see a lot of really creative technology every day, but the idea that humans developed film that could create a positive image with color fidelity just blows me away. Color print film not so much, because there's so much room for fudging in the printing process. But slide film, wow. It's almost like I don't believe it.

    Here's the thing. Right now I shoot C41 and get it developed at mini-labs. I shoot a lot of B&W C41 at that. I'm going to start shooting 'real' black and white a lot as soon as we move (more darkroom space). So after I transition to real B&W, when I'm shooting less color it will be easier to shoot expensiver and harder to develop film, and it will be a lower-volume process since most life-documentary photography will be black and white then. I mean if you have to send film out for developing, it might as well be good film.
     
  2. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    It's cheap, it's not bad and it's called Fuji Sensia. Anything else is likely to be much more expensive. Go ahead, buy one and shoot. Have it processed and enjoy. If you like it, stick with it and buy more. The interesting thing about slides is that they won't forgive metering inaccuracies. So, that makes it good practice. BTW, if you need to evaluate your slides a 50mm lens makes a good loupe.
     
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Interesting. Thanks. I was also thinking about Provia, but I know nothing about it.
     
  4. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    The most forgiving slide film is Astia 100f, Id recommend it if youre moving up from Sensia it is definately a completely different emulsion to Sensia for starters (RMS 7 vs RMS 10 for starters)

    I recommend Astia 100f for everything :tongue: even vivid sunset landscapes (imho most capable e6 film of reproducing the colour and handling such real life vivid colours while keeping subtleties as opposed to the consumer film velvia that chucks a hissy fit at genuine intense colours and loses any subtleties), finest slide film at RMS 7, greatest exposure latitude of slide film.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    For a pro film, I recommend Provia 400X. It is very natural in contrast and color. For an amateur film, I recommend Fuji Sensia 400. I am recommending the faster films for a "noob" because they are not as contrasty, so are not as dependent on "perfect" exposure, and because they give you faster shutter speeds and/or more depth of field.

    This being said, even though I am not quite as much of a "noob", Provia and Sensia 400 are my favorite films, for the same reasons. I think lower contrast films look very natural and have more flexibility. I also love using fast shutter speeds and small apertures for what I shoot.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I tend to prefer Kodak films, so this is a Kodak recommendation.

    The Kodak Elite Chrome is a reasonable amateur film, it has an ISO of 200 (a good all purpose speed) and it is about $5.00 a roll at B & H.

    The E100G and E100GX films are pro films, have very fine grain, and are about $7.50 a roll at B & H. I'm particularly fond of the slightly warmer rendition you get with the GX films.

    Matt
     
  7. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    For Fuji, I'd try Astia for subtle, natural colors with fine grain, or Sensia as a general purpose film, usually at a slightly lower overall cost.

    Elite Chrome 200 is also another good all-rounder if you prefer Kodak.

    And perhaps use a roll of Kodachrome 64 while it's available....if only because it's such an iconic film, and you might just wish one day that you'd tried it? It's not the easiest film to use (bracket slightly on the nominal speed) but breathtaking with outdoor shots when you get it right!
     
  8. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I used to think that too, not now.

    E-6 and C-41 just have different "user groups".

    Magazines used to like E-6 stuff because they could "see" the intent without having to print and there is no guessing about the image color.

    In different circles, like wedding/event shooting, C-41 is probably the more "serious" film.

    They are both "just tools". The work, style of shooting, and costs to get to a print are radically different too.

    With E-6; Ilfochrome or digital are the print options. Ilfochrome is gorgeous but is more expensive than "regular" color paper.

    It is truly amazing seeing it come off the reels. I get the same feeling with negs too though.

    My pick for slides right now is Provia or Astia.
     
  9. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    For shooting your first roll, I would go with either Sensia Or Elite Chrome. They are very good films, and they are both cheap enough that you can expiriment without being angry at "wasting all of that money" on more expensive film. After you try out a roll or two of these slide films, and gotten a feel for how slide film "works", then you can decide which film is the best solution for your shooting needs.
     
  10. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I've been shooting slides for years and it's mostly been Provia. Both the 100 and 400 speed emulsions are fantastic. However, the prices are not -- especially for 400x. When I was living in France it was difficult (and expensive) to shoot Provia so I switched over to Sensia and have been very happy with it. Like some of the other posters above, I would definitely recommend it as a good way to get into slides without breaking the bank.
     
  11. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    Sensia and Provia are great. Also, Kodak Ektachrome E200 is very nice. And yes, do shoot a roll or two of Kodachrome. Do it asap.
     
  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Subscriber

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    Provia 100 (RDP III) at EI80.
    Exceptionally sharp, terrific shadow tonal gradation and easy on the shadows in bright sun, even better in diffuse light. Provia's palette is not as 'Disneychromed' as Velvia. It (colour) can be enlivened with a polariser (with care).

    I favour Provia for its lower contrast and more natural palette over its stablemate, Velvia (excellent in diffuse light, but that's not every day!).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2009
  13. marsbars

    marsbars Member

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    I don't know about where you are but, for me, when I develop C-41 it costs me about 12 bucks for develop and prints. E6 costs me about 6 bucks. If you factor in the cost of a good C-41 film that comes to about 16 bucks per roll. So I can shoot E6 for about the same price. And I will repeat what others have said, there is nothing like viewing a slide. The colors and clarity are unmatched.
     
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I bought a 36-roll of Sensia 200 today. I also bought a Pentax ME online so I'll wait till I get that to put the slide film in it. Actually maybe I should put it in a good camera and test the new one out with some print film, to make sure it's metering right.
     
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    BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I finally got my roll back from walmart. The film is stunning. Not Sensia in particular, but the fact that the positive image is on the film. I'm hooked. I don't want any of that color negative film anymore. I just completed a DIY lightbox too and putting the slides on them and using my Canon 50mm lens to look at them is very cool. A good amount of the shots turned out, and as a bonus I managed to capture some great images on the roll. I have several rolls of Sensia and Kodak Elite 200 and I'm putting a roll going back into the camera right now. My one camera that has matrix metering and TTL flash is now my slide-film-camera.
     
  17. Phormula

    Phormula Member

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    Welcome to the club. A friend of mine once said that shooting slides is like driving a muscle car from the late '60s, no ABS/ESP/TCS/... and all the electronic stuff that helps modern cars stay on course even when there is a complete idiot behind the wheel. You have to make things right the first time, slides don't give you a second chance in the darkroom and an endless chance with photoshop. But when you bring the box out from the lab and spread them on the light box, you realize that it was worth the effort.
     
  18. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Ektachrome 200 is a great general purpose film for a beginner. Welcom to the world of slides!
     
  19. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    For people who are cheap like me, I vote for 24 exp rolls of Sensia 100 on Ultrafineonline.com somewhere. They might be out of stock. Hunt around there for film to play around with. They offer cheap film and some bargains on cold stored outdated stock.
     
  20. StorminMatt

    StorminMatt Member

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    I know what you mean. I told myself that I would at least give the new Ektar 100 a try. But I find that I just avoid the body I loaded it into like the plague. I mean, what if I actually use that film and get a REALLY good shot out of it? I would rather get that shot on Kodachrome, and actually have a slide to project (rather than a 4x6 print). So two months later, the Ektar is about half finished, while I shot a few whole rolls of Kodachrome in the mean time. Oh, well.

    Speaking of slide projectors, this is a MUST if you plan to shoot slides. There is just something about looking at supersized pictures on your wall that prints will NEVER duplicate. Luckily, slide projectors are dirt cheap these days. I picked up a pretty new Kodak 4600 on craigslist with 10 carousels for $50, and I have seen deals for even less.
     
  21. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    This is what I worry about. I also want to try a roll of Ektar 100 (but in 120). But is it so wrong to say that colour negative film can feel like a novelty more than anything else? I shoot a random Ferrania here or a test roll of generically-branded Fujicolor from Shoppers, but that's more or less it. Over year ago, I found a cheap batch of 120/220 rolls from a flyBay seller mixed with the Fujichrome Multispeed MS100/1000 film I wanted and a bunch of Fujicolor NPS 160 rolls (or maybe NPH, but I don't care to get up and look in the freezer). I've had to replenish the MS100/1000 stock, but every single roll of the Fujicolor remains. It's all preferential, I know, but what's less clear is whether it's a no-no to deride colour negative film as a novelty. I feel like I raise the hackles of many by saying so.
     
  22. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I love Provia 400X. Versatile, neutral, and forgiving. Unfortunately it seems that the emulsion is must be mixed with gold bullion.
     
  23. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I love Provia 400X. Versatile, neutral, and forgiving. Unfortunately it seems that the emulsion is must be mixed with gold bullion.

    :tongue::wink::sad:

    You just made my day Jason! I love Provia 400X but I'm finding it hard to justify the price for what I shoot. Most of what I have in my fridge is short-dated (now out-dated) stock because $17 a roll is a little pricey, even for me (although who am I to talk with what I paid for 20 rolls of HIE?). The 100 version, and Sensia, have become good alternatives for me in the meantime.
     
  24. StorminMatt

    StorminMatt Member

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    I feel like I raise the hackles of SO many when I voice the fact that I feel that color negative film has little to nothing to offer over digital - especially here on apug.org. For me, color transparencies and B+W are THE reasons to still shoot film.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2009
  25. tim_walls

    tim_walls Subscriber

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    Hey, you won't raise my hackles :wink:.

    I thought I'd give colour neg a go a while ago to see what it was like. I was utterly underwhelmed; I have half used containers of C41 chemistry that'll go off before I ever finish them. It always strikes me that half the arguments for colour neg - usually centred around 'you can make lots of adjustments in post' - could serve equally well for digital. I'm afraid it gives me no enjoyment, and even once I have managed to cobble something together from the colour neg that 'looks good' I have this nagging doubt that the colours probably look nothing like the original scene...


    It was the cheapness of RA-4 printing that lured me to CN. I've decided it's not worth it - I'll stick to my slide films and live with having to hack an arm and a leg off every so often for Ilfochrome. They grow back soon enough anyway :D.
     
  26. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    Well, I thought about what I said and your reply. There was one C-41 colour negative film I adored, but it's so far gone and out that it doesn't really count anymore: Konica SR-G 3200. I loved the grain, and even at that grain, the contrast maintained pretty well. I never got to shoot it in 120, and I would be willing to do about anything to find a deep-freeze batch of that stuff in 120, even if it has lost some of its Dmax and suffered some from fogging!