****** Please note that film prices have changed significantly since I wrote this page in the summer of 2018.
Fuji Velvia 100 Slide Film
As much as I love the look of black and white film, there is no denying the beauty of a color slide film. In the photos I am sharing today, the film used was Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia 100 Professional RVP 100 Color Transparency Film. That is the full long complete name for the film but I always just call it “Velvia 100.”
Fuji makes several types of slide film Provia and Velvia and in both ISO 100 and ISO 50 . Each film and each speed is known for having its own unique look to it. By different look, I mean each of the films has its own color shift and contrast look. The best way I can describe the differences, is that if you normally shoot digital, it is sort of like each type of Fuji slide film has a “different white balance” or “contrast” to it.
People that shoot a lot more slides than me have for a long time recommended Velvia 100 for photographing people and Velvia 50 for landscapes. The reason being that skin tones look better on Velvia 100. Velvia 50 has a color balance that makes landscapes really pop, but can make skin tones a look to red. Since I like to use slide film for family photos from time to time, my experience is with Velvia 100.
I had some family in town this past July and I wanted to get some photos on slides. The beauty and the archival properties of good slide film makes it a wonderful choice for special occasions. On this particular day in late July we had good sunshine that allowed me to shoot outdoors in the open shade. In my opinion when you place the people in the shade of a porch or building and let the bright sunny sky light them evenly you get better skin tones, fewer hard unflattering shadows, less sweating and squinting and overall much better looking pictures.
I shot these slides on my old Nikkormat EL with a Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens. This camera is very useful for slides. As you may know, for best results slide film really needs absolutely dead center correct exposure. A stop or two off either way might be OK with standard color film used for prints, but not with slide film. The Nikkormat EL has an aperture priority auto mode that allows it to select any shutter speed it needs within its available range of shutter speeds. This camera can auto select any shutter between 4 seconds and 1/1000 of a second. For instance if you set the F stop and the camera calculates you need 1/75 th of a second, it will fire the shutter at that exact speed. You don’t have to manually choose between the two closest settings of 1/60 and 1/25. The auto mode allows it to use the exact shutter speed it calculates is needed.
If I had shot these slides on my Nikon FM, I would be limited to only the shutter speeds on the shutter dial. That can create a situation where you have to choose between a half stop over exposure, or a half stop under exposure. With standard film for prints, I would never worry about a half stop, but with slides I really wanted the exposure to be dead center.
Enough about the camera and the shooting process. lets look at a few scans of the slides.
As an experiment, I shot one slide at two and a half stops underexposed. After I scanned it into the computer, I used Adobe Lightroom to correct it as much as possible. This was the best I could do with it. I am including to show how you need proper exposure when shooting slide film.
If you are interested in shooting slides there are still a few brands available. Even though I have been using Fujichrome, Kodak has started making Ektachrome again and it is available on line. The only types of slide film I have ever used are Kodak and Fuji. There are a few other brands and they may be wonderful, but I have never used the others and am not qualified to “review” or “grade” the others.
For processing the slide film. I use Dewayne’s Photo in Kansas. Link to Dewayne’s web site
When I send my film to Dewayne’s for processing, I usually take it the post office and mail it out on a Monday and if there are no holidays, my slides are usually back the next Monday. It cost about $3.50 to mail my film off and about $15.00 for processing and return postage. Dewayne’s Photo has a page on their website that shows pricing and instructions for mailing. The slides Dewayne’s ships back you are nicely boxed and packaged.
I hope this article has been helpful, or at least interesting, to those people thinking of shooting slides and surfing the internet for information on the subject.