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Slide film choice for a newby
Old 10-27-2005   #1
wlewisiii
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Slide film choice for a newby

Just one of those things I've never gotten around to, but I'm thinking that I need to start shooting transparencies, eventually in all three formats I shoot (35, 120, 4x5) but to start with in 135 in the Canon. But I have essentially _no_ knowledge of what films there currently are or what their characteristics are like.

Perhaps as a starting point, these are the color negative films that I like using:
1) Fuji NPH 400
2) Kodak Portra 160NC
3) Fuji Reala CS
4) Fuji Supera 400

Given that, oh wise ones of the RFF what are your recommendations for the feeding of the new to me Canon?

Thanks all,

William
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Old 10-27-2005   #2
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Hmm, it looks like you may want to stick to either Velvia 100F; nice color punch.

But if you want less saturation, perhaps Kodak Elitechrome 100 or 400 would do the trick; the grain on the Elitechrome 100 is rather pleasing. This is also the cheapest.

Fuji Provia 100F is neutral; it's great, imo. Great superfine grain too. They also make Provia 400, but the grain is similar to Elitechrome 400.
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Old 10-28-2005   #3
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i personally liked the kodak e100sw ("saturated warm") alot. I think it's discontinued and the new version is called e100gx.
You know what, i've shot a roll of velvia 50 too, and the results are nice, far from the oversaturated gimmicky stuff i see everyday on the 'net. Some say it's less contrasty and oversaturaterd due to the fact i used it in the old rolleiflex with the uncoated tessar, a lower contrast lens. Could be true; and if it is, you might also like it in your oldies
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Old 10-28-2005   #4
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Oh and I find reala100 and nph 400 two completely different films in 135-format. Reala is very sharp very brilliant in colours, nph is smoother and less contrasty/less saturated, and very sensitive to underexposure. So by including both in your list i guess any slide film might be good for some subjects, for you
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Old 10-28-2005   #5
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Fuji Provia100F is a great all round film, sharp, small grain, punchy but not unnaturally so with very acceptable Caucasian skin tones. This is my standard travel film because it is easier to expose than those in the Velvia family yet is punchy enough for landscapes. I occasionally use Provia 400F in low light or for street photography with small aperture- it's noticeable grainy and not as saturated as the 100F but still a good film.

For harsh light I find Kodak Ektachrome 200 has a wider exposure tolerance but it is grainy and rather subdued in colour saturation. Fuji Astia also is supposed to be slightly more tolerant to misexposure than Provia but it is not as punchy. It gives outstanding Caucasian skin tones. Sensia 100 is supposed to be the consumer version of Astia.

Remember, you have to expose much more carefully with slide film than print film. I'd start with Provia 100F or Sensia 100 as these are relatively forgiving.
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Old 10-28-2005   #6
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Thanks folks, that's the kind information I was hoping for.

William
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Old 10-28-2005   #7
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I want to give Sensia 100 a thumbs up! It is pretty cheap and my holliday pictures from tropical beaches look very good :-)

And it scans well!
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Old 10-28-2005   #8
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The only E-6 I've shot so far, is also Sensia, although I've got the cheap E100VS coming and Velvia in 120 & 4x5 (they don't make Sensia for those sizes). Sensia was also the cheapest E-6 I could get, and gave lovely colours when we were in Hawaii.

There was an interesting w/nw thread in pnet with shots on Velvia using old Summars and other older lenses and such. Very nice, since the nice contrast of Velvia was nicely balanced by the lower contrast of the lenses.
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Old 10-28-2005   #9
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I shoot only Fuji in slide film, with Provia being my fav. Nice, neutral colour balance and a bit better with blues than Kodak IMO...Sensia is nice as well, and a little cheaper IIRC...I'm not a landscape guy, so Velvia has never been a regular in my kit, but as long as there are no people in the frame and you have a tripod, it is amazing.

I know Fuji puts out a comparison chart, but I can't find it right now at work. Never used Astia, though i'd trust it because I love Fuji chromes...
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Old 10-28-2005   #10
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For Canadians, Black's (a photo chain) slide film is rebadged Sensia 100. The cost, which comes with processing, was pretty reasonable last time I checked. I takes them about 10 days to send out the film and have it back, but it's a cheap way to experiment with slide film.

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Old 10-28-2005   #11
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Another vote for Kodak Elite Chrome. I haven't used the 400 but I've used both the 100 and 200 with very nice results, especially the 100. I've not used the "extra color" versions but I've not seen a need; the colors from the regular version are saturated enough for me.
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Old 10-28-2005   #12
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Well, I stopped in at my FLCS this morning intending to pick up some Provia or Sensia and instead ended up with three rolls of Ektachrome 400X... Slightly outdated but kept in cold storage at 1/3 price. Too cheap to pass on this time. I figure it'll be fun to experiment with.

But I'm keeping a printout of this thread for next time. Thanks again to all of you.

William
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Old 10-28-2005   #13
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Fuji Astia 100F. William's noted C41 choices are 'skin friendly' portrait type films - Astia is pretty much made for this in E6. I haven't much experience myself, that's just what I hear. Correct me if I am wrong.

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Old 10-28-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneW
For Canadians, Black's (a photo chain) slide film is rebadged Sensia 100. The cost, which comes with processing, was pretty reasonable last time I checked. I takes them about 10 days to send out the film and have it back, but it's a cheap way to experiment with slide film.

Gene
That's a good price....CDN$14.99 for 36 + processing. There's even a discount of $2-/roll if you buy 5. Henry's wants CDN$15.99 for the same thing and only discounts to $14.99 at > 9 rolls. I might have gone for it if I didn't have 20 rolls of E100VS coming.

Thanks Gene.
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Old 10-28-2005   #15
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I don't want to hijack this thread, but what is the archival quality of slide films, and is there much difference between films? I know Kodachrome lasts the longest, i.e. 50 plus years, but what about the others, especially the Kodak Elitechrome? --Sooner
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Old 10-28-2005   #16
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Fuji Astia is my choice - lovely natural colors and great for skin tones. I don't like Velvia - just too pumped up for my tastes, and skin tones are awful!

Robert
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Old 10-28-2005   #17
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Provia 100f for me -absolutely no doubt about it
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Old 10-28-2005   #18
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I dont think you will like a 400 speed chrome, they are way to grainy. For most things I like the Kodak Elitechrome 100, 200 when needed, it is great for fall colors, emphasis on reds and browns. Fuji Sensia is good too but it enhances greens, Fuji Velvia is great, also really pops colors out but do not shoot it unless its overcast in full sun your shadows are too black and dont shoot it if people are the main part of your shot, its not too good with skin tones..
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Old 10-28-2005   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlewisiii
Just one of those things I've never gotten around to, but I'm thinking that I need to start shooting transparencies, eventually in all three formats I shoot (35, 120, 4x5) but to start with in 135 in the Canon. But I have essentially _no_ knowledge of what films there currently are or what their characteristics are like.

Perhaps as a starting point, these are the color negative films that I like using:
1) Fuji NPH 400
2) Kodak Portra 160NC
3) Fuji Reala CS
4) Fuji Supera 400

Given that, oh wise ones of the RFF what are your recommendations for the feeding of the new to me Canon?

Thanks all,

William
Yeah, try Velvia and a polarizing filter. You might also try Fuji ASTIA 100ASA if you can get any. It's less expensive, but great in greens, blues and skin tones. Stay away from Fuji Sensia 400. Cheap, but awful grain.

Chris
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Fuji Astia
Old 10-28-2005   #20
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Thumbs up Fuji Astia

Here's another thumbs up for Astia 100f. Some have mentioned Sensia, I believe Sensia is the "consumer" version of astia (and/or provia).
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Old 10-29-2005   #21
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velvia and polarizing filter? i never tried that, but wouldn't you get crazy colours of type l'oreal commercials?
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Old 10-29-2005   #22
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Don't forget to give a try to kodachromes, there is nothing like that, even if I agree best film to start with is probably Provia 100 expecially if you plan to scan it.
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Old 10-29-2005   #23
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About metering when using slides...When I'm using my Yashica GS, for instance, usually the over/under lights don't go off in at least 3 apperture settings, so I choose among those. Sometimes I don't really know what the proper value should be, I just guess, and I figure as long as the lights don't go off, the camera will automatically compensate with the shutter speed anyway. So if I use slide film in it, will it be all right if I just guess an apperture value as long as over/under lights are ok? Or would there be a good chance I might over or under expose and consequently ruin many of my shots?

I checked prices of the Fuji slides (velvia, provia, astia and sensia). Not much price difference About $1 or 2 max.
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Old 10-29-2005   #24
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Kat, with your yashica - do you mean by "the lights don't go off" that they are always on, or that they are always off, in those 3 settings?? i find it a bit confusing
anyway, if the under (orange) light is on, it indeed compensates with slower sh speed, that will be under 1/30 s. If the red light (over) is on however, it means the sh speed needed for the aperture you select, would be faster than 1/500 s which he cannot set, therefore he will overexpose the shot. That's not what you want with the slides.

If none of the lights are on, it's well exposed - at least that's what the meter thinks.
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Old 10-29-2005   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pherdinand
If none of the lights are on, it's well exposed - at least that's what the meter thinks.
Anyway with slide film you should always bracket, since slides are much less tolerant than negative film.
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Old 10-29-2005   #26
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Oops, I'm sorry for the confusion. I meant that usually in each shot, when I half-press the shutter to check out the metering, the camera doesn't signal under or over exposure within a range of 3 f-stops. E.g. in a particular shot, at f4, 5.6 and 8, the under/over lights do not light up. So I just pick any of the three (f4, 5.6 or 8, in the example) without really thinking about it. I guess the Yashica is a not a very good example.

What I'm wondering (which I have so poorly expressed) is, in a situation where the photographer is 100% relying on the camera to fix the exposure, is it relatively safe to use slides, or would separate meters be necessary? (what if it's a PX 625 uncalibrated camera where metering may be a little off with 1.5 or 1.4v batteries)

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Old 10-29-2005   #27
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I am not sure what your subject matter will normally be. But, many of us that use transparency films make our selection based on our prefered color pallet. Personally, I have been using Fuji Professional slide films almost exclusively since the introduction of Velvia in 1991. This is a beautiful, fine grained, very sharp, transparency film with very bold color and high contrast. It is a favorite of landscape photographers. This was probably the first very "punchy" film that Fuji introduced and has had a tremendous influence on the introduction of many subsequent offerings by both Fuj and Kodak. This is still my first film of choice for 35mm, 2 1/4", and 4" x 5". Many of us rate Velvia at ISO of 40 even though Fuji rates it at ISO of 50. The film does work well with polarizing filters, however a warm polarizer may be a better choice.

Next in line of the slower Fuji Professional Transparency films are Provia 100F, Velvia 100F, and Astia 100F. Fuji has been tweaking these films for some time. Provia is a very sharp transparency film with fine grain, good color (not as bold as Velvia), and less contrast than Velvia 50, and pushable to ISO 100 (with the usual increase in contrast and grain). Velvia 100 is even finer grained than Velvia 50, very saturated (but not as much as Velvia 50; a little more neutral than Velvia 50), very sharp, less contrasty than Velvia 50, and should be pushable to ISO of 100 (with an increase of contrast and grain). Provia 100 used to be my second choice for transparencies in all sizes but, will be replaced in all likelyhood with Velvia 100 as my second choice (as when need faster film for depth of field or windy conditions). Astia was developed largely as a studio film rendering skin tones accurately and with the reputation of not blocking up in contrasty situations. Astia is another very sharp, fine grained film, with less bold color (more neutral) than either Velvia, and less contrasty than the Velvia films.

Any transparency film will generally only record between about 3 1/2 to 4 stops of light. A 5 stop lighting range will result in recording from clear to black. One must be very careful in exposure of any transparency material. This is partially why checking exposure range of highlights and shadow areas is helpful with a spot meter. If you are in this exposure range, a trick that I use for exposure is to meter on the brightest part of the scene (generally sky or clouds). When the brightest part of the scene is known, use this as your exposure but, open the aperture (and/or adjust shutter speed) by 1 1/2 stops. Then bracket in 1/2 stop intervals as usual. This allows the brightest part of the scene to record some detail on the transparency. This is the same idea for correction of a scene of white snow or white sand. One or 2 of the bracketed shots is almost invariably correct and very usable.

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Old 10-29-2005   #28
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Kat, that may utlimatley depend upon the camera's metering capabilities as well as the conditions. Last year, I took my newly found contax G1 on vacation with me. First time since high school shooting film (which was standard kodak 200 gold). The guy at the camera store suggested I take along "velvia" and "astia", two films I had never heard of. I shot three rolls of each on vacation, using the G1 as a standard P&S in aperture priority. I got back from my trip, and was dismayed to learn at my local warehouse discount store they didn't accept "slide film." First time I ever heard that term, "slide film." After some investigation and parting with more $ than I had anticipated, I had the slides developed and the pro-lab lady congratulated me since I had maybe 1 shot per roll that was under or over-exposed.

I was lucky in that the G1 has a decent in-camera meter and conditions were generally overcast which makes exposure easier. And interestingly enough, I bet if I went to try this again, understanding the difficulty of slide films, I'd probably come out 50% good exposures, so perhaps ignorance was a blessing

Not sure if that helps...
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Old 10-29-2005   #29
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LOL! Thanks, jano. Maybe it's time to shop for a meter...
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E-6 choices
Old 10-29-2005   #30
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E-6 choices

I do not know what the color saturations are like in those films, but I'd say that if you prefer fast film - faster than Velvia, for instance, which is the flagship slide film - you would do best with Provia 400 or one of the Kodaks, but the Kodaks are more expensive, in my experience.

Buy Provia 400, it is best balance between all worlds, but is not the best for landscapes, etc. Landscapes - Velvia classic (50 is SLOW but has really poppy, intense colors). People - (Astia because it has Portra like skin tones and subdued saturations). Street photography - (Provia 400 because of speed).
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