Fujichrome is the Fujifilm product line that carries the color reversal films (also known as positive film, transparencies or slides). A few years ago there was an extensive line of Fujifilm slide film, however, after the discontinuity of the Astia, Sensia and Fortia, only two remaining series hold the fort, Provia and Velvia.
Unlike with other films, there are several reviews on-line for the Provia 100F, especially from the early 2000’s. These are professional films, with a professional niche of customers that do research in advance and share their opinions. Therefore, it will be some reviews comparing it with Astia and Velvia and praising how good was this film when converting it to digital. This review will be more informal, less technical and just clarifying some points of this film.
|Name||FUJIFILM – FUJICHROME PROVIA 100F|
|Available formats||35mm, 120mm|
|Exposures||36 in 35mm, Depends on the format for 120mm|
The first thing to notice is that is a slide film, that means it’s positive, not negative, what is the difference? A negative stripe of film will look something like that:
While slide, or positive film looks like this :
The benefit of slide film is that we can get a clear image of the colors capture and we will be able to correct the scanned image, and we can also use it in a slide projector (not so useful nowadays…). It will give us the correct tone that we captured that day, and we will be able to adjust or editing accordingly, a problem often found is that we will archive this slides and then forget how was the light or situation that day. The biggest inconvenience is that slides are less forgiving then negatives. A slight over or underexposure will give you a too dark or bright image. Negatives have a much more wider latitude, something similar to the digital dynamic range, it will give us much more room for error.
Personally I also found harder to find a place that develop slides (or E-6 development process) properly. While with negatives (C-41 most commonly) there is no problem at all.
In conclusion, either because you really know what you are shooting with, or because you randomly or accidentally bought some of this film to try it out, without getting too technical, in a more informal way, let’s see how this film responds.
Greens and reds are the most true to color, balanced and natural that I’ve ever seen in a film. Very consistent and not excessively contrasty. Red tended to lean more on a brownish tone than on bright red, but that makes it even better as a portrait film, giving a really pleasant skin tone. That make it great to play with editing, slightly flat images give lot of room to add a personal touch.
Blues are little bit particular, giving a pastel tone specially under bright light conditions. Most of this films were shot in overcast days (Taipei’s weather…), but the days that the sky opened, it really gave beautiful pastel tones. I understand why this slide film is one of the favorites for landscape photographers.
Grain is almost inexistent, This picture was taken with strong backlight and even so, no grain or weird color shifting, it gave a really great image. You can see how much detail was retained even in a 200% crop. Making the film great for portrait, landscape or product. The only problem found was a really strong glow (or halo) but I believe that was during development, First I thought that it was the scanner, however after looking carefully the film, I can feel it in the film itself, therefore, I believe it was a mistake or old chemicals used in the development. Not related to the film itself or the camera/lens/scanner combo.
I decided to use this film to for a set of portraits, with light skin tone and a darker skin tone. The film is great, giving really natural skin tones for both of them. It would behave even better in a controlled-light situation, like a studio, or using a couple of reflectors. I’m not a fan of slide film, because as you can see, for a couple of casual portraits, not taking much care of the background lighting, or the general light, it was very easy to completely blow up or darken the background, wasting an opportunity for a nice portrait.
Color chart and measurement of the colors.
- RED: Average Colour R:153.0 G:107.0 B:74.0
- GREEN: Average Colour R:97.0 G:119.0 B:78.0
- YELLOW: Average Colour R:166.0 G:168.0 B:86.0
- BLUE: Average Colour R:65.0 G:69.0 B:106.
You can take also a look on this article on How do I measure the colors?
In Conclusion, Provia 100F is an excellent film. Compared to the other Fujichrome series, Velvia seems to be more contrasty and with more vivid and saturated colors. Provia 100F is a perfect flat film, for a natural look, in the blue/golden hour you will obtain beautiful blue/golden tones. I would definitely use it for a controlled situation, like a portrait, or product photography. If you are in the mood for grabbing your backpack, tripod, set of gradient filters and your shutter release cable, you will enjoy this film so much.
However, this film is NOT for me, for two big reasons:
It doesn’t make any sense to me to use this film in 35 mm, If you go through the struggle of using slide, measuring the light, paying more for developing, more expensive than negative, etc. Why stop in 35 mm? Shooting it in 120 mm, giving you a massive slide that you can scan with tons of detail makes more sense to me.
I really don’t like positive film, it gives you an amazing slides to work with and admire in the light table. I prefer negative film, cheaper, it gives you much more room for mistake. I don’t really mind the grain, in fact, I love it! I would rather load a 200-400 ISO negative film, close the aperture, and enjoy more the shooting without worrying too much about the exposure. If I had to shoot on assignment with film, I would go for Portra, Ektar or 400H, excellent films, easier to shoot and cheaper too.
- If you need maximum color fidelity and great detail.
- Landscape, product photography, portrait.
- If you are a control freak and plan every shoot carefully.
- If you plan to show the slides, slides are easier to read than negatives.
- If you don’t have the time to shoot carefully, you can’t just load the film and shoot.
- Portraits or situations with strong light contrast.
- It can be hard to find someone to develop this film, ask your local developer before invest in buying this film.
Check out the gallery for more shots taken with this film!