Slide Film & Tonality: Fuji Velvia 50

Viewing a large format transparency on a light table is truly addictive. It is an immersive, dimensional viewing experience that’s a far cry from viewing images on a computer. This is something I have mentioned in previous blog posts.

With all the talk about the limited dynamic range of slide film, especially Velvia 50, one might expect blocked up shadows, and blown highlights on a high contrast scene. You might be surprised what is possible when you have a proper exposure. This video demonstrates how much detail can be captured on slide film.

 

11 Responses to “Slide Film & Tonality: Fuji Velvia 50”

  1. Will Says:

    The amount of detail in that slide is ridiculous! It looks brilliant.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      It’s truly addictive checking out a transparency on a light table. I just wish I could better convey the experience.

  2. Myxine Says:

    Point well made. It badly makes me want to try LF. It seems to be a very challenging yet rewarding experience.
    I have no light table but i’m going to find a way to look at my neg this way too, it may be less disappointing than crappy lab proof scans.

    Your video answers another question too. I was wondering what was the difference between your negative and your definitive picture (what kind of post processing was involved) and your negative looks… well, perfect.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      Challenging yet rewarding is a great way to describe it. Just as with most things in life though — the harder you work for something, the more you will appreciate it.

      In a perfect world, my images don’t require much post processing at all — just the normal contrast tweaks to ensure a proper print. Sometimes there is a color cast that must be removed, or other issues that need to be dealt with. By achieving an ideal exposure, and using the necessary grad ND filters, I often end up with a nearly print-ready transparency. Or at least, that is my goal. 🙂

      This might be an interesting thing to do on future shots… show the original film, the drum scanned film, and the final print — to show how each stage of the process differs, and the various artistic decisions that are made along the way.

  3. Steve Perry Says:

    Thanks for the video – there is a lot more detail than I’d expect there to be, that’s for sure.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      I was quite surprised by this one as well. I remember doubting my choice of exposure at the time — thinking I had horribly underexposed the shot. I have learned to trust my first instinct. Second guessing myself often leads to wasted film.

  4. Christopher Maun Says:

    Another quality post, Ben! It’s a treat to see that big transparency on a light table. I just finished putting together my first LF kit(4×5), and film is on the way! Thanks for all of your insights.

    • Ben Horne Says:

      Awesome! You’re going to love the 4×5 kit! What camera/lenses did you get? Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to set it up quite fast. Make sure you get yourself a good dark cloth. I definitely recommend the Beyond the Zone System cloths. I have one for both my 8×10 and my 4×5.

      • Christopher Maun Says:

        I picked up the Shen-Hao TZ45 B and a Rodenstock Sinar 210mm. I’ll need to add a wide lens, but this will allow me to get my feet wet. Thanks for the tip on the dark cloth. I purchased one, but I don’t really care for it. Mind if I fire a question at you? I can’t seem to find a solid answer on this- When you first set up the camera, how do you determine where to position the front standard? In other words, how near or far from the back stardard?

        Thanks again!

      • Ben Horne Says:

        210mm is a fantastic focal length for 4×5. I have a 210mm and a 75mm — and have no desire for any other lenses. They are both fantastic. I’ve heard very good things about Shen-Hao cameras as well. I think you made a very wise decision.

        I’m unfamiliar with the exact way your camera unfolds, but it looks very similar to the way my 8×10 works. Ultimately, the front standard sets the focus, so it can only be in one place for proper focus. Some cameras simply focus forward or backward with a knob after they are unfolded — others are like my Toyo where I have to lock the front standard in place along the focusing track, then fine turn it with the knob. In that case, it’s just guesswork. If it’s a wide lens, I lock it close to the rear standard — if it’s my long lens, I rack it forward, then adjust the focus to pull it further.

        Often times, all I need to do is give the front standard a bit of tilt for landscape shots. I often focus for the foreground, tilt the front standard, then re-focus for the background. Sometimes the process must be repeated a few times until you get both.

  5. bob Says:

    great info

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