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Thread: Velvia and the Digital Worklow

  1. #1
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    okay, i'll admit it, i love the look of velvia. i love seeing those hugely saturated trannys screaming at me from the lightbox. however, recently i've been shooting velvia side-by-side with FP4+, and have become increasingly aware of the limitations of RVP. shots that print beautifully in FP4+ are throw-aways in velvia... blocked shadows, detail-less highlights, difficult scans, etc.

    in a world where one can adjust in photoshop for all the things that make velvia, well, velvia, does it really make sense to continue to use RVP?

    i would love to hear from any velvia users that switched to another film and continued to get velvia colors without the narrow velvia range; or from users that have gone down this road and have since switched back to RVP.

    i'm planning on doing some personal experimentation - got any suggestions for a good starting film? provia, astia, nps?

    thanks!
    scott

  2. #2

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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    Velvia is not a general-purpose film. It is an extremely high contrast film, and does not work well in high contrast, mixed lighting conditions such as you have described.

    Choice of film is heavily dependent on aesthetic preferences and the specifics of your printing process. My digital lab has counseled me to use Provia 100F as my general purpose color film to better retain shadow detail ("We can make Provia look like Velvia, but not vice versa" is what they told me). Other folks use Astia or color neg film (the new Fuji Pro 160S and 160C, designed for improved scanning, is intriguing).

    I personally consider using Velvia only in even lighting ("golden hour" after sunrise and before sunset, or overcast/shadow conditions) where I need more contrast and color saturation to make the scene "pop." Otherwise, I will usually use Provia, or color neg when things really get contrasty.

  3. #3
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    eric,

    thanks for mentioning the new fuli neg films...

    http://www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epartners/proPhotoProductsPortrait.jsp#NPC_160_Professional

    this is the first i'm hearing of them.

    generally, how many stops would you estimate you gain by using provia over velvia?

    has anyone tried these films yet?

  4. #4

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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    Scott,

    I'd say I gain at least a half stop (maybe a bit more) with Provia versus Velvia.

    Ctein wrote a detailed review of the new Fuji color neg films in the September/October 2005 issue of Photo Techniques magazine. Kirk Gittings also posted a recent thread: www.largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/topic/504164.html.

  5. #5
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    great write-up on the new films here:

    http://www.gnyman.com/FujiPro160.htm

  6. #6

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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    Scott - I think you're aware that I've become very fond of NPS for those too-contrasty-for-transparency situations. I've been using NPS for a bit over a year, with great results. Over the weekend, I posted a comparison of raw scan clips (no color correction, etc. so pay attention only to shadow detail) of Velvia 100F vs NPS. The clips and writeup are here:

    www.dannyburk.com/drum_scanning_color_negative_film.htm

    BTW, you'll get an additional half stop range from Astia in comparison to Provia, i.e. a 1-stop greater range than Velvia.

    I'm anxious to try out Fuji's new "replacement" color neg. and will post results after I've done so.
    Visit www.dannyburk.com for fine photography galleries, drum scanning, instructional workshops and Photoshop tutorial, tips and more

  7. #7

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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    I agree. NPS is fantastic, especially if you have a good profile for it. The Pro Version of the Epson 4990 comes with Silverfast, which includes an NPS profile. This is a great combination and makes scanning very easy. Velvia on the other hand is almost always a chore. I end up with wild curves to gather shadow detail, multiple scans joined together, etc. NPS is much easier to work with.

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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    Danny, that was a marvelous example of the power of negative film! Thank you for sharing!

    It has been my experience, negative film resolves much less detail then chrome film specially Velvia. What is your opinion on this? The values offered in Fujis pdf files on negative film, do not seem to correlate well to the what the films actually resolve. This is a strong argement to go up a bit in format size if necessary (45 to 57), and shoot color negs, you add exposure lattitude and will make up rez loss with the larger format.

  9. #9
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    I admit it, I'm a Velvia junkie. None of the other films I've tried, especially negative, come close to matching up. Of course, I shoot mainly in low contrast scenes, such as in shadow or around sunrise or sunset. The low contrast range is actually a plus with RVP, not a limitation. It's the reason that transparencies shot in the right light sing with a luminous brilliance not obtainable through lesser emulsions. You just have to understand it's limitations and work within them, not unlike choosing a camera or format. To those who say Velvia is an unrealistic, cartoonish version of the world, is it any less realistic than any B&W emulsion? If it matches your vision, then that's great- I suppose I just see the world through an RVP tinted filter. Let's hope the new Velvia 100 (not 100F) matches up! Any one out there have any experiences they want to share?
    Brian Vuillemenot
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  10. #10
    Founder QT Luong's Avatar
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    Velvia and the Digital Worklow

    I switched to Astia for this very reason. neg film might be even better with some respects, but I still want to get a tranny that I can look at with my eyes on the lightbox.

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