View Full Version : Velvia user giving Astia a try

Hugh Sakols
1-May-2006, 16:54
I primarily use Velvia 50 and Velvia 100f for landscapes ( I don't like the reds in Velvia 100). Of course I love the deep saturated colors I get especially when it is cloudy. However, I'm interested in getting better neutral colors and a wider contrast range. Thus, I may try some Astia. My question for photoshop users is why not always use Astia and just adjust color saturation in photoshop? When has Astia not been the right film despite having control with an image editor?

Jack Flesher
1-May-2006, 18:03
My question for photoshop users is why not always use Astia and just adjust color saturation in photoshop?

That is precisely what I do. IMO Astia is great to scan due to its broader latitude and then the contrast and saturation can be easily pumped later in PS to suit.

Michael Gordon
1-May-2006, 18:13
I do always use Astia :) Astia is not the 'right' film when high contrast in the scene dictates NPS.

Ben Chase
1-May-2006, 18:15
I wonder if some of the reason might be the view of Photoshop by a particular target market?

The reason I ask is because about 80-90 percent of people that have purchased prints from me have asked whether or not the image was modified in Photoshop. I'm sure this isn't the case everywhere, but the large majority of people I've spoken to look very negatively upon color modification/enhancement. It's frustrating for me, in that I sometimes don't take a lot of images when it isn't possible to obscure the undesirable scenery (powerlines, etc), because of the fear of people calling my images "manipulated".

If you haven't noticed this kind of issue, then I would say go for it! Every time I have used Astia, I have been very pleased, although, 95% of my displayed work is on Velvia or Provia.


Ben C


Daniel Geiger
1-May-2006, 18:19
I gave Astia 100 and Astia 100F a try for landscapes. The greens are horrible in my opinion. I mainly shoot Provia 100F and like a lot. I recently did some comparisons with Velvia 100 (nonF), and found it very similar to Provia 100F, just the shaddows get darker, while highlights stay the same at same exposure. I would give Provia a try before going Astia, but given that you don't like Velvia 100, chances are you won't like Provia 100F either. So Astia or some Ektachrome may be your film.

Mark Stahlke
1-May-2006, 19:20
I agree with Daniel Geiger. I tried Astia 100F for landscapes and was disappointed. As a Velvia shooter, I'm sure you know the joy of dropping a well exposed Velvia tranny on the light table. It takes your breath away, doesn't it? Compared to Velvia, Astia's colors look washed out to me and, like Daniel, I don't care for Astia's greens.

When I tried Astia I also thought I could just bump the saturation in Photoshop but it didn't turn out to be quite that simple. I still haven't successfully made an Astia slide look like Velvia. Close but not quite. Of course, my Photoshop skills are pretty weak. It's likely other people have had better results.

Again, I agree with Daniel, if the light isn't right for Velvia, give Provia 100F a try.


tim atherton
1-May-2006, 19:26
I'll be truly glad the day Fuji dumps Velveeta

Astia is a far better film for landscapes - it's about working in colour rather than working with colours

tim atherton
1-May-2006, 19:28
btw - a lot of Chris Jordan's work recently was done with Velvia 8x10 (and Portra sometimes as well) I think

Rory Roopnarine
1-May-2006, 19:36
Hi, I have just tried Astia 100F in QuickLoads and, I have to admit, that greens had a bit of a light yellowish tint and were otherwise drab, in my opinion. However, pastel hues in dawn and sunrise exposures were very good. My staple film is Kodak E100VS and, after having seen my first 10 transparencies in 8X10 using this film, well, I am a happy camper. I use "A and I" to process all my transparencies.

Eric Leppanen
1-May-2006, 21:41
If one desires a lower contrast, lower color saturation film in order to achieve wider exposure latitude, my suggestion would be to go all the way and use print film (I've used 160VC and most recently Pro 160S). Astia has roughly a half stop more latitude than Provia, which in turn has roughly a half stop more latitude than Velvia. Print film on the other hand will give you roughly two more stops of latitude than Astia while providing similar color saturation. And if one is concerned about film grain, Pro 160S has such a small grain structure that I can't imagine it causing any type of problems.

For my landscape work, I use Velvia or E100VS (for overcast conditions or the first few minutes after sunrise or before sunset), Provia (for moderate contrast scenes) or print film (high contrast scenes). For me, Astia ended up being a bit of a tweener, which is the only reason I don't use it; it is an excellent film and has performed well when I have used it.

The only concern I have about using Photoshop to increase saturation or contrast is that, if you use a low contrast film on a low contrast scene, the film may not record as much texture (the so-called "micro contrast") as desired, and you can't create texture in Photoshop that wasn't recorded on film in the first place. That's why I try to match film stock to the particular contrast or color saturation requirements of each shot. But that's just my preference; a lot of folks have found Astia just right for their needs, and have produced absolutely stunning work (Chris Jordan is a case in point).

Hugh Sakols
1-May-2006, 22:01
I've played with the idea of using Portra 160 but I'm concerned about how easy it will be to scan. Also, I haven't used negative film since high school. Now that I scan using a dedicated medium format scanner, I will to individually run each negative through just to get a contact sheet. I imagine this would be easier using a flatbed.

Terence Spross
1-May-2006, 22:34
Ben Chase about 80-90 percent of people that have purchased prints from me have asked whether or not the image was modified in Photoshop

Of course, just use Corel Paint Shop Pro and then you can always say you didn't use Photoshop ;-)
I'm kidding, of course, this is more serious.

I would strongly suggest making a distinction between manipulating the subject in a software program and regulating the colors. Getting rid of telephone wires, removing the Eiffle tower "hat", or removing a car from the background is manipulating the image, whereas color saturation, or contrast curve modifications are regulating the colors. If you consitantly refer to it that way then your clients might not be concerned about the color/contrast regulation.

Where it gets sticky is the dodge and burn equivalent; to some its OK under an enlarger but not OK when computer manipulated, but I don't see the difference in the final print. (Except you can make a lot of identical prints.)

Eric's "so-called 'micro contrast' " concern is also a matter of the scanner contrast resolution (number of bits per pixel) and some scanners limit the depth of contrast to a noticable level and therefore the choice of film is more limited by the scanner. The software should easily allow one to match curves so that the final print is indistinguishable over the middle contrast range between just about any two film types.

Keith Laban
2-May-2006, 01:56
Use both!

Either of the films used in the wrong situation will leave much to be desired. Velvia used in low light and low contrast situations will give a much needed boost to the colour and contrast. Astia used in high contrast situations will give a little more latitude.

QT Luong
2-May-2006, 11:07
I also use exclusively Astia, although I admit that I do miss the Velvia colors on the lightbox. Eric's "micro-contrast" concern relates to film tonal separation. If a film, due to lower contrast, doesn't separate well two tones, it makes it harder to have them separated in the final print.

As for photoshop manipulation, some people go to great length to have a disclaimer of "no manipulation", while others emphasize that their prints are the result of one week of digital work. Both seem able to sell prints.

Hugh Sakols
2-May-2006, 17:26
When people ask me if I manipulate my images, I ask them to list photographers who don't. We all know Ansel Adams was the master of deception as was Galen Rowell ( I figure it is safest to only mention the deceased).

David Luttmann
2-May-2006, 18:35

That is the double standard as I see it. We see in one thread how people use selective masking, burning, dodging, stand development, etc to alter their images.....and this is embraced.

We see people perform the EXACT SAME functions in Photoshop, and they are labelled as deceptive.

I realize that many people understand the similarity, but unfortunately, there are many who don't.

Emre Yildirim
2-May-2006, 19:26

It's funny that you ask this question - this last weekend I decided to shoot some Astia 100F instead of Velvia. I sorta gotten burned on my last few Velvia 100 (not F) shots, where the saturation and contrast was just way over the top. It got to a point where delicate detail was no longer visible. Maybe I don't shoot enough Velvia, but I find it difficult to predict sometimes.

I'm so far very pleased with Astia. Sure it looks a little flat, but so does the real world. Astia will give you nice saturated colors if the scene is already colorful and saturated. For some reason my last few Astia shots came out a little too warm (it might have to do with the fact that my film was 5 months expired), nothing I couldn't correct in Photoshop. In most landscape shots, I usually want a nicely saturated sky, and for that I use a polarizer. There's not much you can do about the greens, and I agree that they look a little muddy. The grain on this film is amazing however. Easy to scan and nearly grainless.

Here's an Astia 100F shot I took last week:


Only post processing done to this picture was +10 saturation and some level adjustments in Photoshop. It's not all that bad I think...

Doug Dolde
2-May-2006, 19:50
"The reason I ask is because about 80-90 percent of people that have purchased prints from me have asked whether or not the image was modified in Photoshop. "

If these are women just ask them if they wear makeup and why.

Jerry Fusselman
2-May-2006, 20:52
It is difficult for me to imagine a more nonsensical statement than to say that Galen Rowell was a master of deception. He was quite the opposite. His photographic ethics would not allow removing telephone poles from the image, for example. I wonder who you must be thinking of, but it is not Galen Rowell.

Mike Lewis
2-May-2006, 22:06
I normally use Provia for color landscapes. I bought a pack of Astia and tried a few shots on a trip last year to Utah. I was disappointed with the results-- I found the film to lack contrast and not produce accurate color in sunny situations. I realize that my experience conflicts with most opinions regarding Astia on this forum. Nevertheless, this is what I found.

Hugh Sakols
3-May-2006, 07:10
Galen used graduated neutral density filters. I'm sure he also made masks in photoshop as well as other post processing techniques. Master of Deception might be extreme in his case but my point was that he manipulated/modified his images as any good artist would.

Here is an image made with Velvia 100 at sunset that I find too saturated in red.


Jerry Fusselman
3-May-2006, 17:52
Hugh, this picture is supposed to be a smoking gun proving he is a master of deception? Seriously? I pity you if you have never seen colors like this when the sun is low. The colors can actually get more saturated than this. Here's how: Be there for dozens of consecutive sunrises or sunsets, and wait to get lucky with the light. Also, the redness of light from a low sun is much more enhanced when you are at higher altitudes. I seem to recall reading in "Mountain Light" that the deepest red Rowell ever saw (at the time) was in California near Mt. Whitney, and he explained the atmospheric and geographic conditions that led to it. It was a bloody red, and I guess you would find that even more "objectionable." He had a standing offer to potential customers of his custom prints to see the original slide.

Someone who studies outdoor light as much as he did, and someone who returns to places over and over in search of the best light---such a person is unlikely to be a master of deception. Why work so hard when deception is so much easier? A master of deception, don't you see, could go once in almost any light to get some sort of picture and proceed to fake the result that he wanted.

Rowell was the opposite of a faker. You apparently endorse fakery when you write "manipulated/modified his images as any good artist would." Rowell thought it important to the integrity of the photographic image to not move, remove, or add elements to his pictures that differed from what he saw. He would not put a moon into an image that was not there. He would not make colors that differed from what he saw with his eyes.

Using graduated neutral density filters hardly counts as being a master of deception. One is just compensating for the weak dynamic range of film relative to what humans can see when we are there ourselves. Rowell did allow his images to have corrected colors to match what he saw more closely, and he did have film scratches removed, but these are the opposite of deceptive maneuvers---these are attempts to make the image you see look more like what he saw. Can you maybe see the difference between deception and faithful reproduction of what he saw?

There is a trap here that many fall into. If your image has a color cast that you know is wrong, such as an off-white looking white or an impossible skin tone, and if you correct the image with Photoshop to correct these colors, that is called color correction, not retouching, for you are merely attempting to reproduce what was there as best you can. On the other hand, if your sky was cloud-covered and you change it to blue because you wish the sky had been blue, that's retouching, and Rowell thought that improper.

Also, sharpening is just a counter to the blurring that always happens when images are recorded digitally. Again, sharpening is properly used to help the image become closer to what you saw. Again, this is the opposite of deception.

It is clear to me that his prints are less deceptive than what one gets from the activities that you say "any good artist would" engage in. Please consider reading his book "Mountain Light" to understand this issue better.

Lars Åke Vinberg
4-May-2006, 17:49
Here is an example of extreme reds. The film is VS, shot half an hour after sunset. I now use E100G for those dawn/dusk shots, as it gives a pleasant rendering of colors while not looking unrealistic. The image here is an accurate rendering of the original 4x5 slide.


Jerry Fusselman
4-May-2006, 18:28
Lovely! I want to go there! Everyone should click it twice for the largest size.

Rowell discusses the Purkinje effect, and that is relevant here. When the light level is low, the true colors at sunset and sunrise are even redder than they appear to us. I find it totally believable that Lars has put no deceptive colors into the image. And this image is far redder than the example Hugh gave.

Lars, were there clouds in the sky that were lit up with a fiery red? I get approximately this same brilliant red about 3% of the sunsets (and perhaps 2% of the sunrises) in Utah during dry months when thin, wispy clouds are lit up bright red in a wide area of the sky---often with the sun well below the horizon. Do you recall checking the clouds? Also, compared to this image, how intense would you describe the reds that you saw at the time?

The other way for intense reds that I have experienced is a low, heavy, flat, thick cloud cover with the horizon clear in the far distance, but this only gives the amazing reds when the sun still appears at or slightly above the horizon. This happens much less than 1% of the time for me, unfortunately.

When either of these events happen, my heart races frightfully! I am sure many of you can relate.

Eric Leppanen
4-May-2006, 21:24
I actually encountered this intense red effect when photographing the first light of sunrise on Mt. Whitney. My chromes came back with such a warm color caste that I plan on trying a cooling filter next time!

Hugh Sakols
5-May-2006, 07:21
Here is sunset in Yosemite from Tenaya Peak using velvia. I made some some masks using curves that helped pull the forground and ballance the sky. I also used selective color to overcome the blues encountered at high elevation.


Hugh Sakols
5-May-2006, 07:33

Great work and beautiful colors! I see you made it to the top of Clouds Rest. One of my goals is to take my camera up there for the sunset.

7-May-2006, 09:00
Does anyone notice the lack of sharpness of Astia vs. Velvia?

tim atherton
7-May-2006, 09:05
Astia is the sharper of the two - as well as going by the specs, I've seen this in some large (50"+) enlargements from 8x10. Small but noticable difference

7-May-2006, 09:19
Tim, what do you base this on? From Fuji web site, pdf files on each film...


60 lp/mm 1.6 :1 Contrast ratio

140 lp/mm 1000 :1 Contrast ratio

VELVIA 100 (rvp100)

80 lp/mm 1.6: 1 Contrast ratio

160 lp/mm 1000:1 Contrat ratio

A jump from 60 to 80 lp/mm is a 33% increase in sharpness in fine detail.... that's pretty significant, wouldn't you agree?

Patrick Quinn
7-May-2006, 11:44
there are two methods for predicting "sharpnes" of slide film - resolution, as you mentioned, and RMS granularity

Astia has the lower RMS Granularity. All the figures are really just predictions and are perceived differently in actual use. For some the Lower RMS figure translates into apparent smoothness. For others it appears sharper. None of the figures are absolutes - there are too many other factors. Personally I feel the RMS figure is the one that makes a difference at large enlargement sizes (another reason big enlargments from print film can often look better than from transparency)

Emre Yildirim
7-May-2006, 11:55
Additionally, I think those numbers for Velvia are slightly inflated. The high saturation and contrast also takes blows out some of the detail. I agree that Astia appears sharper.

7-May-2006, 14:02
Patrick, I am curious which neg films did you suggest printed with less grain vs. chrome film at the same magnfication levels?

After being baffled by the RMS values Fuji put out on the neg film, I finally got an answer from chief film engineer at Fuji on this..... he claims the testing methodology on neg film is completely different vs. chrome film hence the values that are so different... Although there is no exact correlation, he claimed if you divide the chrome RMS values by 2.3 , you will get close to a good comaprison with RMS value of neg film. (I just confirmed this with my notes, and I might have written this in a previous post incorrectly, if so, sorry)

In the past, neg film had much more apparent grain then chrome film...but supposedly, in the past 5 years, new technology really has helped neg film in this regard... (I am curious what some of the older RMS neg values were, anyone have old Fuji handbook?) Here is the best "apples to apples" RMS comaprison using this formula and most of the emulsions in the past 8 years, i.e. adjusting crhome values to neg RMS scale.... (using the 2.5 value since they round off the RMS values)

3 Fuji Pro 160S (pretty amazing)

4 Fuji Reala (discontinued, but notice how it matches 400H below!)

4 Fuji Pro 400H

3 Astia 100F (7/2.3)

3.5 Velvia 100 & Velvia 100F ( RMS 8/2.3 )

3.5 Provia 100F (8/2.3)

4.3 Provia 100 (RDP II - original Provia)

3.9 Velvia 50

5.7 Provia 400F

4.8 Kodak 100VS (all Kodak from 3rd party web site)

4.3 Kodak 100 S and SW

4.3 Kodak Kodachrome 64

For those not familar with the RMS values, the less the better.. each 1.0 reduction is a 50% reduction in apparent grain, while each 1.0 addition is a 2x increase in apparent grain.

The findings are quite surprising to me, as in the similar speed films, 100 - 160, it seems the grain is very similar in todays offerings. Although one movement on the scale, i.e. 3 to 4 equates to twice the noticeable grain, there is only a .5 difference between the worst and the best, meaning a difference of only 50%, big, not as large as I would have suspected based on the values of the previous generations films. The fact Fuji neg film such as Pro160s, has less grain then the original Provia shows the huge advances made in grain size reduction.

I am curious, do these findings correlate well with the people who have used many of these films in similar situations?

Emre Yildirim
7-May-2006, 18:15

That's very interesting. I wonder how resolution plays into this. If we compare the datasheets of 160S (or 160C) and Astia 100F, we get:

Test-Object Contrast 1.6:1............63 lines/mm
Test-Object Contrast 1000:1.......125 lines/mm

Astia 100F:
Chart Contrast 1.6:1............60 lines/mm
Chart Contrast 1000:1.......140 lines/mm

Given these numbers, which film performs better in terms of resolution? I guess I'm wondering which of those two numbers actually 'matters'.

7-May-2006, 18:21
Emre, sure makes a case for 160S neg film, huh? It's faster, and has more exposure lattitude... seems like the ultimate film?

Emre Yildirim
7-May-2006, 18:26
wg, I've never shot LF negative film before. I'm considering of giving it 160S/C a try, although (as I said before), I'm not sure if it can beat Astia in resolution.

David Luttmann
7-May-2006, 20:39
Scans from negs typically show more grain than from chromes. That said, you'll get a cleaner looking scan with higher apparent resolution from Astia then you will from 160S.

13-Nov-2008, 15:39
I've been experimenting recently with all sorts of films, so this thread is interesting to me. My goal was not to find the ONE film, but rather to find options for film that would work well for me. I don't really care about absolute resolution as much as the character, scanability and palette of the film.

bglick's comments about RMS grain size is pretty consistent with what I've found except that Kodak replaced E100S/E100SW with E100G/E100GX. The new films are extremely fine grained, on par with Astia.

So at this point I've shot a far bit of Astia, Provia, Velvia (50 and 100), E100VS, E100G and E100GX and I think I've got a good feel for these various slide film. I've also shot with Fuji Pro 160S, Kodak Portra 160 NC and VC, Fuji Reala, Kodak 400HD on the color negative side. I'll soon have the newest Portra 400NC and the new Ektar 100 processed and scanned too.

In general I've found that the Fuji slide films (except Astia) are very strong in green/magenta while the Kodak films are usually very strong in yellow/blue.

Astia does offer a wider latitude, but I found it almost exactly the same as Provia. It seems Astia may go just a bit further into the highlights, but no further in shadows. Astia and Provia have different palettes. Astia is somewhat warm to my eye and it tends to appear very low in saturation. Provia is fairly neutral and tends to have higher saturation than Astia. Provia grain scans better than Velvia 100, but Astia is even a bit better (consistent with bglicks comment).

As an alternative I recently found the E100G has roughly the same latitude as Astia/Provia. It has the same grain as Astia and seems to scan as well or better. It renders very nice neutrals and skin tones, but still has saturation similar to Provia. I wish that E100GX were available in 4X5. I liked it in 35mm.

If you're thinking about using Astia for the increased exposure latitude, I'd encourage you to also look at Provia and E100G. These are comparable films, but each has its own personality. I think that even if you are planning to use software as part of the image creation, starting from the point that best matches your palette will yield the best final product.

Also, David Luttman mentioned that scans from negs showed more visible grain than chromes and I agree. The negative films build grains in the highlights where they are more noticable. Slides build up their grain in the shadows where they are harder to see.

Harley Goldman
13-Nov-2008, 16:43
I have used Astia for landscape. I find the blue skies often have a sickly brownish yellowish cast. I mostly use Velvia 50, but carry a few sheets of Astia for higher contrast scenes or if I need a faster film.

john borrelli
13-Nov-2008, 22:44
I am not a professional photographer but I can only echo the sentiments about Astia of a lot of the previous posters.

I shot a scene a few years ago with fuji velvia and astia f.

The greens of the Astia came out with a brown tint compared to the lusher green of the velvia. The Astia to me resembled how print film records a scene rather than a slide film. Not better or worse just different.

I think this is a good exercise and I would strongly recommend you try photographing the type of scenes and light that fits your style with two different films.

At one time I tried using different films for different lighting conditions but this didn't really suit me so I have gone back to shooting velvia 50 (almost) exclusively.

I think an important consideration with film choice is what film suits who you are the best as a photographer. My wife tells me a lot of my landscapes have a "moody" quality, and I think Velvia 50 in certain light allows me to express this quality the best.

Recently, I photographed a harbor scene with some boats. I used Velvia 100 at 125 because I needed a faster shutter speed. I photographed the scene in brighter light than usual and then using photoshop tried to darken and saturate the image to resemble the qualities of Velvia 50 but after this scene was successfully captured, I went back to Velvia 50 as my base film.

14-Nov-2008, 06:06
It is difficult for me to imagine a more nonsensical statement than to say that Galen Rowell was a master of deception. He was quite the opposite. His photographic ethics would not allow removing telephone poles from the image, for example. I wonder who you must be thinking of, but it is not Galen Rowell.

I agree with jerry on this. I have a DVD by Galen where he breifly talks about his personal ethics. His example was; if a blade of grass is in the way, he would not remove it but he might safely push it down out of the way and then replace it when he was done.