Nathan Griffin Photographs

fuji velvia 100 slide film review


Fuji Velvia 100 is a new derivative in the Velvia line of films. It is said by the Fuji Film Corporation that the production of this new version is necessitated because of the inability to obtain the raw materials needed for Velvia 50. I have know way of knowing if this is reality, but what it does mean is that Velvia 100 will replace the tried and true Velvia 50 at some point in the future. (update - Velvia 50 will be produced again!)

I have just gotten my first roll of Velvia 100 back from the developer. I am impressed. There are definite performance differences between Velvia 50 and the new Velvia 100, but my initial impression is that most of the differences are positive.

I have seen other reviews on the web where people pick apart every nuance they think they see and declare the new Velvia a failure or success based on these observations. I simply can't find many differences between the appearance of the two. They both enhance and exaggerate colors to give your images a wonderful pop. The only difference I have seen thus far is the way tungsten lighting shows on the film. I did a long exposure of an interior and the results came out redder than I am used to with Velvia 50. With Velvia 50, I would get more of a yellow hue from the tungsten lights. I don't necessarily think this is a weakness yet, just something to expect in certain situations. Other users have reported that the new emulsion does tend to shift red more often than the old Velvia 50.

FujiFilm touts on their website that Velvia 100 has "improved neutral tones". I take this to possibly mean more natural skin tones. If this is what they mean, then they should not be so quick to mention this. The performance of rendering skin tones is very similar to Velvia 50, which is to say it is not good! White people still look like they have severe sunburn. It may be slightly better, but still not accurate. Not a problem for me - I realize if I do take a picture of people while using Velvia there will be a shift to red and I just have to deal with it.

FujiFilm also claims improved reciprocity performance compared to Velvia 50. My long exposure shots (up to 2 minutes) did come out very well exposed with little need to compensate. I will still tend to add exposure, but it seems that the performance during long exposures is much more linear than the old Velvia.

A big advantage to Velvia 100 is the 1 stop increase in speed over Velvia 50. I have heard some reports that shooting this film at a rating of 125 will give better results. This is entirely subjective and depends on your subject, the look you are trying to achieve, and how you meter for exposure. I will not go as far as changing the ISO rating of every image, but I will still tend to underexpose 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop compared to the meter reading. In my opinion, this results in more saturated colors and gives me the look I want to achieve.

The new Velvia 100 is definitely worth trying out; however, I have found that I tend to want to load the old rolls of Velvia 50 in the freezer rather than pop in a roll of the new Velvia 100. After some time with both, I prefer the yellower and warmer colors of 50.

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