Nathan Griffin Photographs

fuji velvia 50 (classic) slide film review

Cadillac Ranch

If you have never shot a roll of Fuji Velvia 50, I urge you to try it at least once. When I first got into photography I quickly noticed that so many of the great pictures that I saw in magazines and on the web were produced with Velvia film. There is good reason for it!

The first time you try it, you will be hooked by the amazingly saturated colors that you get. I continue to be simply blown away by how Velvia 50 can take a wonderful, warm lighting situation and actually capture it in a more vivid manner than reality. Some will scoff that this is not "natural" and it is not accurate. That is a true assessment, but who really wants an accurate portrayal of the world we live in? I want over the top, beautiful colors in my pictures!

Some of the disadvantages to Velvia 50 have already been hit on. The way it accentuates reds is a severe disadvantage when shooting white skin. Just forget about getting good pictures of people with Velvia 50 - know that they will come out looking very sunburned. This is very bad most of the time, but not always. I can see how sport photographers may want to use Velvia as there are so many colors in uniforms and equipment that would benefit from the film - the beauty achieved elsewhere in the image may be enough to offset the inaccurate rendering of skin. It's really up to the artist.

Another disadvantage to Velvia is it's extremely narrow range of contrast. This is to say that the film does not reflect many stops of light. If you are slightly off of your metering or are trying to capture a scene that has too great a difference between it's darkest and brightest points, some part of the image will suffer. In my experience, it is better to err on the side of underexposing the film as this results in brighter colors. This is with my test so please perform your own experimentation to find the best manner of exposure for your subjects.

Fuji Velvia 50 is my favorite film of all. I have gotten some of my best images using it and will continue to use it until I can't find it anymore!

*UPDATE* Fuji has now introduced that they will start making Fuji Velvia 50 again!

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