Over the past month I have been thoroughly testing Velvia 100F, one of three new professional slide films put out by Fuji in the summer. Although the test is not scientific, I have tried to be consistent. The results are from using two camera systems, the Olympus OM SLR and the Mamiya 6MF rangefinder, with their unique metering characteristics. I checked the camera metering with a Polaris flash meter with a spot attachment as needed, but I bracketed my exposures using the camera’s automatic and spot metering (OTF metering on the OM-4Ti/4T) and the exposure compensation dial unless otherwise noted. Scanning was done in local labs on the Noritsu QSS-3101Digital minilab or the Fuji Frontier 370 digital minilab.
According to the product information bulletin, available here www2.fujifilm.co.uk, Velvia 100F boasts color fidelity at the world’s highest level with the use of several new color technologies. Their new crystal technology made possible RMS granularity of 8, the same level of super-fine grain as in Provia 100F, while maintaining the resolving power of the classic Velvia at 80 lines/mm at soft contrast and 160 lines/mm at high contrast.
With an Olympus Zuiko 80mm f/4 macro lens with a 65-116 telescopic auto extension tube and a T10 ring flash on my OM-4Ti, I obtained a shot of Asiatic Dayflower, as shown. This, along with other flower shots, indicates very good color fidelity and saturation as I was able to check out the colours of this and other flowers where I took the shots.
I shot a series of bracketed exposures of a house against a blue sky and two conifers in front on the Mamiya 6MF with the 50mm f/4 lens as shown. I tested the latitude by overexposing by three stops and underexposing by three stops with manual exposure. The image shown was taken at a manual exposure of 1/60 sec at f/16, indicated by the Mamiya meter. White cloud details above the house was almost washed out with +1 stop overexposure, while the shadow details in the grass was still discernible with –1 stop underexposure. The exposure latitude seems to be +/- of a stop.
Of course, underexposing to the extent of completely putting everything except a sky and water in the shadow was useful in my Inverness sunset shot done in Baltimore County in Maryland as shown below.
I shot a 18cm tall doll against a blue construction paper, using Olympus 2x and 4x ND filters to cut down light for longer timed exposures. The lens was the 80mm macro lens with 65-116 telescopic auto tube on the OM-3Ti. Timed exposures up to 64 seconds were made under daylight-corrected fluorescent light (Sylvania Design D50) without any filtration. Under these conditions, I found that there was a slight green shift in the blue background with 64 second exposures relative to the background color of 16 second exposures. The doll’s black hat and her white lace blouse also looked affected by green cast, but it is impossible to see any changes in the red jacket. The 32 second exposures looked somewhat in-between and I could not make out if there was a green shift. My results might be due to the fluorescent light as the sole lighting source or the beginning of reciprocity failure.
I tested pushing Velvia 100F to ISO200 under a partially cloud-covered sky. The OM-4Ti and the Zuiko 250mm f/2 lens and the Olympus 1.4x teleconverter were put on a Bogen 3205 tripod. The compared results were from the center-weighted automatic exposures with OTF metering. My subject of the Baltimore skyline was against a partially cloud-covered sky, but under bright steady sunlight and blustery winds. The pushed film displayed greener colors in the wood below the skyline. Also there was a small difference in the grass area where the pushed film showed somewhat brighter. These differences may be due to possible light fluctuation, but deserve further testing.
Available format and Price
Comparing the product information bulletin in Japanese and English reveals that there is a difference in the availability of certain sizes like 9x12cm. I note that the 11x14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm) sheet available with Velvia 50 is missing with the new film.
In the UK, I have found www.photoglossy.com offering Velvia 100F. They offer a pack of ten at a discount. Although a pack of ten is not included in the manufacturer’s product information bulletin, I have seen ten packs at a Japanese camera store on the Internet as well. Another location offering discounted Velvia 100F is here www.mailshots.co.uk.
I like the color fidelity and saturation of this film. I have even tried the new Velvia in my Olympus Stylus Epic, a compact camera with a 35mm f/2.8 lens and spot metering, with satisfactory results. Because of contrast and a narrow exposure latitude, you need to do careful metering and bracketing exposures. I have tried to discern the sharpness and grain characteristics. To the naked eye results are very sharp and with the RMS of 8 and the claimed resolution at the same values as for Velvia 50, you'd need a microscopic examination of transparencies to try and pick fault.
About the writer
Tomoko Yamamoto is a Japanese artist living in the USA and is currently working in photography, music composition and multimedia programing. You can find out more about Tomoko here Tomoko Yamamoto