View Full Version : Best film for wildlife?

11-06-2009, 11:19 AM
My family and I go up to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks every summer, and this is where I do quite a bit of my serious photography. I normally have my camera loaded with Velvia 50 for landscapes, but have had good opportunities to photograph large mammals also. Last summer I photographed a young female grizzley from the side of the road with Velvia 50, and with my lens wide open (f/3.5), I was able to get 1/125 in mid-morning light.

I've noticed that John Shaw used "Fuji Provia" and "Kodak E100SW" quite a bit for his wildlife shots. When I search for Provia, it turns out that there are several variants of this film available. What are the differences?

Is E100SW still available? It appears that it is not from a short Google search.

How about pushing Velvia 50 1-stop to iso 100? Is it still possible to get film push-processed?

Oh yeah, there is also a iso 100 version of Velvia now isn't there?


David A. Goldfarb
11-06-2009, 11:29 AM
For birds, I like Provia 100F, and sometimes Kodachrome 64, but I like a more neutral palette in general. You can certainly still get film push processed, but it isn't really necessary, when there are good films available in the speeds you want. For large mammals, I'd probably shoot K64, because of the way it handles reds and browns.

11-06-2009, 11:31 AM
Sorry for posting this topic in this forum, I did not notice that I was still in the 35mm section. Can it be moved to the color film forum?


David A. Goldfarb
11-06-2009, 11:35 AM
Moved to the "Wildlife" forum, which I think is more specific than the Color Film, etc. forum.

Of course the K64 suggestion is only relevant to 35mm. Are you shooting a larger format for wildlife?

11-06-2009, 11:39 AM
David, thanks for moving the thread.

"Are you shooting a larger format for wildlife?"

No, 35mm. The only problem with K64 is its availability. It turns out that Kodak has discontinued the E100SW for E100GX which has now been discontinued itself.


07-08-2011, 01:44 AM
I sure shot a bunch of it, but had already thrown in the towel on K64 for most wildlife work more than a decade ago for the inconsistent processing (washed out saturation and amplified grain, oftentimes) prior to Dwayne's. But that ship has now sailed completely over the horizon.

Much as I once loved K64, Astia 100F is (was) also wonderful stuff-- dare I say even better than Kodachrome-- that easily pushes one stop, two in a pinch. I was often processing it in my own Jobo the very same morning I shot it, up until a couple of years ago. Pity that more people didn't experience how good this film was before the stampede to digital.

Used at it's rated speed, it has better grain than any other film I've ever used, and a stop more dynamic range than most other E6 emulsions. it doesn't go tend to go blue in the shadows like Provia. The subtleties and difference in contrast of Astia versus more vivid emulsions like Velvia 50 is a very good thing when shooting wildlife. I shot Astia near exclusively in 35mm for a couple of years. I still have many rolls in storage. Though I'm not shooting it as much in 135 format anymore, I still shoot it in 120 and 4x5. I still love film for things that digital doesn't do nearly as well, like extreme low-key lighting. (And brightly lit snow scenes. But I tend to use either Ektar 100 or Fujichrome Pro 160S in 645 format for this-- though some of these shots do include wildlife).

07-08-2011, 02:36 AM
It sounds like you want a transparency film. I would be sure to try some Provia 400X, along whatever else you might try from the suggestions above. It has incredible performance for a fast film, and the speed can really help you out in certain situations.

01-01-2012, 05:15 AM
Ektar 100 is a mighty fine film. So is Portra 400. I've taken to shooting 35mm at 1600 and faster, and Portra 400 handles that nicely.

ME Super
03-03-2013, 10:25 PM
I have a 500mm mirror lens. It is hard to focus. And handhold. Depth of field is razor thin. Mount the camera on a tripod and make sure my glasses are clean makes it easier though not as easy as manually focusing a 28-200. Yes, there are some shots that only the 500mm will get.

Provia 100F and Velvia 100 (no F) are my goto films for color. Negative films just don't project well. The colors are all wrong, and then there's that ugly orange mask. :D