Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
Only in comparison to the even more over the top Velvia.
I loved Astia then E100G. Provia (100) works for some subjects and light but is too contrasty for many situations and awfully saturated for some subjects. Provia 400 is more subtle on both counts but quite a bit grainier.
I don't usually think of Provia as subdued, either, but nonetheless I'm curious about underexposing it. I used to routinely underexpose Kodachrome, e.g., K64 I shot at an EV of ISO 80. So what would you rate Provia 100 at? 125? 160?
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
I was wondering the same thing about underexposing.
Agreed. Provia is quite saturated and contrasty in my opinion but not so over the top as to make it unsuitable for general photography. I like it but my favorite slide film was E100G so that tells you where I'm coming from. For me Velvia 50 is a narrow purpose film. I don't generally even load a roll unless I am specifically trying to get outrageous color and the available lighting conditions support that objective.
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
Agreed Lamar. Another time to use Velvia would be with very flat, dull lighting, like heavy overcast, to increase the contrast and make the colors pop a bit without the over the top look of it in bright light, IF the film speed will support that. As you say, I find it a pretty narrow purpose film. I got along somewhat better with E100VS but only slightly so (and appreciated the extra stop of speed relative to Velvia 50 - I never used the 100 Velvia.)
EDIT: Oh yes, if anyone is looking for a less contrasty, less saturated more natural looking slide film on today's market and you can stand some extra grain, try Provia 400. It's a wonderful film, amazingly good for a 400 speed slide film and flatter and less saturated than 100, but it is quite a bit grainier. This is a photo of my wife shot on our honeymoon on Provia 400:
Alicia_Kite1_LowRes by Roger Cole, on Flickr
Some posters here are making remarks that clearly demonstrate they have no specific skill in targeting Velvia to its use, if they use it at all. It's obvious.
Velvia was designed for exposure in diffuse illumination. Like any other E6 film (including Kodak's), it looks bloody awful when shot in the high noon of day with blue skies so hyper-infused that editors will trash a roll without further consideration the moment a blue sky turns up — it shows a lack of care in understanding how to expose Velvia correctly (I have also seen tripe shot on Provia with an 81B, polariser, UV and Skylight filter all at once). Cut to its design intent and Velvia remains the gold standard for all exhibition and gallery work in the analogue form, devoid of "outrageouos colour", and it has earned that over many years in skilled hands ,basing exposure based on science, not populist opinion.
Provia is not a saturated E6 film, never was and never will be by design; it is the polar opposite of Velvia and a very good all-rounder, especially with skin tones. It doesn't even share a common palette with Velvia, as many people assume. Provia can be moderated in terms of the colour tone by under- or judicious overexposure; it is not rocket science and such a technique is common too with Velvia, additional to measured use of a polariser, modulating tone and colour response to suit the photographer's vision of the print on the wall. Nothing mentally challenging about all this: we also did the same stuff with Kodachrome 25, 64 and 200, also avoiding shooting that in bright sunlight.
Provia is less saturated than Velvia but considerably more saturated than the lamented (by me at least) Sensia and Astia as well as E100G and its amateur cousin Elitechrome 100. Can you deny that?
Fuji had three tiers of color saturation: Astia/Sensia, Provia, and Velvia. Velvia is the highest. Provia is in the middle of those but would have been considered a very saturated film by the standards of anyone before the advent of Velvia and E100VS.
I know how to expose Velvia if that's what I wanted to do. I even said much the same thing - it's good for very flat lighting. But the world isn't always very flat and some of us shoot slides to document events and memories that may not be ideally lit. I have some gorgeous slides on Astia of such but not that many because it went away just as I was starting to shoot slides again. I have a lot more on E100G and I continue to shoot my stash of that.
Fuji intelligently offered a choice of three different levels of saturation to cover a range of needs. So it helped to know what each was good
for. But in terms of amateur use, Velvia took off because it looked so snappy on a lightbox or whatever. Printing or scanning it was a different
issue (and still is). And I don't know of any serious color printmaker who personally preferred Velvia for general shooting. It filled a niche, period. Maybe the cutesy honey-and-jam-atop-sugarcube calendar or postcard photographers used it a lot, but not intelligently - it's tricky to reproduce high contrast originals. I really liked Velvia for certain low-contrast lighting. Provia was mid-range, and Astia a little softer and
more neutral. Kodak E100G was mid range, but slightly in the Astia direction. The disappointing sales of Astia were largely due to people not
understanding the difference between how a film looks back-lit (lightbox or projector) and reproduced. Let's hope they market it again!
Heck, I think Astia (and E100G) look gorgeous projected too. They let me shoot slides for projection in light that just wouldn't work for Velvia at all (not to mention people and skintones) and work only more problematically with Provia.
I used to underexpose Velvia 50, rating it as ASA 80.
A few years back I lived near a great wood that was on a hill and around 5pm or so the light was almost horizontal and golden. I used to like make photos of how the light fell on the sides of trees and on the rocks. I'd always expose for the light and this, coupled with the underexposure, would plunge the shadows into deep black. The result was almost abstract and the way sections of the woods were rendered a deep gold whilst other parts were pure black was really great.
Sadly, I've never found a location like that where I now live.