Provia 400 vs 100
I just got back from the lab some nice Provia 400 shots and am quite happy with them. I never used this film before as I am just beginning my experiments with slide film. My images with Provia 100 were not that great and it seems all to be due to poor shutter speeds. WIth the 400 speed film, my shutter speeds are higher and the sharpness is all there. I do not see much grain at all in the 400 speed film so that was a nice surprise. The color is great and the lack of grain really gives these images some punch.
So I'm wondering two things. One, can Provia 400 be pushed to 800 with good results? Is the grain still OK?
Since 400 has such low grain, I am wondering if there is any serious advantage at all to Provia 100? Is the grain really that much lower if you can get the good shutter speeds? I might just forget about Provia 100 since the 400 looks so good.
Thanks for reading!
I've shot some of both, and the first time I used Provia 400 I too was very pleasantly surprised by how sharp and grain free it is, but I later also discovered that it isn't until you start making larger prints from the material that the 100 starts to really show its advantage in resolution and grain. On the other hand, the 400 makes more types of photography possible with slide film, like hand holding the camera becomes infinitely easier and accommodating. I've never push processed Provia 400. With such narrow latitude, it would seem that you would bury your shadow details pretty quickly, but if you're in really flat lighting you might get away with it.
With 645 negs - what do you do with the resulting pictures? Do you scan and print, or do you mostly use digital files as your final destination?
The reason I'm asking is that you must consider what your final use of the images is, and then take both films to their limits to see what's possible, and then decide for yourself. To make a fair comparison you should probably use a tripod for the test, and then count film speed, graininess, sharpness, and so on in a pros/cons list to see what actually matters to you.
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imho, Thomas posting summarized it pretty well. I've been using Provia and AgfaPhoto CT 100 Precisa, which is said to be Fuji Trebi (the japanese consumer version of Provia), in 35mm, but its cool rendering never grew on me. When I read about Provia 400 having a different character, I tried it in 645 and was pleasantly surprised. I prefer its rendering to the 100 ISO version and it is a great film. The ISO 400 sensivity comes great when shooting my 645 Pentax 35mm-like and absolut resolution is of second importance.
The difference is more obvious when scanning both films at high resolution. So far, I scan my 120 films at home with real 1.200dpi and under these circumstances, the Provia does not seem to suffer from any drawback compared to its less sensitive family member. But once to amp up the resolution, the increased grain and lowered resolution is visible. So it depends on the final usage. Each has its own use.
With a loupe on a lightbox I definitely see more grain and less sharpness in 400X, though it is very good for 400-speed. If you shoot both side-by-side on a tripod you'll see the difference in larger prints, as 100 is very sharp and nearly grain-free. However if you don't typically use a tripod and are satisfied with the 400 it may be your best choice.
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