Running out of Astia, is Provia an alternative?
I have only 5 rolls of Astia 100F (120) left in the fridge, so what should I do? I do not want to buy the insanely priced stocks that are left, nor do I want to buy rolls 5-10 years beyond expiry off ebay. I´m looking for a true alternative. How about Provia 100F? I never tried it, but the Provia 100F pictures I´ve seen on the web all seem to have a bluish cast and many people who use the film seem to confirm that. I used a lot of Provia 400X and like the color rendition a lot. It really looks like a slightly more punchy 400 version of Astia to me (they should have named it Astia 400X), but is expensive and has visibly more grain than Astia. What to do? Is Provia 100F really that bluish and can I tweak it (e.g. by overexposing or using a filter) to look like Astia? How is the grain compared to Astia? Any other alternative? I´m looking for a slide film with low contrast, neutral color rendition, good for skin tones, fine grain.
Last edited by Slixtiesix; 04-17-2013 at 07:03 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I suppose that's your most likely alternative.
However, there seem to be differences: http://www.olegnovikov.com/technical...s_provia.shtml
I am a fan of Astia 100F, too. One of my favorite color films. I still have enough of it in the fridge for the next three years.
Nevertheless I have used Provia 100F a lot, too. Like Astia 100F and Provia 400X, one the best color films ever made, outstanding material. When this film was introduced 1999, it has set the benchmark for professional color films.
In addition to all the shots with these films in daily shooting, we've also tested all of them in our test lab. Short summary:
The main differences between Astia 100F and Provia 100F:
Provia 100F is strictly neutral balanced, with a very accurate and natural color reproduction. If you shoot it under norm light with 5600 °K color temperature, and then compare the result of the Kodak color test chart with the original, you see that the film result is an excellent match to the original.
In comparison Astia 100F is bit more warmer balanced, with a bit more saturation in yellow and red.
That is the main, most obvious difference.
Rendition of skin tones is excellent with Astia, and still very good with Provia 100F. We've found skin tones of Provia 400X very similar to Astia 100F, therefore using 400X very often and successfully for Portrait and fashion shots.
If you use a Skylight 1A filter with Provia 100F, you get very close to the bit warmer balance of Astia.
In all the years I've never had problems with a general bluish cast with Provia 100F.
Well, if you shoot it e.g. in midday sun, when color temperature is extremely high, then of course you will see more blue. But that is just because the light is blue. The film renders it in a natural way. Nothing wrong with that.
But in this digital age, when photographic knowledge is in free fall , and lot's of people don't know anything about the huge changes in color temperature of natural light during the day, lots of photographers accuse the film for a certain color shift.
But in 99% of the cases it is not the film, but the color temperature of the natural light......
Another factor concerning color rendition which is mostly overlooked:
The color transmission of the lens!
Lenses do significantly vary in their color transmission:
Some have a very exact and neutral transmission, some have a slight warm or cool (blue) cast, some have a slight magenta cast. And some have some very heavy color casts.
We've tested various lenses from different manufacturers under norm conditions (5600°K color temperature, Kodak color test chart), and the differences between the lenses (even from the same manufacturer) are clearly visible.
The differences between color rendition of different lenses can be bigger than the difference between Provia 100F and Astia 100F!
E.G. my older Sigma 28-70 zoom has very heavy yellow (and a bit less green) color cast, making Provia 100F looking like a different film, very warm balanced. In comparison Astia 100F shot with my Nikon 1,8/85 looks like cool balanced film.
Astia 100F has a bit less contrast compared to Provia 100F: But the difference is subtle, about half a stop. In the dynamic range test we've got 8 stops with Provia 100F, Provia 400X, Elitechrome 100, E100G, and 8,5 stops with Astia 100F and Sensia 100 (in this test we've tested the range, where still a bit detail is seen in both the shadows and the highlights).
Provia 100F has a bit higher MTF in the spatial frequency range of 5-20: If you project Provia 100F and Astia 100F in direct comparison, you will see that Provia 100F looks a little bit sharper.
3. Grain, resolution:
Due to the data sheet Astia 100F should be even a bit finer grained than the already extremely fine grained Provia 100F. But in practical photography there is no visible difference: At 40x enlargement (projection on a screen with 1m x 1,5m) no difference can be seen.
At 100x enlargement (under microscope and on very big projection screens) a tiny advantage for Astia is visible.
Resolution at higher spatial frequencies is identical:
In our standardized resolution test (object contrast of 1:4 = two stops; test lens Zeiss ZF 2/50, f5,6) we've got the following results:
Astia 100F: 120 - 135 Lp/mm
Sensia 100: 120 - 135 Lp/mm
Provia 100F: 120 - 135 Lp/mm
AgfaPhoto CT Precisa 100 (current Fuji made version): 120 - 135 Lp/mm
Elitechrome 100: 120 - 135 Lp/mm
E100G: 120 - 135 Lp/mm
Kodak E100VS: 115 - 125 Lp/mm
Velvia 50: 110 - 125 Lp/mm
Velvia 100: 125 - 140 Lp/mm
Velvia 100F: 125 - 140 Lp/mm
Provia 400X: 105 - 115 Lp/mm
Elitechrome 200: 100 - 115 Lp/mm
Kodachrome 64: 90 - 105 Lp/mm
Rollei CR 200 (Agfa-Gevaert Aviphot Chrome 200): 65 - 80 Lp/mm
Kodak Ektar 100: 90 - 105 Lp/mm
Fuji Superia Reala 100: 105 - 115 Lp/mm]
Here you find further test results from other test teams (with different object contrasts; including results from Zeiss):
These results are system resolution values of the tested films with the used lens in 35mm.
We've also tested it in medium format:
Lens: Mamiya Sekor C 2,8/80N, f5,6 (object contrast 1:4) with Mamiya 645 Pro TL:
Both Provia 100F and Astia 100F: 115 - 125 Lp/mm
If I remember right you're living in Northern Germany?
Maybe we can meet and I can show you all the examples in real life.
My slide film of choice lately has been Fuji's Velvia 100F but don't buy it, it's discontinued, and I can't afford to buy any of the remaining stock right now
In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.
I've used a lot of Astia and Provia and I've never seen a blue cast in Provia. Seriously - would Fuji make a pro film with a colour cast? I agree with Henning - these reports are most likely coming from people who don't know about colour temperature.
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Astia 100F was probably the best balanced chrome film ever made. I even used it for making 8x10 dupes under an enlarger and it was better than any official dupe film ever made. Provia 100F is more
contrasty and in the case of sheets, on a distinctly inferior base material (acetate). The closest thing
to the contrast characterisitics of Astia is Kodak E100G, itself now-discontinued, though it was about
midway between Astia and Provia. There's nothing artificially "warm" about Astia. It's about as neutral
as they get. Maybe some people are working with outdated roll film or some other issues. I've tested
it under the most stringent lab conditions, along with all the other Fuji pro slide film. Like all Fuji chrome films, the greens were a little more yellow and a little less cyan than Kodak's latest films.
Well, I think there's a difference between "technically accurate" and "perceptually accurate". The truth is, shadows *are* blue and a really accurate film reflects that fact; on the other hand, that same accuracy can create pictures that a lot of people will look at and say "The shadows look too blue". (As far as I'm aware, every comment I've ever heard about a blue "cast" in Provia 100F has really been about blue shadows---everyone seems to agree that it's accurate in the sun.)
Originally Posted by Michael W
For my purposes, I've found that an 81B makes the shadows look more "natural" (contra "accurate") while making little or no noticeable change to mids and highlights.
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
Running out of Astia, is Provia an alternative?
Personally I like film because it is an accurate record of what was. Nothing like waiting hours for the golden hour, and getting the sun and shadows just so, and then having the auto white balance turn the whole thing bland.
I shoot mostly B&W these days, but I do like Provia for color work.
I've come to the point where I have decided to shoot what is still in production. If we don't buy what there is, how long can the manufacturers hold out while we use up the old stock?
Proper filtration for color balance applies to all color films. The only difference with chromes versus negs
is that you can slap your results on a lightbox and instantly recognize whether you like the result or not - realistic or not. In this day of, "I can fix anything in Fauxtoshop afterwards" it's positively amazing
how much elementary photographic technique has been instantly forgotten. There must be a "delete from brain" function somewhere in that program. But no film is truly accurate under all circumstances.
Ya gotta learn the limitations.
Provia 100F is definitely a good film, almost grainless, and it pushes well too. I shifted the EI of some from 100 to 320 and had the lab push 2 stops. It came out very nice indeed.
Shoot more film.
There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.