I'm wondering what end-user experience I can expect. I've never shot slides before. I plan to in the upcoming couple months test the waters with a roll of Fuji (velvia 100F I'm leaning towards) and a roll of Kodak (ekta chrome maybe), but it will be a gradual change.
What can I expect with regards to getting the film developed, prints made, etc?
I've been a color negative user most of my film life. Even when I was a kid it was 110 film and then eventually 35mm, but all in color (save the "artistic"/"fun" B&W from film class and afterwards). I get the negatives developed, make the prints, use the prints and scan them if digital copies needed. I keep the negatives for reprints but never really pull them out.
I've never been big on slide projection, so it's foreign for me to shoot slides to make prints. I'm also the kind of low-budget amateur that's (for most of my life) gone with faster and faster film to shoot in lower light, shoot movement, shoot indoors without a flash. Going down to 100 speed color slide film is going to be an interesting experiment. I notice there is some 200 and 400 speed, but I'm going to start out gradually. I have a local lab that will develop E6 for me, so no worries about that.
I guess I'm wondering if anybody else moved from negative to slide, or does both right now, that might share opinions/impressions of the differences.
Expose for highlights not shadows. If your end product is to be prints then negative material will almost certainly be better in low light situations. Exposed correctly, the colour saturation from positive film is second to none and magnificent when projected. I use Fuji Velvia, scan on an Epson 3200 and print to A4, with superb results (sorry if I'm crossing bounderies). I have NEVER had decent results printing from slides via photo labs. ie. loss of detail in highlight and shadow areas. Give it a try and post your findings.
Thanks! I will!
When developing, why get them mounted? I assume that's the cardboard frame for use in slide projectors?
If you're going to scan, wouldn't that get in the way? Also for producing prints wouldn't it get in the way? For my purposes, should I go "unmounted" during processing?
Go for process only if you intend to scan or print, it's cheaper and you can always mount any that you might want to, yourself.
One thing to keep in mind is that slides are somewhat less forgiving than negatives... so getting the EV right is pretty important. What are you shooting, specifically? If you have a good internal meter, then the switch will not be painful... it will be a revelation! I shoot a lot of different cameras and have found that being able to use a hand-held meter is a huge help. I now have a collection of cool old meters and love yanking them out in front of hoard of point-and-shooter... makes me seem so knowledgeable and old. I have found that shooting slides with an old Rolleicord or Primo Jr. is about as much fun as I can stand. It slows you down and makes you think about what you really want from the slide (I use the slide in my classes). I am sure you will find shooting slides is very rewarding. As an aside, it is even more fun developing them at home. It's not particularly hard, but hunting down the chemicals is a little tiresome. BTW, I am in the process of putting together a FAQ on home slide developing, chemical suppliers, and mixing for small batches.
Only light metering I've done was with a hand-held meter for use with a Bolex spring-wound 16mm motion camera. It was a hoot, for sure, but mostly I use the viewfinder light meter readings (whenever possible) then mentally adjust if I'm on the ski slopes or in shadows, etc.
The main thing to be aware of with slide films when thinking about how you are going to expose it is that unlike negative films the more exposure you give it the lighter the slide will be the exact opposite of negative films.