Some time in the impenetrable mists of last year I dusted off my EOS 3 film SLR and invested $35 in a role of Fuji Velvia 50 slide film. Although I consider myself a digital native, my first 'proper' camera was actually a Pentax MZ50 film SLR. Those were still the days (only just) when film was readily available and at the end of the roll I would walk down to the corner shop and get it sent off to be developed.
But in my year or so as a film photographer I never tried shooting slide film, and I was curious to see how the gold standard of landscape photography, Velvia slide film, compared to digital SLRs these days. I wanted to see how it dealt with 'landscape' colours - in particular, green.
What better place to try than the SW coast of VIC along the Great Ocean Road?
At the cost of almost $2 per photo (the develop, scan and print costed about $35 also and there were only 36 exposures), I made sure I took the time to line up all the photos correctly and even tested the exposure/composition with my digital camera before snapping the definitive photo on film.
As you can see, there were obvious differences in my digital and film versions of the Twelve Apostles. The Velvia tended toward a much greener/cyan rendition of the scene. I admit that my digital version probably looks a bit too red - obviously this can be changed in Lightroom or Photoshop. Nevertheless the Velvia is probably a little more cyan than 'reality'.
I was keen to shoot rainforest with the slide film, as I've struggled in the past to make digital files really capture the vibrant greens. Fortunately, I came away with a shot I am really pleased with. I've been searching for a long time to capture hanging moss in rainforests but have always found they looked washed out or ugly in photos. Here, I am really pleased with the way the slide film has rendered the scene, although again it has a slight cyan tint.
I have now added a forest comparison between slide and digital, again bearing in mind that digital can be easily changed, and also that different focal lengths were used.
So is slide film worth it? Probably not for me. It would be more economical to invest in some good polarising filters to cut out the glare and learn how to bring out the greens post-photo in Lightroom. But I think I will continue shooting the odd role of slide film...