Real Velvia!


Once again, a very long time between posts, but hopefully the peace-offering of some Velvia shots will suffice.


I finally got my first ever roll of Velvia 50 processed (thanks to Peak Imaging for that), and after an hour of messing about with a macro lens, tripod, focusing rack, ipad, pane of glass, white sheet of plastic, and a mask made from the back of a photography magazine(!), I digitally “scanned” the best shots.


It was with some trepidation that I sent in the film, given that I haven’t shot any since c. 1995 (the last time I shot a film SLR, an old Fuji, on my first ever trip to Greece), and that I was using Velvia 50, a notoriously tricky beast given its small exposure window (basically 4 stops, which is really really small compared to the latitude you get with current top-end DSLRs, where you expose to avoid clipping highlights and pull everything back in and adjust the exposure of the raw file to suit in ACR). Accordingly, this was my first proper test of my zonal spot-metering skills with my new Sekonic 758.

First off, there was only one blank frame, so I hadn’t ruined the entire roll by mishandling the loading or unloading(!)

While I didn’t take any notes, I bracketed quite a few shots, and shots were underexposed rather than over if I didn’t hit it right. There were some stand-out results, with frames that didn’t make the grade as much a fault of my getting used to focusing and the settings on the Canon A-1 as with getting the exposure right with the meter (though water shots in among the dark rocks in Padley Gorge were all a miss since the dynamic range was just too much for the shadows). In some cases, the shots bear direct comparison with shots I took in parallel with D800E/85PC-E, and the differences are very noticeable in a couple of the cases.

All in all, a really rewarding and enjoyable experience, though messing about with the “scanning” could have been better. I still have the rolls of Ektar and Delta to shoot, but I feel like getting some more Velvia!


Here are the results. Where applicable, compare shots with the previous post with its details of the shots taken on digital.


First four images are from Padley Gorge/Bolehill Quarry, Derbyshire. No exposure info was recorded, but in none of the shots was a polarizer used – amazing.


The FD zoom lenses used (35-70 and 70-210) really aren’t the best by today’s standards, but this experiment isn’t about the lenses.


Padley Trees and Bracken



Bolehill Birches



Bolehill Quarry Colour



Padley Velvia Colour



Maple Leaves on Grass



Maple Leaf on Tarmac









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