Fuji Velvia 100F, 35mm. I'd get it here in every size.
INTRODUCTION and ORIENTATION
Velvia 100F is duller than Velvia.
Velvia 100 (no F) is much better than 100F, as you can read here.
Velvia (edge code RVP) came out in 1990 and was simply called Velvia. It was ISO 50. Velvia was discontinued in 2005.
In July 2007 Fuji reintroduced the discontinued Velvia as Velvia 50.
Original Velvia has no "50" in its name, while the new version is called Velvia 50 (RVP 50 edge number).
When I say "Velvia" I mean the original ISO 50 film, not the Velvia family. Velvia 50 means the 2007 new version.
The ISO 50 versions are my favorites because I prefer their warmer yellows. Velvia makes skin too red, but makes yellows look wonderful. Velvia is for photographing things, not people. Velvia is not accurate - it makes landscapes look better than reality, which is why it's been the world standard for landscape and nature photography since 1990. Most of my Gallery is shot on Velvia.
This Velvia 100F came out in 2003, and has somewhat duller color than Velvia, but improved flesh tones, less grain, longer archival properties and much less reciprocity failure.
Velvia 100 came out in 2005. It's more vivid than Velvia 100F, and is very similar to Velvia for most colors and overall saturation and contrast, except that Velvia 100 retains the cooler (more accurate) yellows and better skin tones of Velvia 100F.
The rest of this article is now historical, written back in 2003.
There are now FOUR versions of Velvia, and only TWO are available in the USA. The three versions are Velvia (RVP, ISO 50), Velvia 100F (RVP F), Velvia 100 (RVP 100) and as of July 2004, Fortia 50. In a nutshell, good old Velvia remains by far the best for landscape photography. 100 and 100F lack the warm yellows of Velvia, sorry.
Velvia (RVP, ISO 50) is and has been the world-standard professional film for landscape and nature photography since its introduction in 1990. It almost immediately replaced Kodachrome, Ektachrome and the other Fujichrome films with it's incredible color rendition. It comes in 35mm, 120, 220, 4 x 5," 5 x 7," 8 x 10," 11 x 14" and 4 x 5" ready-loads. Velvia has a special and unique color rendering effect that renders warm colors (yellow and orange) even warmer in hue than they really are, while leaving the cool colors (blue and green) the same hue. Yes, go photograph something orange and if you are paying attention you may note that it comes out redder than you thought.
Because of this Velvia makes good light in landscapes and nature look even better! Warmly lit evening landscapes look spectacular, although it makes people look too red. This effect is one of the reasons it is the world standard for landscape photography, and this effect is unique to Velvia. You cannot simulate it by simply increasing the saturation in Photoshop or in your digital camera. It actually improves on the warmth of evening sunlight and leaves the glorious blue skies blue. Fuji made the mistake of removing this effect from Velvia 100F to make it better for engineers shooting test charts but far worse for photographing nature.
Velvia 100F (RVP F) is a new film with duller color than Velvia . I don't like it. This is the new film people in the USA are talking about. In Japan it comes in 35mm, 120, 220, 4 x 5," 5 x 7," 8 x 10" and 4 x 5" ready-loads. Velvia 100F lacks the critical warm-hue improvement that Velvia has, making Velvia 100F much worse for nature and landscape photography. Unfortunately Fuji's engineers mistook the critical warming effect of Velvia as a technical defect, and they removed the feature from 100F. (If you want to shoot color charts 100F is better, if you want to make beautiful photos of nature that capture accurately what you felt when you were there then Velvia is far better.) The marketing materials for 100F mistake that feature of Velvia as a defect and tout that they have "fixed" it in 100F with extra color layers. For photographing people 100F is better, for photographing animals and things Velvia is spectacular.
Velvia 100 (RVP 100) is NOT available in the USA. (OK, it is in 2005) This is 100 speed film with the bright colors that is similar to Velvia. Velvia 100 only seems to be available in Japan. Fuji's French and UK websites don't even mention Velvia 100F, much less this Velvia 100. I just got some direct from a fan in Japan and have tried it a little. It's better than 100F, but not as good as Velvia , and certainly not better for what I do. Unfortunately 100 is the film we want instead of 100F and it looks like the Japanese are keeping the good stuff for themselves this time. According to my friends in Japan as well as Fuji's datasheet for this film, it is only available in 35mm, 120 and 220 sizes, not as sheet film. As of February 2005 I'm told it's also available in 4 x 5" and maybe 8 x 10" sizes.
Fuji Velvia 100 and Velvia shot side by side look pretty close (except for the cooler yellows of the 100 vs. the warmer yellows of Velvia), unlike Velvia 100F which looks dull and boring by comparison. The reason I prefer Velvia over 100 is that the yellows of Velvia are still wonderful, warm and brilliant as opposed to 100's cooler rendition, even if lab-coated engineers prefer it. Velvia (50) gives me the look I want.
Fortia 50 is a secret new film only available in Japan in limited quantities as of the end of July 2004. Read more here. I don't really like it. It has increased contrast, but not increased color, compared to Velvia. it might be better for use in overcast light, but I didn't like the overall look. I just love Velvia.
Summary: Unfortunately Velvia 100 and 100F are inferior to Velvia and cost more, too. I'm not concerned with grain or sharpness since Velvia is great, and I am very concerned with color since color is the main subject of my work. If 100 or 100F had more vivid color than Velvia I'd love them, but 100F and 100 are worse, so who cares?
Here is Fuji's comparison page (in Japanese) between Velvia, Velvia 100 and Velvia 100F. Here is what I'm told it says:
(RVP) (Fuji's Japanese datasheet here.)
100 (RVP 100) (this is what we can't get in the USA)
100F (RVP F) (Fuji Japan's page here
and Japanese datasheet here.)
So there you have it: Velvia 100 (not F) is what I need for my evening landscapes!
A technical datasheet comparison of the two Velvia 100s vs. Velvia datasheets shows us that DMax is about the same and the MTF (sharpness) of Velvia is better than either of the 100 speed versions.
See also the rest of the Fuji Japan site here.
These are the 120 size boxes of 100 (not 100F)
Exposed roll of 120 size 100 (not 100F)
Note innovative peel-and-stick closure.
I have used Velvia (RVP, ISO 50) since 1990 and use it for almost everything. I love it.
I tried Velvia 100F (RVP F) in June 2003 and seen other samples of it. I don't like it.
The colors on Velvia 100F (RVP F) are dull compared to Velvia (RVP), and the warm colors are cooler. As you ought to know I don't care about grain or speed, and I care deeply about vivid color. The colors were not as wild as the Velvia I love. Velvia has the warm reds and yellows I need, and the Velvia 100F had pale, lame colors by direct comparison.
A distortion I LOVE in Velvia is that it tends to make warm colors warmer. In other words, something lit by orange sunset light will tend to get even warmer, which is very important to me. From what the engineers at Fuji told me, and a few shots on the one roll I had, it looks like Velvia 100F unfortunately removes this pleasant distortion. If this is true then Velvia will remain my preference, and the best film for shooting landscapes during magic hour.
I also love the wild colors that artificial light turns on most films. Velvia 100F is designed to minimize this with extra color layers; I usually prefer the exaggerations of Velvia.
Ken's information from Fuji and the examples Kenji, one of the inventors of Velvia, showed him at PMA 2003
I sat with some of Fuji's people from Japan for a half hour at PMA in March 2003 previewing the new films. My biggest concern is the availability of Velvia which has been the basis of my work since the late 1980s. I was told directly that Velvia will remain available. Fuji tells me directly that of course they are not discontinuing Velvia, although some less-reputable retailers have spread rumors presumably to get you to buy lots of Velvia today.
From what I saw I prefer the Velvia I have been using. Velvia 100F is claimed to have more accurate colors, which I don't want. I love the wild (inaccurate) colors I get, which I prefer to reality. Velvia tends to render yellows more warm than they actually are, which I love. New Velvia 100F has extra color layers which will tend to lesson the green cast under fluorescent light, although I sometimes deliberately employ this shift for artistic effect.
Velvia 100F seemed to be a little cooler. I love warm. Velvia 100F seemed to have better ability to render differences between colors in some flowers, but since I had no reference to the original subject it's hard for me to say.
Greens seem to be even more vivid on Velvia 100F, an advantage.
What about the test in Pop Photo?
The July (I think) 2003 issue had a test.
It was all wrong. The usually clever writers did a totally bone-headed thing, and tested the films not for doing what Velvia does best (which is the professional standard for nature, daylight action sports and landscapes) and instead tested it for what Velvia is awful, which is photos of people and under artificial light. Of course Velvia 100F was better, since Velvia is one of the worst films for people photos and Velvia 100F was specifically designed to fix this. Unfortunately this test shot nothing for landscapes during magic hour, so the test is misleading and therefore worse than useless.
Even worse, the Pop Photo review said two infuriating things:
1.) That some unnamed source said Velvia was going away. That would be very stupid, just like when Kodak's boneheads discontinued Tri-X, and
2.) Pop Photo alluded to the Velvia 100 we really need, which is the more saturated Velvia 100 (not 100F) available only in the Orient. I looked into it and discovered the film we really need is called Velvia 100 Daylight in Japan, different from the dull Velvia 100F. I did some investigation and just got some to try.
Tarhan, a known landscape photographer in Turkey, TurgutTarhan.com
I tried the Velvia 100F down here in Florida. The greens are umber green. I like the Reds, (about the only thing I liked) and the blues appear less navy and more royal. The DMAX is definitely down, and a slight underexposure gives me a mustard yellow hue. Forget about skin Caucasian skin tones. My God I think Fuji may have outsourced this film to Kodak to produce. I also shot a roll of the new Astia 100F. Quote from Dad..."Hey great it looks just like the old Kodachrome 64" Oh joy. Skin tones are great, the rest of the picture is sacrificed. Its like buying pre-faded jeans. The grain is supposed to be a low "7". But when you see the subdued colors, you really don't give a s--t. I went back through and really began to appreciate my cyan cast Provia stuff. Oh , and I did run out and buy 60 rolls of Velvia and put em in deep freeze after seeing the new stuff. Exactly what they wanted me to do......Does this begin to sound like the "New Coke" scam or is it just me......
That reader also reports that:
A British magazine, Photography Monthly, pretty much slams Velvia 100F in comparison to Velvia in their July 2003 issue, but has it in their heads that it will replace the Provia 100F. This makes a bit more sense. This publication also makes reference to the other Velvia 100, but has no test data. Two magazines come in a plastic bag. The second one is the Photography Monthly buying guide, also dated July 2003. The review is in the buying guide. The website for the publication is photographymonthly.com Page 22 in the buying guide.
Another reader, Brian C writes:
Yeah I don't like Velvia 100 ASA. Seems there's something "lacking" in the colors and fidelity. I like 50ASA VELVIA much better. Not really sure why Fuji tried that on the public, but I'm sure most people will say that 50ASA Velvia is better than the 100.
And a fourth reader writes:
dull results are not a fluke. I just came back from vacation in
Banff and mixed in 5 rolls to see how I liked it. Answer
-- while it was good, I can't get over feeling that they just repackage Provia
the film blindly before I could find any information on the film. I had
heard it was coming out and that it
By all means try either of the 100 speed versions, especially if you have people in your photos, but I'm sticking with Velvia for now for my nature, night and landscape work. If you have connections in Japan try the real stuff, the Velvia 100 (not F) instead. Remember that the superior Velvia still costs less, too.
Read my film page for general thoughts on film. Remember film is not good or bad, it's good or bad for a certain look and a certain subject. For what I do Velvia is tops.
Remember: 1.) I LOVE wild, vibrant warm color as you see here. Others may want something different and 2.) I saw results of early product. When Velvia came out for the first year it got better and better little by little. For instance, in the late 1980s Velvia tended to render light granite with a little green cast in the first few batches, so calm down and wait if either of the Velvia 100 versions isn't what you really want.
If you photograph with people in your images then Velvia 100F may be your ticket, since Velvia is not good for flesh tones.
The great news is the new Velvia 100F film only adds to our choices. Life is good! I would probably give up color film photography if Velvia went away.
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