Fuji claims: Finer grain. Faster speed. Even better skin tones. All while
keeping that glorious Velvia color. We test it!
IMAGE STRUCTURE: With a claimed RMS granularity rating of 8, Velvia 100F undercuts both Velvia 50 (RMS 9) and E100VS (RMS 11) in the grain department. Velvia 50, however, trumped the competition in resolving power, with the ability to distinguish 81 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) in our resolution tests, compared to 72 lp/mm for both Velvia 100F and E100VS. Is this significant? Probably not for general photography, but it could be a factor in mural-sized enlargements.
COLOR PALETTE: Velvia 100F retains the explosively rich and saturated color palette of Velvia 50 with eye-popping reds, yellows, greens, and blues. Thanks to new and highly advanced technology (see "Film Structure"), Velvia 100F's skin tones have shed their reddish cast, and are more neutral, due to a hint of blue. In some field test scenes, this produced a more natural Caucasian skin tone than Velvia 50. But under cooler color temperatures (i.e., in shade, for example), Velvia 100F skin tones may seem too cool.
Remarkably, color performance varied only slightly between our three test films. Velvia 100F held color in shadows noticeably better than Ektachrome E100VS, though it veers slightly to green there (as does Velvia 50). E100VS produces a noticeably warmer 18-percent gray card. When the films were pushed, however, color reproduction varied more widely. E100VS's grays take on a strong red cast, while Velvia 100F goes slightly blue/green.
So, is Velvia 100F the best slide film ever? It comes close! Should Velvia 50 shooters defect? They may have to-our sources indicate that 50's days are numbered. (It's virtually disappeared from Fuji's web site.) But 100F may not be your only Velvia option. Fujifilm has introduced an even more saturated Velvia 100 (no F) in Japan. It's aimed at photographers who crave screaming color-naturalism be damned!-and if it's a huge success in Asia, this over-the-top "specialty" film may reach our shores, too.
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