I'd heard about Fuji Velvia 50's famed qualities and was eager to try it out. With a planned trip to the Amalfi Coast, I had the prefect opportunity to see of the film was every bit as good as I'd heard it was.
According to the Fuji website, Fuji Velvia 50 35mm has the highest saturation, intensely vivid colours, high contrast and extremely fine grain. Fujifilm states that it’s perfect for landscapes, nature, and commercial photography alike. It forms part of the Fujichrome range (i.e. slide film), is available in 135, 120, and 5″×4″ formats and as the name would suggest a speed of ASA 50.
With a relatively slow film speed and coupled with the famed colour and contrast, I chose to take the film on holiday with me to the Amalfi Coast. I hoped that the location and conditions would suit the film better and highlight the qualities the film is famed for.
Film: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Camera: Fujifilm Silvi F2.8
Location: Amalfi Coast, Italy
Processing: Photo Film Processing UK
Shooting on a stunning day in Amalfi in a compact point and shoot 35mm, the roll was quickly used up and I was eager to see how the film coped with the conditions. I’d have to wait unfortunately though as it was only a few days into the holiday and the film were to be processed a couple of weeks later in the UK.
Once it was developed back home, the images were scanned on an Epson V330 with no adjustments or tweaking to ensure the results were as close to what was captured on film as possible. Immediately, my reaction was one of awe. The contrast and colour of the deep blue sky was the first thing I noticed, almost giving the impression I’d used a polarising filter. I don’t think I’ve seen such a sky on any other film I’ve used before.
The next noticeable quality was the sharpness and fine grain. Although I give credit to the Silvi’s lens (more so than the similar Natura Classica) I’d still never seen images this sharp and smooth before from my other camera/film combinations. The ASA 50 really paid off in some of the shots and in those that are a little dark I’d wager the images have enough dynamic range to pull out the highlights.
Colour again is great with vibrant yellows in the photo of the lemons, subtle browns and creams in the buildings and dark green foliage. Of course, with this level of contrast, saturation and vivid colour you wouldn’t necessarily want to use it for portrait photography. I’m not saying don’t as experimentation is half the fun but outdoors is where this film ought to be.
To conclude: it’s obvious that I really like this film. The qualities spoken about by Fujifilm on their own website rang true for my experience with the film and it produced images like I’ve never produced before. Given the relatively low quality of the camera and scanner I used I’m sure the images will only improve on better equipment. The downsides? Well, it can be expensive to buy, is not suited to all situations and would be wasteful of its qualities to cross process it (if that’s your thing). Other than that, I would recommend buying a roll, heading for somewhere bright and colourful and be prepared to be blown away by the results.