Film Review – Fuji Provia 100F (RDP III)
Today we’ll be reviewing Fuji’s Provia 100F (RDP III) color slide film in 120 format. Provia 100F is one of my go-to slide films when I want flexibility and true-to-life color. I always have a roll when I’m out and about shooting in medium format.
The preservation game
Provia 100F and it’s cousin, 400X were both updated by Fuji with archival storage improvements in mind. Whilst neither stock may be as saturated as Fuji’s Velvia, these films’ balanced color palette, decent grain and great color reproduction make them both great film stock, in my opinion.
Let’s take a quick look at what Fuji have to say about this film:
FUJICHROME PROVIA 100F Professional [RDP III] is an ultra-high-quality, daylight-type ISO 100-color reversal film.
With the finest grain (an RMS granularity value of 8) among ISO 100 color reversal films and an extremely high sharpness, it captures details with unprecedented clarity, while providing rich gradation, vivid and faithful color reproduction, and well-controlled gradation balance.
These characteristics make it an ideal choice for a wide range of subject matter, from product and outdoor photography to fashion work and portraiture.
|Type||Slide (Color Reversal)|
|Exposure latitude||-1/2 to +2 stops|
|Push processing||2 stops|
|Cross processing||Greens and blues|
What’s it really like?
Put simply, Provia 100F is all fine grain, great color reproduction, nice contrast and rich tones. It’s a daylight color slide film that works well indoors and it pushes well, and handles both highlights and shadow in a very pleasing way. All in all, a rather and versatile stock.
If you shoot portraits, this film will give you great skin tones. Shoot landscapes and you get lovely, rich greens and blue skies. Shoot at golden hour and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful gold and amber highlights.
It really is an every day slide film and doesn’t mind getting pushed about.
Provia 100F’s colors are generally very balanced and true to life. Unlike many slide films, you don’t get a sense of hyper-reality when it’s shot in normal lighting conditions. That said, if you shoot it in very bright light, you’ll get a little shift to the blue end of the spectrum and skies will pop an amazing hue of blue.
Fuji recommend stopping down 1/3 of a stop in really bright light but I tend to leave it as is, in order to over expose a touch. See below below for an “accurate” exposure compared to one where I didn’t stop down as per Fuji’s
The image above was exposed as per Fuji’s Provia datasheet and whilst the results are pleasing, there’s not enough separation between the center foreground leaves and those in the middle distance. Let’s ignore the datasheet and see what happens.
Look at it. Simply stunning (in my humble opinion). The top right quadrant is completely blown out, leaving only a suggestion of what was actually there. The highlights are much softer and the shot has gone from strong shades of red to becoming almost pink.
It’s also worth noting that I shot this roll at ISO400 – a two stop push, as well as the extra overexposure. Very versatile indeed.
Provia 100F also has an added bonus up its sleeve – it has a great resistance to reciprocity failure, meaning that you can take both very short (1/4000th sec) and very long (128 sec) exposures without worrying about adjusting your exposure, or adding filters. With Kodak’s E100G a fading memory, Provia 100F is pretty much the only (fresh) reliable slide film left for astro photography nuts.
I really like this film. By which I mean I really, really like this film. I carry it every day because I know that given even the slightest sniff of decent sunlight, it will give fine grained, natural results.
Want to take a shot of a sliver of light in an otherwise dark scene? Use Provia 100F. Want to push slide film? Use Provia 100F. Want to take wonderful, landscape scenes, or beautifully balanced portraits? Use Provia 100F. It (nearly) does it all and is what I’d terms a slide film workhorse.
Probably the greatest thing about Provia 100F (and the one thing that pushes is above Kodak’s E100VS), is that it’s still in production. At the time of writing, you can buy this film fresh and in-date until mid-2017. If you want to buy some, check out eBay, Adorama, Amazon, or drop me a line for a hand.
So, to sum up:
Fuji Provia 100F is a wonderfully balanced and versatile slide film, which delivers consistent, natural color and fine grain. It’s happy to be knocked around by push and cross processing and will very rarely let you down.
Equally at home in your Hasselblad, or your Holga.
As the last word from me, I’d like to invite you to review the images featured in this review, as well as Fuji’s Provia 100F technical datasheet below:
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