EM: a quick editor’s note. This isn’t Fuji Velvia 50 (RVP 50), it’s the original Velvia (RVP), which was discontinued in 2005, reformulated and released in 2007. With that out of the way, it’s over to Sam.
I’ve been shooting seriously with negative film since 2010, but it’s only this year that I’ve started experimenting with the actual film stock. A few rolls of black and white film have well and truly converted me when I’m shooting in London, but it was something else that really blew me away: Fuji Velvia (RVP) slide film.
This particular roll was given to me by a photographer colleague – he told me he grabbed it from the fridge on our magazine’s picture desk back when we were still using film, and just had it laying around after the switch to digital in the 2000s. We had no idea exactly how old the film was, but as it had been away from heat I took a chance and shot it at box speed on my Pentax MV-1 SLR.
I wasn’t expecting too much from the slides, but I couldn’t believe how good they looked when I pulled them out of the envelope. These scans don’t quite do the slides justice, but they somewhat retain the hyper-real colours this film returns. Photography for me is about capturing the feeling of a real-life scene using a small part of it – and Velvia makes that easy. Sunlit images are oversaturated and vibrant, but shaded scenes still have a beautiful subtlety to them.
Here are my five. Click on a thumbnail to view full screen.
It seemed a great match for my manual Pentax lenses, which produce similar results on digital. The amazing thing about Velvia, though, is that it retains the delicacy of film where some digital images can feel oddly lifeless. I love film grain, and thought a film designed to eliminate it might lose some of the magic, but if anything it’s captivated me even more.
It’s not without problems – it’ll seriously drain your bank account, and shooting at wide apertures even on a sunny day makes close focus tricky – but if you can, give Velvia a try.
~ Sam Naylor
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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