I’ve not always had the best time shooting Fujifilm’s Velvia 100 over the years, or to give it it’s proper name, Fujifilm FUJICHROME Velvia 100. When I shoot it well, the results are fantastic and I’ll make sure to stick another roll in my daypack.

When I cross process it as in the image below), I often have even better, almost surreal results than a normal E6 run…but when Velvia 100 fails me – or rather, I fail it – I almost feel like I never want to touch a roll again.

 Fuji Velvia 100 - Cross Processed
Fujifilm Velvia 100 – Cross Processed

Aside from still having quite a bit left on ice, there’s another reason why I keep coming back to Velvia 100 and it’s a compelling one:

If you work within its often finicky framework it’ll give you almost unparalleled sharpness and some of the most beautiful colour reproduction available. It’s a rich, beautiful film, which gives your images tons of depth, lovely tones and exudes a feeling of professionalism and experience. In that respect, it can’t be faulted.

Fuji Velvia 100 - E6 processing
Fujifilm Velvia 100 – E6 processing

Whilst the above might not be a particularly avant-garde, well composed, or interesting shot I can say hand-on-heart that the petals of these flowers are exactly the same color and hue (if not richer), as they are in real life.

Anyway, enough of me for a moment. Let’s see what Fujifilm have to say about Velvia 100:

“FUJICHROME Velvia 100 Professional [RVP 100] is a daylight-type high-image-quality color reversal film with an ISO speed rating of 100.
In addition to the world’s highest level of color saturation, this film boasts an RMS granularity of 8, making it suitable for scenery, nature photography and other subjects that demand precisely modulated, vibrant color reproduction and high image quality.”
Fuji Provia 100F
NameVelvia 100
VendorFuji
TypeSlide (Color Reversal)
Format35mm, 120, Sheet
Speed (ISO)100
Exposure latitude–-1/2 to +1 stops
Push processing1 stop
Cross processingBlues and reds

So what’s it like?

First, a little history. Velvia 100 (according to Fujifilm) was a “new derivative in the Velvia line of films” and was released in 2005, two years after Velvia 100F and 15 years after the original Velvia. So far so good.

Fujifilm told us in 2005 that they had to release this new version due to their inability to obtain the raw materials needed to continue the manufacture of Velvia (now known as Velvia 50), which they discontinued sometime later that year. There was a “slight” uproar and Fujifilm back-pedalled, eventually re-releasing the old Velvia (now as Velvia 50), in 2007. Still with me? Good. So in short:

  • 1990: Fujifilm release Velvia (RVP)
  • 2003: Fujifilm release Velvia 100F as a “better” version of Velvia (RVP F)
  • 2005: Fujifilm kill Velvia and release Velvia 100 (RVP100)
  • 2007: Fujifilm bring back Velvia as Velvia 50 (RVP50)

Well, I’m glad that’s clear. All three of the newsier Velvia films are readily available in 35mm and 120 format, though depending on where you live, you might find getting hold of sheet film a bit of a chore.

Fuji Velvia 100 - shot at EI100
Fujifilm Velvia 100 – shot at EI100

Back to the review. When it originally appeared on the scene, some thought of Velvia 100 as a poor replacement for the film it was replacing. It had (according to some), lost the old Velvia’s ability to capture warm tones, make them warmer and leave the rest alone.

Some also said that Velvia 100 cast too much of a pink/red tint on Caucasian faces and simply wasn’t a true successor to the King of Slide film. Velvia 100F had already dealt with some of those issues a few years before and whilst not as rich in color, makes for an excellent portrait film (more on that later).

Regardless of these complaints, the extra stop in speed was warmly welcomed, even if the whole thing was seen by many Velvia 50 diehards as a New Coke / Old Coke affair. To be honest, I can’t really tell the difference (perhaps that’s my lack of experience in these things). In terms of “feeling”, I find that this film exaggerates and enhances colors to give them a hearty POP! Just remember that when shot indoors under tungsten light, this film needs more in the way of color correction filters than Velvia 50, especially when making longer exposures.

Fuji Velvia 100 - shot at EI 100
Fujifilm Velvia 100 – shot at EI 100
Fuji Velvia 100 - shot at EI 100 - 30mm Fisheye lens
Fujifilm Velvia 100 – shot at EI 100 – 30mm Fisheye lens

In conclusion

I like this film but not enough to to be able to burn through a roll in short order. It’s not as “fun” as say, Provia 100F but if you want to shoot landscapes, or macros, it may well be what your after. The detail can be staggering and occasionally clinical but it delivers with consistent gusto, if you know how to shoot it.

The last word in fine, accurate slide film? No, but it’s close If you want to capture color, depth and detail and you absolutely need ISO 100 without pushing, this is the slide film for you.


For everything else, there’s Mastercard Velvia 100

Cheers,

~ EM

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