BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: To Be Categorized

Photography Question 
Morgan W. Bird

Applications of Slide Film

I know what slides are, how they work, etc., and I'm aware that many (most?) pros use slide film, but what uses does it have besides making slides? If I wanted to try out some slide film, what can I do with it besides put in a projector and look at pictures on my wall?

To love this question, log in above

Romen Vargas   The following was not written by me but it has convinced me to try slide film:

"I use slide film almost exclusively. The only times I use print film is when I'm shooting black and white and when I'm shooting in really low light conditions (in my opinion, slide films just don't work well after ISO400 or so). Actually, there's another time I shoot print film, for interesting color effects but I cross-process the film in E6 so I essentially end up with a slide (here's an example of what a cross-processed image looks like.)

Anyway, the main reason why slide film is more popular with serious amateurs and pros (shooting in color, mind you) is because it has incredibly tiny grain. You can capture an amazing amount of detail on a film like Fuji Velvia or Astia. Also, the colors tend to be much richer (even unrealistically so, but who said photography is just about realism...). Most magazines want slides because you can blow up a slide image much further than most print film images and still not see the grain. Other advantages are archival. I don't keep hardcopy prints to all the images I've taken (I have around 5000 slides now (there are 1700 images on the site)). I keep the slides I like in an archival page which I can quickly move to the light box. With print film, I would need to keep a cover sheet as well (a cover sheet is an 8x10 exposed with the negative film laying directly on the paper, it's a like an index of the prints)."

To love this comment, log in above

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  The archival (much, much longer than negatives) and fine grain have already been mentioned. Another advantage is the richer color rendition and in prints made from transparency. This is not the same as the super saturation found in films such as Fuji Velvia or Kodak Elitechrome Extra Color (or E100VS), also a possibility if you want this too. The truest color rendition of any film I've found is Kodachrome 25 and Kodachrome 64. It is why photographers documenting artifacts use these films. Prints from transparencies are more expensive. However, I've found I don't want prints from everything, just a few, and prints from transparency are more dramatic with a crispness not found in any color negative I've tried. Evaluating transparencies for printing is much easier. Transparency films have a narrower latitude between pure black and completely washed out white. This makes exposure more critical, but also creates prints with higher contrast. My recommendations are to use the slower ISO 64 and 100 films. Two notable exceptions are Kodak's Elitechrome 200 which is only slightly grainier than the 100 speed, and Agfa's Scala 200X which is the only B/W slide film available. It has a slightly wider latitude than most slide films, and a granularity similar to the ISO 100 color films.

To love this comment, log in above

Chuck    Learning to expose slide film properly is a good way to learn about light and photography, because that's what we are photographing... LIGHT. You only have a 1/2 stop leeway on either side of the proper exposure. Once you learn what a good exposure is, you don't have to accept the over and under printed pictures you get from one hour processing lab. Learn to use slide film, you'll love it. Use 100 speed.

To love this comment, log in above

karmughil d. kar   i know about slide flim as less,i want to know about full of slide film and how
can I use that film is it for transperency boards that means for advertisement use?

To love this comment, log in above
6/21/2001 5:58:59 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001

Making advertising transparency boards:

Both "slide" and negative films can be used for printing large transparency boards for advertising. These are special prints often called "display transparencies" or "backlit prints." Instead of using print paper with an opaque paper or polyflex backing, the print material has either a clear or a translucent white plastic backing. The clear allows it to be projected on an overhead projector. The translucent white allows it to be mounted in a "light box" and illuminated from behind the print. The translucent backing diffuses the backlighting and simplifies construction of the light box for it. You can mount a clear one in a light box, but it requires a diffusion panel directly behind the print to diffuse the backlighting. These special types of custom prints must be done by a professional, full service lab that can make them. They are typically expensive. The lab I use charges about $25 for a single 8x10 "display transparency" print.

"Slide" films are often preferred and used for making these special prints because the colors tend to be more dramatic, and it's easier to make an accurate print from a slide. The slide itself is a "witness" to exactly what the print should look like in both contrast and color.


More about "slide" and negative films:

"Slide" film is one of three English names used for it:
1. Transparency (the proper name)
2. Reversal (its processing)
4. Slide (its mounting)

You will also see "diapositive" occasionally used, often in other languages.

The major differences between negative and transparency films:

1. Negatives are just that, the film contains a "negative" image. Negative color films use cyan (negative of red), magenta (negative of green) and yellow (negative of blue). Prints from negatives use "negative" paper. Since a print is a photograph of the film, a negative print of a piece of negative film gives you a "positive" image. Processed transparency film contains "positive" images made of red, green and blue. Direct printing requires using a "positive" paper different from what is used to print negatives.

2. The dyes used in color negative films are not perfectly cyan, magenta and yellow. The cyan and magenta dyes have some yellow in them. Since this varies with film type and manufacturer, an "orange mask" is used on color negative film to filter out the excess yellow in the cyan and magenta dyes. Transparency films do not have this "orange mask" or any other one for color correction of the dyes.

3. Negatives are intended specifically for making prints. Although transparency is often used for making prints, they can also be mounted into slide frames and projected onto a screen using a slide projector.

4. The person printing color negative film makes decisions about color correction to try to make the prints look as natural as possible and match the film to the print paper being used. It is very difficult to accurately evaluate camera body (focus and exposure) and lens performance using prints. They are a photograph of the film with decisions being made by the printer. The printing process and the possibility of mistakes being made in printing confounds evaluation of camera body and lens. Evaluation using the negatives is very difficult because of the negative colors and the orange mask. Transparencies are the film that was in the camera. Evaluation is much easier using a high power loupe and a light table.

5. Many publishers still prefer tranparencies for printing photographs. Just as they make evaluation camera and lens performance easier, they are easier to look at in choosing what will be printed. It also makes selecting which photograph will be printed much easier. This is one of the reasons most professionals use transparency for nearly all their work, especially fine art photography. The major exceptions are weddings and portraits which use "proof prints" instead. Most customers of portrait and wedding work are used to looking at prints and very, very few have ever used a light table and high power loupe.

6. The developing process for transparency film is more complicated with more steps. Just like color negative, color transparency has cyan, magenta and yellow layers. In processing negative film, the part of the film emulsion that reacted to light is preserved and linked to cyan, magenta and yellow dyes. The part of the film emulsion that did not react to light is removed leaving the negative image. In processing transparency, the part of the emlusion that reacted to light is developed, then removed. The remaining part of the emulsion that did not react to light is then developed and linked to red, green and blue dyes leaving a positive image.

-- John

To love this comment, log in above
6/21/2001 11:32:14 AM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.