Review: Fujifilm Provia 100

Fujifilm’s Provia 100 is my favorite slide-film but it’s not cheap so I only get to shoot with it occasionally. Every frame is precious and it takes me weeks to finish a roll. Luckily, I got a few rolls from one of my buddies who used to work in the late Alps-Do Camera shop before it closed for good. This gave me the chance to shoot more of it so I could present you with a simple review of this film.

It’s not cheap by any standard and having it processed in the lab will cost you more than a regular roll of C41 film. The results are worth it but I’d never shoot it for fun because of the cost involved.

I believe that this is Fujifilm’s best slide-film but people seem to rave about Fujifilm Velvia more because of its tendency to produce out-of-this-world saturation. While that is good for certain things like taking pictures of autumn or sunset scenery it’s not something that I’d like to use on a regular basis. Beside, I found that this has better detail than Fujifilm Velvia as far as I could remember.

Looking at digitized photos from Fujifilm Provia 100 won’t give it justice. You should look at the results with a loupe or with a projector. The results are amazing, you could feel the 3D-like depth present in the tiny frames. This is because of the nature of chromogenic film where it’s made with several layers of silver. Digitizing film results in us losing this look so all we’ll get is a “flat” representation of what it truly is which is a shame but it’s the only way we could share them online.

It has amazing saturation without being too-overpowering like what Fujifilm Velvia 50 tends to give. Colors are more neutral but rich.

Tonality is quite nice but I do notice that some of the mid-tones are clipped. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just how the this film was formulated, that’s why you could get nice contrast and saturation with it.

Its fine-grained nature allows you to take sharp photos, almost digital-like in many cases. Of course, a high-MP sensor will give you better results at the micro-level but this is close to it.

You’re assured with crisp-looking details when you get everything right. Metering with it is tricky, you’ll have to get everything right within a stop’s difference or even less or else you’ll end up with a muddy-looking photo due to underexposure. Overexposing isn’t a good idea either, I don’t think it handles it as well as C41 films. It’s kind of tricky but satisfying at the same time.

This is how it looks when overexposed by a bit. You’ll lose some saturation and richness. Using a reliable spot-meter helps a lot.

Overexposed areas will look clipped but not ugly, it doesn’t have the dynamic range of C41 process film. You’ll have to meter your subjects properly specially in the areas that counts.

Here’s another overexposed photo, notice how the black look off but not ugly. It would’ve looked a lot better if I underexposed it by 1/3 of a stop.

Depending on the lens used it could also give you a subdued look. This has more to do with which lens you use it with rather than the medium it was rendered on.

The results are amazing when you expose it perfectly. This is the best slide film for me, it gives a nice, chrome-look to your pictures without making them look too-stylized. This is the most versatile slide-film that I’ve ever used.

It’s also great for portraiture, I would never use Fujifilm Velvia 50 for something like this. It renders nice skin tones without making your subjects look like boiled prawns.

It captures amazing details due to its fine-grained nature and the colors look fantastic. The “chrome-look” is a very addictive thing and that’s the main reason to shoot with slide-film.

Since I knew how unforgiving it is when it came to exposure I metered this scene carefully and thankfully the resulting photo turned out looking great, exactly as I have envisioned.

Overexposing this means you’ll lose some saturation. This would’ve looked a lot better if it was underexposed by 2/3 of a stop, the leaves would’ve looks a lot redder and the sky would’ve looked bluer.

This is a tricky situation. For scenes like these, just think about what matters the most. In this example, you’re going to want to expose the foliage correctly. I think it’s 1/3 of a stop overexposed but that’s just a tiny margin so I’m still fine with it.

While this film looks great with strong lighting using it with more even lighting brings out the best in it. You’ll able to get better tonality at the cost of lowered saturation. I recommend not shooting portraiture using this if the light ratio is too strong.

I highly recommend this film to anybody who needs to take important photos. This is not something that you should be shooting with for fun or any low-yield scenarios since it’s expensive. If you have the money to burn this won’t be an issue. For most of us, this is best used for taking important wedding photos, documenting and taking photos of significance. I hope that it won’t be discontinued like Fujifilm Natura 1600, it will be a shame if it does since this is the best Japanese slide-film ever produced. Shoot with it before Fujifilm starts culling, it’s something that this company is known to do.

Thank you very much for following my work. If you liked my content, please make sure to share it with your friends at social media. Every view counts, this site is earning around $0.40 a day from views alone. You could also support this site, doing so enables it to continue. Your support helps me offset the cost of maintaining and hosting it. You’re also helping me purchase, process and digitize film. This site is for promoting the use of film so it’s all for a good cause. Thank you very much and see you again next time, Ric.

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Maintaining this blog requires money to operate. If you think that this site has helped you or you want to show your support by helping with the site’s upkeep, you can make a small donation to my paypal.com  (richardHaw888@gmail.com). Money is not my prime motivation for this blog and I believe that I have enough to run this but you can help me make this site (and the companion facebook page) grow.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joe shoots resurrected cameras
    Dec 03, 2020 @ 04:57:23

    I do love Fuji slide films more than any other color film, but have not been happy with the direction Fuji has been going in the last decade or so. I’ve pretty much given up on them: back when I heard that they were discontinuing 5-packs I bought 10 rolls of Velvia 100 (my personal favorite and I noticed you didn’t mention it), which are still in the freezer. I shot my last roll this fall from the 5-pack I bought before that, maybe 4-5 years ago. I use so few rolls that those will last me years, and while Ektachrome isn’t quite as good I will have to satisfy myself with it: at least Kodak believes that film has a future and are supporting it much more than Fuji is.

    Reply

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  3. Chris Moore
    Dec 04, 2020 @ 05:48:09

    In my opinion nothing beats Fuji for any variety of film. I’ve always had the best luck with it.

    Reply

  4. barmalini
    Jan 04, 2021 @ 12:29:33

    Hi Richard! Very nice review of Provia film.
    I would suggest if I may, the next time when digitizing slides, use AdobeRGB setting on your camera instead of sRGB, that way you will keep many more colors in your digital files

    Reply

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