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Up until now I have always used b&w in LF. However I want to try colour. I have not used colour before (believe it or not). I want to try transparency film and have the following questions!!! 1. I shoot landscapes, should I use Velvia or Provia? 2. Is it worth using the Fuji Quickload system (bearing in mind that each sheet will cost me about $5 here in the U.K.)? 3. I use a Combi-plan tank for b&w, is this ok for E6 or do any of you have any other suggestions!!

Thanks (again !!) Paul

-- Paul Owen (, December 06, 1999


Velvia is vivid. Provia is practical. Why not try a 10 sheet box of both? Many landscapers, I know, prefer the snap and saturation of Velvia, but it can also produce excessive contrast in bright sun. Provia is a good all around choice. Each has its place. Regarding development, I'd prefer to have a pro lab do it if commercial speed is not essential.

-- Steve Singleton (, December 06, 1999.

Paul ; I have done the opposite to you, in that I started with Fuji Quickload, and am now getting into black and white more and more. I think Quickload is excellent, especially if you do a lot of walking with your equipment in a backpack. You can carry a lot of film without the weight of many film folders, and the film will stay clean. I do think it is worth the premium, but I have now started to use ordinary (Toyo) holders as well, for shots that are not distant from the car, in order to reduce my overall costs.

In terms of film choice, I began with Velvia, did not like it, and used the more neutral and subtle Astia for a long period of time. However in the summer I went to the northern island on Japan, Hokkaido, and had to bring Velvia QL as Astia was out of stock. The Velvia was extremely impressive, and I would now say that I use Velvia 2/3 of the time, and Astia the remainder. There is a real difference between the films. Two weekends ago I drove to the Southern Alps in Japan (about 3 1/2 hours from Tokyo), and managed to find a truly superb landscape, on a minor road, of Nishino river in the foreground, snaking around the village of Kaida-mura, with the extinct volcano of Ontake-san in the background. The light was superb (about 8am) ; I shot three colour slides on a 90mm Fujinon ; 1 straight Astia, 1 Astia with a polarising filter (the sun was at the right angle for this filter), and 1 straight Velvia.

The straight Astia was a very "true" image of a landscape lit by sunlight on a cold morning. With the polariser, the colours were more saturated, but not in a particularly effective way. However the straight Velvia was easily the most saturated of all (the red roof of a barn in the village is quite dramatically red - in the straight Astia, it is half grey, half red), but the colours also appear more effective and balanced to my eye. However some of the smaller shadow areas lack the detail that Astia has managed to retain. Swings and roundabouts, and a matter of personal taste, I think.

However, the image I like best of this scene is one I took on Tri-X with an orange filter. This is the one I am looking forward to getting printed. Cheers,

-- fw (, December 06, 1999.

fw, I wish I could see your pictures of the Japanese Alps sometimes. I was introduced to LF photography through Shinzo Maeda's books and your comments revive the deep agreement and admiration I have for his work and for the Japanese landscape. Paul, my experience on the transparencies is the following: After nine years of shooting Velvia and regular trials of all the new films from Fuji and Kodak, Velvia remains the number one landscape film. I have come to the point where if the light does not suit the gamma of Velvia, I simply do not take pictures. Or if I do, using Astia on a bright day, I know in advance that the slides will be technically good but will not suit my taste. Astia is the best film for product photography. Provia is by excellence the indoor type of film. In contrasty and low light interiors, Provia is the best choice and will give rich and detailed shadows. However, I will be keen on testing the new Provia RDP III in landscape photography. What I have read on the changes made to the new emulsion (especially the suppression of the magenta cast)could make it a good companion for the Velvia. QuickLoad is the way to go for landscape photography. I am puzzled by the expensive price of photographic gear in the UK. I thought Switzerland was expensive... But the US prices defy all standards. Films and gears there are 30% cheaper than the pro prices I can get here. A pitty that the shipping costs are so huge. Since E6 chemicals are expensive and demand very precise temp and concentration adjustments, I would suggest that processing E6 yourself is not worth it unless you have great quantities of films at the same time.

-- Paul Schilliger (, December 07, 1999.

The home E-6 kit from Kodak is offered in 1-gallon (possibly discontinued) and 5-litre sizes. It runs about $50 US. You will also need 6 more containers to prevent contamination. It is somewhat economical if you're doing a lot of color. It is also a big pain to regulate a precise temperature on 2 chemicals, approximate temperature on 4 more and keep your wash water within the tolerances over the course of the process. Definitely not worth it if you only end up shooting 10 or 20 sheets.

The Quickload holder costs $120 US, and is far superior to the Polaroid holder in film flatness. So to use the Quickload film and not handicap it by using it in a holder that will compromise its quality, you need to lay out even more money.

If the Quickload stuff costs $5 (hope you didn't mean 5 pounds -- ouch) a sheet, a ten sheet box of the standard sheet film should be ~$25. Over here, processing costs about $3 a sheet from run-of-the- mill pro labs, so I'll assume you'll pay $4, making it $40 to process the box.

I'd pay the money to avoid the processing pain the first time, rather than the loading pain. I process my own, and with the short shelf- life of the chemicals it's easier to do largish batches -- you need to use up the kit in 2 weeks once mixed.

If I was to recommend a film it would be Velvia over Provia. Admittedly, I'm not a huge Provia fan. I take my reds RED and my greens GREEN. Good luck!

-- John O'Connell (, December 07, 1999.

Thanks to all !! I will definitely try Velvia in a Quickload holder, I was very impressed with some of Jack DYKINGA'S work I saw recently and this has peruaded me to try colour, although black and white remains a favourite. I think I will also try and locate a lab that handles sheet film for the trannie processing, however they appear at first glance to be something of a rarity on this side of the Atlantic!! One more thing, I have read that Velvia can be quite contrasty!! Would I be correct in assuming that it is best to rate it at about 40 ASA ??? Thanks again. Paul

-- Paul Owen (, December 07, 1999.

From what I hear, many people do rate Velvia at EI 40, but for me 32 is best and 64 for Provia, but this may be due to my local lab. You'll need to test for yourself.

-- Steve Singleton (, December 08, 1999.

I rate Velvia at iso 40 and have been very pleased with the results. When my exposures are off, they actually tend to be underexposed slightly even with the iso 40 rating. Velvia is very contrasty, but this quality can be beneficial, especially on overcast days. You will love the quickload system. I have never had a problem with dust or scratches, even when shooting in sand dunes and dusty slot canyons.

-- Les Moore (, December 09, 1999.

The Fuji Quickload is brilliant and the extra cost of materials is well worth it in my view. I use both the Quickload and conventional darkslides but the darkslides will, in the future, be used for B&W only. I don't do landscape so can't comment on film requirements but for studio work I have dropped Velvia and Provia in favour of Kodak EPP 100 ISO - the colours are very much like Velvia but 1 stop faster is a big help, especially in my field of work. Concerning processing, I use Leach Colour (previously A.H. Leach) of Sunny Bank Road, Brighouse, W. Yorks. Tel:01484 406000. Same day return, never any problems on quality. Hope this helps.

-- Garry Edwards (, December 12, 1999.

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