Provia F- Are more recent batches improved? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

My first pictures using the first release of Provia F indicated a film with washed out saturation, anemic colour, and a tendency for the reds to shift to browns in the image's less well lit areas. Later I learned from others that they were also unhappy with the initial release of Provia F. Now that the introductory period is over, I would like to know from recent users their opinion on Provia F in comparison to Velvia, specially as regards color rendition and fidelity, exposure latitude and contrast.

-- Julio Fernandez (, September 12, 2000


If you had that many problems with Provia F, perhaps it'd be best for you to buy a box and see if you like it more than you did before. The nearly unanimous praise for this film has been remarkable--I personally think it's wonderful--and thus others must see the film differently than you do. . . which is why you probably shouldn't take their/our word for it. Just a thought.


-- Simon (, September 13, 2000.

My experience with this film has also been good. I don't know if my boxes came from new batches or old, but my results have been very good. You really have to shoot some yourself, and come to your own conclusions. It's impossible to know all the controls in someone elses judgements. Identically exposed sheets developed by different labs will show slight differences in color tone and exposure. I could also show you examples of significant color shifts caused by poor (but not inexpensive) light tables.

-- Larry Huppert (, September 13, 2000.


There are several different grades of films on the market from each of the major manufacturers.

Film is made in wide sheets and long rolls. As the coating process begins the sheet isn't photographic film at all. Then, as the individual layers (there are many) are applied, and many yards of material have slowly moved along, it becomes photographic film. At the onset, not very good film, but film.

This area of not very good film will be spooled or packaged for markets where photgraphic expectations are not high, or where low price is a must.

As the sheet moves along the quality of the film becomes better. This product will be sold to yet another level of market.

Finally, if all goes well (it sometimes doesn't) the film is good enough to be packaged and sold in markets where expectations and prices are high.

The first level is typically sold to companies that "private label" film for drug chains or mini-labs. The second level may be sold that way as well, but it most likely will be packaged in the manufacturers boxes and sold as "gray-market" film, such as may be sold by Wally-Mart, Costco or many dealers who advertise in photo magazines.

This second tier of film can be every bit as good as the top grade film from that manufacturer. Sometimes it isn't.

Kodak sells it's top-of-the-line amateur films in specially marked packages: A US flag, or something like that. Agfa does no special marking. I don't know what Fugi does.

From personal experience with my processing customers I know that results are more variable with gray-market films. We had a roll of E6 film recently that was missing a color layer. I don't remember which one.

I have no idea if these circumstances have anything to do with your problem. I recently tried a few sheets of 8X10 gray-market Provia F and was dissapointed. I intend to try some non-gray soon to see if there is any difference.

Cheers Julio, Barrie Smith, Missoula, Montana where the smoke has cleared!

-- Barrie E. Smith (, September 13, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ