Slide film isn’t for me

I won’t turn this post into a rant, but recently I came to the conclusion that I’m not that fond of slide film, or, at least I don’t like the results I get from them.

As I’ve written before, what made me fall in love with film photography was the lack of necessity for post-processing. I love the colors I get in each roll of Kodak ProImage or even cheaper C-41 films. I think they match my vision, way of speaking.

There is a quite famous trekking trail close to where I live. It’s a long mountain trail that connects Petrópolis, my city, to Teresópolis, a neighbor city. Loads of great views, as expected. Not exactly a light walk with its 28 kilometers of rocky climbs, so it isn’t something I do every other weekend. More like once every two or three years.

When the opportunity came, I thought long of what to take. Digital? Analog? What camera? I finally decided to take my Olympus Stylus Epic, aka mju-ii, and a couple rolls of expired (but kept in the fridge) Provia 100F. When you’re walking with a large group, it’s quite irritating if someone keeps asking for a little pause to photograph. No, it must be done quickly. A good point and shoot is the less intrusive option.

Trouble is, I hadn’t a clue of what the camera was doing, so I didn’t know what to expect when I sent the rolls for development. I took a lot of “difficult” photos, dynamic range-ly speaking, of the sunset and sunrise, using the camera’s spot meter and hoping for the best.

The results were, well, not what I hoped, although people I showed ended up liking them. I think I’ll always expect the subtlety typical of a ProImage or a Portra when I shoot. Some friends told me that slide film performs better in portraits, but I don’t know. It was used a lot for landscapes, wasn’t it? And this wasn’t the first time I ended up disappointed with what I got from slides.

It got me thinking if the scanner can handle such vibrant colors well. It’s my usual lab scanner, a Noritz. Great scanner. I like its C-41 results so much that, even having a scanner of my own, I still pay them to scan my color negatives.

While they aren’t bad in the usual sense, I feel they ended up looking like over saturated digital photos. Lots of chroma noise, too, since there were so many dark areas outside of the bright sunrise sky. If I wanted them to look like that, I could simply use a digital camera. Processing E-6 isn’t cheap. Maybe, if I used an enlarger and photographic paper, the resulting prints could look and feel different, but, as it is right now, it will be a while until I load a new slide film roll in my cameras.

My next post will be a gallery with those not-very-loved-by-me slides. Probably.

Well, I’ll always love looking those pretty positive strips, though.


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