Color Slide Film and A Used Lens

What an invention. Invention of the century. No, not somebody-in-Kodak-or-Fuji-company’s invention. My invention. I invented Color Slide Film. In the internet.

The internet introduces me again with the wonder of photography. The film that costs twice as much as the color print film that I normally used. The film that in my town it is very expensive to print from. The film that the result can only be enjoyed with holding it against the window (since light table was not even in my shopping list, neither was a film scanner). What good about it? I feel I am a professional. I am using chrome, you know? See? I call it chrome. Like pros do. A film with very narrow exposure latitude. Not amateurish forgiving exposure latitude like print film.


I feel like I was ready to feel like a pro, until I took the result from the lab. What is it? Why is it still too dark although I see it against even the brightest light? The legendary ‘full and vibrant color’ that is supposed with slide (as I read in internet) is obviously not there.

Not until the third or fourth roll did I find my first ‘satisfactory’ result. One good frame. What a joy. I almost gave up my FM2n. Almost gave up on photogaphy. First good slide. What a joy. I am ready to buy more film. I love my camera and lens more and more everyday.

The slide film I bought usually was Fuji. They are Sensia 100, Provia 100F and Velvia 50. To be honest to you, I cannot differentiate Provia slide from Velvia. They look the same. I am a rookie, remember? Sometimes I can guess and I was right, but most of the time I cannot. Sensia is a league below the twos. They are rather different. For natural and not so vibrant look I prefer Sensia. Good for general purpose. For more saturated and ‘unnaturally great color’ Provia and Velvia 50 are my choice. Lately I tried Provia 400. Apart from the speed advantage I see no difference in color behaviour. Quite good. I like it. I also tried Kodak Elitechrome EB and EBX. Don’t even think to try those. The red is ridiculously red. Honest. I am rookier than rookies, but I can see the color is nothing you can accept. Especially the EBX. They call it Extra Color. They should call it Extra ridiculous.

I have not tried the new Velvia 100F nor the newer Velvia 100. I think by the time they are available, it was either I still have some rolls of the 50 or other film in my cabinet that I did not need to buy new rolls or I already use digital. But that’s another story. I’ll tell you later.

During the same year I bought my brand new Nikon FM2n and brand new Nikkor 50 1.4 AFD, I bought my second lens used. A manual focus lens: Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS. Forgive my lazy memory even until now I still keep forgeting what the AIS means. If you are interested in knowing what AIS means, google is your nicest neighboor. Heaps of information out there. It is still in production, and I handed it in a store with a new one, which I cannot afford. Located a used one for two third the price of new, I decided to go for it.

Why I chose to bought this lens? Because it is reportedly a very sharp lens. You know what I mean? I learned from my best friend named internet that nowadays it is very important to have a very sharp lens just to ‘contribute’ in an internet forum responding to other rookies who are asking about lens recommendation (does it sound familiar?) so that we can say that your lens is one of the sharpest available in that brand. Other matters – including the pictures you make – definetely comes after that.

Do I run a scientific test to prove the claim is the case with my lens?

Are you kidding?

1) Do you think rookie like myself have adequate understanding about lens sharpness?

2) Do you think rookie like myself have enough throw away money for film and processeing to do the test?

To be honest I am happy with the result. It is okay. Sharp and contrasty. The close focus of 20 cm is very nice. But mine has one drawback: the focus ring does not feel nice. Sometime I heard squeak when rotating the focus ring. Maybe the mechanism inside is lack of the lubricant.

Coupled with my FM2n, they are a great combo. I attached a Hoya circular polarizer in front of it. It was GREAT. My sky is sureally blue. Very dark you think it is not sky. Slide is the only way to enjoy the combo. BW with the polarizer attached also gives outstanding result since it emphazing the contrast between the sky and the clouds.

Later on I learned that it is not used to blue the already blue sky to a level it looks so surreal, but to blue the blue sky so it looks naturally blue. I myself confused with my own english. It was fun.

It was fun.

PS: Image above was made using Nikon FM2N with Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS + circular polarizer. Film was Velvia 50.

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