Posts Tagged ‘Astia’

Electric Slide, Part II

Friday, July 11th, 2008


As discussed in a previous post, I recently shot my first roll of slide film. Well, now I’ve shot a second, applying the knowledge I gained from the first roll (to wit, Astia is best shot more or less as metered). I’m still struggling with difficulties in the scanning process; to the eye, many if not most of the slides are beautiful and sharp, with just the right degree of saturation and contrast. My scanner chews them up and spits out muddy scans with weird color casts.


After the last roll, I more or less convinced myself that the thing to do was to bypass Silverfast’s settings, take a totally flat file into Capture NX (my editor of choice, even though it’s more geared toward digital capture than scans) and go from there. I tried that this time, and in some cases, it worked great, but in many — especially where the scene was particularly contrasty — I wasn’t able to do anything useful with the resulting files. I had to go back and re-scan, doing my best with the contrast and, in particular, with the color cast. I’m getting better at this, but it’ll be a while before I can churn out consistent scans that really look the way I want the to — if indeed that’s actually possible with my scanner.


Meanwhile, I’ve gotten my hands on a couple rolls of Ektachrome E100G. In the world of negative film, I’ve always preferred Kodak to Fuji, mainly for reasons of color palette. I’ve also always found Kodak film much easier to scan. Notwithstanding, I really do love the look of Astia, but I hold out hope that Ektachrome will prove easier to digitize. This is important, because my life is substantially digital, and while I’m growing to really appreciate the possibilities of the film medium — and even to enjoy darkroom printing — I really don’t have much use for content that I can’t effectively import into my online world.

Electric Slide

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

So, with my last order of film from B&H, I decided to toss in a couple rolls of slide film. I chose Fuji Astia, based on a quick browse through flickr for images with various slide films. There are a couple of reasons why this was, perhaps, silly — for one thing, I had just about sworn off Fuji (I prefer Kodak’s colors), and for another, I should probably have gone with the equivalent consumer emulsion instead, since it’s the same darn film. Odds are that the reason why I found the Astia images on flickr more compelling is that there’s a selection bias because it’s a “pro” film.


Whatever. It also has a cool name.

I’ve read that it’s best to underexpose slide film a bit, and my camera’s meter sometimes overexposes anyway, so I bracketed my shots, taking one as metered, one a stop darker, and one two stops darker. I had the roll processed at AG Photo, a lab not far off one of my commute routes. I could have saved money by shooting several rolls and mailing them off somewhere, but I wanted to see the results of the first roll before I did anything else.

Surprisingly, I found that the shots I took as metered were by far the best. The highs didn’t blow, for the most part, and the colors and contrast were markedly better than the underexposed shots. Too bad, really. I would have liked to pad the margin of error a bit more by rating it at 200.

I don’t have a slide projector, so I made do with viewing them against my laptop screen and (once I got home) my film scanner’s tiny slide lighty-up thingy. The colors were beautiful, and when viewed with a loupe, there was considerable detail.

Unfortunately, those things did not carry over to my scans. I don’t know why, but I found it far more difficult to coax those nice colors and that rich detail out of the slide and into my computer. Quite frustrating. Hopefully this is one of those areas where practice makes perfect. Still, I got some usable results:

Flowers (Astia:001:07)

Snowy Egret (Astia:001:36)

Tracks (Astia:001:34)

Of course, now I need to be a flipping slide projector and screen so I can become that guy who wants to show you his slides. Oh, well. Embrace the inner dork.