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Negative Vs. Slide

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Barry, Apr 25, 2000.

  1. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Dear All,

    What is the difference between slides and negs (apart from the obvious)? I mean, most pros use slides - do they give better quality? Why?

    Is it more expensive to shoot on slide film? Surely it should be cheaper as there is no print to be made.

    What´s the best way to view slides (I don´t fancy the idea of having to buy a projector)?

    Thanks for you help,

  2. DHarman

    DHarman Well-Known Member

    Apart from the obvious differences, slides tend to be used more by professionals because the colour and contrast are better from a slide than you can ever get from a print. By a slides nature it is a first generation image. You shoot the film, it's processed and there's your image, so it is also preffered for those who want to have full control over an image 'in camera'.

    Obviously with a negative, it must be exposed and processed. But then that negative must be printed and the paper it's printed on is also processed to reveal the image. Each step in this process can add faults and degrade an image and it is for this reason, plus the better colour and contrast that publications like this magazine often prefer slides to work on becasue the result on the magazines printed page can look better. There's less steps involved getting it there.

    However, a negative's advantage is the ability to manipulate the final image, even though it was shot long ago, in a darkroom to bring out parts of the scene for emphasis. Or make different versions of the same negative as often as you have the negative.

    Slide film is not always more expensive than print film. An average 36 exposure roll of print film costs around £5.50 (UKP). Add the same again for processing (or even more if its done professionaly) and it compares well with process paid slide film (where the price of the film includes processing and mounting) of ten or eleven (UK) pounds.

    However, non-process paid slide film costs around £5.50 (UKP) and processing is extra so overall it balances out in my view.

    As for the best way to view a slide - it is a projector I'm afraid. There's nothing like seeing your slides projected large, on a screen, in all their glory.

    Doug Harman
    Deputy Technical Editor, AP
  3. 0

    0 Guest

    Just to add to Doug's comments (which just about covers the subject):
    You can buy a roll of Sensia2 100ASA 36 exposure process paid slide film for under £6 from Argos or some of the mail order companies who advertise in AP.
    Clive Kenyon
  4. 0

    0 Guest

    Mr. Harman,
    I believe negative or slide film beats digital for getting a sharp image, and that negative beats slide for getting the information necessary to process an image digitally. Whereas the contrast range of negative has never let me down,
    the narrower contrast range of slide film has caused images to be lost.

    I think it makes sense to shoot negative film, scan it, do the darkroom in the computer act, and print it.

    I can see why commercial photographs have to bend to the whims of the art directors - they want to be the one that manipulate the final image - but
    as far as your excellent magazine goes I hope that the final image presented to
    you by the photographer as a print or file is the item accepted or rejected for

    By the way, do you accept digital submissions? What form?

    Bob Reis
  5. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all your advice.

    My next question concerns processing.

    I believe that negative film has increased tolerance in terms of incorrect exposure. Obviously this can be a real plus point in many cases. But what would happen if I want to deliberately over or under-expose some shots to get a certain effect? Would the over and under-exposed shots simply be "corrected" during processing? Is there some way round this, or for experimenting with exposure do you have to use slide film?


  6. chicagobob

    chicagobob Member

    With my Canon IX bracketed series are automatically encoded with instructions to photofinisher to use no filtering but to print as shot. One can also
    encode any photo or even roll at any time with these instructions.
    With other film types I think you can tell pro labs to do this.
  7. Bawbee

    Bawbee Well-Known Member

    Hi Barry,

    I'm an amateur and I almost exclusively use slide film for its true reproduction of what you see in the viewfinder is what you will have recorded. However, I have invested in a slide projector, with a viewing panel attached, and I also have a slide/negative scanner. The equipment is quite expensive but they are a worthwhile investment if you are serious about your photography and want to put your images onto a web-site. There are attachments that can used with a flat bed scanner but they are not as good as a straight scan from a dedicated unit - Yet!

    With regard to the cost of the raw film and processing, I buy my film from what was MX2, now www.7dayshop.co.uk, and they are (soon) selling processing cards for £3.00 each for E6 Processing in Guernsey. This card gets you a 36 exp. film processed and mounted. The film costs for Fuji Velvia and Sensia 100 are both under £3.00 if you buy packs of 10 (possibly the same for lesser amounts). So you can purchase your slide film and have it processed for under £6.00.

    Even if you do not go down the projector/scanner road, you can still buy a decent hand-held viewer with good sized screen for under £30.00 at your Jessops or other photo retailer.

    Good Luck,
    Bob Turner


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