Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fuji Provia 400X

I first tried a 400 ASA slide film from Fuji about 17 years ago, in those days you were grateful of the speed and accepted the grain which was quite a bit 'grittier' than their 100ASA offering RDP but still good for a 400.
Recently Fuji released Provia 400X which is claimed to be the finest grained slide-film in its class with grain similar to that of emulsions a stop or more slower.
Here is the Advertising blurb:
"Fujichrome Provia 400X features Epitaxial Sigma Crystal Technology for ultra-fine grain along with new generation couplers and new colour correction technology for excellent performance and image stability".

Well I'm not exactly sure what "Epitaxial Sigma Crystal Technology" really means in respect to grain in the final image other than it's Fuji speak for their version of T grain and controlled crystal growth. Nonetheless ultra fine grain in a 400ISO and I'm all ears (and eyes) ; so what does the film look like?
Below is a shot taken in bright outdoor light:

As you can see contrast is good, colours are clean and well saturated. On close inspection grain seems to be very fine indeed much as promised.

Looking at the 100% crop I was surprised how good this film actually is, very sharp and fine grained certainly as good as some slower slide films.
It impresses me that a major company like Fuji is committed enough to put out a film like this, especially as they produce digital cameras and sensors. I can't help wondering if we will see many more improvements to film technology as sales slow because of the continuing shift to digital, hopefully we'll see one or two more improvements in what must be films twilight years.

All images and text ©Mark Smith 2007

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