Film is a hard subject to tackle because everyone
you talk to will have a different opinion and I'm no different. I
can't recommend the perfect film for the View-Master camera, but I can
give you some pros and cons of a few films that are out there if you
are just getting started.
In my opinion there are three major factors that
need to be considered when choosing film. These are Color Saturation,
Grain, and longevity. I will try to list the pros and cons of some of my
favorite films below.
now comes in three versions. Velvia 50 (Classic Velvia) was discontinued
for a short while, but is back by popular demand. This is THE
best speed for the View-Master camera in my opinion.
Velvia 100 (RMS 8) and
(RMS 8) are the faster versions. Both have high saturation dense blacks. Grain is almost non
existent. The major problem
with all Velvia is that some skin tones don't look natural (anyone with
a ruddy completion), (but Velvia 100F IS better for people shots in
this regard, and slightly less saturation in the red range) and the dark blacks can cause harsh shadows on
peoples faces. For landscapes (or anything where people are not the
primary subject) this is an excellent choice. You can loose a little
detail in shadows because of the enhanced blacks, but it does give a
nice punch to your pictures. Many people think Velvia typically runs a
little shower than rated, 100=80. I shoot it as rated however and am
pleased with the results. Since in sunny situations with a light
colored subjects ISO 100 can still cause slight over exposure when
your maxed out at f16 and 1/100 Velvia is a really good choice. If
using ISO 100 I suggest getting some ND3 (Neutral
Density .03) filters to cut the exposure by one stop when needed. I
use some 37mm ND filters with an adapter ring, but you might can
find some actual Series V ND3 filters.
100F has the same great grain as Velvia 100f. It has an RMS value of 8. I have used this film a lot and like it quite a bit but miss
the extra saturation I get with Velvia. This film has good color
saturation, but leans toward the accurate side. I find that it works
very well for people pictures and indoor flash pictures.
Provia 400X is a great film if you need the extra speed. It has
an RMS value of 11, which is it's main drawback, but it's the finest
grain available at that speed. For VM shooting indoors it can improve
your depth of field by allowing you to use a smaller aperture.
Astia 100F has an amazing lack of grain (RMS 7). It's made to
accurately reproduce skin tones and it does this very well. It has
less saturation than Velvia or Provia however.
Kodak's Pro E100VS,
and E100SW are great for color saturation. VS is comparable to Velvia,
but I find Kodak's film to have better skin tones while still giving
great color saturation. Velvia has better grain though, so if I'm
shooting landscapes that's what I go with. For the View-Master format the major drawback with this film is grain.
Keep in mind that the View-Master format is around half the height and
width of a normal 35mm film slide and in high magnification viewers
like the model D, grain can become very apparent. The Kodak films RMS value
is 11 for VS and 10 for the S and SW (lower is better) and in some shots this is not a big deal, but
anything with a lot of sky in it will show grain. This film uses the
common E-6 Process for quick turnaround when processing.
Kodak E100G and E100GX
has great grain (RMS 8)
I have done some testing of it and I thought it's shadow detail was a
little muddy. The highlights appear to wash out real easy as well.
It's OK, but not great.
is the king of longevity. It's estimated that in good storage that it
is stable for 150 years. No one knows for sure because it's only been around
for a little over sixty so it may last even longer. It has pretty good
grain at slow speeds (RMS 10 for ISO-64) and
good color saturation. It has a major drawback in that it is only
processed in a very few places (K-14 Process) in the country and you
typically will have to wait a couple of weeks to get your film back (all others
on this page use the E-6 process). The labs are getting fewer and
fewer, but I know Dwaynes Photo still does
I currently use Velvia 50 and 100 with shots that
don't focus primarily on people. I will use 50 in all my classic
cameras that top out and f16 and 1/100 until they discontinue it.
For shots that have people, i'm shooting Velvia
100f and Provia 100f. Velvia 100f does a pretty good job on most
people shots without making people look like they have a sunburn,
but you still get "burned" some times.
Related link: How film is