Color Slide Film
Also called color reversal, color positive, and color transparency film, color slide film delivers unbeatable color and sharpness, and can render scenes that are more vivid than real life. Professional photographers often use slide film, as it yields great color and sharpness and allows greater control for shaping images through the lens. It's a great choice for amateur photographers for exactly those reasons.
Slide film also gives you complete control over the images you take. Slides are first-generation images — they're captured directly onto film instead of being printed to paper — which means they can't be corrected (or messed up!) in the lab. When you shoot with slide film, what you see through your viewfinder is what you'll get on the finished slide.
With slide film, what you see is what you get. If you're shooting a particularly important picture, do what the pros do: Take the same shot with several different exposure settings (a procedure called bracketing) to ensure that you get the right one.
Other reasons for shooting with slide film include the following:
Lower processing costs. Instead of printing an entire roll of film, you can pick only your best shots for enlarging.
Easier to store and file. You can easily fit more than a thousand slides in a storage container about the size of a shoebox. This same amount of images in prints would require several full-sized albums.
Best choice for testing new gear or perfecting your exposures. Not only will your lab correct exposure problems with print film, it's also very hard to judge exposure by eyeballing a color negative. Any problems will be immediately visible on a slide.
Less convenient for viewing images. With slides, you need projection equipment — a slide viewer, light box, or projector — in order to see your pictures. You can make prints from slides and they can be copied, but they won't be as good as the original. You also can't get your hands on the images as quickly because slide film has to be sent to labs equipped for processing it.
Trickier to use. Slide film is more sensitive to different kinds of light. If you're shooting indoors, you'll need to use tungsten film that will record indoor or incandescent light correctly. If you don't, you'll end up with a reddish or orange cast on your slides. Shooting out-doors calls for film that's balanced for daylight; using indoor tungsten film outside will result in slides with an eerie bluish tint. Color correction filters are available for converting indoor slide film for outdoor use and vice versa. The slides could also be scanned and corrected digitally.
Very little room for exposure errors. Mistakes can't be corrected in the lab.
Creating first-generation images. Because the slide is the image, it requires more careful handling. Prints (whether made from negatives or slides) are second-generation images, meaning you can handle your prints, give them away, or let the dog eat them, and always have more prints made as needed from your pristine originals.
Some manufacturers use letters as part of their film's names to indicate the film's characteristics. “S” means saturated; “N” means natural; “VS” means vivid saturated; “SW” means saturated warm. You can also find this information on the film box.
Slide film can also vary a great deal when it comes to tone and color saturation. Some types will make skin tones look cold, while others will deliver vibrant, saturated color that may not suit the situation or the subject.
Most photographers have their favorites when it comes to slide film. They also use different types of slide film, depending on the situation. Try film made by different manufacturers in various situations and see which you like the best. For example, saturated film will bring colors out better on overcast days.