30th of June

Digital Velvia

I love color! More than any other element of my environment, color generates my strongest visceral responses. I think in color, and preach the fundamentals of color and emotion in my day job as a web designer. Not surprisingly, color is the one thing I want to get right in my photos. I’m also old enough to have used Fuji’s legendary Velvia slide film briefly before switching over to digital photography.

As any mature color photography enthusiast will tell you, Velvia is the long-reigning king of color film photography. It is not neutral or shy, but boldly colorful, with over-the-top saturation, and blue, magenta, and pink hues that add a candy-like sweetness to images. It renders colors in the vivid way you remember with your heart. With the advent of digital cameras, accurate color standards have given most cameras the same color personality. That can be perceived as flat and boring to eyes that grew up on a steady diet of landscape photography rendered in vivid Velvia colors.

I recently purchased a used digital camera that brings back some of the glory of Velvia color. The Fuji Finepix S Series is a discontinued series of Digital SLR cameras from the same company that manufactures Velvia Film. They gave the Finepix S series the same color characteristics as their film stock, including a digital version of Velvia.  I must say, its like eating your favorite cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Here is an image I shot with my newly acquired (used) Fuji Finepix S2, mated to a Nikon 18-55mm lens. I shot the image in raw format, edited it with Capture One Pro 6, and did some final tweaking using Nik Viveeza in Photoshop. It has the fundamental glowing magenta and blue tones that we loved so much in Velvia. This is, to my eye, a way to combine what I love most about film photography with the modern practicalities of digital. I am having my cake, and eating it too!

If you care about color, and have a fond memory of Velvia, you can find a great used bargain in the Finepix S series. Granted, the megapixal ratings are modest (6 megapixels, 12 megapixels interpolated), and they do not have the latest bells and whistles. But if what you want is the sweet color of the Velvia, this is the best way to get it!

This photo shows a view from the pier in Exchange Place, Jersey City, New Jersey. NY Waterway operates a series of commuter boats that take tourists and commuters from Jersey City to various stops in New York City. Its a great way to get a view of the New York City skyline. The New York City skyline can be seen in the background. Photo by Don Peterson.



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