This Detailed Comparison Shows the Difference Between Slide Film vs. Color Negative Film

If you want to get serious with film photography, especially when shooting with slide films, this comparison video will give you an idea when it’s the better choice over color negative films.

With film discontinuations here and there over the years, shooting with slide films has become either rare opportunities that you save for special shoots, or quirky experiments using expired film stocks. Still, for those who really want to get serious with film photography, knowing how to make the most out of the fresh slide films still available out there is paramount. In this very informative and detailed comparison video by Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens, we get to see two of today’s popular slide films, Fuji Provia 100 and Fuji Velvia 100, go head-to-head with a color negative favorite, the Kodak Portra 160.

The fundamental difference between color negative film and slide films lies in their alternate names: the former is also known as print film, while the latter is also known as transparency film. The first yields a negative that is often used for everyday photography which are typically also printed out. The other produces positive images on the film strip, which are loaded on a slide projector or magnifying viewer. In the video below, we see how these films differ in terms of colors, tonality, and contrast when treated as scanned images.

To make his comparisons, Jay chose to go medium format to shoot two of the most popular types of photography: portraits and landscapes. Those who have been shooting film long enough are most likely aware that the Kodak Portra 160 (as well as the Portra 400 and 800) are the ideal for portraits, while the Fuji slide films are best for shooting situations where you want the colors to pop. And from the get go, we can see that the Kodak Portra 160 indeed works like a charm for portraits, while the two slide films rendered the landscape photos in beautiful vivid colors.

To nitpick it a bit more, Jay also tells us that Kodak Portra films are more forgiving of over or under exposures, while the two slide films require precise exposures. The Fuji Velvia 100 tends to make the contrasts and colors punchy, while Fuji Provia 100 makes a great multi-purpose slide film.

One thing that would have made this comparison more balanced and interesting is the addition of Kodak Ektar 100, which is known for having ultra-vivid colors, high saturation, and fine grain.

Do check out The Slanted Lens on YouTube for more photography tips, tricks, and comparisons from Jay P. Morgan.


Screenshot image from the video by The Slanted Lens