Last February, for my 40th birthday, one of my friends gave me a bag full of expired but unexposed 35mm cartridges. Three of those rolls were Fuji Sensia slide film. I hadn’t actually shot any slide film since my A-level Photography days, and so was interested to give it another go. Unfortunately the pandemic struck, along with the first lockdown, and I decided to save the film for a little later in the Spring and Summer when the restrictions were eased, there was more to be photographed, and I’d be able to actually find somewhere to develop the film.
My camera of choice all last year was the Pentax ME-F that I’d been gifted for my birthday too, so I used all three rolls with this camera. Estimating the film to be about 10 years past its expiry, I set the film speed half a stop over to compensate for any small deterioration in sensitivity. Fortunately this seemed to work. Slide film is famously intolerant of incorrect exposure, but when I had them developed I was pleased to see almost all the frames well balanced. There is something very satisfying seeing the rows of colourful photographs directly on the original film, the gratification is instant, unlike with negatives where scanning or printing is required before the true photo is revealed.
What became difficult was transferring these beautiful tiny pictures to the computer and retaining the character. The Epson wanted to scan the slides with a heavy red cast; using the colour correct function made the frames overly green. I could make the scans resemble how the film looked to the eye. Ultimately I scanned with the colour correction and tried to reduce the green in Apple Photos, but it it did end up taking quite a bit of editing to get the photos looking even halfway towards being accurate to the originals.
Here is a selection of my favourites…
It was nice to have another bash with slide film, but the lack of flexibility in the exposure, and the difficulty with scanning the colour in accurately means I’ll probably stick to cheaper and easier colour negative film in future.