View Full Version : Film for Underwater

11-01-2010, 23:59
Not a rangefinder question, sorry, but y'all are the most film-oriented group I'm a part of.

Most of the films I used to like seem to have vanished in the last, oh, 15 years.

I'm going to Hawaii later this month, and I'm going to be doing some shallow-water snorkeling with my Nikonos. So the question is, what film? It'll be shallow enough that 100 ISO may be fine, though I may want to have some higher ISO film as a backup.

So, what film? I tend to like the really saturated ones; Velvia seems an obvious choice, but Provia's also available -- and I really have no sense of how they're different, nor do I have a lot of time to figure that out. B&W isn't really an option for this as I want the color.

11-02-2010, 07:32
Ektar & Portra would be my choices.

11-02-2010, 09:09
Thanks. Never even heard of Portra, I'll go look up some pictures on Flickr.

Tim Gray
11-02-2010, 09:36
I'd shoot Ektar or Portra, but I prefer color neg to slide for the most part.

I have no idea what kind of lighting you'll be dealing with. The VC Portras (vivid color) are probably better for this purpose than the NC Portras (natural color). Maybe grab a couple rolls of Portra 400VC?

On the other hand, if you like slide and need some more speed, Fuji Provia 400X is a pretty nice film.

11-02-2010, 09:50
depends on lighting contrast. If its quite low then a slide film. Velvia and ektar are more saturated but provia is more natural and can be adjusted digitally if you are scanning which I expect you are if using slide.
If lighting contrast is higher then a negative film would be better. Portra is renowed for natural skin tones. Fuji is very good too.
If in doubt about the lighting then go with a neg film but if its an overcast day then a slide film may be better.

And if you diving to 20 or 30 feet then a fast slide film would probably be best as contrast will be lower down there, especially if water is not crystal clear.

11-02-2010, 13:24
I'll undoubtedly have the lab scan it for me; I don't really have personal bandwidth to deal with actual slides or prints any more.

I am not really skilled enough at snorkeling (especially with a camera in tow) to dive more than about 10 feet, so I don't think light loss will be a significant issue. I just wish I could remember what I used last time -- some Fuji single-use camera, but that was almost 20 years ago.

Thanks for the tips on VC Portra, sounds interesting.

I think if Provia's more natural, I'll skip it. I like extra saturation, and it helps under water.

Well, off to pick up the camera and go get a test roll to play with.

11-02-2010, 16:42
Local store didn't have Portra VC, but I'm now interested enough that I've ordered a roll.