I am an amatuer photographer who is hoping to become a professional one of these days. I am currently almost exclusivley shooting black and white film for landscapes. I would like to explore the realms of color for these shots. I have heard that slide film is the best for these types of shots, is this true? If so, any suggested types would be well appreciated. Thanks
Slide and print both have pluses and minuses.
Slide print is typically more saturated and more contrasty than print film which a lot of people like for nature/landscape/wildlife photography. Especially a film like Velvia which has really pumped up colours.
Slide film is truly WYSIWYG. With print film, what you see in the print is determined to a good extent by what the (un)trained monkey who operates the machine does when s/he's making your prints. No such intervention possible with slide film.
Slide film is less forgiving than print film. It has a much narrower brightness range and narrower latitude for mistakes than print film. You need to be more careful in your exposure and really make conscious decisions about whether you're going to sacrifice shadows or highlights or whether you're going to use filters or other techniques to fix the problem. Black and white film typically has 9 or 10 stops of photographic latitude. Slide film as about 5, maybe 6.
Slide film is also more difficult to view properly as it's best done with a light box and a loupe.
All that said, a well exposed, well composed slide will look far better than the same scene on a print.
As far as good slide films, there are many. Fuji Sensia is a good, general purpose slide film that's not too expensive to buy. Decent, but not super saturated colours. Quite accurate colour rendition I find. Mid-range contrast and a photographic range that's a bit broader than a film like Velvia or some other slide films. Kodachrome is also a good film although it requires special processing (you have to mail it to a lab) and there are fewer labs doing Kodachrome processing as time goes on.
If you like black and white and want to try black and white slides, pick up some Agfa Scala. You have to mail this away too as there are only 3 labs in the U.S. authorised to process it but it's a fabulous film.
I really appreciate the help, this was a big help as far as looking for film to buy. Not to mention the warning about choosing shots wisely. Just wondering what your thoughts are on kodak's ektachrome VS. Seems like it would be a decent choice from what I have read from Kodak, but perhaps you would know better. Thanks
Sorry, I can't help but I'm sure others will be able to. I've not used E100VS..... yet. I think I have some in the freezer though.
My favourite slide film Fuji, MS100/1000, isn't manufactured anymore so I buy up what I can when I see it on eBay or elsewhere. Other than that, I tend to use Sensia, Provia, Astia for the most part. Sometimes I'll use some Kodak EliteChrome (similar to Sensia) or EliteChrome Extra Color (more saturated colours) but for the most part I'm a Fuji guy when it comes to slide film.