Color Reversal or Slide Film Types

Slide film example

Slide film, also known as reversal film, is a type of film that creates a positive image instead of negative images or negatives. Slide film produces vibrant and rich colors that come closer to the actual colors and tones present during exposure. When processing film, you can choose to have the transparency mounted in a cardboard or plastic holder (The Darkroom uses plastic holders) for projecting is a slide projector.

These transparencies or diapositives (abbreviated as “diafilm”) come in various sizes from 35mm, medium format film, and large format, such as 8×10 sheet film. Modern-day color reversal film is processed with E-6 processing. The major film brands for color reversal film are Kodak and Fuji. The ISO film speed of slide film is a typically slow film that results in extremely fine grains to produce sharper images.

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Index of Film

Photography film index

The Darkroom’s comprehensive index of film types; characteristics, examples, and reviews ☆☆☆☆☆.

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Velvia 50

The film is named from blending “Velvet Media”, a reference to the smooth images it produces. This film has an amazing color, super fine grain, and much better tonal transitions and exposure latitude than Velvia 100 which means to does better in contrasty light.

Fujifilm [Introduced 2007] Speed: ISO 50/18° | Balance: Daylight | Saturation: very high
Formats: 35mm, 120, 4×5. 220 & 8×10 are discontinued
Grain: RMS 9  |  Exposure: latitude ±½ stop

fujifilm T64 35mm film

Fujichrome T64

In its speed class, this new film provides one of the highest levels of fine-grain possible and faithful color reproduction. It also provides rich gradation and well-controlled gray balance. These qualities make RTP particularly suited to all types of product photography, interior, and other architectural work, as well as the reproduction of illustrations, paintings, etc. A Tungsten film that casts strong tones of blue. Shoot with this film during daylight and expect moody blue colors.

Fujifilm [Introduced 2006] Film is no longer being manufactured.
Speed: ISO 64/19°  | Saturation: very high
Formats: 35mm, 120, 4×5 & 8×10
Grain: RMS 7  |  Exposure: latitude + 2/3 stop

Kodak PKR 35mm film

PKR  Kodachrome 64

Professional Kodachrome 64 Film is an extremely fine grain film demonstrating very high sharpness. It is an excellent choices for a wide variety of applications. The history and reputation of Kodachrome films is legendary. They possess a “look” that is hard to reproduce in more contemporary films.

Speed: ISO 64 | Grain: RMS 9



Kodak E100VS film gives photographers the most vivid, saturated colors available in any 100-speed transparency film. It’s a daylight-balanced, color reversal film designed for Kodak Chemicals, Process E-6. And its brilliant colors are made possible by Kodak’s new, proprietary Color Amplifying Technology.

E100VS Film is designed for both location and studio applications. It’s ideal for creating high-color transparency images that jump off the lightbox. Use E100VS for nature, scenics, wildlife, food, and jewelry – in fact, any subject that calls for brilliant and dramatic hues.

Film is no longer being manufactured.


Fuji Provia 100F

The most versatile of Fuji slide films with decent exposure latitude, medium saturation, and contrast. Our favorite portrait slide film because it does well with skin tones


FujiFilm RAP Astia 100

 Astia RAP

Fujichrome Astia 100F (RAP 100F) Professional Film A combination of the latest in Multi-Color-Correction Layer technology and exceptionally fine-grain technologies have resulted in Astia 100F a film with strikingly improved smooth and natural skin tones from the highlights to the shadows.

Film is no longer being manufactured.
Speed: ISO 100 | Grain: RMS 7


 Velvia 100

Velvia 100 is a daylight-balanced color transparency film that exhibits incredibly high color saturation reproduction along with a super-fine grain structure to render imagery cleanly and clearly. It has a medium-speed nominal sensitivity of ISO 100/21° when processed in E-6 or CR-56 processes and can effectively be pulled one-half stop or pushed one-stop with Minimal variations in color balance and gradation.

The introduction of new-generation cyan, magenta, and yellow couplers gives this film its uniquely saturated look and also offers anti-fading characteristics for ensured color image storage permanence. High overall contrast and vivid color reproduction make this film ideal for use in a wide range of photographic applications and is especially well-suited for use in scenic and nature photography.

Speed: ISO 100/21° | Balance: Daylight

fpp retrochrome 400 35mm

FPP RetroChrome 400

RetroChrome is a government surplus High-Speed Eastman Ektachrome color positive film. Made for industrial and governmental applications, Kodak adds “it is color reversal camera film that is intended for photography under daylight illumination. Among its many applications are news photography, sporting events, and industrial photography.”

Kodak Rolled by FPP | Speed: ISO 400
Find it at Film Photography Store

Fuji Provia 400x

Fuji Provia 400x

This versatile 35mm slide film is a great choice for all lighting conditions and has high saturation with vivid color. Whether shooting landscape, nature, snapshot, or portrait photography, this film produces realistic and sensitive reproduction of an almost endless variety of subjects with fine grain and superb sharpness

Provia 400X has replaced Provia 400F. Provia 400X features greater saturation and finer grain for today’s professionals.

Film is no longer being manufactured.
Speed: ISO 400| Grain: RMS 11

How Color Reversal Film Works

As the name reversal suggests, slide film works the opposite of film negatives. The red, green, and blue emulsion layers are exposed, leaving a negative dye of cyan, magenta, and yellow. Slide film is a subtractive process that starts with layers of cyan, magenta, and yellow. When the film is exposed, the dye is subtracted to reveal red, green, and blue colors, so processing the film reveals the actual, positive, colors of the image.


1 reply on “Color Reversal or Slide Film Types”

This is a great idea for an article, left sorely lacking by poor execution and not up to the high standards of The Darkroom. Not listing the current Ektachrome 100 is a huge omission. However, the inclusion of the FPP offering is excellent. The coverage of legacy emulsions is spotty. If including Kodachrome 64, where are the 25 and 200 varieties? Others may ask why include Kodachrome at all since K-14 processing was ended years ago? Also, the details for each film are incomplete. While granularity may be hard to find in some cases and its omission is understandable, certainly the available formats are easy to determine and include, as was done for Velvia 50. Finally, the attempt to explain how reversal film works, copied directly without attribution from another online source and slightly edited, is inaccurate, confusing, and misleading. Regardless, it is good to write about the chrome films as more and more “new” people learn about film photography. Folks who have never used reversal film are in for a treat. Ignore all the “scariness” some people write about exposing slide film. Meter accurately (good advice for any film) and learn by experimenting. Enjoy!

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