Ken Rockwell’s Product of the Decade: 2000s

[written by KopiOkaya]

I never take Ken Rockwell’s online reviews very seriously. He usually just brag about how good some Nikon or Canon products (now, Leica) are, and people actually take his words, rush to the stores and buy them. I once tried out a Nikon flash he recommends highly. To my disappointment, it is no better than another much cheaper ‘non-Nikon’ flash I have.

In 2007, Rockwell did a review on Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro (you can read the full article HERE). One of  his comments on the S5 came vividly into my mind. He wrote:

“The F2 mode could be great, but it’s not. I was hoping Fuji’s wizards would simulate the look of Fuji Velvia 50, but what they appear to have done instead is some trivial straight-line curve mapping.”


From here we know Rockwell has a great liking for Fujifilm Velvia 50 color transparency film, which not surprisingly, he recently named it ‘The Product of the Decade’. You can read his article HERE.


Before digital photography, I shot mainly with color transparency films. One of my favorite  films is Fujifilm Velvia 50.  And I must say, for once, I have to agree with Rockwell. It is especially true when he wrote:

“When you are an artist, everything has to be perfect. “Nearly the same” isn’t the same, and it won’t do if you need the stunning look of Velvia.”


Well, I am no artist but I know exactly how an image shot with Velvia 50 will look on my light table. Which explains why I DO NOT use the F2 mode in my S5 Pro. If I want the ‘Velvia look’, I will use the real McCoy.

So folks, if you still keep a film camera (it’s good that I am still holding onto my Nikon F3HP), why not load a roll of Velvia 50 and discover the beauty of this color transparency film. (Hint: use it during our coming Thaipusam F.U.N. outing)

For E6 processing in Singapore, you can visit either Ruby Photo or Photohub.


5 responses to “Ken Rockwell’s Product of the Decade: 2000s”

  1. richard says :

    Hmmmm.. need to return to old technology in order to use this “product of the decade”. Agree that transparency films are still “the best” but not sure if ISO 50 is high enough for Thaipusam. Depends where the action takes place, ie in bright light or in the shaded areas. I used to shoot Thaipusam with Provia 400.

    But hey, new technology like VR lens will surely help.

    • kopiokaya says :

      For Velvia 50, I usually shoot at ISO 64. This will yield better colors and contrast. The highlights are better controlled as well.

      When photographing Thaipusam, we can always use a fast lens such as a f1.4 prime or f2.8 zoom. Of course, having VR helps.

  2. richard says :

    Agree and agree. Yes, underexpose slightly for even richer colours. Maybe I should go rent a 70-200 f2.8 VR for the great day. Now must check if my 801 still working.

  3. Salnts says :

    hmm i shot with Provia 400 before looks good. velvia too.. the colors are amazing!

  4. kopiokaya says :

    I went to Cathay Photo and bought a roll of Velvia 100 yesterday. The prices of film in Singapore have gone unbelievably high compared to the rest of the world. I got mine for SGD$12.50 a roll after GST. This is ridiculous!!! I remember paying about SGD$9.00 for a roll of Velvia 50 not too long ago (also from Cathay Photo).

    Fujifilm Velvia 100

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