Reversal film

A film that is manufactured and processed in such a way as to produce a positive image after exposure.

In photography, reversal film is a type of photographic film that produces a positive image on a transparent base. The film is processed to produce transparencies or diapositives (abbreviated as "diafilm" in many countries) instead of negatives and prints. Reversal film is produced in various sizes, from 35 mm roll film to 8×10 inch sheet film.

A slide is a specially mounted individual transparency intended for projection onto a screen using a slide projector. This allows the photograph to be viewed by a large audience at once. The most common form is the 35 mm slide, with the image framed in a 2×2 inch cardboard or plastic mount. Some specialized labs produce photographic slides from digital camera images in formats such as JPEG, from computer-generated presentation graphics, and from a wide variety of physical source material such as fingerprints, microscopic sections, paper documents, astronomical images, etc.

Reversal film is sometimes used as motion picture film, mostly in the 16 mm, Super 8 and 8 mm "cine" formats, to yield a positive image on the camera original. This avoids the expense of using negative film, which requires additional film and processing to create a positive film print for projection.


  • Shows what exactly was captured on film without printing.
  • More accurate color translation when digitizing. There is no need for color inversion processes.
  • Much faster digitizing on professional scanner machines.
  • Bright colors.


  • 1½ stops of exposure latitude, compared to three stops for color negative film.
  • Lower film speeds than color negative.
  • Typically higher priced.

Key Terms

positive image
reversal film
transparent base
type photographic film


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Reversal film
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Sources & Credits

Last modified on July 9 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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