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Photography Question 

Grainy Photos

I have been using the Minolta Maxxum QTsi 35mm and love it (used almost exclusively for taking photos of my 2 year old). However, the last 3 rolls of film I have had developed have come out really grainy. I am using 800 film and the developer is fantastic. The camera has always taken fabulous, sharp, bright shots. WHAT IS GOING ON???? Please help!

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6/6/2003 6:13:03 AM

Tim Devick   Sarah,

Look at your negatives. Are they underexposed? If you don't know how to tell, ask your photo developer if the negatives look underexposed. That is one major cause of grainy pictures.

800 speed film is also not going to have nearly as fine grain as 100 speed film. Usually faster film (with larger film speed numbers) are grainer than slower films. Try shooting with a 100 speed instead of 800 speed film.

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6/8/2003 9:48:45 AM

Sarah    Thanks for the quick response -- I'll use your suggestions. The developer did tell me the negatives were underexposed. What does that mean?

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6/9/2003 5:44:28 PM

Ed N.   Tim is right in that 100 film will have finer grain than 800. Many times, however, it's just not practical or possible to shoot 100 film. You may want to try 200 or 400 film. If the developer has told you that your negatives were underexposed, I'd check first to be sure that 1) you haven't inadvertently manually set the wrong film speed on your camera, or 2) that you haven't accidentally changed the exposure compensation (see your manual) or 3) if you're in Manual mode and out of Program mode, you may have manually set the exposure wrong. In the past, I have had a lens that the autoexposure coupling has malfunctioned. You can try a different lens on the next roll to check that. If that has happened, or if you determine that your metering system is at fault, your camera will need service.

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6/10/2003 6:32:07 AM

T Lee   Hi Sarah,

A quick and dirty answer to your question. Underexposed negatives happen from not enough light hitting the film to properly register the image on the film. You can do 3 things here to fix the problem:
1. Use a faster film. (In your case, this doesn't seem to be the solution, since you are already using a very fast film for most applications.)
2. Use a slower shutter speed. This makes the shutter stay open longer, allowing more light in, thus better exposing the film.
3. Using a Bigger apeture on your camera. For example: a f2.8 as opposed to an f11. This will allow more light in as well, since it will be opening -more- of your shutter. 1/2.8th of it as opposed to 1/11th of it.

You didn't mention where it was that you were taking the pictures of your 2yr old. There may be other environmental controls as well, such as turning on a light, opening drapes, if inside, slightly more direct light if outside. Even though it looks bright to you, sometimes the camera can't "see" as much as you do.

Hope this helps,

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6/10/2003 2:45:46 PM

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