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Photography QnA: Camera Film

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : Camera Film

Wondering how to use a camera film advance? Ask your film camera questions like this and more in this Q&A.

Page 3 : 21 -30 of 39 questions

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Photography Question 
Karen 

member since: 6/15/2003
  21 .  Film
I was just wondering if you are able to tell me the technical differences between fast and slow b&W film. Cheers

6/15/2003 2:38:08 AM

Maynard  McKillen

member since: 3/5/2003
  Dear Karen:
Hmmmmm...technical differences between fast and slow black and white film...Here are just a few. Maybe some of them will turn out to be the answers you're looking for.
SPEED- You've seen Fruit Roll-Ups, that snack (junk) food kids like to eat? Imagine a Fruit Roll-Up with sand in it. That's right, sand. Film is a bit like that. The Fruit Roll-Up is somewhat like the film base. It's job is to hold the particles of light-sensitive silver halides (the grains of sand).
"Fast films" (say, films with an ISO of 320 or higher) have large particles (grains) of silver halide in the base, but also tend to have a wider range of grain sizes than "slower" film. The particles of silver halide in slower films tend to be smaller, there tend to be more per unit area, and these particles (grains) don't vary in size as much as the grains in a faster film.
Fast films, with those larger grains of silver halide, catch more light than slow films, which have smaller grains. Fast films need smaller amounts of light to cause that physical/chemical reaction called exposure than do slower films. BUT, you may not always want to shoot with a fast (more light sensitive) film because of
GRAIN- Most of the prints you make from a negative are larger than the negative, i.e., they're enlargements. As you make larger and larger prints from a negative, you begin to notice "grain," which makes the photo look as if it were made up of tiny dots that are black, white and shades of gray. Slower films tend to allow you to make larger prints (before grain gets too noticeable) than do faster films.
The apparent grain in a print is also influenced by the kind of developer that was used to develop the negative, and how that developer was used (What temperature was it at, how long was it in contact with the film, how was the developer agitated (moved across) the film.).
Graininess hides fine detail, so when you choose a Black and White film, think about how large you'd like to make your prints, how much light you will have available to take the photos, whether you must try to freeze fast moving subjects, and how the film will be developed.
RESOLUTION- How well does a film record fine detail, and how well does it separate areas of the image that have almost the same, but not identical, density? Fast films tend to have less resolving power than slow films. Resolution is also affected by the film developer and the type of agitation the film receives during development.
CONTRAST- Each film, by brand, by speed and by design, has a certain degree or level of contrast. This could be called the designed or inherent contrast. To generalize, slower films tend to have more contrast than faster films, BUT, film contrast is also influenced by the length of time it is developed, the temperature of the developer, the way the developer is agitated (moved across) the film, and by the type of developer used.
COLOR SENSITIVITY- I know we're talking about Black and White film, but that film is translating the colors you see (and some colors you don't see) into tones of gray. And B&W film isn't necessarily democratic about that translation.
Some early black and white films were called orthochromatic. These films were very sensitive to blue, but blind to red. Prints made from the film, especially outdoor scenes, often show the blue sky as virtually white. Because these films were blind to red, anything that color tended to record very dark on a print. You could also develop the film under red light. Newer panchromatic films are somewhat more democratic in their sensitivity to the spectrum of light.
Photographers sometimes tinker with the way B&W film translates colors into tones of gray by placing red, orange, green or yellow filters in front of the lens. Ah, but that's another story.
These comments merely scratch the surface of the topic. Other visitors to this site may need to amend the accuracy of the properties I've mentioned...

6/16/2003 8:58:41 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Karen,
"Fast" and "slow" are relative terms. Faster film responds faster to light and requires less exposure . . . shorter shutter speed and/or narrower aperture . . . than "slower" film under the same lighting conditions. Photographic film consists of minute grains of silver halide suspended in a gelatin coating called the emulsion that is layered on top of a polyester base. There are typically two other layers added, but they're to protect the film from scratches and prevent "halation" and are not relevant to what makes one film "fast" and another "slow."

Faster film has larger grain and clumps of grain in the emulsion which allows it to respond to light faster. This is the downside of fast films, their graininess, and they don't have the resolution of slower film. It also makes the emulsion relatively thicker. Film is three dimensional and faster film with very slightly greater thickness has a secondary effect in also lowering resolution as oblique ray paths travel not only through the emulsion, but very slightly across it. Again, this is a much lesser, but measurable, secondary effect and is of more interest when extreme enlargements are made.

-- John

6/16/2003 11:09:11 PM

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Photography Question 
Debbie Kirke

member since: 10/16/2002
  22 .  Best film for landscapes
It was recommended to me to use Portra 160VC and Portra 400 VC for my pictures on an upcoming trip to New Zealand and Australia. I will be talking mostly landscape photos. Is this the right film to use?

10/16/2002 3:18:01 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  What do you want your landscapes to look like? There are so many films out there and they all have a certain look. Your choice of film depends upon what you want and like. When I shoot landscapes I use slide film (Velvia or Provia 100F). A lot of people like negative film like the ones you mention. Some, including myself, like black & white.

What kind of film do you usually use? Why won't it work for landscapes? A special trip to a foreign land is no time to experiment with a new film you aren't familiar with.

10/17/2002 12:33:34 AM

Debbie Kirke

member since: 10/16/2002
  I would like to use negative film so I can have prints. I've always used just standard Fuji print film. Since this is a "special occasion" the people who sold me my camera recommended the Portra film.

10/17/2002 9:52:10 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  If you have time before your trip then buy some Portra and see how you like it. Before you do, though, you might check with your lab and see what kind of paper they print on. Portra prints best on portra paper and I've heard that it doesn't do so well with Fuji paper. If vivid colors are what you're looking for Kodak has a new Portra film that is supposed to have added punch. It is 400UC (Ultra Color). You might try some of that as well. If you don't have time to experiment then I suggest using what you're used to.

10/17/2002 12:06:38 PM

Debbie Kirke

member since: 10/16/2002
  Thanks so much for your help.

10/17/2002 12:16:50 PM

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Photography Question 
Kelly M. 

member since: 8/23/2002
  23 .  Where to buy black and white film
What stores can I buy black and white film?

8/23/2002 9:25:36 AM

Veronica  A. Cavera

member since: 3/11/2002
  Hi Kelly,

You should be able to buy black and white film at any store that sells film. Your best bet would be to go to a Camera store, they usually have just about any kind of film you are looking for.

8/23/2002 10:40:31 PM

Joni Dreith

member since: 1/14/2003
  Walmart is now selling kodak black and white film. I haven't tried it yet but I did buy some. Joni D.

2/4/2003 10:50:01 AM

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Photography Question 
Damian Valdez

member since: 7/21/2002
  24 .  Which Type of Film Will Enhance Colors?
I've heard that certain film types can enhance colors in your film. I am a student and during the year I would never ever use anything but Kodak TMAX Film either 100 or 400, but now it's summer and I am using color film. I'd like to know which films can ehance which colors and so on ... mostly for outdoor purposes like a parks and in the moutains .
Damian

7/21/2002 10:51:04 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Slide film:
Fuji's Fujichrome Velvia 50 is a favorite of many and probably the 'standard' of enhanced or saturated color film.

From Kodak there is Ektachrome Professional E100S (the "S" is for saturated color), E100SW (saturated/warm), E100VS (vivid saturated). For false colors there is Ektachrome Professional Infrared EIR.

In Kodak's consumer line there is Elite Chrome Extra Color 100.

Color Negative Film:
Kodak Professional Portra 160VC (vivid color) and 400VC.

Fuji may have a comparable print film, but I don't know the name.

7/22/2002 4:00:51 PM

Debbi Koplen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/22/2002
  I have been very happy with Fuji 100 Reala color negative film for strong color saturation. It's about 20% more than Fuji's regular ISO 100 film, but it yields very rich colors. I used it now exclusively.

7/29/2002 5:04:20 PM

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Photography Question 
Sajeev Chacko

member since: 11/16/2001
  25 .  Fuji Films in India
Hi there,

So far I have been shooting with Fuji Reala since it was easily available in Germany and one of the best negative film in consumer lineup. But in India its not available. Instead they recommend Fuji Crystal. Is this a good film. I have never heard about it. Neither I know about any other available films. Can anyone help me in giving some information about various consumer negative and slide films of ISO 100 and 400. Kodak Supra 400 is, I heard, I available. Which other films are available. Please help.

Thnx

5/6/2002 8:38:57 AM

Rupali Sarin

member since: 4/8/2003
  Sir,
In india Fuji Reala is sold by the name of Fuji crystal-100,200,400 ASA by its distributer in India Jndal Photo Films Ltd.The quality of the film is exactly what u are using in Germany and it is very freely available in India.For more details log on to our site: http://www.jindalphotofilms.com

Feel free to write to us at webmaster@jindals.com

Warm Redards
Rupali
(Webmaster)

4/8/2003 3:13:34 AM

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Photography Question 
Sajeev Chacko

member since: 11/16/2001
  26 .  Professional Vs Consumer Slides films

Last time I asked a similar questions on *Slides Vs Negative* and got the answer that I should shoot negative. Thats because I doesn't shoot frequently and prefered to get all my photos printed. But this is different question.

After reading more articles on Slides Vs Negative, I finally decided to go for slides and when needed i.e. when I wants to take snapshots or print most of the photos, I will go for negatives. Thats because slide has better color correction, shows exactly what you captured on it and is a great learning tool.

Now my question is whats the difference between a professional and consumer slide films.

"Many professional films require refrigeration to keep the emulsion fresh. Consumer films and some pro films do not require refrigeration. You can
refrigerate these films when they reach their expiration date to help prolong
their freshness. Freezing film can be done for films that are out of date and
need to be stored for an extended period of time. If you do freeze film, put it in the refrigerator several days before you will need it, then remove it from the refrigerator the day before you're going to shoot. This will ensure the emulsion does not thaw too rapidly and damage the surface. If you shoot your film before it expires, you do not need to freeze it."

These are the lines from http://www.vividlight.com/articles/1309.htm.

Does the fresh emulsion give better picture quality in terms of sharpness, color, contrast etc. How does it compares with the consumer slides with respect to the final picture quality. Will I be able to enlarge photos from consumer slides with equal sharpness as can be done with a professional slide film.

I am thinking of stocking lots of slide films (and some negatives) and use them as needed. Which kind of films (Pro or Consumer) should I prefer. Please help.

Thanks

4/11/2002 9:05:04 AM

Hermann  Graf

member since: 2/28/2001
  Professional films yield more consistent results, i.e., there is less variation between different rolls of film, esp. in terms of color rendition (important for, e.g., fashion photography). This is mostly done by applying stronger selection criteria at the quality control step. In order to maintain this consistency, they have to be stored in a refrigerator before used. But for many purposes, these properties are not needed. There are reports that there is no visible difference when applying "pro" and "consumer" grade slide films.

4/15/2002 5:36:00 AM

Sajeev Chacko

member since: 11/16/2001
 

thanks hermann. if what you are saying is true i.e.


There are reports that there is no visible difference when applying "pro" and 'consumer" grade slide films,


then I really wonder why do professionals go for "pro" slides. may be a slight increase in picture quality. and what is the difference in prices.

4/15/2002 7:37:15 AM

Sajeev Chacko

member since: 11/16/2001
 

thanks hermann. if what you are saying is true i.e.


There are reports that there is no visible difference when applying "pro" and 'consumer" grade slide films,


then I really wonder why do professionals go for "pro" slides. may be a slight increase in picture quality. and what is the difference in prices.

4/15/2002 7:37:44 AM

Hermann  Graf

member since: 2/28/2001
  As said, for some applications as fashion, advertising, etc., it is necessary that the color tones appear to be constant over a series of rolls of films.
Prices for pro grade films are significantly higher, cf., e.g., Fuji Sensia and Provia.

4/15/2002 8:17:20 AM

Sajeev Chacko

member since: 11/16/2001
 

thanks again hermann. I think its bettr to go for consumer films until I feel confident about it. may be later I can switch over to "pro" films. thanks...

4/15/2002 8:51:50 AM

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Photography Question 
Sajeev Chacko

member since: 11/16/2001
  27 .  Slide film or Negative film

It is known that a slide film is much better than a negative film, especially when one wants to enlarge a print. But I seldom enlarges any of my prints. So should I stick to negatives or switch over to slides to get better picture quality. Well, in other words, will there be any noticeable improvement in my prints, of say 4x6in, from a slide film over negative. I prefer to shoot with Fuji Reala 100 which I feel is one of the best negative films available. And for slides I stick to Velvia and Provia.

Thanks

3/24/2002 8:04:48 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  If you are just interested in prints then I would say stick with negative film. Slide film is not necessarily better it's just different. But it is also more difficult and expensive to get prints made from especially if you are just making small prints.

3/24/2002 2:02:06 PM

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Photography Question 
Bryan V. Laplante

member since: 3/20/2002
  28 .  what film to use for my canon rebel 2000 in the ou
i just got a canon rebel 2000 i'm interested in taking far and close up shots of animals in the wild but I dont know what kind of film to use. If you have an idea please e-mail me back at skiracers223@ail.com or post on web site
thank you

3/20/2002 3:33:00 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  You've given me no reason to believe you stalk these animals, so it's a good bet you'll need the reach of a telephoto lens. Teles in the price range for most of us won't have a very wide maximum aperture. We're talking slow shutter speeds here. So, to help compensate for that, use at least a 400 speed film. Look at Kodak Supra 400. Be looking at tripods, too.

3/21/2002 1:18:04 PM

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Photography Question 
Jody Grigg

member since: 11/12/2000
  29 .  Winter Sports Photography
Taking action winter sports photos such as ski racing is it still necessary to open 1 to 2 stops for the snow as you would do for a landscape shot? What speed film would you recommend?

11/25/2001 1:55:20 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  If you know how to meter it is not always necessary to open up 2 stops when shooting in snow. If you spot meter and meter off of something that is a midtone then no compensation is required. That being said, a mid tone is not always simple to identify. White snow is. So to keep things simple, I find it's best to meter off of the snow and open up 2 stops.

Whether you're shooting landscapes or sports makes no difference in the light. You would meter them the same.

As far as film speed, it depends upon the conditions and how fast your lenses are. If it's a bright sunny day, ISO100-200 should be fine. If it's overcast, then you might want 400. Maybe you want to introduce a little blur so you might stick with a slower film.

11/25/2001 11:22:07 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Jeff's suggestion is one method. In general, snow (especially in direct sun) makes the scene about one stop brighter because of its high reflectance. I set the shutter speed one stop faster or stop the lens down by a stop more than I would without the snow. The "Sunny f/16" rule becomes the "Sunny f/22" rule. This works for estimating exposures when working without any metering, a situation I've encountered in severe cold weather below the reliable operating temperature for the meter batteries (the camera bodies used are manual wind with mechanical shutters).

How you set exposure depends on what you want for texture and subtle shadowing of snow (to show its shape). Overexposure can "blow out" the snow losing the glitter of the water crystals in the light, surface texture, and subtle shading that reveals the shape of drifts. Don't be afraid to experiment and bracket exposures until you gain some experience with what works for you.

-- John

11/26/2001 6:44:45 PM

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Photography Question 
Joe Medved

member since: 10/6/2001
  30 .  Enlargements - Film and Standard Sizes
I am brand new to real photography, I just went out and bought a Canon Rebel 2000 and have been practicing with it. I am interested in getting enlargements of my photos and I want to know the best speed of film to use. I am also interested in framing my work, so what size enlargement would I need to have with, say, an 18"x24" frame with a few inches of matting? I didn't know if there is a general rule of thumb. Would it be better for me to learn how to develop my own enlargements, or have them done in the store? I know, a lot of questions to ask but I need help! Thanks...

10/6/2001 8:42:29 PM

David Clark

member since: 8/20/2000
  A tight grain slide film such as Fuji Provia F100 should enlarge to most any size you need. Anything in the 64 or 100 ISO speed will do great. I like the colors of the Fuji slide film over any negative film I've used. For black and whites, I'd stick with true black and white at a 64 speed. Good lighting is required for these films, such as daylight or a couple of strobes should be fine though.

10/9/2001 8:25:49 PM

Mike Turner

member since: 3/16/2001
  David,

I get confused with the two standards. I know there are two standard film rating systems out there, ISO and ASA(?). Is 64 or 100 speed the using standard 200 and 400 rating system or the other system? Thanks.

10/19/2001 1:23:49 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Mike, ISO and ASA numbers are interchangeable. ISO64 is the same as ASA64. ASA (American Standards Association) is the old designation and ISO (International Standards Organization) is the new one.

As to David's response, slide film is indeed finer grained and more saturated than negative. The thing to bear in mind is that if you are going to make prints it is more expensive to get decent prints from slides. In regard to ISO64 b&w film, I think there used to be a 64 speed b&w but I don't think any of the main companies make one any more. In general use the slowest film possible to achieve the smallest grain and sharpest photos.

Mat size is a personal matter. For an 18x24 frame I would use an image somewhere in the neighborhood of 12x18. That gives you a 3" mat.

As to the question of developing your own, you don't say whether you are talking about b&w or color. If you doing b&w then I would say yes - do your own. It is a great way to learn and will save you a ton of money on developing. Which in turn will allow you to shoot more film. If you are shooting color I would say stick with the lab. Color is more difficult and expensive to do yourself (relative to b&w).

10/19/2001 4:06:48 PM

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