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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 4 : 31 -39 of 39 questions

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Photography Question 
Rene 

member since: 1/30/2001
  31 .  Print vs. Slide (or Transparency) Film
What is the difference between print and slide film? Is slide film the same as transparency film? I bought some tungsten film, and the clerk asked me which I would like... I went with the print, because I was too embarrassed about my elementary knowledge to ask him about the difference.

8/28/2001 5:14:59 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Rene,
Slide film is (more properly called) transparency. It's also referred to as chrome, diapositive and reversal. A slide is a transparency mounted in a small frame, usually for projection. Reversal is the general developing process for the film and is different from processing negatives. In 35mm size it is usually returned from processing in plastic or cardboard slide mounts (unless archival sleeving is specifically requested). The transparency in the slide mount is the film that was in the camera.

Transparency film is noticeably less forgiving of exposure errors. Prints can be made from transparencies. It's a little more expensive, but a properly printed slide has a look to it I have not seen duplicated using negative film. Many fine art (gallery) photographs are made using transparency films. It's also preferred by stock agencies and magazine editors. The image on a transparency can be looked at and evaluated much easier than the image on a negative.

-- John

8/28/2001 11:48:42 PM

Mark A. Braxton

member since: 5/2/2000
  Hello Rene,

First of all, I'd like to say that John was correct. For instance, if you take a picture of something and, it comes out too light or too dark you will see this on your slide. With a negative the print may be lightened or darkened to help hide this fact. Most people that like picture (prints) prefer negatives while people that photograph for art (or are trying to learn photography) prefer slides. It lets you see what you actually did, instead of a correction of what you did. This helps you know for future references what you need to look out for. Also, it shows you the changes in your photographing techniques that you need to make in order to take good pictures. Then you won't have to wonder if they all will come out in most situations. This way when you take family pictures or candids you can use print film and feel confident about the outcome. Special events (weddings, etc.) are usually on negative films (print films) also. Thus, after practicing with slide film you can feel confident in telling the bride and groom you can do their wedding when you are asked. You won't feel so worried about how the finished products will look. Of course, practice makes perfect. Good luck and hope you enjoy your hobby as much as I do.

9/5/2001 7:44:46 PM

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Photography Question 
Amber Mizer

member since: 6/18/2001
  32 .  Best Film for Portaits - Portra vs. Reala?
Ok, so I've heard conflicting recommendations about these two films and am wondering what you all recommend, personally...

I am shooting with a Minolta Maxxum 300si and will be using a strobe flash. I'm shooting school portraits and will be sending the film to a pro lab.

Kodak Portra 160 NC is what I've always been told in the past, and I know the lab I use recommends it and prints with Portra paper.

What's the difference between portrait films, really?

Thanks!!!

Amber

8/27/2001 9:45:30 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  If your lab prints on Portra paper then I would say stick with the Portra film. There isn't any significant difference between the two films. It's a matter of taste and experience. If you took a killer shot on the Portra you'd feel good about it and say it's the best of the two. It's more a matter of picking a film and sticking with it. Learn how it responds under different circumstances. Be the film, grasshopper.

8/28/2001 1:26:44 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Amber,
Portrait films are geared for both portraiture and wedding use with the principle subject being people. They are optimized for accurate skin tones, have very wide latitude to retain detail in both white wedding dresses and black tuxedoes, and restrained saturation to pick up subtle color gradation. They are also more forgiving of slight exposure errors.

Films that fall into this class are Kodak's Portra NC and VC (slightly more saturation than NC), Fuji NPS 160 and NPH 400, and Agfa Portrait 160. The most popular among those I've talked to seems to be Portra NC, either 160 or 400, although some like a little more saturation which VC has. A local friend uses Agfa Portrait 160 and likes it. Which you choose is a matter of personal preference about the differences among them which are not all that great. Ultimately you may want to try a little of the Fuji NPS or NPH and Agfa Portrait just to see what they do.

Fuji Reala is an excellent, extremely fine grained, general purpose film. It is more saturated with higher contrast (less latitude) than a portrait film while maintaining decent skin tones. This means somewhat less subtle color gradation and it's easier to lose detail in pure white and/or pure black clothing. You probably would not run into too much trouble with the school portraits unless there are children wearing pure white or pure black. I don't recommend it for a wedding though because of the narrower latitude.

I've used both Portra and Reala. The color rendition of Portra is softer compared to Reala because of the difference in their saturation and contrast.

-- John

8/28/2001 2:20:04 AM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  By the way, Fuji just released a new film called 160 NPC. As you might have guessed, it's a portrait film with a bit more contrast to it. I'm looking forward to using it.

8/30/2001 6:32:05 AM

Mark A. Braxton

member since: 5/2/2000
  Hey Amber,
Glad to hear you have an interest in photography. I'm just a hobbyist much like yourself but, I'll try to pass on some professional advice. First of all, your reala is actually an early attempt at portrait film. It is mostly a professional general purpose print film with a fine grain. It might not be bad outdoors when your trying get the background in along with a subject to catch school events. But, just remember it has an iso of 100 meaning your shutter speed will be slightly slower than the portrait films at 160 and 400 iso.
My cousin is an advanced amateur and he was used to using reala. I talked him into using NPS 160 for my wedding. He was impressed with the colors of the prints. I must say the grain was tight along with the colors.
My real advice is try the Kodak and Fuji portrait films. Unless it's homecoming or some event where someone is dressing wild, I'd stay away from the VC and other heavily saturated films. If someone has on some clothing with wild colors you might be upset with how it brings those colors along with your subject. Remember these are going to be memories of teen years when impressions and peer pressure are their heaviest. Then too years down the road no one wants to be joked about the outfit they had on because the film helped exaggerate it. Good luck and happy shooting.

9/5/2001 8:06:33 PM

Gilbert Chatillon

member since: 5/5/2002
  Hi Amber,
Personally I prefer Kodak Portra NC, or VC for that matter, over Reala for portraiture.
I disagree with other reviewers describing the VC version as highly saturated. It is not. The difference between the two is in fact quite small for most subjects. Besides, people like accurate skintone rendition but they don't like bland, lifeless pictures. Only the students with darker complexions may come out a little too ruddy. So just to be on the safe side, I would go with Portra NC. If it can be of interest to you, here are my favorite portrait films from best to worst:
Portra NC
Portra VC
Fuji NPC
Fuji NPS
Agfa Portrait

5/9/2002 9:58:15 PM

Gilbert Chatillon

member since: 5/5/2002
  Hi again Amber,
I forgot to mention one thing in my answer to your question. It's that everybody is right when they say that it's a matter of personal preference. Do like I did, gather a few friends or family members and try a roll of each film, you'll know right away what you like.
Have fun.

5/9/2002 10:19:42 PM

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Photography Question 
Martha Meier

member since: 9/8/2000
  33 .  Best Film Choice; Speed/Brand
I am planning a trip to Peru. I will be going into the Amazon and may need to take action shots, sometimes at night or early morning. I will also be in bright sunlight at places like Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. What film speed and brand do you recommend for these settings?

8/20/2001 9:46:15 PM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  I read that the new series of Fuji Press film is quite good. Both the 800 and 1600. I was very dissapointed with Fuji Press 800 about a year ago, but the magazine said there was "marked improvement".

I do know that NGH II 800 is also very good.

In the bright day light, you may have to stop down to get a realistic shutter speed. However, this more than makes up for the flexibility of being able to shoot early morning/night, without long exposures.

8/24/2001 1:40:34 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  I see these questions all the time. My answer (and many other's) is the same. Use what you would normally use. A special trip like one to Peru is no time to be trying some new film that you aren't familiar with. Besides that you haven't told us what you are going to do with the pictures and what kind of equipment you will be using. How big are you planning on enlarging? How fast are your lenses? Will you be using a tripod? Will you have time before the trip to get accustomed to a new film?

8/24/2001 11:37:46 AM

Martha Meier

member since: 9/8/2000
  Thank you for your responses. I realized after I submitted the question that I hadn't given enough information on my camera. I only have a 35mm camera with no special lens features other than a manual telephoto lens. I was told to just use 100 speed as it would give me better clarity with enlargements (10x12 or 11x14). I was also told that I could shoot pictures in the "night mode", but that once I used that setting I would have to use that setting for the entire roll. Does that make sense?

8/24/2001 7:12:47 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  For most situations 100 or 200 speed film is more than more than sufficient and will provide greater image quality than faster films. I am not familiar with "night mode" but the only time you would have to worry about shooting a whole roll a certain way was if you were pushing the film. I have never heard of a camera that has an auto mode which pushes the film for you. If you do push the film you must tell the lab so they can adjust the development.

8/24/2001 8:47:27 PM

Martha Meier

member since: 9/8/2000
  Jeff - What does "pushing the film" mean exactly?

8/24/2001 8:55:18 PM

Ken Pang

member since: 7/8/2000
  I agree with Jeff that you shouldn't try a new film in a "once off" trip like Peru, but I strongly disagree with Jeff's evaluation that 100 or 200 speed will be sufficient.

Martha's mentioned she'll be using film in low light, action shots on a telephoto lens. Unless that lens is ridiculously bright, I doubt she'll be able to get the shutter speeds she needs for the action shots - if she can even hand hold the camera under those conditions.

Pushing film means that if you know the film has not received enough light, either intentional over rating of the film, or unintentional under exposure, you leave the film in the developing chemicals longer. The image then becomes more visible, but also more grainy and contrasty.

Some people use it artistically, more people use it to recover images when they didn't have fast enough film to cover the situation they wanted.

8/24/2001 9:01:22 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Pushing a film means to rate it at a higher ISO than it normally is. For example, say you are out shooting and all you have is ISO200 film but you need to shoot in low light and can't use a flash. You can push the film to 400 and shoot the roll that way. Once the roll is done you take it to your lab and tell them it needs to be push processed for ISO400. It's good in a pinch but the results are generally not as good as they would have been had you used actual 400 speed film.

8/24/2001 9:05:21 PM

Martha Meier

member since: 9/8/2000
  Thank you, now I understand what it means to "push" the film. Just so you know, I have a Vivitar TEC155 with auto focus, zoom lens 35-70mm f3.5-6.7
I have 3 modes from which to choose: auto (camera selects proper exposure,automatic flash if needed),daylight (feature in which you can "flash fill" a subject when the sun is behind the subject or when you are shooting in the shade), and non-flash(lets you take pictures without the automatic flash feature; useful for evening scenes, shooting in museums which do not allow flash, or available light situations in which you want to preserve a more natural lighting effect.)

8/24/2001 9:40:13 PM

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Photography Question 
B C. Quang

member since: 8/16/2001
  34 .  Filters and Type of Film for Trip to France
I'm going to France in a few weeks and I'm looking for that great photo. What type of film and filters should I consider buying. I'd rather stick to print film in color and black and white. I am hoping to take some really saturated photos.

8/16/2001 9:24:08 PM

Elaine S. Robbins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/14/2000
  Well, if you want "really saturated" colors, then you'll want to use slide film. I shot my first roll of slide film and was just blown away by the colors and sharpness. Fuji Velvia (ISO 50) is supposed to be the ultimate in saturation. But if you're determined to stick to print film, I suppose the only advice I could give would be get a relatively low-speed (ISO 100) in any of the major brands (Fuji, Kodak, etc). As for black and white film, I don't have much experience, but the one roll of Tri-x Pan 400 (Kodak) that I shot seemed ultracontrasty though fine-grained (though that might have been the printing). At my university's photog dept and darkroom (where I work) Tmax 100 and 400 seem to be the order of the day. Beyond that, with print film a lot of it is just finding a good lab for the printing, if you can afford it.

Another convenient black and white film is C41 black and white - it can be processed at any lab that does color printing. This I've shot several rolls of and in contrast (hehe) to the Tri-x Pan it seems to give good attention to the midtones, a bit "softer" overall - good for portraits. It does have a unique sort of feel though, so I'd recommend giving it a try before stocking up on it.

8/20/2001 9:39:37 AM

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Photography Question 
Jason  Morgan

member since: 7/30/2001
  35 .  Safari Photography Advice
I will shortly be going to South Africa to take slides of the wildlife for references for my oil paintings. As my lens speeds are not fast - 70-210mm, f4.5 zoom, 28-80mm, f3.5 zoom and a 400mm telephoto f6.3, I was wondering your recommended slide film/speed (my guess was 200 and some 400 but I was concerned about grain, are Kodak Elitechrome and Fuji Superior II suitable?

7/30/2001 4:25:22 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Jason,
Elitechrome 200 has very nearly the same granularity as Elitechrome 100. There is a leap in granularity when going to Elitechrome 400. Unless you need the ISO 400 for film speed, use the ISO 100 or ISO 200.

Data sheets for the Elitechromes with granularity numbers. You will need Adobe Acrobat to read them; they're PDF files:
100 speed
200 speed
400 speed

All three are general purpose transparency films (do not confuse Elitechrome 100 with "Elitechrome 100 Extra Color" which has extremely high saturation).

Fuji Superia is color negative. Fuji Sensia II is transparency. Not completely certain which you were asking about. Both lines are general purpose films. Assuming you are asking about Sensia II, the data sheets for them are here:
Sensia 100
Sensia 200
Sensia 400

Sensia 400 has slightly finer grain than Elitechrome 400. However, the situation is noticeably reversed at ISO 200 with Elitechrome 200 being significantly finer grained than Sensia 200. Sensia 100 and Elitechrome 100 are comparable. All that said, it's still a matter of personal preference in which one(s) you like best.

-- John

7/31/2001 12:30:05 AM

Joel 

member since: 6/15/2000
  Hi Jason:
I am also going on an African safari next month. While there are many slide films to choose from, my personal favorite is Kodak E200. This film has excellent grain characteristics and excellent color saturation. Its best feature, though, is that the film can be pushed to 400 or 800 with very little increased grain. In Africa, where the game drives are in the early morning and late afternoon hours, you can expect some deep shadows and the "pushability" of this film will serve you well.
Have a great time on your safari.

Joel

8/1/2001 11:16:02 PM

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Photography Question 
Glenn Theal

member since: 7/30/2001
  36 .  Colour Saturation and Vibrancy
Hello,
I am new to photography and am loving it. However, I am curious as to how to make the colour in my shots seem more saturated and vibrant.

Recently, I switched over to using Fuji Superia Negative film. I have heard that their Velvia Transparency film is excellent, but I am a little nervous moving into transparency film at my early stage.

Any helpful hints regarding colour saturation would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Glenn

7/30/2001 2:39:00 PM

Chuck 

member since: 4/23/2000
  Glenn, unless you can find a good printer, (professional lab) one who knows how to print color, you might be disappointed. Try to learn to shoot slide film --100 Speed-- Fuji or Kodak, and you will get your saturated color.

Chuck

7/30/2001 10:06:57 PM

Piper Lehman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/20/2001
  Hi again, Glenn. I have been studying different films too, but I have to ask you if you are using any filters on your lenses? I have found that using a polarizing filter helps tremendously with reducing haze and dullness. There are other filters that are more specific to color and light, so you're sure to find one or more that works for you.

As far as film goes, Kodak offers specs on their Web site listing each film speeds' grain index and the like. The slower the speed, the better the grain, sharpness, color brilliance and resolution. (Their words) Just go to Kodak.com and follow the links to the tech info page.

All I know about slide film, other than the fact that I'm scared to use it at this point because of the small zone of error you get with exposure, is that image quality is substantially lowered when you use film speeds above ISO 200.

I'd like to ask if anyone here has an opinion of the new(?) Kodak Max Versatility films for zooms (400 and 800 speeds). How do these films compare with the Gold 100 and 200? What about the Royal Gold?

Thanks,
pclehman

8/1/2001 7:00:18 PM

Melissa 

member since: 8/7/2001
  I suggest you to try what I'm about to do:

Get a roll, say 12exp, of each film you're considering to switch to and shoot them all under the same conditions and subject (if possible or else similar conditions). Get them developed at a good photo lab (try for a bulk processing discount) and compare the results and see which one you like the best. Make sure you take at least one shot with a person in it. The skin tone will help you identify which films reproduce colours best.

Sure, this is not a very cheap way of finding out, but you'll see the film perform to your style of shooting and you will be able to compare the results first hand.

8/7/2001 2:34:17 PM

Glenn Theal

member since: 7/30/2001
  Hi, All:

Thanks for the input.

At the moment, I'm currently using Fuji Superia. I am fairly pleased with it. I think once I get the filters that I've ordered (I can't believe it is taking as long as it is for them to arrive) I will notice further improvements in the saturation and brightness of my shots.

I too am a little leary of using slide film at my current level of expertise (or lack of it :) ).

Anyway, I will let you know how things turn out once the filters arrive. For your info, I've decided to go with the square Cokin series. I've ordered circular polarizer, sunsoft, warming, graduated blue, and fog filters. We'll see what the results turn out like.

Cheers,
Glenn

8/7/2001 3:12:00 PM

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Photography Question 
Frank  Calhoun

member since: 7/17/2001
  37 .  Best Film for Sports Photography
 
What is the best film to use for indoor basketball games?

7/17/2001 8:11:23 PM

Blaine T. McCartney

member since: 7/11/2001
  I use 800 speed Fuji Film, I work for a newspaper and it turns out pretty adequate.
Blaine

7/18/2001 12:53:42 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Blaine's answer provides a good starting point. In general you want to use the slowest film speed possible. This will depend some on how fast your lens is (widest aperture) and its focal length (how "long" it is) in combination with a suitable shutter speed.

For hand held work, the slowest shutter speed before camera shake becomes a problem is usually 1/[lens focal length]. This means if you are using a standard 50mm lens, about 1/60th is the slowest you can use. If the focal length is 200mm (a long lens), then about 1/250th is the slowest shutter speed you can use. With some bracing (using seat backs, etc.) and practice you might be able to use the next slower speed than this guideline.

Some exposure guidelines based on the typical amount of light found in basketball arenas:

ISO 800:
1/250th @ f/2 (up to 200mm lens)
1/125th @ f/2.8 (up to 135mm lens)

ISO 400:
1/125th @ f/2 (up to 135mm lens)
1/60th @ f/2.8 (up to 50mm lens)

ISO 200:
1/125th @ f/1.4 (up to 135mm lens)
1/60th @ f/2 (up to 50mm lens)

Examples:
ISO 400 film could be used with a 100mm f/2 lens using 1/125th second at f/2 aperture. If it's a 135mm f/2.8 lens, you would need the ISO 800 Jon suggested (1/125th @ f/2.8). The shutter speed would keep you out of camera shake trouble. For a very fast f/1.4 50mm standard lens you could use ISO 200 film with 1/125th @ f/1.4 or 1/60th @ f/2 (slight risk of motion blur if photographing very fast action).

I did not cover shutter speeds below 1/60th second. At that speed you might have some motion blur if you are photographing fast action. This could be desirable if it's slight and only certain parts of a players body are blurred from motion (hands/arms, feet/legs or basketball). Shutter speeds slower than 1/30th usually have too much motion blur.

-- John

7/18/2001 11:39:12 PM

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Photography Question 
Tina Brookes

member since: 5/31/2001
  38 .  Nightclub Photos
I have been trying to get shots of my husband's band and can't seem to get it right.

I need specific info on what speed the film should be, what the aperture should be set at, and what shutter speed. Everything I try comes out over or under exposed. My camera has a TTL lightmeter and it's impossible to see the needle in a nightclub setting. What can I do??

I'm a total amateur but would really like to take good gig photos. Any help would be appreciated.

P.S. --stupid question-- what does a "fast lens" mean?

5/31/2001 9:59:04 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  A fast lens is one with a very wide aperture. For example a standard 50mm lens with an aperture of f1.4-f1.8 is considered fast. Fast refers to the fact that with the lens set at its widest aperture you use higher shutter speeds. So the wider the aperture the faster the shutter speed. It is essential for this kind of shooting.

The best way to shoot this sort of scene is to pre-meter your shots. Get there early and take meter readings off of a gray card or your palm (open a stop if you do this) wherever you know you will be shooting. You don't say what film you will be using. I have always used a high speed black and white film like Ilford Delta 3200. The last time I shot there was no light on the band so I shot at 3200 and push processed the film a stop and got good results. Most of my shots were at f1.5 @ 1/30th. You can determine what ISO will work best when you pre-meter. That's another reason I like films like Delta 3200 or Tri-x. You can push them or pull them for great results. I have heard good things about the Delta shot at 1600 though I haven't tried it yet.

5/31/2001 2:12:27 PM

Tina Brookes

member since: 5/31/2001
  Thanks for the info Jeff.
The gig was actually last night and the bar ended up having some really great lighting so all I needed was 1600iso film and the aperture was wide open most of the night.
My 50mm only opens to 2 so I think I'll look into something faster because I intend to take these kinds of shots alot.
I also used a digital camera that I borrowed from a friend and found that NOT using the flash gave a better "club" feel to the shots. The flash tended to blanket the shots with light and they didn't have the right "feel."

I really appreciate the info though. Thanks

Got one more question. How large can I go with the prints using 1600 film before they get "grainy" and is there a better film out there that doesn't go grainy when enlarged. I used Fujipress 1600 color. ( I would have prefered Black and white but the band wanted color)
thanks again
Tina

6/1/2001 9:44:52 AM

Zafar Malik

member since: 8/13/2000
  Hi there Tina,

Your question regarding enlarging images captured on high speed films. I think the first thing depends on the type of film you're using. Negative or slides! Negative films does tend to get more grainy than the slides. ISO/ASA 800 can get grainy when images are enlarged more than 6x8 (inches). Slides are a different ballgame altogether though.

Like I said, this is 'my' impression/experience. I'm sure there are helping hands out there with more info. I hope my contribution helps.

Happy clicking :-)
Zafar

6/1/2001 11:29:16 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  I agree about the flash. I don't like to use it for these shots for a couple of reasons. First of all is the appearance as you said. Secondly, I think it distracts the band and draws attention to the photographer.

In regard to the enlargements, I have never shot that particular film but I would guess you would be safe with 5x7's. I would guess you would start to see the grain by 8x10. Personally, I don't mind grain in these sorts of shots. To me it adds to the atmosphere. I don't think slide films are the best answer here either. They don't have the range of print film and prints from slides are more expensive to make. Depending upon the lighting you might want to experiment with tungsten film. Although, I think the only fast (ISO320) tungsten film is a slide film. But it might be worth experimenting with.

6/1/2001 11:42:56 AM

Tina Brookes

member since: 5/31/2001
  thanks alot Z and J
I really appreciate the quick responses.
I'm so glad I finally found this place.
Tina

6/1/2001 12:16:03 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Jeff's right about tungsten films. The fastest tungsten color negative I know about is Fuji's NPL 160 (a pro film). The fastest tungsten slide film is Kodak's EPJ-320 (also a pro film). Kodak's data sheet for it doesn't mention pushing it to a higher speed. Not that you can't do it, but it's something usually mentioned in the data sheet if it's "friendly" to being pushed.

-- John

6/2/2001 11:28:52 AM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  I've seen examples of it pushed a stop. From what I've seen there is a color shift which may or may not be something you will like.

6/3/2001 3:49:40 PM

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Photography Question 
Joy Fender

member since: 11/6/2005
  39 .  Film Type Question
I typically use your basic Kodak Gold or Fuji Superia brand films. Made the horrific mistake of trying Target brand film... save yourself some grief... don't go there!

Anyway, if I were inclined to try another type of film (non C-41), what would you recommend? Will my Canon Rebel accept anything other than C-41? (FYI: I don't want to try slides and I have some C-41 B&W that I haven't used yet. I have the perfect object I want to shoot with it but due to a banged up knee, I haven't been able to hike to the spot I need to get to :-))

Again, many thanks!

Joy

5/28/2001 10:50:53 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  First of all cameras don't care what kind of film you put in as long as it's the right size. Next, if you don't want slide film and you want something other than C41 film then you are left with black and white film. There are so many black and white films out there that it would really be nice to know more information. What are you planning on shooting? What do you want the final images to look like? What is your style of shooting? Without much info I would be inclined to say shoot some Tri-x. It's pretty much fool proof (no offense intended).

5/29/2001 12:26:35 AM

Joy Fender

member since: 11/6/2005
  None taken :-)

My main subjects are my two kids (ages 3 and 7), my GSD pup (10 months) and nature/scenery photos.

I guess a better question would be what to try other than Kodak Max or Fuji Superia?

I appreciate your time in answering my questions!

Joy

5/29/2001 2:54:53 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Well, when you say other than C-41 what exactly do you mean? You don't say why you are wanting to switch from K-Gold and Superia - both good films. There isn't one magic film out there that will solve all your problems. The best approach to films is to find one you like and learn how to use it. Find out how it handles different light, how it acts when you push it, what exposure index works best for you, etc.

5/29/2001 9:13:28 PM

Joy Fender

member since: 11/6/2005
  Hi Jeff :-) The reason I was asking about other films was strictly to try something different. The only speed of film I haven't tried is ISO 100. I haven't used traditional B&W nor the new B&W that can be processed in color print machines (even though I have used *that* film in my P&S).

As I posted in another question, I have purchased some TMAX 100 and TMAX 400 to experiment with.

Thanks for taking some time to answer my questions!

Joy

5/29/2001 9:18:57 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Try a lot of films. There are places that discuss films and their characteristics. This site must have that sort of information. Jim, help us out here. Read about the different films and try them out. But remember, with print film a lot is dependent on finding a good lab. There is so much in the printing that can affect the apperance of your shots.

BTW what is a GSD?

5/29/2001 9:32:36 PM

Joy Fender

member since: 11/6/2005
  You're absolutely right about finding a good lab. I think I find "the one" tonight. Really liked the guy behind the counter. He showed me a sample of their matte finish and I was drooling (matte being my favorite). He's the one that talked me into trying the TMAX film and was just all around very helpful and knowledgeable.

P.S. GSD = German Shepherd Dog :-) My "furkid". #3 in my photographic subject priorities, behind my kids.

5/29/2001 9:37:09 PM

James Miotke
BetterPhoto Member
BetterPhotoJim.com
Owner, BetterPhoto.com, Inc.
  It sounds like you are just interested in experimenting and playing around. That's great! (Most people get so caught up in worrying about things like film that they forget to have fun - I applaud your attitude.)

Jeff's advice is right on target. The only other film I might recommend for someone wanting to experiment is infrared. This film creates an other worldly feel, especially when combined with the use of a few filters.

Unfortunately, the Rebel cannot handle it (this is one unusual exception to the general rule that cameras don't care what kind of film you put in). If you can use another camera, you might enjoy experimenting with this film. Very cool results can come from it.

As far as a good page that describes the pros and cons of various films, I will have to keep my eye open for you...

Enjoy the experimenting. With you playing with various films and Kris getting such kicks out of chasing bugs around in the desert, it appears that the BetterPhoto members are having fun. :)

5/30/2001 11:56:36 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Joy,
Agree with all the above. Several points not already brought out.

1. "C-41" is the chemistry and process definition for developing color negative film. Other than a couple of real odd-balls based on cinema film (which I don't recommend; they're not designed for still photography), all color negative is processed "C-41."

2. The "C-41" B/W film you have has the same structure as color negative, complete with all three color layers (cyan, magenta and yellow). The generic name for this type of film is "chromogenic B/W." The layers react to light much the same way as color films do. The difference is when it's processed, the layers render shades of gray instead of cyan, magenta and yellow respectively. By comparison, TMAX, a true B/W film, has a single emulsion layer (making its developing completely different).

3. When you process your C-41 B/W processed, have it done by a lab which can switch to B/W paper in the print machine. There are now chromogenic B/W print papers which some labs have and some do not. Having it printed on color paper may leave you disappointed as it's almost impossible to color balance the results to pure B/W, even with the best of technicians operating the machine. Held next to prints on true B/W paper (even if it's the chromogenic type) there is usually a slight greenish or bluish cast to them. Note that your TMAX will undoubtedly be printed on true B/W paper when it's developed as it will go to a B/W lab.

-- John

5/30/2001 11:51:37 PM

Nikki Schwerdfeger

member since: 10/6/2000
  I was not aware just how much the photo lab played in the quality of your pictures, much more than the brand or type of film until we started using a different lab for our 8 x 10 4-H contest photos. The person behind the machine can make or ruin a winning photo no matter what film is involved. I also notice that Gold 200 works better than 400 Max in our Cannon AE-1, but my son's new Pentex ZX-7 does great with the Max.

6/3/2001 11:13:08 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Nikki, I am sitting here chuckling. It doesn't matter what model of camera film is put into. It reacts the same to light now matter what brand or model of camera you use. Sorry, I'm not making fun. I just was tickled by what you said. :-)))

6/4/2001 1:03:14 AM

Nikki Schwerdfeger

member since: 10/6/2000
  Jeff: No offense taken, but at our house, the camera makes lots of difference as we are a disfunctional camera family. Our Chinnon has the long lens but the light meter indicator light is broken and we can't find a place that will fix it; our Cannon AE-1 has a light meter, screw on macro lens, but no long lens but is not auto focus and is used on the program setting most of the time; the new Pentex ZX-7 is fully automatic but only has a 28-80 lens and the screw on macro lens are too small.....I also wear tri-focals and have to have my 8 year-old son check my focus when we are trying for contest photos.

I know you are right about the camera/film situation, but for whatever reason I have never been able to get "good" photos with the Max 400 until we got the ZX-7. Usually, the come out dark even in sunlight. I have a friend who had the same experience just recently. In the past, I have refused to use Max film, but I see now that if I want Kodak 400, it will have to be Max. Any comments will be appreciated.


6/4/2001 12:03:57 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy

member since: 3/4/2002
  Most likely it is related to the meters in the respective cameras. I think you would find if you shoot the max at an ISO of 200 in your Canon your results will improve.

6/4/2001 7:24:23 PM

  Nikki-
I shoot alot of black and white and use
T-Max for most of my shots. It's a great
film -picks up details and shadows and is fine grained. If you do your own film
processing, be certain to fix it at least as long as it takes to develope it,perhaps a minute or two more. If it is not properly fixed, your negs will have excessive purple color. Some color is okay. Kodak gives pretty good
instructions in their film packet. If buying a commericial brick there are no
instructions, but a good book is The Film Cookbook. Joan

12/1/2002 12:19:43 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  I'll state again what has already been posted: experiment with various B&W films to discover which one rocks your boat. I prefer the older grain films such as Plus-X and Tri-X, and would be using Verichrome if it were still made, for a variety of reasons instead of tabular grain films such as T-Max. Been expermenting with some of Ilford's products recently to see what they create. However, my vision for what I want my work to look like may not be the sameas what you want for your work.

Kodak and Ilford are the two major B&W film manufacturers. Sample them to find which ones match best what you're looking for. Grain, midtones, latitude are a few of the factors that vary among them. Ask 10 people who use B&W for recommendations and you'll get 10 different answers, along with even more variety on how to develop and print them. One of the beauties of B&W is the wide variation its user can achieve with film choice, developing and printing.

-- John

12/1/2002 11:09:34 PM

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