Therefore I’m guessing not many of you guys are using film cameras nowadays. The few of you who are, good for you! This dying form of photography is still magical to me. I recently got into it again, on the sideline, and I certainly believe it’s helped me as a professional photographer in general. Knowing that you cannot get an instant preview of your image makes you focus harder on your composition, exposure, and everything other aspects of taking a photograph. The particular manual SLR that I am using makes me concentrate even tougher, focusing and exposing manually, and as many people have already said, thinking about a photograph BEFORE you take it often results in a much better shot. In addition , using a prime (fixed focal length) lens makes you concentrate even more!
You could be using a vintage Leica rangefinder from the ’50s or ’60s, a Japanese SLR from the ’80’s or ’90s, but the film moderate still remains the same. Sure, the particular newer ones do have autofocus plus auto exposure, but other than that, the fundamental process of using film cameras is pretty much the same. You take your shot, you finish your roll, process this, and get your prints, or a lot more people do these days, get em scanned. You have no idea what you’ve shot until afterwards
Processing your personal film can also be a very fun encounter, especially once you know what you’re doing (and it’s not really that difficult, especially when processing black and white film) — it also saves quite a bit of money, as photo labs that still do film are able to charge pretty ridiculous quantities for processing and printing/scanning film
Film comes in many formats, like 135 (35mm) film, which is probably the most commonly used today, as well as medium structure (120, 220 etc . ) which is still used today by professionals.
In this post I am going to discuss the common 35mm movie, which is what I have been using, as well as the different types, the various brands, and other factors that would help explain to you how your photographs can actually vary (and improve) based on the film you use
First of all, you can find two basic kinds of film: damaging film and slide film (reversal film)
Negative film is what most of you probably have used as a kid, if at all. This film is processed straight into ‘negatives’, where your images show as an inversion of the normal image we. e. light is dark, darkish is light. Negative film is available in both color and black and white. Color negatives are sometimes known as “C41” — this name comes from the most common procedure for developing color negative films, that is C41. Black and white film is still known as… well, black and white film
Slide movie (or reversal film) is the other kind of film that I mentioned. Not as commonly used every day as negative film, as far as I know, slide film is definitely processed into color transparencies, not really negatives – i. e. the particular developed film strip will have the same colors as the original picture, unlike downsides where the colors are inverted. This really is beneficial, as you can simply hold the openness to a light source, and view the picture, albeit in a small (36x24mm frame) dimension. A slide viewer is a little gadget with a light source and a magnifying lens: simply pop in your transparencies (slides) into the device, and you see a larger version of the image – no printing or scanning required to survey your shots. As far as I know, only color slide film is being produced currently. The last black and white slide movie was the Agfa Scala film, continues to be discontinued for years now – nevertheless , if you really wish to get your black and white shots as transparencies, there are several methods of processing ordinary black and white damaging film which develops the unfavorable film into a positive strip associated with transparencies. A lot of people send their monochrome negatives to a company called DR5, who specialize in this process – nevertheless , do note that this is NOT black and white slip film, but simply a process of generating transparencies from negative film
An essential difference between negative and glide film is the exposure tolerance. Damaging film is quite flexible, and allows incorrectly exposed shots to be fixed to a great deal. Slide film is usually not so forgiving. This makes sense when you realize that you often view glide film directly (through a slide viewer or something), where as in the negative, you have to either scan it or print it – is actually in this printing or scanning process that the exposure can be fixed. A few say that slides can be exposure-corrected if you print or scan them too, while some still insist that glide film is definitely not as tolerant as negatives. However , as a general rule, remember that negative film is definitely more flexible compared to reversal slide film, and if occur to be using slide film be sure to get your exposure spot on
Please note that exactly what I’m talking about here is not the process of pushing/pulling film in the development procedure. You can push or pull each slide and negative film within the development process. For those of you who do not know what this means, push processing refers to a process that basically alters the film process so that the resulting negative or even transparency is ‘over-developed’, which allows the exposure of an underexposed roll of film to be corrected. Pull digesting is the opposite, ‘under-developing’ the film to correct an overexposed roll. For example , if a photographer intentionally (or accidentally) shoots an entire roll at the incorrect ISO setting on his camera, it could be corrected via push or pull processing this film roll
Once i mention that negative film will be flexible, I mean that once a negative film roll has been developed normally, its exposure can STILL be corrected, generally to a greater degree than slide film allows. OK, sufficient about that. Moving on…
… there are distinguishing features of different types/brands of film which are noticeable in your results that you will learn to see, and form an opinion more than. These features would include movie grain, color saturation, contrast… plus would work for different types of images, along with ruin other types of shots. Playing around and experimenting with various types and brands of film will help you realize which movie to use for which purpose. Another point to notice is that, unlike in digital cameras, your ISO is fixed. You choose the film speed you want, and occur to be stuck with it until the roll has ended. So do not buy a slow ISO 100 film roll and go shooting at night!
So , looking at the particular variables of different films, we have:
Movie grain: this is generally based on INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION F¨¹R STANDARDISIERUNG – as in digital photography, where high ISO speed results in image noise, higher film speed usually leads to more film grain. This is ideal for some pictures i. e. should you be looking to get a gritty street image etc . but would not work with a landscape with sky and water where you’re looking for smooth clean textures. Some types of film simply handle grain better than others, so this is where using films and seeing real results helps more than just reading about the theory. For example , Kodak Ektar is supposedly the finest grain color film on the planet! Having used both Ektar (ISO 100) and Fuji Reala (ISO 100), I really cannot spot the between the two. However , using a black and white Kodak Tri-X 400, and when compared with a Kodak T-Max 400, I find the Tri-X to be noticeably grainier than the T-Max. But like We said, some grain will highlight a photo, and improve it… try not to be afraid of grain
Color saturation: certainly applying only to color film, a few film has the tendency to over-saturate and give artificial, fake colors – some films give beautifully natural colors, saturated just right, and some have a slightly laid back look to it that looks great. Of course , some look flat and dull : you can safely avoid this type of film if you feel it’s flat. In monochrome film too, the tones of the grays vary with each film – some have harsh tones, and hardly show any description between black and white, while some have wonderful gray mid-tones, and others have a gorgeous silvery look to the grays
Contrast: yes, contrast varies too. In my opinion, this is especially noticeable and important in black and white film. I prefer the black and white film to have a medium to high contrast – low contrast doesn’t work for me, although I’ve seen great examples of low contrast monochrome shots. So again, experiment!
From the different types of film I’ve used (I’ve been sticking to negatives), here are some characteristics that I’ve noted:
Fuji Superia/Superia X-Tra (200, 400): my regular color film. Cheap, reliable, very good. I love the colors on this. Not too contrasty, not very saturated… in fact I’d say the colors are slightly laid back. Grain is fine, and for ISO 400, I would never call it up grainy. For random color pictures, and especially to test new cameras/lenses, this really is my go-to film
Fuji Reala (100): a professional grade film, this is one of the finest grain films We’ve used. Colors are more saturated than the Superia, but not too. Quite contrasty, and again, beautiful fine hemp. Probably my favorite C41 film
Kodak Ektar (100): another professional grade color film.
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I’d say the grain is as fine as the Reala, although Kodak claims this to have grain finer than any other! Great colors too, and nice contrast. Like the Reala, I’d use this for landscapes, and avoid portraits – this kind of saturation is not very flattering intended for skin
Kodak Portra (160, 400): as the name suggests, this color film is designed for portraits, aiming at getting skin tones right, and staying away from extra saturation while maintaining good contrast – it works great for pictures, yes, but I wouldn’t mind using it for other work too. I do not necessarily feel that I need brighter colors for landscape work, as this sort of look works too, occasionally. Always experiment, do not stick to the ‘rules’
Kodak Tri-X (400): a very grainy black and white negative film, quite contrasty and a bit harsh. Not my personal favorite. The first roll I tried was a disaster – the tones were too strong, the mid-tones were almost non-existent i. e. dark seemed to jump into white… as well as the grain was too much for my liking. I had a feeling that this roll was expired (I forgot to check on, always remember to check! ) so I sought out n got another – somewhat better, but still too grainy regarding my tastes. The texture simply seemed too harsh for me. Such as I said, there’s a time to get very grainy film too, therefore by no means am I gonna prevent buying Tri-X
Fuji Neopan Acros (100): my favorite black and white film. The particular grain is extremely fine, and the grays are lovely, almost silvery, and very, very smooth. Contrast is more than average, quite perfect in my opinion. Perfect for people photography, as well as street shots
Kodak T-Max (100, 400): a fine grain black and white film, beautiful comparison, and very nice tones. I suggest T-Max 100 for daylight street capturing: the contrast is not too high, as well as the tones are dark, darker than the Neopan film that I love, yet very controlled and smooth : and at ISO 100, the materials is very fine. If you want to shoot within lower light or you just need faster film, try the T-Max 400… the grain is still quite fine, and it’s got the same functions as the 100. If you want that real grainy look, try Tri-X rather
Ilford HP5 400: a high swiftness black n white film, by black n white legends Ilford. It’s got the ‘classic’ look – quite hard to explain, really. I just like it. The grain is very managed, quite fine… medium contrast, I had created say… a very nice general purpose movie
Yeah, I think that’s pretty much all of I’ve tried so far. Told you I am just new to film too. Can’t wait to get my hands on some more Ilford, as well as some Kentmere, Fomapan and so forth
I’ll try to end this off by just guiding you guys on how to pick out some film for some randomly purpose… OK:
Firstly, negative or even slide? If you want black and white, it’s going to be negative. For me, another choosing factor is the film speed… I favor negatives if I’m buying film over ISO 200 for some reason… wheat on slide film is just not our thing. Also, you might want to check on places that process slide film (E6) – which is not nearly since common as negative processing. If you can’t find a lab that does E6 slide processing, you have no choice but negative. And lastly, but importantly, remember that rule where we say negative film is more tolerable. When you have a very accurate light meter, and you think your exposure is going to be spot on, you can go ahead with slide. But if you have any doubts, or you wish flexibility, definitely go ahead with the trusty negative film
Next, of course most likely gonna choose black and white or colour. Nothing to explain here
Film velocity! Ah, this is crucial. ISO hundred, known as daylight film, is obviously with regard to shooting in daylight. Sure, this gives fine grain, but fine hemp blurry shots taken at night are not gonna look good at ALL. I’d take sharp but grainy night shots any day over the blurry fine feed ones. So know what you will be capturing, where you will be shooting, and what period you will be shooting. Shooting in daytime does not mean you ONLY need to pick a slower (50, 100) film – like I mentioned before, try shooting several grainy street shots with a high-speed film. But shooting at night OUGHT TO mean that you need to pick a high speed (400, 800) film
Lastly, pick out a brand that either you know by encounter, or have read about (here, maybe! ), that has characteristics that you want for this specific shoot. Colors, contrast, saturation, clarity, grain/speed performance, texture – based on what you’re shooting, look at these factors and pick one