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film, my mortal enemy

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  • #1631
    staplermofo
    Participant

    As all of you know by now, I’m running off in a couple weeks to go see Morning Musume. (you know, the people I keep linking to)

    Naturally, this calls for film! Film and I don’t really get along.

    I like color slide film, but I sorta kinda need a lot of exposure latitude, like at least a full stop of it.
    I’ve been basing the settings on film camera from what they look like on my digital camera, which, I was recently informed, is a stupid thing that stupid people do.

    I really only like color slide film because I hear it lasts a while, and I almost never print things (and the lil slides look cool).

    Is there any advice on how to shoot with film, or film I should try (like, does ISO 50 have more room than ISO 400, or vice versa, or no, or shut up)

    Should I just use B&W and markers?

    All that jibber jabber notwithstanding, all I really want is passable image quality (despite incompetence), that’ll be around long enough for me to lecture my (hopefully) long-suffering grandchildren with.

    #23161
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    b/w film is absolutely going to have the most latitude and be the most forgiving. Slide is the least forgiving/has the least latitude of film, and a lot of people bracket when they shoot with it for that reason. My understanding is that it still has more latitude than digital, though. I can’t speak to the durability of it over negative film, or whether there’s a wider latitude slide film, but I know someone here will have some sage words for you.

    #23162
    sleeping
    Participant

    I’d generally go with color negative film if you’re looking for exposure latitude. True BW film *can* have more exposure latitude than color neg film, but that generally requires expert development and a whole lot of testing to get the development and exposure in synch. If you’re just shooting film and sending it off to a lab, you’re not going to see a huge advantage, and it’s usually a lot more expensive to process.

    There are two black and white films (kodak bw400cn and ilford xp2 super) that can be processed using standard c41 color negative processing, and xp2 in particular does have a reputation for truly enormous exposure latitude. Without getting into highly technical BW development that’s probably the best you can do.

    Color negative film in general has a fair bit of exposure latitude, but generally it’s strongly biased for overexposure – the rated speed is pretty close to the fastest you want to use it. So if you have 400 speed film you can shoot it at 200, and probably 100 and get decent results, but 800 might be iffy. That means that if you’re in a complex lighting situation, you’re often better off rating negative film 2/3 to a full stop slower than it says on the box.

    Color negatives are not exactly permanent, though. You can expect them to last maybe 20 years or so without significant degradation if you keep them out of the light and don’t get them too hot. They will last quite a bit longer in cold storage….

    Of course if you’re really serious about archiving the film, you can still get Kodachrome 64. It’s slow, fairly expensive, and there’s only one lab processing it commercially any more (Dwayne’s Photo), but it does last a long time. Here’s a 40+ year old slide that I scanned fairly recently: http://www.flickr.com/photos/awrose/293550402/

    #23163
    Curious
    Participant

    what camera are you taking? and since you will say “Brand XX model YYY” and i will never have heard of it let’s try another tack.

    the camera you are taking is: 1) a fully automatic point and shot with built in (limited) flash; 2) a full featured SLR any pro would kill for and at least three lenses all of which are F1.4 and will capture the nose hairs of the MC by candle light; 3) somewhere in between but having at least a good built in meter and possibly auto focus.

    re negative film v slides. for me it depends to a large extent on what you will do with them later. i like slow slide film for the color but doubt it will suit your lighting needs. sleeping has good points re negative film. personally i’d stick to kodak at ASA400. keep in mind that unless you are personally going to develop and print what you shoot to a large degree you are at the mercy of the lab. and whether it’s wal-mart or photo city deluxe some of the shots won’t look like you remember.

    here’s tip to help with that. use a grey card as the first exposure of each roll.

    or just as good shot an exposure of your palm as the first shot for each roll. then try like hell to use the rest of the roll in the same lighting.

    #23164
    staplermofo
    Participant

    I’m planning on using a couple cameras for a couple uses.

    Since I’m driving, I was planning on stopping by a couple national parks (Badlands, Redwood, Yosemite, etc), then doing a couple indoor shots. Nothing super fancy, just the regular tourist stuff.
    There’s no way they’d allow photography during the concert, so any indoor shots would be mostly of the “hehehe, look at that jackass in a costume” type.

    I’ll be using a crappy modern SLR with fancy lenses and a flash, two old manual SLRs with moderately fancy lenses (my plan was different film in each, one has a meter), and a POS, really old, medium format TLR.

    So, Kodak 400? Sounds straight forward, thanks.

    I was going to go here to get it developed. Their ugly website tells me they’re hardcore. That’s really all I’m going on.

    #23165
    Curious
    Participant

    and a POS, really old, medium format TLR.

    i have a sears tower TLR 2 1/4 square. talk about your really old POS camera. no meter and darned few other functions other than a shutter.

    anyway i shot some slides in Monterrey Mexico years ago with it and simply love them. they are just large enough to pass around to friends and are really nice. besides which handing someone who isn’t a photographer a 2 1/4 slide is a trip in itself 🙂

    re the three bodies with different film, when i was shooting film i did that. have three minolta XD-11s and kept a roll of triX in one, kodak ASA400 negative in one and a roll of slide film in the last one. the upside was being able to shoot whatever film worked best for that shot. the downside was only having one set of lenses so spontaneity was usually lost.

    another note. shot some of each film type if possible at each location. from what you said i’m guessing that’s what you plan but be sure to do it. i got my photography start by assisting in location catalog shooting and was taught film is cheap. and it is compared to your trip expenses. most likely you won’t be going back. your grand kids will thank you. or not.

    i had some film developed in Chicago in 1978 but don’t remember where so i can’t help with a good local lab 🙂

    #23166
    schnee
    Participant

    I shot film as recently as two years ago. I settled on Provia 400 for slide, and Sensia (whatever ISO) for negatives.

    Provia is an awesome (and awesomely expensive) film – high ISO (for transparencies) and a really really small grain. But, it is slide film. Unless you have a well calibrated light meter (built in or otherwise), you can’t be much more than a 1/3 stop off in either direction.

    If you are shooting landscapes (you are not), Velvia is nice, but it is ISO100 (or 50!) and renders flesh tones terribly.

    Sensia is probably equivalent to a Kodak in the same ISO. As sleeping alludes to, I typically rated ISO 400 at 320. That tended to make the negatives nice and “thick”.

    #23167
    sleeping
    Participant

    I shot film as recently as two years ago. I settled on […] Sensia (whatever ISO) for negatives.

    I think you mean Superia? (Sensia is Fuji’s non-pro slide film).

    #23168
    schnee
    Participant

    Actually, I used Sensia – I sort of bifurcated between slides for “art” and negatives for “snapshots” and spent accordingly.

    #23169
    staplermofo
    Participant

    you can’t be much more than a 1/3 stop off in either direction.

    Yow. Sers.
    Regular old ISO 400, negative film it is.

    I feel a bit better about all those crappy shots I took now.

    #23170
    Killerclaw
    Participant

    I shoot Ektar 100 *cue heavenly bells* and 400TX.

    Let me tell you this: even with the fastest glass you’re going to want 800 speed film for a concert. I’ve shot a bunch of concerts, and I’ve only shot one with film. Film is awesome in many ways, but DSLRs are way better for concerts quality wise.

    Not to mention that concerts call for 100s of exposures.

    #23171
    staplermofo
    Participant

    That crappy TLR showed up and I have a couple noob questions.
    Here‘s the manual for the camera. (Link goes directly to PDF)

    1. I’m supposed to use the top as a viewfinder. The image is on a lil screen. I wear glasses, should I keep them on or take them off before trying to focus.
    2. Can I do multiple exposures to get the shutter speed I want? Like, since it only has /100, /50, /25 and bulb, can I do something stupid like /25 twice or whatever if I’m using a tripod and all that jazz?
    3. My film doesn’t have a red side, it has shiny and matte. Is the shiny side of the film supposed to go towards the lens or the back of the camera?
    4. I’m supposed to see a “1” on the film through a lil red dot on the back. Really? Is that going to be there? (I haven’t put film in yet)
    5. A couple people mentioned that the lil red dot tends to leak light like a mofo (considering I’m supposed to see a “1” through it, this makes sense), and that I should tape a flap over it. Does that lil slidy downy thing mentioned in the manual handle that well enough, or do I still need to do that?

    #23172
    staplermofo
    Participant

    And now that I’ve read the warnings on the film,
    6. WTF is a “subdued light”?
    7. WHY IS THIS NOT ON THE OUTER WRAPPER OF THE FILM!?

    #23173
    Elsinore
    Keymaster

    1. You’re going to hold the camera around waist level to frame and focus, so wear glasses or go without as you need to to focus at that distance. Some TLR’s come with a little magnifying glass that pops out into the viewfinder to help with precise focusing. I don’t see that feature on yours, but maybe I missed it. You could also hold the camera up closer to your face to focus if need be.

    2. Hmm never thought of that before, but it makes sense.

    3. The paper side is the side you should see as you’re loading the film. The paper backing will be face up and the film (shinier) should be face down toward the shutter and lens.

    4. Yes, after you wind the film fully to the point where you see the 1, it’ll be there. The roll has a long leader of film with paper backing the entire surface to help protect the inner roll from light. IIRC, past that section, there’s paper only in a thin strip at the top and/or bottom with the numbers on it. Those numbers will show up in the red window.

    5. Yes, it looks like your camera can open and close the red window, which is nifty. No need to tape over it. Just get in the habit of leaving it open only to check your frame number, then close it again.

    6. Light that is not standing out in the middle of a desert at high noon? Just try to shield it from direct light in case you let some light into the film roll as you’re loading. Loading indoors is better than outdoors, or in the shade versus open sun.

    7. I DUNNO…I THINK IT’S ON SOME OF THEM!?

    #23174
    Curious
    Participant

    staplermofo i have the “tower reflex” on the left side of this picture.

    http://www.tlr-cameras.com/American/slides/Tower%2025%20comparison.html

    see a brief discription on this page at the “Aires Automat” botom of the page, right side.

    http://www.tlr-cameras.com/Japanese/Aires.html

    the shutter goes to 11.

    actually it goes to 1/500. if you would like to borrow it please PM me. i haven’t used it in years but it worked well the last time it was used. i also could loan you a hand held meter. a quick google didn’t find a manual.

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