Films & Speed

Old Mar 23rd, 2002, 07:40 AM
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Films & Speed

I debating on what film to take for my trip. 200 is simply not sufficient for indooor shooting where flashes are not allowed. I was going to take 400, but wondered about 800. My experience is that the higher the spped of thefilm, the lower quality the image. Has anybodyhad much experience with 800 and faster films.

I aldo wondered whether it is worth getting these fancy, more expensive film types. Kodak has many types that cost significantly more than their standard film. Are they worth it?
Old Mar 23rd, 2002, 07:50 AM
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I'm not an expert, but I just got back a roll of the 800 (Kodak) and did not find it to be noticably grainer for the outdoor shots (on an overcast day). Probably will see a difference with indoor shots, but you'll have much more flexibility. Hope that helps.
Old Mar 23rd, 2002, 07:59 AM
Marc David Miller
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Unless I know I am going to be in sunlight, I always use 800-speed negative film . Especially with point and shoot cameras the lens tends to be very slow, and the shutter speed has to be slowed down to compensate for this. That introduces "shake", which generally is far worse than whatever grain an 800-speed film shows (and it is a lot less than in days of old). I have never seen any shot overexposed when shooting with 800-speed film, even tops of churches with bright blue backgrounds. Unless you want to take different speed films for different purposes, I recommend 800-speed for travel purposes.
Old Mar 23rd, 2002, 08:33 AM
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Kodak's Royal Gold is a notch up from Gold. And it depends on how large a print you are going to make from your negative. The larger the print, the more the grain will be apparant. With a 35mm neg. on 800 film you will be alright to a 5x7, but after that you will notice the grain. Some viewers will notice the grain more than others. M.
Old Mar 23rd, 2002, 08:34 AM
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I agree with Marc that the 800 ASA film is finer grained these days, particularly if it is a T grain. But graininess will still be a factor if the picture is underexposed,i.e., not enough light, which can still be done even with 800.
I personally would not use 800 as my only choice however and particularly if you intend to enlarge pictures--I do think grain will show up there.
Do you intend to have 2 cameras or will you switch films?
I most often use 200 and some 400.
As another personal note, I prefer Fuji film--warmer and better contrast in my experience.
Old Mar 23rd, 2002, 08:55 AM
Jim Rosenberg
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It's not necessarily true that images become more grainy the higher you go on film speed (not in any kind of proportional terms anyway). That said, I've found 400-speed to be the absolute worst for this problem. So go ahead and step up to the higher speed, as others here are suggesting. You will not lose anything in image quality on the basis of the film and you will gain sharper images because of being able to use a faster shutter speed. Personally, I find 1000 film to be less grainy than 400 and it's a whole lot better in most existing indoor light situations.

Consider buying shorter rolls of film. The idea of having an all-purpose film for indoors without a flash and outdoors in daylight is asking a lot -- really, too much. You will sacrifice quality outdoors that you could have achieved with a 100 or 200 speed film. (I don't think I ever sold a shot to a magazine on a film speed faster than 100, for whatever that tell you). With shorter rolls, you can think ahead to your coming shots and switch speeds appropriately. Don't feel like you have to shoot every last shot on every single roll, either. If you shoot 10 good ones on a roll of 12 and your situation is changing, just wind it up and change rolls. (Film is pretty cheap, when you're pricing it by the frame. There is no point in taking shots you don't want and paying to process them because you feel compelled to be part of "the clean plate club" of photography).

Consider a monopod or tripod, if you really care about getting a few outstanding shots. It can make all the difference in the world. Also, using your flash outdoors in certain situations will greatly brighten some shots by filling in shadows. (See if your camera will allow you to do that.)

The better you get, the more pictures you will throw away
Old Mar 23rd, 2002, 10:08 AM
Jim Tardio
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It's hard to make a recommendation when you don't list the type of camera you're using.

Assuming it's a point and shoot model with a slow zoom lens, 400 speed film is your best bet. A film speed of 800 is acceptable for small prints. But if you enlarge, you will quickly see it's shortcomings. Grain is the price you pay for higher speed...there just isn't anyway around this, along with duller colors and blocky shadows. As I said, you probably won't notice in a small print.

Unfortunately, unless you buy your film from a good camera shop, all that's available in your local Walmart or Costco are the mediocre offerings from Kodak and Fuji...Usually Kodal Gold, or Kodak Max and Fuji Superia....YUCK!

Go to www.b& and mail order either some Kodak Supra 400 for nice, vivid color with well controlled contrast, or some Fuji NPH 400 for a more natural look with less contrast (great for shooting in harsh daylight.) You'll spend a lot less and I think you'll like the results. For processing, I'm having great success with the Fuji Frontier system. This processing is usually offered at Long's Drugs and some Ritz Camera shops.

As to the "fancy, more expensive film types," you're probably referring to APS film...the kind where you just drop in the cartridge. STAY AWAY FROM THIS. You'll just get more grain, less sharpness and pay twice the price for it. This is the industry's attempt at sellin you half the film size for double the price.

Hope this is helpful. I have more info on my travel web site at:

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