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Capt. Matt C

A Little Help with Film?

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Not long ago, in April, I recieved a film camera and recieved some great advise from many of you "Finding my way around it".

 

Since then I have been having a great time and have even taken some pictures that made me thnk I could be getting better at this. In my own humble oopinion that is.

 

I have been utilizing ideal lighting situations and natural angles to achieve my shots. I think tis time to complicate things a little.

 

I have been using Kodak 400 speed film. I would like to improve my shots and am wondering what the ideal film to use would be? I have read it makes a big difference.

 

Also, Im ready to start adjusting the settings on my own to get the effect that Im looking for. Aperature, etc... Does anyone have any tips?

 

Finally, I want another lense for macro shots and close ups. Does anyone know of a good one for my model camera? (see specs below).

 

Camera: Minolta Maxxum 500 si

Lens: Sigma 200m 28/200 mm

 

 

I know this is a lot to ask in one post but Im anxious and inspired by all the great things I see here!

 

Matt

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Hi,

I don't post, here, much, but I might be able to help, some. First, film speed, as you might know already, is directly related to light sensitivity. The higher the speed, the more sensitive to light it is. Speed 400 is generally used for lower light conditions or when you must use higher speed settings for action photos. Higher speed films are grainer than lower speed films, thus when you enlarge, you may get some graininess. Lower speed films are better for normal light situations, giver better resolution in enlargements, but must be used with either wider apertures or slower shutter speeds.

 

Just remember that shutter speed and aperture work together to result in a good exposure. The slower the shutter speed, the less apt you are to stop any motion or movement. The tighter, or higher the aperture number, the more you concentrate light rays into the center of your lens, resulting in more details-better depth of field-in foreground and back.

 

I suggest you visit your local library. They probably still have a number of good books on film photography that will help you even more. I also suggest you do some online searching for your camera to find out what what macro lens you might find. They use to manufacture screw-on lenses that screw-on right over your regular lens to take macro photos. They came in sets and could be stacked on top of each other. They were less expensive that purchasing an entire new lens and gave decent results.

 

Now, I'm curious as to why you selected using film over the new digital technology?

 

My best,

Mark

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Matt - I recommend that you pick up a copy of a book called "Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera" (Updated Paperback Edition) by Bryan Peterson ($16.47 on Amazon)

 

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposu...9221&sr=8-1

 

It is a great book for learning to understand and apply the creative settings (aperture, shutter speed, film speed, etc) of a camera. The book has multiple photos of the same scene at different camera settings to illustrate the difference between each combination. I found the book to be very helpful.

 

The lessons in the book apply equally well for film cameras and digital cameras.

 

Good luck.

;)

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I second the recommendation for Peterson's book, it is full of information and written in an easy to understand format.

 

It has been a while since I shot film, good luck and enjoy.

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Now, I'm curious as to why you selected using film over the new digital technology?

 

 

 

Im too poor at the moment to buy the Nikon D80 package that I have wanted for a while now. :D

 

I found the camera in my moms closest and she hadnt used it in years and she let me have it.

 

Thanks guys for the replies Ill check that book out!

 

Heres a couple shots, Id love a little negative input.

 

post-12100-1218034192_thumb.jpg

 

post-12100-1218034238_thumb.jpg

 

post-12100-1218034339_thumb.jpg

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For the outdoor shot that you took I would definetly go down to a 200 or even a 100 speed film. I would maybe even invest in a polorizing filter. It will cut some of the glare off the water and make the sky more blue. A good book never hurts. I still use my film camera a lot. For reasons other than I am to cheap to buy a digital. Don't feel like you are missing out on something because you don't have a digital camera, because people where taking great photos with film long before digital.

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I concur with Faster Fish. For the kind of light that you have available in those shots you should be using iso 100.

 

A good start to moving from the auto settings is go with aperture priority. Here's why:

 

- it controls you depth of feild (area in focus)

- the aperture can be set to the lens optimum sharpness (usually f8)

 

When you use this setting be sure to keep an eye on the shutter speed. Then make sure the speed is at least the reciprocal of the focal length (ie: 1/200 of a second for 200mm focal length). If the speed is too low, then set the aperture to a lower number until it is.

 

Setting the aperture to a small number (ie: f2.8) means that out of focus elements will be VERY out of focus. This is a low depth of feild and is great for isolating your subject from a busy background. Increasing the aperature number means that more of the picture will be in focus. This is a large depth of feild and is good for encompassing large areas like landscapes.

 

With respect to the lens' optimum sharpness, all lenses are sharpest at a specific aperture setting. Usually it's f8. Another benefit of f8 is you have leeway in both directions. Set the camera to aperture priority, set the aperture to f8 and be weary of the shutter speed when shooting.

 

That's just a start. A circular polarizer is great to have on the water too.

 

CB

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Since you asked for it, some (hopefully) constructive critisizm on the photos:

 

First photo: Great focus on the bird, too much uninteresting grass (you could have captured more of the tree to the left).

 

Second photo: Could be a good photo op but too much water and sky that are doing nothing. Sky is over exposed and mountains and clouds are washed out. Cool garbage on the bank has been reduced in importance.

 

Third photo: Always shoot with the sun behind you. Too much contrast as a result. Washed out highlights on the fisherman (hat and left side) and overexposed sky. Should have been shot portrait rather than landscape. Light reflecting off the fish is washing out what should be great colour.

 

All that being said the photos ain't that bad and were well worth taking.

 

CB

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Since you asked for it, ome (hopefully) constructive critisizm on the photos:

 

First photo: Great focus on the bird, too much uninteresting grass (you could have captured more of the tree to the left).

 

Second photo: Could be a good photo op but too much water and sky that are doing nothing. Sky is over exposed and mountains and clouds are washed out. Cool garbage on the bank has been reduced in importance.

 

Third photo: Always shoot with the sun behind you. Too much contrast as a result. Washed out highlights on the fisherman (hat and left side) and overexposed sky. Should have been shot portrait rather than landscape. Light reflecting off the fish is washing out what should be great colour.

 

All that being said the photos ain't that bad and were well worth taking.

 

CB

 

Thanks for the input! And the information above. I cant wait to try this out.

 

Keep em comming.

 

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Now, I'm curious as to why you selected using film over the new digital technology?

 

My best,

Mark

 

Film is what I know, film is what I love.

I don't eschew digital or new technology, it's just that I feel that photography is a photo/mechanical/chemical, etc, process and not a photo/digital one.

I also think that there is a certain craft aspect to film photography, which will make a difference in fine art circles, anway.

And while I haven't been in the darkroom for sometime now, I love the hands on aspect of it too, I love hadling the film that I shoot, and being intimately involved in the image making process.

These are my thoughts on shooting film, and aren't meant to add to the endless which is better debate, as I said, film is what I know.

Anyway, good luck with your camera!

Brian

:thumbsup: :cheers:

 

 

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Photography is not a "photo/digital" process? Hmmmmm. That may have been true 30 years ago, but the "photo/mechanical/chemical" processes you spoke of have long since had to move over and make room for the new kid on the block, and the new kid's not going away. (at least until he's replaced by another new kid) Despite the changes that scientific advances have brought to photography, the medium remains what it's been since Talbot and Daguerre first learned to permanently capture light, regardless of whether its practitioners use $40,000 MF digital rigs or plastic toy cameras. To paraphrase Shakespeare, "The image is the thing." The degree of craftsmanship needed to produce quality images in a digital darkroom is no less than what's required in a wet darkroom, and believe me, I've done plenty of both. It's no less challenging to stand apart from the crowd today than it's ever been, and methods have very little to do with it. Capture is capture and vision is vision.

 

 

“I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.” Ansel Adams - The Negative (1981)

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