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02-13-2013, 07:06 AM   #1
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Film, witch ISo???

Hello all.

I am new to SLR and the use of film.
Have a old Pentax Spotmatic I have started to use.

But, what ISO/ASA to use? Right now I have some old 400 I am using. I find the photos ok,, but as I told you all, I have just started with these camera.
Is it a big difference from 100 to 400 film outdoors? Is a 200 a good all round?

Or will I not be able to spot the difference at my stage?

02-13-2013, 07:51 AM   #2
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If shooting outdoors and it's nice and sunny, go for 100. For all-around shooting (outdoors, indoors, etc) I prefer 400.
02-13-2013, 08:00 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by vegard_dino Quote
Hello all.

I am new to SLR and the use of film.
Have a old Pentax Spotmatic I have started to use.

But, what ISO/ASA to use? Right now I have some old 400 I am using. I find the photos ok,, but as I told you all, I have just started with these camera.
Is it a big difference from 100 to 400 film outdoors? Is a 200 a good all round?

Or will I not be able to spot the difference at my stage?
One question first: are you shooting colour negatives, slidefilm or black and white film?

Generally i would say that the choice of ISO is mostly a question of the lighting conditions in which you plan to shoot. If you want to go outside and shoot in daylight (which is rather bright), a low ISO like 100 allows you to shoot at lower apertures. Just an example: iirc the Spotmatic's fastest shutter speed is 1/1000s, which might be too slow if you wanted to shoot something at f2.8 and ISO 400, for example.
On the other hand, if you were for example shooting in lower lights, the ISO 400 might allow you to use faster shutter speeds and thus enable you to take pictures hand held in conditions that an ISO 100 film wouldn't allow for.
It helps to remember that from ISO 100 to 200 to 400, there is one full stop between each of them.
In my experience, tha grain of modern films in the range of 100, 200 or 400 (which are the most common speeds you will get everywhere) doesn't really make that much of a difference if you are not planning on getting really big prints (referring to "your stage"), yet.
Talking about prints, there is also a lot to consider. You could make your own prints of B/W film relatively easy (compared to color fim) or there may even be shops that will do real prints off your negatives for you, which would give you the "real analog deal".
Color films is a different story though. In my country (Germany) there are only one or two places left will make real prints from your negatives and they are rather expensive. So as a beginner, you will most probably give your unprocessed film to a photo shop or a drugstore. They both will send it to some big labs where they will process the film, scan it and then print you the digital files. What this means is, that you will get your processed film back (which they won't push or pull. For this, you've got to ask at an expensive pro-lab for that or do it yourself, but this is something you might want to look into a little later in your learning curve), which might be of good quality. The printed pictures you get along with the film, are essentially digital pictures, though and their resolution mostly is horrible on bigger prints. Especially when you shot more contrasty pictures, which they will digitally post process automatically to level for possible under- or overexposure (which might be intended from your side, but a computer program in another part of the country doesn't make a difference there). So before thinking of ISO as a factor of grain, consider the sloppy treatment you get nowadays as an amateur color-film photographer.

Forgive me my rant about this topic, maybe it all led a little too far and it shouldn't discourage you from making your own conclusions. When i first started with photography, I didn't know too much about all this, either. I started out with kodak ISO 400 film rolls, the cheapest you coud get at the local drugstores. I stuck with these, because I loved the colours and contrast they gave me and yes, they are a little grainy, but that's what I love about them, too (but maybe that's just the scans from the lab?). I learned about all this technical stuff in the process of taking my pictures and some of these first shots are still hanging at my wall and yes, I shot them in bright (well, at least winter-)sunlight. So all in all it comes down to what you like and I hope you made it through this all too long post (didn't even talk about slide film or scanning negatives yourself, yet) to realize that you've got to find that out for yourself. I always thought that learning by doing is the most satisfactory way of getting to know things. Just don't be afraid of making mistakes or doing something wrong from the very beginning and not starting because of that.
02-13-2013, 08:09 AM   #4
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Look at it this ways...

Extremely Fine Grain--Very Fine Grain---Fine Grain ------ Coarse Grain

ASA 6 .. 12 .. 25 .. 32 . 64 . . . . 100 . 200 . . 320 . . 400 . . 800 +

Very Sunny -----------Sunny ---------------Indoor/Overcast---Limited Lighting

Still life/landscape ---- Slow moving ----- Action / Fast Moving

... this is roughly how I remember it.

02-13-2013, 08:10 AM   #5
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The difference between 100 and 400 film is 2 stops in exposure and increasing grain with faster film.
02-13-2013, 08:22 AM   #6
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Thank you for the reply and very helpful information.
02-13-2013, 09:59 AM   #7
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If you are planning to stick with film then you may want to invest in some filters. Filters are important for film shooting, especially b&w.

If you use filters then you need to account for the “filter factor” (the amount of light lost when using a filter) when you select the type/speed of film you use..

For colour negative/positive film the filter factor of colour filters is low (Skylight is 1.1) so they have little effect on the exposure value. 100 ISO film will be fine for daylight shooting with your Spotmatic.

If you plan to shoot b&w film the filters have a higher filter factor and they will have more of an impact on your EV. Example a yellow filter has a filter factor of 2 so you will loose 1 stop. Red filters will have a factor between 4-8, which means you can loose up to 3 stops. So a faster film of 200-400 ISO is better if you plan to use darker filters.

The TTL meter in your Spotmatic will take care of these filter factor calculations; you just have to be aware of the impact on your EV.

Phil.
02-13-2013, 10:06 AM   #8
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I mostly shoot in daytime using films so most of the time it's ISO 100, it also scans slightly better and allows me to shoot wide open without using ND

02-13-2013, 10:37 AM   #9
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Thanks all for the help.
What I am shooting? Now I am shooting color. But, I will start with slides also.
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