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06-26-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
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Returning to Film: Would I be put-off by using consumer film

I dusted off my Pentax Program plus and it is still alive. Want to take that with me to yellowstone to get some landscape shots.

I AM LEAVING THURSDAY, SO MAY HAVE TO SETTLE ON FILMS AVAILABLE AT WALMART AND SUCH.

I want to get the film look for some old places, like the Mormon row barns, old faithful lodge and similar wooden structures and possibly the scenery (mountain landscape) as well.

Will using such consumer film give good results, or would it put me off of film. What is the best possible brand to get....I am looking for that fine grain, film color look. Enjoyed some shots posted with Fuji Superia 200 here

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/104930-people-curly-love.html

Thank you.

06-26-2010, 07:57 PM   #2
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I've had really good luck with Kodak Ultramax 400. Happy with the color and the grain and readily available at CVS. Haven't see much Kodak at Walmart lately - it all seems to be Fuji. Too bad, because it was my source for C41 B&W400CN. The more I look at those negs and the resulting prints, the happier I am with it.

Happy film shooting.

Best,
Kevin
06-26-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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Another film shooter! Hurray!
See if you can find Ektar, but I doubt it. For landscapes, Kodak Gold 100 should work well but I'm having a tough time getting it as well. The best I can find locally is Gold 200 at Walgreens. Local WalMart only carries ISO800 all purpose film.
I recently shot some B&W400CN (Which is not true B&W, but C41 processed) and I liked it. I'm not familiar with Fuji so I can't help you much in there.
Check for the expiration date. Some may be close to or have already expired.
Now, having film properly developed and print is another story. Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
Enjoy the film experience!

Thanks,
06-26-2010, 08:30 PM   #4
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Kevin,

Thank you for that suggestion. Iso 400 would be fine for dusk/dawn shots, but with the max shutter of 1/1000, I wonder whether bright light shots may require aperture of 16 or 22 causing diffraction.

I noticed this when I tried the first roll this morning with iso 200 film. The sunny 16rule didn't quite what I got. I needed f16 and 22 even with iso 200. (I didn't load the film properly so it didn't expose)

How reliable is the sunny 16 rule? can I use a shutter speed of 1/400 with iso400 film and aperture of 16, even if my camera reads it as +1-2EV? If the sunny 16 is relaible or you have used the 400 film well under bright light and kept the shutter below 1/1000, I could go with your suggestion.

Thank you!

06-26-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Another film shooter! Hurray!
See if you can find Ektar, but I doubt it. For landscapes, Kodak Gold 100 should work well but I'm having a tough time getting it as well. The best I can find locally is Gold 200 at Walgreens. Local WalMart only carries ISO800 all purpose film.
I recently shot some B&W400CN (Which is not true B&W, but C41 processed) and I liked it. I'm not familiar with Fuji so I can't help you much in there.
Check for the expiration date. Some may be close to or have already expired.
Now, having film properly developed and print is another story. Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
Enjoy the film experience!

Thanks,
I am super excited to try film as well. Thank you for the encouragement.

I was sold on ektar reading some comments, I doubt local stores carry that, and 2-day shipping is a killer. Seems like kodak consumer films are decent.

I send my digital prints to Adorama Pix, should I do the same with film?

Thank you!
06-26-2010, 08:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
Kevin,

Thank you for that suggestion. Iso 400 would be fine for dusk/dawn shots, but with the max shutter of 1/1000, I wonder whether bright light shots may require aperture of 16 or 22 causing diffraction.

I noticed this when I tried the first roll this morning with iso 200 film. The sunny 16rule didn't quite what I got. I needed f16 and 22 even with iso 200. (I didn't load the film properly so it didn't expose)

How reliable is the sunny 16 rule? can I use a shutter speed of 1/400 with iso400 film and aperture of 16, even if my camera reads it as +1-2EV? If the sunny 16 is relaible or you have used the 400 film well under bright light and kept the shutter below 1/1000, I could go with your suggestion.

Thank you!
pcarfan, diffraction hasn't seemed to be as big a deal on film as it is in digital, particularly with older lenses. Yeah, you're right - ASA400 is a little fast when it's bright out. I just shot 4 rolls of CVS brand ASA200 (I'm given to understand it's re-badged Fuji) and was really pleased with the results. Got a box of 4 rolls on sale for $5, so no complaints on the financial front <g>. Sunny 16 is plenty reliable. You can see some of Ismael's shots on the Sightseeing Screwmount thread that he shot using it. I prefer to either go with my camera's meter and use EV comp +/- or, if my camera doesn't have a working meter to use a hand-held Weston meter I got from my dad. The one roll I shot off the top of my squash ended up woefully underexposed, so I'm not the guy to ask on this one <g>.

If you don't have a hand-held meter and do have a digital camera, you could take it along and use it as a meter. Good luck and happy film shooting.

Best,
Kevin
06-26-2010, 09:08 PM   #7
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Ultramax 400 is very versatile

I've picked up a freezer-full of expired Ultramax 400 over the last few months - and every roll has been absolutely fine. It's all been processed at the local Big W (big store similar to Walmart etc I suppose) so it hasn't had any special pro-lab processing.

I also recently tested about a dozen rolls at ISO 100 and 200 just to see how it would cope with that. This was also developed and printed by Big W and I didn't tell them that I had exposed it at anything other than 400 so they didn't make any adjustments for that during developing. Again, every roll came out fine - certainly good enough for me.

In my experience, Ultramax is an incredibly versatile and robust film, even if it's a "consumer-grade" product, and I think you could safely expose it at 100 or 200 if you need slower shutter speeds. YMMV
06-27-2010, 12:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
Kevin,

Thank you for that suggestion. Iso 400 would be fine for dusk/dawn shots, but with the max shutter of 1/1000, I wonder whether bright light shots may require aperture of 16 or 22 causing diffraction.

I noticed this when I tried the first roll this morning with iso 200 film. The sunny 16rule didn't quite what I got. I needed f16 and 22 even with iso 200. (I didn't load the film properly so it didn't expose)

How reliable is the sunny 16 rule? can I use a shutter speed of 1/400 with iso400 film and aperture of 16, even if my camera reads it as +1-2EV? If the sunny 16 is relaible or you have used the 400 film well under bright light and kept the shutter below 1/1000, I could go with your suggestion.

Thank you!
Sunny 16 is fairly safe to use. If you are shooting ISO 400 and the camera thinks you need 2 stops higher shutter speed than 1/400 at f/16 then most likely the meter is off. Also, negative film can be quite forgiving when it comes to exposure errors so even if you end up off a little bit it won't kill you.

Here is a nice read on exposure.
Ultimate Exposure Computer

06-27-2010, 05:41 AM   #9
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Sunny 16 is not only reliable, it is GOSPEL!
That's what I use when using the SV or when testing older cameras.
I wrote this for a Photography Basics seminar I do.

Soleado = 1/ISO @ f16 (sunny)
Levemente nublado = 1/ISO @ f11 (slightly overcast)
Nublado = 1/ISO @ f8 (overcast)
Bien nublado = 1/ISO @ f5.6 (heavy overcast)
Sombra = 1/ISO @ f4 (shadow)

Keep in mind neg film is quite forgiving in latitude, meaning it can handle variations quite well. I was recently shooting a pre-set lens with ISO100 film. The lens was set at f16 and it was bright and sunny outside. It was opened to f2 for composing and I forgot to stop it down to f16 and took the shot. In digital, that would have been an all white frame. It came out only slightly overexposed but quite usable!

Thanks,
06-27-2010, 05:42 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
.....
I send my digital prints to Adorama Pix, should I do the same with film?
I am so sorry, but we no longer develop film.
06-27-2010, 05:58 AM   #11
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It is good to know that film has so much plasticity with exposure. Now, I know why many of the images came out ok in those days when I didn't even know much about exposure.

It sounds like Kodak ultramax 400 and local 1 hr. processing.

If sunny 16 is reliable, I can easily tweak exposure form there on as I am familiar with tweaking exposure after using a DSLR for a few years. Is it better to err on over exposure or under exposure with film, with digital it is better to underexpose, is it the same with film?

Shame on you Adorama

Last edited by pcarfan; 06-27-2010 at 06:04 AM.
06-27-2010, 06:14 AM   #12
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Just a quick word on processing - it can vary from location to location. I had my local CVS do a roll with horrible results, and yet, the CVS in the next town over does passable work. Same can be said for "pro" labs; I was never really happy with the photos returned from one particular lab (although they had been in business forever). Went to another lab and I've found a "home". Gist of this post is to shop around until you find somebody whose work your happy with.

Best,
Kevin
06-27-2010, 07:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Helen Oster Quote
...we no longer develop film.
Doesn't Adorama still sell film? If so what do you advise your customers do for processing?

Chris
06-27-2010, 08:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
It is good to know that film has so much plasticity with exposure...
It depends on the film. Color slide film has very little exposure latitude. Color and B&W negative films are better, though it still depends on the film. Consumer-grade color negative films such as Kodak Gold 200 can tolerate 2 stops overexposure and 1-2 stops underexposure.

QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
If sunny 16 is reliable, I can easily tweak exposure form there on as I am familiar with tweaking exposure after using a DSLR for a few years. Is it better to err on over exposure or under exposure with film, with digital it is better to underexpose, is it the same with film?
Better to err towards overexposure with negative films. Slide films need to be spot on. As for sunny 16...It depends on how sunny your sunny is. The day is rare in my area when f/16 @ 125s with ISO 100 film is enough light. In the tropics, it may work better. The summer sun is pretty intense in Yellowstone, so it may work fine. I have found it useful to carry an 18% gray card to meter off of when the lighting is difficult. The meter in the camera is calibrated to an 18% gray standard. Place the card in the same light as the subject (no need to focus on the card) and take your reading off the card. This is where AE lock comes in handy. Overall, the meter in your camera will probably be fine for 90% of your shooting.


Steve
06-27-2010, 08:53 AM   #15
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Try your local grocery store, no kidding. The only places I've seen Kodak recently were at grocery stores. All the drug stores here have the Fuji brand, but all the grocery stores here seem to have Kodak. It's usually with the batteries and such. But yeah, I'd check the dates. I'm sure film moves very slowly at the grocery stores these days.
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