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05-13-2009, 09:57 PM   #1
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digital to film... what do i need to know?

Just got a film camera! mf, fully mechanical.

i have very little film experience.

What do i need to know about film? I don't want to end up with 4 rolls of technically bad photos because i screwed somrthing up.

How does film handle highlights?

How does wb come into play?

etc

05-13-2009, 10:44 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by 65535 Quote
Just got a film camera! mf, fully mechanical.

i have very little film experience.

What do i need to know about film? I don't want to end up with 4 rolls of technically bad photos because i screwed somrthing up.

How does film handle highlights?

How does wb come into play?

etc
You didn't say what type of film you're using...

White Balance works by getting the correct film for the light source, or using color correction filters. If you're shooting B&W, it doesn't much matter.

Generally, with film, you want to expose for the shadows.
05-14-2009, 02:41 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote

Generally, with film, you want to expose for the shadows.
Except slide film. Then you expose for the highlights. It's always worthwhile to familiarise yourself with the different kinds of films: how they work, how they are developed. Once you understand that, the rest falls into place.
05-14-2009, 02:41 AM   #4
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Bring a lot of money.

05-14-2009, 03:43 AM   #5
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Buy lots of cheap, expired film to get you started.
05-14-2009, 05:59 AM   #6
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just have fun really would be my comment.
get some film, shoot whatever you want and see what it looks like.

negative film can hold highlights better really well, but you also need a good scanner to be able to pull them out.
most films are colour films are daylight balanced so you can make use filters that eat up light or try adjusting in PP, which then also requires a good scan
05-14-2009, 06:37 AM   #7
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I was wondering the same thing few weeks ago when I loaded up some Fuji superia ISO200 to old Chinon M3 which I got for free with some M42 lenses. The camera had center weighted average metering with led indicators and I just adjusted shutter speed to get it show green light. Didn't really bother metering around the scene so the center was always located on the horizon borderline between the bright sky and slightly darker ground. I did shoot one roll and just got it developed + 4x6 paper prints. I was totally amazed by the highlights especially near the sun center (was shooting sunset landscapes). Silky smooth stepless gradients from pure gold to white in the very center of the sun. Even the dark wet sand on the beach had some interesting details left.

My K20D needs radical HDR processing (or ND filters) to get to the same results. Now I'm planning to hunt down some Pentax 67-body with a wide lens for landscapes.
05-14-2009, 06:48 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaddyLuna Quote
Buy lots of cheap, expired film to get you started.
This is what I was thinking. Problem is that in my case, I never left the cheap film.

05-14-2009, 08:35 AM   #9
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Center-weighted averaging is pretty accurate in most cases, at least that's what roll upon roll of superia 400 Xtra tells me from my first months shooting back in 2006/2007. Go for the green LED, or meter off grass/clear blue sky/palm of hand +1, and then shoot.

Scan as 24 bit tiffs and you can usually correct white balance like a RAW file (at least for fluorescent/shade/some tungsten). I don't use colour correcting filters, but then again I like intentional colour casts.

Negative film handles highlights quite well, but you need to put more effort in 'digitizing' to make it pop. It's less dense than slide film, so can look dull without some boost in contrast. Lots of tricks to eliminate the orange mask depending on what scan software you use.
05-14-2009, 11:38 AM   #10
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I'd suggest, if you're starting with color, to not worry about WB anyway: if you're handy with computers, you can do what you need pretty easily with any post-processing: correction filters are kind of mostly for slide film or the studio, in my book, (just don't be surprised when things look terrible under some old flourescent lights)

I don't think I even own any CC filters anymore, in fact, but then again, most of my color work dropped out years ago, and digital kind of brought it back. (Nice to not have to carry a second body for it, you can just turn on the color. )

I'd start with negative film, by the way. It's just more exposure-forgiving, and not as generally-inferior to slide film as it once was. One thing to watch out for, though, is that sometimes the quality of processing and printing isn't up to snuff anymore, if you go to certain labs, so, be sure to check out your negs if prints are unsatisfactory. You may still have good images.
05-14-2009, 12:04 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I'd start with negative film, by the way. It's just more exposure-forgiving, and not as generally-inferior to slide film as it once was. One thing to watch out for, though, is that sometimes the quality of processing and printing isn't up to snuff anymore, if you go to certain labs, so, be sure to check out your negs if prints are unsatisfactory. You may still have good images.
To add to Ratmagiclady's post: Getting good prints when shooting negative film doesn't automatically mean you'll get similar results if you decide to try slide film. Sometimes labs are fixing things for you when they're making your prints. This happened to a friend of mine. He had always shot print film and had gotten pretty good results. Then he shot some slides and they came out way over-exposed. He thought something was wrong with his camera, but when we went back and looked at the negatives from some of his print shots, we could see that he had been over-exposing things for quite some time, but never knew it because the labs always corrected it for him. I don't want to discourage you from trying slide film because that's about all I shoot. I guess all I'm saying is don't shoot anything terribly important the first time out. lol
05-14-2009, 01:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote

I'd start with negative film, by the way. It's just more exposure-forgiving, and not as generally-inferior to slide film as it once was. One thing to watch out for, though, is that sometimes the quality of processing and printing isn't up to snuff anymore, if you go to certain labs, so, be sure to check out your negs if prints are unsatisfactory. You may still have good images.
I 'cut out the middle-man' and get my negs scanned directly as hi-res jegs at the processors. 10 UKP for 36 exposures though! I shot this, this and this with Fuji Superia Reala ISO 100 colour neg film; no losses between prints and scanner!
05-15-2009, 11:20 AM   #13
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i guess i should specify...

film will be whatever i find at the supoermarket or drugstore. Negative film

Processing will be done @ costco, where they also give you CDs with pictures.

So expose for shadows or highlights?

does the film behave weird when subjected to extreme contrast?

are those skylight filters i have kicking around necessary or useful?
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