Film Friday | Tips for Shooting Film | Week 1
Welcome to Film Friday!!! I would assume if you are reading this you are somewhat relatively new to shooting film, and have realized that there is not nearly as much learning material as you would like out there. Trust me I have been there. When I first started out (and I still have so far to go), I would have questions and couldn't find any resources that answered my questions. Luckily with the help of a few groups out there, and a few wonderful film photographers, I was able to figure out these necessary questions.
A couple weeks ago I asked a group of aspiring (and some not so aspiring) film photographers, what they wanted to know. What questions did they have when they first started out? And formulated a series of "tips" for shooting from film based off the questions everyone wanted to know, as well as questions I get asked regularly. Hope you guys enjoy week 1!!!
What equipment do you recommend?
I personally shoot with 2 35mm's a Nikon F100 and a Nikon N80, and a medium format (120mm) Pentax 645n. I am a digital Nikon shooter, so buying Nikon film cameras that I could use my current lenses on was definitely a must. If you are Nikon shooter I would suggest the F100, it is a great camera to learn on and the buttons are similar to current Nikon digital cameras. They run anywhere from $125-$200ish online. If you are a Canon shooter I was informed the Canon 1V is a great film camera. Not being a Canon shooter, I don't know much in depth about their systems, but that is a good starting point.
**For Nikon shooters with the F100, be aware that the exposure meter in your viewfinder is opposite of the new digital meters. Everything to the left of the middle is overexposed, everything to the right is underexposed.
What film stock do you suggest starting out with?
My first film stock was Fuji 400H, and I highly recommend it. Fuji 400H and Kodak Portra 400 have a lot of what I call "error room." You can overexpose Fuji 400H by 4-6 stops and it still look great. It loves light. So for me it was a great starter, because it keeps the shooter from getting as discouraged with their first few rolls until they really get the hang of it.
What are your favorite film stocks?
I personally shoot Portra 400, Fuji 400H, Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Max 400, Portra 800, Portra 160, and Ektar 100. I am always trying new stocks, but my favorites are by far Portra 400, Kodak Gold 200, and Ektar 100. Each film stock varies in price as well as in the number of exposures per roll.
Where do you buy your film?
How does the film "process" work?
I probably get this question most often! After I finish shooting a roll of film, I package it up (specifications on how to package depend on the lab) and ship it to one of my favorite labs. From there the lab develops the film, scans the film on one of their amazing film scanners, and then they send me a link to download the digital images.
**Depending on which lab I choose, and their scanning options, I sometimes get my scans semi "finished." HINT HINT: We will talk about that next week :)
What film lab do you use?
**When using The Find Lab, if you write on your order form "FIRST ROLL FREE," they will process your first roll for free.
How does ISO work with Film?
There technically is no "in camera" ISO. The ISO is set by your film. For example the ISO or "box speed" of Portra 400 is 400, for Kodak Gold 200 it would be 200. You will hear quite often depending on which film stock is being shot that people often rate or shoot their film at "half box speed" or at 100 etc. All this means is they set their "in camera" ISO to treat the scene like the film stock is really 200 for "half box speed" of Portra 400 or 100 for Kodak Gold 200. That would overexpose your film by 1 stop. But we will get more into why you would want to overexpose your film in the next few weeks.
I hope you guys enjoyed some of these FAQ's. Remember to check out my blog on Film Friday's every week for more tips and questions answered.
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