Ever walk into your favorite photo lab or drug store needing a roll of film and get confused by the large wall of yellow and green boxes behind the counter? You may ask yourself, Which film is right for me? Then proceed to buy the same roll of film you always buy. The real question is, Are all the film types nesscersary? The quick answer is yes. Prints or Slides? Black and White or Color? 100, 200, & 400 speed film, 12, 24, 36 exposures? Like the your choice of camera equipment your film choice will give you some creative control over your image.
The first decision prints or slides? Prints are easier to get developed and to view, they are quick inexpensive ways to get reprints and offer a wide latitude of exposure compensation to the person printing your image. Slides require a viewing device and take a little more time to get developed at the average store-front lab however, they do offer richer color saturation and easier storage and a longer shelve life.
Films ISO rating (speed) should be the most important part of your purchase decision. In simple terms the higher the ISO number the more light sensitive the film will be. If you intend to photograph your subject in low light situations than you need a high-speed film. If you are photographing in direct sunlight or direct flash then a slower speed is desired. Of course there are many exceptions to this rule, if you are photographing an outdoor sporting event in direct sunlight you may wish to use a high-speed film to stop the action. Keep in mind the faster a film the more grain you will see in your image. This is important if you intend to enlarge your images although, recent technology has given some great high-speed film recently you will still notice a difference between films. A quick word with regards to these films that claim to be all-in-one films, they are simply 800 speed films. Certain brands of films are known to have certain qualities, such as Kodak being good for the "cooler" colors and Fuji good for the "warmer" ones. I don't know how much of this is true however, I do know that most films today handles all colors quite well. Regarding the number of exposures, keep in mind that you will have to rewind lower numbers more often, (i.e. 72 exposures requires two rewinds from a 36 roll and 3 rewinds from a 24 roll and six rewinds from a 12 roll) this eats into your batteries. Another tip, don't delay developing your exposed roll of film, over time the image will start to breakdown if not developed.
If you have any film related questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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