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Old 02-23-2004, 02:17 PM   #1
AlphaDog
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What is the Best Film for outdoor photography?

What speed? 200, 400, 800??



Sorry if this is a really freakin' basic question but my inquiring mind wants to know!
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Old 02-23-2004, 02:33 PM   #2
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200 for daytime, nighttime will depend on subject matter and weather conditions. [100 would be best for a sunny day. 200 for a cloudy day]

400 speed will be less grainy but using a tripod over a longer period (since 400 requires a long exposure time) will cause blurring if there's any wind/motion in your subject matter.

800 speed, while faster and requiring less exposure time, will be very grainy and still maybe a little blurry as it's tough to have completely calm conditions.

Most professionals, I believe, use a non-35mm format when doing nighttime/long exposure photography. 35mm is rather small by film standards, and when enlarged it's subject to graininess as a result. Most nighttime formats use much larger negatives or plates (like the old cameras).

Wildernessphoto and/or redhawk, when they check in, will be able to elaborate more I'm sure.

Last edited by Kevin; 02-23-2004 at 02:39 PM..
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Old 02-23-2004, 04:53 PM   #3
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the numbers refer to speeds...higher the #, quicker the exposure?
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Old 02-23-2004, 06:22 PM   #4
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Speed of film

Hi Alphadog,
The speed of the film is directly tied to its sensitivity to light. Film has 4 layers (bear with me, I'm trying to remember info from 30 years ago!) 3 color layers, and a silver oxide layer that produces the image. The thicker the film, the slower the speed.

Slow speed film has 2 big advantages. 1- the colors tend to be more brilliant, and 2- it's very forgiving if your exposure is off a little.

The disadvantage to slow film, is that it needs larger apertures, and slow shutter speeds to get enough light to expose it. So you need to use it in bright light, or on a tripod to stabilize the camera in low light situations. You can also add light with a flash if you don't want to use a tripod.

100 asa speed film, is thicker and needs more light. 400 speed film is thinner and needs less light so you can shoot in lower light situations. 800- to-1000 speed films can be used indoors, or in very low light, without a tripod, or flash.

The disadvantage to fast film is that you loose some color quality, and shadow detail. By shadow detail, I would point to any picture you have taken outside in the shadow of a tree with 400 asa film. The spots where the light is shining on the ground, would be washed out, and over exposed, while the areas shaded by the tree would be dark and under exposed.
With 100 asa film, the light areas, and shadow areas, would both show details that you wouldn't see with faster film.

I tried to find my textbook from years ago to confirm this, but haven't been able to put my hands on it. Please correct me if my recollection is wrong…

I remember reading an article on Kodak's "T" grain film that improved fast films graininess. It improved their 800-asa film dramatically.

So in conclusion, you need to use different speed film for different applications.
I hope I helped, and didn't confuse you more!

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Old 02-23-2004, 06:35 PM   #5
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...Many Thanks!

To both of you!

Great info...I definitely see your points.

Stay tuned for my next questions! LOL!
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Old 02-23-2004, 06:45 PM   #6
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Questions

anytime Alphadog!
Glad to help...
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Old 02-23-2004, 07:15 PM   #7
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Techno info...

if your into the "techno info" stuff on film speed, and f-stops...You can check out this site:

minoxlab

(bring your calculator...)

-Gary-
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:09 PM   #8
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Gary, has already explained the lower ASA, better grain, better color advantage. I would say that the best outdoor film is the ASA 50 Fujichrome Velvia. Most of those great color-saturated photos you see in Outdoor Photographer and other glossy mags were taken on Velvia. I would say that it has the best grain and color of any film. With the slow speed you will find yourself needing a tripod in many situations. Being a slide film it is not as convenient as other films. No 1 hour development unless you can do it yourself - not worth the effort IMHO. If you want a print ... many labs have a lot of trouble making a good print from a slide. Also scanning a slide requires a more expensive scanner. So Velvia is not for most people. Best rule of thumb I would give is use the lowest ASA film you can, and practice your steady hand holding technique.
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:43 PM   #9
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Great explanation by Gary!!! I coulnd not have said it better, even with a book in front of me. If I am out with the possibility of wildlife and general scenery mixed with only one camera I generally go for ASA 200. If I want the best shots and am out to capture a certain mood or effect I will go with ASA 100 or slower. Oh God how I sorely miss Kodachrome!!!
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:47 PM   #10
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LOL!

Quote:
Originally posted by mtgoat
Oh God how I sorely miss Kodachrome!!!
I miss it too mtgoat! (We're showing our age)
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:06 PM   #11
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All this reminiscing about Kodachrome reminds me how I use to love it as well. However, unfaithful me has become a convert to Velvia. No doubt I will become unfaithful again when something better comes along. While hiking I often sang a couple of tunes to myself. I will leave it as exercise to guess the tunes, my apologies to music lovers.

I use to sing:
Oh when you go a wandering or spend the day at home. Be sure you take plenty of Kodachrome 25. Kodachrome, Kodachrome, Kodachrome, Kodachro, ho, ho, ho, ho, Kodachrome, Kodachrome, or spend the day at home.

Today I sing:
Supercolorsaturated Fujichrome Velvia. Even though the look of it can sometimes be atrocious. If you use it long enough long, you will become precocious. Supercolorsaturated Fujichrome Velvia.
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:25 PM   #12
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LOL!

I wish I had the tune to go with those Lyrics Mark!
I agree with you on the Velvia too. I usually have 4 camera's going. 1 with 100 asa Fugi print film, 1 with 800 asa Kodak print film, 1 with Velvia slide film, and 1 with B&W film. It depends on what I'm shooting, I just have to grab the right camera and shoot. I don't hike with 4 cameras, but it's nice to be able to just grab and shoot from the vehicle when I'm traveling. Have you ever used vericolor? I like that too.
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Old 02-25-2004, 06:43 AM   #13
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I haven't looked in a while but has anyone used Agfachrome CT precisa lately? I used to use Agfa as a replacement for Ectachrome since it is warmer but haven't shot any slides for a little while now and was wondering how the latest Agfa faired.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:01 PM   #14
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What kind of camera takes ASA 50 Fujichrome Velvia??
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:13 PM   #15
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Velvia

Quote:
Originally posted by AlphaDog
What kind of camera takes ASA 50 Fujichrome Velvia??
Hi Alphadog,
You can get Velvia in 35mm format. You usually need to pick it up at a photo, or film store. You usually don't find it at a Walmart, or a drugstore. It's a professional film. Very high quality, nice stuff!

I just had one other thought. unless your selling your work to publishers, or like to do slide shows at home, you may want to stick with print film for good photo's of your hikes. the print film has come a long way over the years, and it's easier to get reprints and enlargements done of the shots you like.
-Gary-

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Last edited by Wildernessphoto; 02-25-2004 at 12:27 PM..
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:48 PM   #16
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Thanks for the info Wildernessphoto...

I'd imagine that velvia is expensive stuff.

I'll stick to the normal print film.

Thanks again to all who posted!
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