Getting blurry shots when you shoot inside? Night shots all browny looking or washed out? Got no detail in clouds or snow or on beaches? Get the right film for the job.
I won’t name names, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen this, but I saw a very nicely composed photo of a pet on the site today that the author had commented underneath “still getting blurry shots…”.
There are many things that can cause this sort of problem, but if you focussed properly, it boils down to one thing. Your exposure time was so long that your hands shaking was picked up on the film making your image blurry. The author of the above had shot indoors on a 200 speed film, a film simply not capable without a tripod of doing what the author wanted to do.
With an SLR there are many things that you can do to correct this or at least mitigate it, but with toy plastic cameras such as La Sardina, there is only one thing, and if you get this right and do it for every camera, your shots will get better and better.
Choose the right film for the job.
All film is rated for something called speed. This simply refers to how much light is needed to get a good, even negative, one that will produce a nice sharp picture. The bigger the number, the less light is needed. The effect of this is that your camera can spend less time with the shutter open to capture the image, which of course means it hasn’t enough time to pick up your shaking hands.
This is a quickie tipster, so I’m not going to go into the science or other things like use of tripod etc etc. So here is the skinny.
Films are measured in ISO or ASA or both, normally these are the same anyway. The most common film types are:
ISO/ASA 100: Daylight, good strong sunny days, beachy days, snow on the mountains days.
ISO/ASA 200: Overcasty days, and is a good compromise.
ISO/ASA 400: General use, sports days, rainy days.
ISO/ASA 800: Evenings, sunsets, inside with a flash.
ISO/ASA 1600: This is getting harder to come by, but is the bare minimum I’d use for rock concerts, night clubs etc, you may not even need to flash with this one.
I can hear all you long timers groaning: “What about grain? How about Delta 3200 or T64? It’s not this simple…” and you’d be right, it isn’t, things change when you find more interesting films, cross process, develop your own negs, push, pull etc.
But let’s get this bit right first. Once you’ve improved your technique with this simple tip, hit the internet or this site for more tips on film speed, grain, tripod use and cross processing.
Back to Basics is a monthly Tipster series by Adam Griffiths where he seeks to impart a little more technical film photography knowledge. For each installment, he chooses a fundamental subject and explains it quickly and in simple terms (with examples where possible).