Camera Basics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 1999

TOMMY WILLIAMS / L’Observateur / May 22, 1999

One of the more frequently asked questions that I’m confronted with when I’m out in the field is, “What type of film should I use?” Film is sort of like clothing, you use certain types film for specific lighting conditions and you wear certain kinds of clothing for different events. Forexample, suits for weddings and shorts for the zoo; on the other hand, 100 ASA film for bright days and 400 ASA film for cloudy days. Making a better informeddecision on what brand and speed of film can greatly affect the outcome of your photographs.

The photographic processing equipment used in printing your photos have specific channels (much like a television) that have to be programmed and balanced for each different brand and speed of film. The more of any oneparticular type of film brought to a specific photo lab, the more often that specific film channel is balanced for consistent quality. Ask lab managers orstore clerks what’s the most popular brand of film brought in for processing.

Other than using a particular brand of film, the use of the proper speed of film is next most important decision that can improve your photographs.

There are as many different types of film speeds as there are days in a week.

So, which is the correct film speed for me? First, the speed of the film is normally noted in numbers on every box of film, such as, 100, 200 and 400 ASA.

Simply put, the higher the speed of the film, the more sensitive the film is to light. Let the type of light you most frequently take photographs in dictate theproper speed of film to use. One hundred (l00ASA) speed film is great for brightand sunny day outside. Two hundred (200ASA) speed film is, more or less, themiddle of the road film. It’s good choice when you take photos both indoor andoutdoor. Four hundred speed film would be a better choice if most of your photosare taken indoor, with a flash. When using a flash, higher speed films allow youto take pictures at a further distance from the camera, greater flash range.

Although any one of the three previously mentioned film speeds can be used in the same lighting conditions as the other, certain film speeds do produce better prints in specific situations. Owning other equipment such as tripods andshutter-release cables can and will allow you to use slower film (lower ASA Films) in a great range of situations.

So, take the first two basic steps in improving your photos by choosing a brand of film that is popular at your particular processing lab and by choosing a film speed that meets your lighting situations.

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