If you're new to film, shooting 35mm film is a great way to learn the ropes. In the end, though, the type of camera and film you choose depend greatly on what you want to photograph and what your goals are with film photography. If you're unsure, review the three main characteristics that define film (type, speed and format), and then choose a format based on your particular needs or interest.
This decision depends greatly on both the subject you wish to photograph and your own personal preferences. First, review the three main characteristics that define film (type, speed and format) here.
Reversal (or transparency) film is considered to have a more saturated color palette, and can be easier to scan. It is commonly used by landscape photographers. Negative film gives you more leeway in setting exposure and can provide more detail in high-contrast lighting. Negative film is often used by portrait and wedding photographers.
When selecting a film speed, keep in mind both your lighting environment and the applicable subject. Films vary in their sensitivity to light, as expressed by their ISO film speed. The higher the ISO number, the "faster" the film and the less light you need to take a picture. Fast films of ISO 400, 800 and higher are recommended for dim lighting or fast action such as sports photography. A fast film lets you use a high shutter speed to "freeze" rapid motion and minimize blurring with handheld shooting or telephoto lenses. Slow films in the ISO 100 range are ideal for brightly lit situations such as outdoor sunlight or studio photography. In portrait photography, for example, a slow film allows a wider aperture (lower f-stop number) to defocus the foreground or background. A tripod lets you take full advantage of the fine granularity of slow films without worrying about blurring.
This is not recommended. When shooting a roll of film, it is generally best to decide at the very beginning of the roll the ISO at which you will rate your film and then rate the entire roll the same way. Switching how you rate your film in the middle of a roll will simply result in either over- or under-exposed frames.
Push- and pull-processing are done during development by manipulating the chemical process of developing film. It is executed by changing either the temperature of the developer, or the amount of time film is in the developer. It is recommended that film be shot at box speed or your preferred exposure index that will allow for normal processing. However, there may be times when you need to rate film at a higher or lower speed to suit certain photographic conditions, requiring you to push-process or pull-process your film in development to compensate for doing so. Color negative film does not respond very much to push/pull processing. Learn more about push- and pull-processing here.
When developed by a professional film lab, the roll of film is developed all at once, not frame-by-frame. So the entire roll will have to be pushed or pulled. Some photographers do "clip processing" when developing themselves, during which they develop the first few frames of a roll, and then adjust development accordingly to achieve desired results for the remaining frames. However, this is usually not done at professional labs. We recommend rating and push- or pull-processing each roll in its entirety.
The main differences between "professional" vs. "consumer" film types are color-saturation and contrast. Consumer films are higher in color-saturation and contrast, while professional film types are lower in contrast and usually have more accurate color reproduction. Lower contrast and saturation is ideal for wedding and portrait professionals looking to capture accurate color and skin-tones. However, many professional landscape and fine art photographers use consumer films because they have higher color-saturation and contrast.
Cross-processing is the experimental practice of intentionally developing film with chemistry other than what is intended for that particular film type. For example, processing E6 film with C-41 chemistry. Cross-processing can result in drastic color shifts, extreme contrast and often unpredictable outcomes.
There are a number of variables that affect the answer to this question: from the format of the film to the scanner that is used to digitize your negative or transparency. If you are intending to create a large print from a film negative, it is best to communicate that to your lab before they scan, and they can work with you to make sure you have the digital scan size needed. You can also have a specific negative or transparency re-scanned for a large file size if needed in the future.
Yes. The type of scanner used to scan your film will affect the final results of your digital file. From resolution and file size to dust removal and reading dynamic range, every scanner has different capabilities. The person operating the scanner also plays a role in the final outcome of your film scans. Scanning is a subjective practice so individual preference is also a factor, especially when determining density (brightness and darkness) and color balance of you scans. If you're using a professional lab to scan your film, be sure to communicate your preferences to get scans that best meet your needs. Looking to find a professional lab to work with for your film processing and scanning needs? Check out our list of Fujifilm-Certified Professional Labs. These labs have undergone rigorous testing to ensure quality and consistency with their film processing systems. Fujifilm continues to work with these labs on an ongoing basis to support their film processing needs.
Exposure latitude is the range of under- or over-exposure a film stock can take while still producing a negative or transparency with a level of acceptable quality. Greater exposure latitude can generally be found with color negative film. Transparency film has narrow exposure latitude, requiring more accuracy when exposing the film.
In terms of technical characteristics, all film sizes will look the same if exposed and processed the same way. But the printed or scanned results generated with 135 (35mm) film will be different than what you can create with 120 film because of the difference in size of the frame. A larger negative does not have to be "blown up" as much as a smaller one, and therefore will appear sharper and less grainy when printed or viewed at big sizes.
A double exposure is created when a single frame of film is exposed twice, with the two exposures overlapping each other on the same frame. To create a double exposure, first make sure the camera you are using has the ability to create a double exposure (refer to the user manual if unsure). If using a film camera that requires manual advancing, simply don't advance to the next frame after capturing your first shot, and then take another photo before advancing the film.
Before taking your two captures to create a double exposure, take into account the total exposure you want for the entire double exposure. Then, halve that for each individual exposure to avoid too much overexposure. By slightly underexposing both individual shots, you'll create the proper exposure for the final double-exposed image.