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Old Nov 5, 2009, 7:28 PM   #1
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Default Film vs Digital 101

With digital most (I assume all) cameras have histograms to tell you if you've blown a highlight or black crush. What do SLR owners do? Are they left to just taking the shot and then developing the film to find out? Does the Nikon F6 have a histogram feature? Or any "recent" SLR cameras.

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Old Nov 5, 2009, 8:08 PM   #2
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No. Film cameras don't have histograms. The irony is that film cameras have been around longer, yet have fewer tools.
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 2:52 AM   #3
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No they don't have histograms. You have to expose the film first. :P

If you are shooting negative film then they are much more forgiving of poor exposure than digital cameras and the built-in lightmeters are usually more than accurate enough.

With positive film you usually have a very narrow latitude (perhaps only 5 stops) somewhat equivalent to today's P&S cameras. And you had to be very careful with your metering and exposure, mostly using spot metering and really thinking about exposure instead of chimping. Pro's used to use polaroids a lot to check exposure settings before a shoot and when lighting changes were made.
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 7:59 AM   #4
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That's what I was thinking. if the SLR's don't have histograms then yes obviously you would need to develop the film. And chalk it up to experience. Or rely on handheld light meter studio photographers use. Did forget about the built-in light meter (seen on the right side of viewfinder...Nikon calls it an "exposure meter"). I have a Nikon FE I used to shoot with back in the day. I guess all SLR's must have a light meter of some kind.

With the "exposure meters" you usually have a "+, 0, -". IIRC you had to adjust the exposure till the meter read "0". My FE had a needle. Then you had a correctly exposed photo. And would probably not have blown highlights or black crush.

Also, I read that film is more durable than the memory cards and hard drives we use when shooting digital. As is also the case with motion picture film (e.g. 70mm). But would 35mm film not degrade overtime if stored incorrectly? VHS tape degrades (though, I had some movies that looked pretty good even after 10-15 years). What is the best way to store processed film negatives?

Thanks for the explanations.

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Old Nov 6, 2009, 9:37 AM   #5
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I keep all my 35mm negatives in sleeves in chronological order in a large album about 6 inches thick. Keep them away from moisture or humidity and thats about it. I have negatives going back to the early 70s and are as pristine today as the first day I catalogued them.
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 9:52 AM   #6
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I know some people keep their rolls in the fridge. Can you do that for processed film negatives too? Since the moisture or humidity in a room can change from week to week. Though, obviously if you know a certain room is prone to be humid at a certain time of year then that obviously wouldn't be the place to put it. Keeping rolls of film in a fridge is a good leave it and forget about it solution. Within reason.

Bynx, what do you shoot with when shooting film?
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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Personally I wouldnt recommend putting your negatives in a fridge. But if you want to store them without looking at them for one hell of a long time maybe it would work. Rolls of raw film are sealed and cold keeps the colors fresh. I used to shoot anything by Fuji and Ilford. Ilford had a particularly odd B&W film which you could push to any ASA rating. Of course, it got more grainy but you could tell your camera that film was any ASA you wanted to. It was processed by Illford chemicals for true B&W or for speed and convenience it could be processed by the small labs with C41 process. The prints came out with a nice sepia tone. After checking it was called Illford XP. It was based on dyes instead of silver. Today its called XP2.

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Old Nov 6, 2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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Processed film dose not need to be refrigerated only unprocessed. Kodak recommends cool dark place. B&W negatives can last 100-200 years, color maybe 40-50 years depending on type, newer last longer than older. color uses organic pigment that can brake down over time.
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 12:47 PM   #9
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I suppose while most people don't store processed film in the fridge it probably wouldn't hurt either. Especially if you want to put it there and then forget about it. It is a "cool place".

100-200 years shelf life for B&W? Nice. And roughly 40-50 for color? Should last us for most of our lives and then some. Good to know.

Does any one know then why VHS tape will fade over time. Whether played a lot or just due to time? Is the tape not film? Curious.
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 9:24 PM   #10
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I have color negs from the '70s which are deteriorating. When scanned, they show serious orange blotches, and it takes a consideralble amount of time to clean them up. Of course, I have moved around considerably since then, and environment hasn't been exactly stable.

Magnetic tape suffers from a phenomenon called 'print-through'. The magnetized bits interfere with each other somewhat. (if a recorded section is placed in close contact with a blank section, the blank part will, over time, become magnetized, and you can actually play it back) Also, any magnetic fields, as from TVs, speakers, motors, etc. will operate to demagnetize the tape. I have some reel-to reel tapes over 40 years old which are still in excellent condition, but most of my cassette tapes have been trashed.

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