Inconsistent Problem With Fast Film And Grain

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by rodabod, May 10, 2007.

  1. rodabod

    rodabod TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    This is my first post here. I have searched regarding this problem (or confusion) and can't seem to answer my question.

    My question is regarding film grain. I'm currently shooting on 800 speed Fuji Superia film which I understand to be decent quality. I also understand that grain increases with ISO speed. The film's expiry date is around now, but I keep it refridgerated. The reason I'm using fast film is that firstly I dislike flash photography, and secondly it makes things easier when I take photos at concerts.

    Here's what I don't understand though - some of my shots have come out fine with little grain at all, but others are extremely grainy. I think there may be a trend that in the darker shots the grain is worse.... But I would have thought that since the exposure was automatic it wouldn't make much of a difference since the amount of light hitting the film would be similar. Even the lighter areas in the darker shot are very grainy.

    Here are two photos taken from the same film. Both are heavily compressed to 200Kb because my developer is evidently an idiot:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Roddy
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If a shot is underexposed and has to be brightened up, then grain becomes more visible (both when done when going from negative to print, and (even worse) when done on the computer in postprocessing)
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When you say ' . . . the same film.', do you mean the same type or the same roll?
     
  4. rodabod

    rodabod TPF Noob!

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    From the same roll.

    I think Alex may have a good point - my developer may have brightened the shot, causing the grain to be more noticeable.... I didn't know they would compensate per shot though. I assumed the same process was applied to each shot.

    Would I be wise to deliberately over-expose each shot by changing the ISO setting on my camera? It's an Olympus OM10, so I can shift the exposure by 1/3 of a stop at a time. If I did, will my developer compensate for this?

    Also, one more question(!) I've heard of people generally rating films differently to their stated ISO speed (ie. not specifically pushing or pulling). Maybe this Fuji 800 film is not as fast as it claims?


    Thanks,

    Roddy
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some of them b*st*rds do compensate differently for each shot ... that is the problem if ysou give control to some external developer, you hardly ever get consistent results :( In my early film days that was the reason why I switched to slide film ...

    you could expose a bit longer for the dark shots, but would not do for the daylight shots as these seem ok as they are.

    If you shift too far, you would lose the highlights in the daylight shots.

    True, ISO speed often does not hit exactly the number stated. I would not know details about your specific film though.
     
  6. rodabod

    rodabod TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice again, Alex.

    Intersting note about slide film. I'm not sure I cold find anywhere cheap to process it though. I'll have a look.

    Does film have a wider dynamic range than digital? I suppose it depends on the grain of the film. I'd like to see howe far I can go before losing highlghts.

    I'll definitely try exposing my darker shots a little. I was hoping auto-exposure might have overcome this problem, but I'm wrong.

    Roddy
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    From my experience, on average negative film has a much wider dynamic range than digital sensors, slide film and digital sensors, however, are rather similar in that respect. Slide film like my favourite Fuji Velvia to me seems to be a wee bit more tolerant than sensors, but not much.
     
  8. rodabod

    rodabod TPF Noob!

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    Out of interest, I decided to take a photo of a few of teh nagatives from the processed film.

    I've done this before, and usually just invert in Photoshop and then maybe colour-balance a little.

    Strangely, every negative from this roll of film is really blue. It took a hell of a lot of colour balance to get them to look vaguely normal. I fixed the colour balance for my camera before taking the shot to rule out this variable.

    See below:

    [​IMG]

    Does this seem normal to any of you? Or do you think my film is perhaps to blame?
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    hmmm .. either your colour inversion on the computer does not work, or exposure on that negative was totally off.the only time I got strong colour casts (pink sheep and the like!), was when
    I used a broken light meter... but I might be mistaken here.
     
  10. rodabod

    rodabod TPF Noob!

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    Pink sheep sounds like fun!

    Well, I'm just simply using the Photoshop "invert" function which has worked for me in the past.

    How could my exposure affect the colour? I assumed over-exposure would cause me to tend to white, and under-exposure likewise would tend to black.

    Maybe I should try a different film to rule out the possibility (shame though as I bought a few rolls of this stuff).
     
  11. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    true, and in my case the fals colours occured when correcting exposure when going from negative to positive print. that is why it probably does not apply to your problem.

    strange things can happen to film which was not stored correctly temperature-wise ... chemistry can change and this can affect sensitivity to colour.
     

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