Help appreciated - Film newbie


TPF Noob!
Dec 29, 2015
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Hey there,

So I got a film camera for Christmas this year - Olympus OM10 35mm - after a few of my friends got into using them. It's probably best to mention now that I've never used an SLR camera before in my life and I've been learning bits and bobs over the internet but I really can't claim that I know what I'm doing.

So since the 25th I've been taking shots here and there and experimenting and hoping for the best- I just picked up my first developed film and I'm a little confused haha.. Some of the pictures that I took are completely blurred and some of them are very clear. I have to say that I absolutely LOVE all of them in their own little way and I'm completely addicted to the style of photo that the camera produces- however it would be nice to know what I'm doing wrong and how I can control this.

So here are 2 examples of the blur- the first of my family is the type that I'd like to try and avoid, obviously I'd intended to be able to see the faces and the birthday cake etc. but the second of my dog is one of my favourite pictures on the film- its just that it wasn't intentional and (remembering that I'm a complete beginner) I'd like to understand why it happens and how to control it...


And then here are two that I took back in London, the fact that these are a lot clearer made me rule out that it was a fault with my camera...


So if anyone could help me at all I would much much appreciate it as I'm now in love with shooting film and want to start learning and understanding more about what I'm shooting.
(Just in case its helpful or not, I was using a Zuiko 50mm lens for the majority, and a 75-200mm for a couple with Kodak ColorPlus 200 film)...
The blurry photos are primarily the result of a shutter speed to slow to permit you to hand-hold the camera.

The first shot you were inside and probably using iso100 film, even if you set your lens to the widest aperture (smallest number) the camera would have set a shutter speed way too low to get a sharp shot, most colour films now on sale are too slow for indoor or low light without flash
Carry a notebook and pen in your pocket. Every time you take a photo, write down the frame number, shutter speed, aperture, lighting conditions (sunny, cloudy, indoors etc) and any other pertinent information about the shot (flash used, filter etc).

Then it's a matter of looking at the resulting image and using these notes to determine what 'went wrong'.
Carry a small notepad and write down the camera settings and shutter count number, location, time/date, subject.
Would you be able to tell what shutter speed was because OM10 aperture priority ? I have never used one all my film cameras are totally manual
I agree - it looks like both those top photos are a result of a slow shutter speed. This results in blur both from camera shake (that mirror slap causes vibration, and your hands aren't always as steady as you think) as well as motion from the subject.

Generally speaking, this kind of camera shake/blur will be much more likely when your shutter speed is lower than the focal length of your lens. In other words, you're using a 50mm lens, so try to keep your shutter speed above 1/50 (which, practically speaking, means 60 on your shutter speed dial). When you're using the zoom, if you're at 200mm, then you want your shutter speed at 1/200 or faster. If you need a slower shutter speed, then you need to stabilize the camera on a tripod or table or something. This helps the camera shake, though if your subject is moving, you'll still get motion blur (which you might actually want sometimes, depending on what you are trying to do with the image.)

To avoid slower shutter speeds, you can use a wider aperture (which will also increase depth of field), you can shoot faster film (400 ISO or higher), or you can add light (either with whatever is on hand - lamps, windows... - or with photo lights/flashes).

I don't know if you got the manual to go with the camera, but here it is:

Oh, and ps - congrats! The Olympus cameras are solid, and the Zuiko glass is nice and sharp!
When hand-holding a camera: The longer the lens the higher the shutter speed must be to control motion blur. For a 50mm lens the minimum speed is usually about 1/60 (for most people). You can get away with slower speeds if you are careful or lean against something for support, etc.

The "rule of thumb" is -- 1/lens focal length

That would mean 1/50 for a 50mm lens (1/60 is the closest to that). Or, 1/125 for a 135mm lens, etc.

But, with the camera on a solid tripod you can use slower speeds than indicated by the above rule.
Best to take a shutterspeed twice as high as your focal length to be sure.

For moving objects 3 times as high.
I loved taking available light pix of my kid with fast lenses and film, usually Fuji Superia 800, and found that a monopod was enough to kill blur at low shutter speeds.
I was lured to do some pixel peeping due to two reasons 1.Because i got a higher resolution camera and i was examining lenses and 2 .When i started scanning my negatives .
From this i understood that IF you want sharp images regardless of what you are using . Even 35mm film requires three things and they are : faster shutter speed ,very steady hand ,or a tripod .If either is disregarded at the wrong time you get bad sharpness . I was told that 1/125 is a good speed . Do what you can to make it a 250 . With my digital camera i looked at a few photos and thought that they were different .It was the speed ..And now i see how many photos are ruined because of this .Some were shot at 200 on my dslr ,but better were the ones at 600 !
Another advice . Go for ISO 200 AND lower if you can but use a faster sharp lens ! This will save you lives .Good lens is smc pentax m 50mm 1.7 ,but very sharp is helios 44m4 . I have experience with some german lenses that are superb ,but i like enlarger lenses . I have a Schgh( whatever )neither componar enlarger lens that fits a Zorki 4 perfectly . Well that thing cuts from 1.5m to infinity and no need to focus it !Also .. if you are in to film . Try black and white .I have been getting closer to it and closer .. The more i want to shoot color ,the more black and white pulls me with the many benefits it can have .
With the OM10, controlling shutter speeds is a bit involved # and only possible if you have the manual adapter.

Can I ask a hopefully foolish question? Are you aware your OM10 is manual focus? I ask because if you have never used a really old camera before it might not have occurred to you - and your best pictures are long shots and the worst are close-ups.

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