My first films...advice appreciated :)


TPF Noob!
Jun 26, 2013
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I have recently purchased a Pentax k1000, and a P30n. I shot 4 films, 3 kentmere 400 b&w and 1 Fomapan b&w. I am aware i have a lot to learn, and am the definition of an amateur photographer. Therefore i wasn't sure what to expect, but nevertheless the results disappointed me. This may somewhat be down to the results i have seen from other people using the same cameras as me. I don't know whether or not the unsatisfactory results were down to me (i did use one of the kentmere 400s on a sunny day), the film, something to do with the cameras, or the photo lab i used. A few slides were blank white, and a few had parts whited out. A lack of quality, and sharpness is also apparent. If anyone could shed some light, in the form of friendly advice or even recommending a helpful book/article to help me understand better, it could be greatly appreciated. Scans were done by Online Photo Printing, Professional Digital Photo Printing | DS Colour Labs
Cheers, Pete
(the photos attached are examples of above problems)


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Hi Pete. Welcome to the forum.
Yes, this results are more, than disappointing, real crap. Hundreds of reasons. First one is, that you got film camera and thought is the same as a digital. It is not. Digital systems are much more advanced in automatic picture taking thanks to a computers embedded inside this devices. K1000 and P30 do not have this, so many things can go wrong and be frustrating.
Let's analyze your stuff:
1. All pictures are heavily underexposed or underdeveloped. My money is on underexposure. You might have set wrong ISO number, battery is of the wrong type / depleted, electronics are dying, mechanisms are dirty/ used up. You said something about blank frames - shutter didn't fire or fired too late (half frames). Here I don't know: K1000 is a mechanical camera, P30 has an electronic shutter. You have to be a bit more specific which camera caused the problem. One of them has solid light leak from the top of the back.
2. Processing of b&w films nowadays in most of the labs is below any standards. Trained people are gone, chemicals are old, but even in days of glory development of b&w films in the common labs was never paramount and there is a common sens reason for that: b&w film, unlike color film or digital image can be exposed and developed in a million ways. No lab will know which, that's why most b&w film photographers do own development for the best results.
3. Kentmere 400 and Foma 100 (400 a bit less) are very sharp films. Lack of quality and sharpness is just sloppy lab work: films were underexposed and they overdeveloped (a common practice for labs as a insurance to get something at least) caused acutation go south. When comes to the contrast is hard to say anything without looking at the real negs. Scanning was for sure so so. There is a lot of dirt scanned.
If you are seriously interested in b&w film, you gonna have to start own processing as there is a very close connection between exposure ans development and it is very personal. But to be a real friend with someone, first you have to know him very well.
You are in Bristol, check on FADU website if you don't have an experienced film photographer living next door.
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They look like it could be at least partly an exposure problem. But in the second one particularly there are streaks that look too even to be from processing the film, which makes me think it might be the scan - but I haven't had film or scans from film turn out like that. Are the streaks along where the sprocket holes are? maybe it's light exposure.

The second to last looks like light exposure, I've had something similar happen at the end of a roll where the film didn't advance properly and I opened the door before the film was rewound completely.

I'm wondering if it could be due to light leaks, are the seals along the camera door in good shape? If those are deteriorating that could be the problem.
Well, I wouldn't call them 'crap' but they are definitely problematic. And I know it's flawed, but I kind of like the last one on the beach. Moody.

I agree that there's an exposure problem. That second one looks like a light leak from the top, as timor suggested. Looks like the sun was right overhead. Is there a hood on the lens?

Part of it I suspect is that they all seem to be very tricky lighting conditions and if you're used to the camera doing the exposure for you, it can be a difficult thing to get a proper exposure. The K1000 light meter is just the needle in the viewfinder. The only indication that the battery is good is that the needle moves. When the needle doesn't move, the battery's dead. Are you relying on that needle or do you have an external light meter? I hear there are some decent iPhone apps (I've got one on my Android phone but I wouldn't know how to compare it to iPhone or traditional meters because I've never really used any of them)

Almost looks like the film was expired. Where did you get them? Do you know how they were stored? Also, what kind of lens are you using? Any chance there's fungus in the lens? That could affect the sharpness.

I agree about the developing, although having said that, I don't do my own at home for several reasons. I do, however, have a small local photo shop that has been in business for a long time, and the guys there know what they're doing. I'd never send it out to a big lab. Part of the reason I don't do my own developing at home is the issue of chemicals in a septic tank and not living near a place where I can throw them away safely, but I'd sooner deal with those issues than send it to a big corporate lab.
I have seen their digital prints and was not impressed they seem to be a digital knock them out cheap and quick, try here next time
transfer to i used to use them before i started doing my own
This is Fomapan 400 on a sunny day never used Kentmere, i use HP5


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