New to Film! Why do all my darks/blacks look so hazy? What am I doing wrong?


TPF Noob!
Apr 19, 2022
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I am a novice when it comes to film and photography, just having some fun. Recently, all my photos have been a bit disappointing, and I am looking for some advice!

I am shooting on an Argus A-Four I found in a thrift shop, (and will probably get a new camera soon) and I am shooting on 200 speed film 35mm color film, and I believe its Kodak. Photos I have taken with this camera and film before now have turned out pretty nice! At least for me. On both my recent rolls, I am noticed all my blacks and darks are super washed out and hazy. (Will attach files) The only change I have made would be figuring out how to change the speed on the camera (lol). Instead of shooting at 50 speed it's at 200 now. I feel like because of this I am simply not choosing the right f-stop for my shots. If this is the case, can anyone tell me what to avoid or what way to shift towards when picking my f-stop? I thought I had a grasp but now I am not sure.

These photos were some that actually turned out but have the washed out look, compared to some of the others they aren't too bad T.T I know this camera is not the best for shooting inside and in low light--as I have found out the hard way--but I have gotten some betters shots previously indoors, so I am wondering what is happening to the contrast here.

I can also post a reply with some of my older shots that have better contrast and exposure if that helps!

Thanks all! Looking forward to your help :)



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At first glance, they appear very under-exposed. Being able to look at the actual negatives will give us a better chance to diagnose the issue.
LOW light is VERY hard to shoot in, especially with film and an old camera.
I grew up in the film era, and you had to know what you were doing and what did and did not work.

Study exposure.
Yup, I agree with all ... under exposed.
If you got a smart phone install a light meter app.
Thrift store Argus! I've found with my cameras like that they do better with plenty of light. I've sometimes metered with another camera to get an idea where to set it for a decent exposure. Think about which way you're facing, time of day, etc. Indoor room light may seem enough to your eyes but may not be for a proper exposure.

Maybe 400 speed would be better but I tend to use film speeds comparable to what was available when the camera was made. I'd probably take this one outdoors and not count on it for indoors, low light (altho you could try opening blinds, turning on lots of lights, etc., then maybe...).

I agree the backlit subject is cool. The camera probably picked up light from the window and kept the subject dark which worked. I consider these cameras experimental, and there's probably going to be a learning curve. Try finding the Film Photography Project. Have fun!
Do you have a manual for that camera.
If not, you are working blind.
Do you have a manual for that camera.
If not, you are working blind.

Same goes with not having a firm grasp on the principles of exposure.
Having the manual for the camera will help you understand the settings, the 50 & 200 settings you mentioned are the shutter speeds, the camera has 4 shutter speeds to choose from.

The manual is available here
If you hava an iphone, the viewfinder app not only has a meter, but shows you the crop for each camera and lens combination as well as emulates the film stock, especially handy if you are just starting in b&w. It shows you the image at those exposure settings and is close enough for film work. Otherwise, you can pick up a small reflective meter off ebay like a gossen pilot for $15 delivered. You need ot understand that iso, aperture and shutter have an impact on ambient exposure. If you have enough light, chose the aperture for the depth of field/out of focus background you want then chose your appropriate shutter speed. You might want to start setting the iso a stop over the speed on the box, eg 400 box speed set 200. That will give a cushion against underexposure where film is weak, the opposite of digital where it is highlights that need to be protected.

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