Hi! I'm Tanner.

I'm a software engineer at Apple. I write here occassionally.

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Film - Now with Better Pictures!

Even though my first experience with film cameras did not turn out so well, I did not really want to stop. Why? Because it was interesting. Why is the film turning out that way? Is it the amount of light coming into the camera hitting the film, the old lens or camera, or the old film? I like figuring things out, learning more in the process, and in the end, ending up with an interesting result.

So, last week while I was on my “summer break” I went to my childhood beach house with my Dad and sister. I say “summer break” because I am taking summer classes at Georgia Tech and that’s all I get (well that and two weeks in the Fall before Fall classes). I took my film camera with me, armed with new film and experimented a bit. Dad, being resourceful with his knowledge of having had a film camera, thought it might be the light sensor for the camera. So we took his old film camera, my sister’s digital camera (just for funzies), and my camera out and compared light meter readings (yes, this is what I do with my free time). Turns out the old camera’s light meter has gone a bit off - the reading was not matching up with those determined by both my Dad and sister’s cameras. Uh oh!With this knowledge, I try to see if I can determine a relationship between my camera’s light meter and the working light meter (hurrah! math!). However, switching between cameras with three main independent variables is quite tiring thus that idea was quickly thrown away for another day.

Thus, having no other options, I started playing with the film speed setting knob on my camera. Normally the film speed setting is set to the speed of your film or your film sensitivity to light so that you can expose your pictures correctly, however, it seemed like something interesting to play with to “fix” the light meter. After a bit of playing with the knob, I got the light meters to essentially match up. I say “essentially” cause its not perfect and probably is by far a terrible method to correct this. Neither Dad or I knew what else the film speed setting could be influencing, but it didn’t seem to make much sense if it modified anything other than the light meter.

After taking a bunch of pictures and developing them, I found out that the experiment with a different film speed setting was a success. What was my first clue? The employee at Wolf Camera was able to cut my negatives - last time he was unable to because the results were so dark. As for the second clue, there really was none. The photos were brighter and looked like reasonable photos from a reasonable camera.

To see the photos, click here.

Just for fun, you can see the difference in the photos taken before the film speed setting was messed with and after. For example, here, here, and here are photos taken with the correct film speed setting for the film I was using, which resulted in a imprecise light meter. You can see that the photos look a bit off in the contrast and just overall kinda “blah”. If you look at any of the other photos, such as this one, you can see that the result is much better.