FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

On this page you will find answers to commonly asked questions, with the focus being on what went wrong. If you are looking for tips and hints for better photography, Click HERE.

If you don’t find an answer to your question on this page, you might like to contact us by clicking HERE

WHY WAS MY FILM BLANK?
WHY AREN'T MY PHOTOS SHARP USING MY AUTOFOCUS CAMERA?
WHY IS MY FILM OVEREXPOSED?
WHY ARE SOME COLOURS IN MY PRINTS WRONG?
IS PROFESSIONAL FILM BETTER THAN AMATEUR FILM?
WILL A DIGITAL CAMERA GIVE BETTER PICTURES THAN A FILM CAMERA?

WHY WAS MY FILM BLANK?

Very rarely, this can be caused by a camera fault (a faulty shutter mechanism), but on more than 99 percent of occasions, a blank film is the result of incorrect film loading. If your camera is a 35mm film camera, there are three main film loading systems:
1. Slotted Take-up spool (usually manual winding)
2. Toothed take-up spool (usually but not always auto-winding.)
3. Drop-in loading (the least common type)

The slotted take-up spool type is very hard to get wrong unless the person loading the film fails to notice the slot into which the film leading end has to be inserted. The toothed take-up spool type is the most prevalent type, and of course, this is where most of the problems are. By far the most common mistake I see made with these is trying to push TOO MUCH film leader into the camera. This causes the film to bend upwards, and therefore the teeth on the take-up spool miss the film sprocket holes completely. Most cameras of this type are well marked as to where the tip of the film should be placed. This mark is also shown on the drop-in loading type. Most (but not all) cameras also have some kind of film transport indicator, a spinning disk or shaft of some kind. Just because the film counter is advancing does NOT mean the film is loaded correctly. You can check this by closing the back of your camera with no film loaded, then take several photos. If your counter does NOT advance, then you can use it to determine correct film loading.

 
   


WHY AREN'T MY PHOTOS SHARP USING MY AUTOFOCUS CAMERA?

The main causes of out-of-focus (unsharp) photographs are:
1. Flat or near flat batteries.
2. Dirt or water marks on the lens.
3. Using the camera outside its focus range.

The batteries do not only supply power to wind and rewind the film. They also power the light sensing circuits, and the zoom and focus motors. Flat or near flat batteries can also cause your camera to overexpose your film (see next question). Dirt or especially water marks on the lens will usually be accompanied by "blooming". This is the appearance of a "halo" around white or bright objects in the photo. This is akin to looking though a dirty window. Most cameras have a minimum range below which the lens focus system cannot operate. In the low to medium cost non-zoom point-and-shoot type camera, this is typically around 1 to 1.5 metres. If you have a zoom camera, extending the zoom will increase the minimum focus range by approximately the same ratio as the zoom. For example, if you have a 35 to 105mm zoom (1 to 3 ratio), and your minimum focus range at 35mm is 1.2 metres, the minimum focus range at 105mm will be around 3.6 metres (i.e 1.2 metres x3). If you want to take close-ups, buy a camera with a macro function, or else take the photo from further back and get your photo lab to enlarge and crop for you.

WHY IS MY FILM OVEREXPOSED?

This can depend on many factors, not least of which is the type of camera being used. The most common causes are:
1. Flat or near flat batteries.
2. Incorrect settings (manual cameras only)
3. Wrong type of battery (manual cameras only)

Pretty much the only reason your auto-everything camera would overexpose your film would be flat batteries. The reason for this is quite simple to understand. The batteries, amongst other things, power the cameras light sensing circuit (light meter!). If the battery is flat the light meter will under-read, therefore the cameras exposure control circuit will increase the exposure because it "thinks" there is less light that there really is. On the really sophisticated automatic cameras, this lower battery voltage is compensated for but only to a certain degree. If you are using a manual SLR camera, the same applies, however, there is also the possibility that the ASA control or exposure compensation controls are not correctly set. If you are using a 200ASA film then the dial should be set accordingly. Make sure the exposure compensation dial is set to 0 unless you know what you are doing. If you have a very old manual SLR which takes button cells, check that you have the right ones fitted, especially if you have changed them recently. If your camera used 1.35 volt mercury cells, and you have replaced them with 1.55volt silver oxide or 1.5 volt Alkaline batteries, your light meter will over-read and your photos will be underexposed.

WHY ARE SOME COLOURS IN MY PRINTS WRONG?

For this question, you can also ask "Why does a white wedding dress look blue in a photo?" or "Why does the green roof of my house come out brown in a photo?" The answer to these questions and others like it are many and various. I could launch into a very technical explanation for this, and if that is what you really want, click on this link:
Kodak Reference Document E-73
However, if you want the simple answer, its this. "Its not a perfect world!". This may seem a little trite, but its true. In a perfect world, the colour response curve of all colour films would EXACTLY match that of the human eye. This is, of course, impossible, so film manufacturers must compromise. The colour sensitivity of film is designed to match as nearly as possible the most important colour's, which are skin tones (because people photograph other people more than anything else), and the "memory" colour's such as the blue of the sky and the green of the grass.

IS PROFESSIONAL FILM BETTER THAN AMATEUR FILM?

The answer to this very much depends on:
1. What you are using the film for.
2. How competent you are as a photographer.
3. What type of camera you are using.

Professional films are often special purpose. For example, Kodak Porta and Agfa Portrait 160 are, as you would expect, superior in the "skin tone" range of colours, while the Fuji NPH400 is a superior outdoor film with accurate colour and neutral skin tones. Professional film will give you better colour than amateur film but at a price, and a cost. They are generally more expensive, but most important, they have a limited exposure range. This is why you need to be a competent photographer (a pro or a serious amateur) to get the best out of them. Amateur film will give you pretty much an even colour response anywhere from 2 stops under (1/4 of correct exposure) to 3 stops over (8 times the correct exposure). Professional film is limited to 1 stop either side (between 1/2 and 2 times correct exposure) Anything outside that and the colour's will be, in all likelihood, worse that the amateur film. Your exposures must be VERY accurate, which means manual settings, accurate light metering and ability to assess light "quality", which only come with experience. If your camera is a $99 point-and-shoot job, stay away from professional film! If however, you have a good camera and you want to have a go with professional film click here for some tips from pros on the films they use

WILL A DIGITAL CAMERA GIVE BETTER PICTURES THAN A FILM CAMERA?

This is a tough question. The answer to this is almost always "NO". Unless you are prepared to spend a truckload of money ($17,000 upwards), your digital camera won't even approach the resolution and quality. The "resolution" of a good quality amateur film is around 150 lines per millimetre. This equates (not exactly) to 20 megapixels (MP). The highest resolution mass market cameras available at the moment are 8MP, the best commercial/professional ones are around 12MP. Digital cameras have a long way to go to catch up with over 100 years of research and development. If you are considering purchasing a digital camera, be very brand conscious. Choose a camera from a traditional camera making company, not one of the "johnny-come-latelies" who have jumped on the digital bandwagon. Making digital stereos and digital watches is not a qualification for making digital cameras. Generally these cameras have poor colour rendition (especially skin tones) and unsatisfactory image contrast management. Also, beware that some of these manufacturers play fast and loose with the term "megapixel". There is one camera, for example, which is marketed as a 5.1 megapixel camera, when it is in fact only a 3.1 megapixel camera with with internal interpolation software, which is used to "reform" the image. This is a less than satisfactory way of doing things and a very dodgy sales practice!!! If you are looking for a good guide to buying a digital camera, click here. DIGITAL CAMERA BUYING GUIDE This site has no affiliation with any camera manufacturers, so they are independent have no preference for brand.

 

 

   
Photo One About Us Image Services Resources Our Policies FAQ Contact Us Photo One on Facebook Passport Photos Photo Restoration Photo Manipulation Home Video to DVD Photos & Slides to Print or DVD Custom Framing