ISO…. Film…. Digital

ISO.... Film
ISO…. Film

Recently, I resumed shooting with B&W film, mainly because I love it, and also partly because I was motivated to do so by the estimable Mr Ed Mooney. The only reason, by the way, why I have not posted anything on WP yet, is because I discovered that, in all my transfers I lost the various connecting wires that help me operate my negative scanner. I have to troop down to the market sometime to buy them.

Before I could get to the point where I could start to take photographs, I realised that my batteries had expired, and I had to get new ones. It took me two weeks to get the batteries, and I was ready to go. The night before I went for the shoot, I was about to load the film into the camera, and then I said, “Stop. You stupid, senile bugger. Stop!”

The question at hand, is why did I stop myself? Herein lies one of the primary differences between film and digital photography.

When it comes to digital photography, you make sure that your batteries are charged, that your memory card has enough space and you are off to go. You walk onto your site, check the light and weather conditions and then fix the white balance and ISO settings on the camera. These can be changed frame by frame.

This is not the case with film. You arrive on the scene, check the light and weather conditions and then load the film. This means that you need to carry ISO 100 and ISO 400 film with you. It is virtually impossible to get films with a higher or lower ISO in India, so these are your two options.

Once you have loaded the film, you are stuck with that ISO rating for 36 exposures. So, you do not load the film the previous night.

Another difference, and I tend to forget this once in a way, is that film cameras are lighter than digital cameras. This means that I have a greater latitude for hand held photography.

Why do I use Kodak? I like the grain. There is more to film photography than just choosing the ISO. Maybe, I shall keep that for the next post.



  1. Reads like a post from a bygone era. I believe Kodak has shut down last year, read it in one of the newspapers. Was wondering how you managed to lay your hands on their film?

  2. I’ve shot tri-x and rated the same roll from 100 to 1600 ISO – give stand development a try it might work for you. I have just returned from your wonderful country and have a pile of film to develop.

  3. Congrats on going back to film, I hope it rewards you well! I’d also second the Cinestill 800T film: lots of latitude! Tri-X isn’t so bad either, I’ve had a few rolls that were shot anywhere between 100 and 800 and processed normally and they came out looking great. Best of luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.