Black and White Pictures--Help Beginner

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by dan_glaenzer, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. Hello, Im a beginner in taking black and white pictures, the problem
    is my pirctures turn out too dark. What speed is recomended, and
    what type lenses to make the picture turn out nice. I have a minotla
    maxum 7, and have no idea what is best. Any help is greatly
    appreciated! Thank you very much!
  2. Dan,

    Read a basic book on BW photography - I like Horenstein's book - its referenced on my web site. You are probably underexposing your pictures. So you need to understand the relationship of film speed, aperture and shutter speed.

    As for recommended film speed and lens - 400 speed film and a normal 50mm lens is nice to start with for handheld out and about shooting.

  3. Also - what film are you using? Are you judging "darkness" from prints or scans or what? Are you rating the film at "box speed?" What developer are you using?

  4. I second the Horenstein book. We can't answer your questions very directly, since we
    don't know what film you are using, shutter speeds, etc. In general, if you are using a
    modern camera like a Maxxum 7, then the biggest reason for your problem is probably
    user error. READ, READ, READ about photography. Learn the comtrols on your camera
    and what they do. There is no reason why you can't run a camera like the Maxxum 7 in
    auto mode and not get reasonably well-exposed negatives.
  5. Yeah, read the manual if you got it. I'm not familiar with this camera, but
    having the exposure compensation set to -2 or -3 will give you consistently
    thin negatives (dark prints).

    Isolate your problems. Start with the camera.
  6. Are you developing them yourself or using a lab? If yourself then you need to list the film type, the developer, the technique, etc. The ISO ratings for real B&W film (non-C41) are more like suggestions than absolute ratings. In order to get that speed rating you have to use the suggested developer and time. If you use a lab then they are going to develop all B&W the same way. You'll have to figure out the effective ISO by bracketing your exposure and ideally using a densitometer to determine the right exposure.
    You can do this with your eye but judging exposure from prints is a waste of time. Look at the negatives. Here's a guide Assessing negatives
  7. Dan - I think many of us here would like to help a beginner, but we need more information to do so. As others have stated, we don't know what film (manufacturer and speed) you're using, whether you're judging negatives or prints, whether you're developing your own stuff or not. If you fill in some of the blanks for us you'll likely get more fleshed-out responses!

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