New to film: First set of photos are grainy with bad exposure.

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by phillip_carew, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. I'm new to film photography and having received a Canon EOS 750 as a gift to get me started I set out with the Canon EF 100-200mm 1:45 A lens just to take photos and see how they came out. I'm puzzled with the result after using the recommended DX coded film that came with it (ISO 400).
    I had the images developed and scanned to a CD so maybe it's the scans combined with the grain?
    My question is this: what causes a lot of grain in film photography?
    Everything was in focus, it was a partly cloudy day, there really aren't any settings to play with on the camera, thoughts?
  2. My first thought is that the film might have been left in a hot environment. Otherwise, it could be out of date. Many scanners exaggerate graininess, so that's another thing. Does this camera have exposure compensation?
    I suggest comparing its meter to another camera, or get a light meter app for your phone and compare that.
  3. Three main things cause grain. The iso speed of the film. Underexposure. Excessive sharpening of scans. Processing,
    etc can contribute...but these three are the primary sources of the appearance of grain. If you were using color neg film, it
    is safe to rate it at 100 to 200 iso depending upon lighting conditions. Also, confirm that your camera is metering
    correctly. You may have set it for 400....but the meter may be expsoing a stop or two of contributing further to the issue.
  4. I'm fairly sure there's no metering setting I can change or a display in the viewfinder showing me a meter.
    Karim, I don't think it has exposure compensation, this camera is from 1988. I have a feeling the film may be the issue given I have no idea how old it is.
  5. Every reasonable consumer SLR camera has the Compensation dial, and the light-mete. The light-meter need a battery and you slightly push the shutter, release button half way to activate or just move the winding arm in a ready position, which is an "on"- switch for the light-meter and the light-mete will show in the viewfinder, at the bottom or the side, I own the firsts Nikon F with the photomick head ( prism ) and they had a light-meter build in it. If you don't see the light-meter working, it is contact problem or battery problem. Usually, in old cameras. the same with Canon, Pentax, Nikon, Topcon, etc. Light meter circuit corroding and loosing contact sometime. Check the battery and battery contacts. The compensation dial right under the main ISO dial usually. Some camera models my differ. A fresh ISO400 film supposed to give a very nice results, and a good scanner can handle easily. How ever, film grain is a beauty on a good print. I never noticed, the scanner added an extra grain or noise, I scan a lots of rolls and still doing it. Scanner; Nikon - Coolscan 4000, running with an old MAC perfectly. Don't forget, B&W negative you supposed to over expose 2 or 3 1/3 click.( compensation dial ) to get a good strong negative. If you don't have a compenzation dial, you compensate on the ISO dial.
  6. AJG


    Have you looked at the manual for this camera? They can usually be found on line. There may be a way to set exposure compensation to allow more light. I agree that your sample looks underexposed, hence the apparent graininess of the image.
  7. Bela, thank you for your response, but it doesn't apply to my camera, there is only one dial on the camera to adjust the light meter. The battery is brand new. The description for the light meter is simply "light metering system: TTL full aperture metering using SPC: Evaluative metering, and I don't know how to access it or check it, unless it's suggested that I can take it to a professional to check it or anyone can point me to where I can find information online about how to look at it myself I don't think I can do much about the light meter.
    If you are unfamiliar with the camera I suggest looking at this link
  8. SCL


    There's no exposure compensation...the camera reads the DX markings on the cartridge or automatically sets the ISO to 25 if no DX markings are on a cartridge. Metering is full scene evaluative, so exposure could have been influenced by the brighter areas creating a slight underexposure. Not sure if you can meter off a darker area and hold that meter reading. Some films exhibit more "graininess" than others, so the film you got with it may not be a particularly fine grained film. I'd guess that the principal contributor to graininess may be with the development. The camera should produce much better results than your sample showed.
  9. I don't think it has exposure compensation, this camera is from 1988.​
    Phillip, plenty of cameras had exposure compensation in 1988. You wouldn't believe the sophistication of the exposure system on, say the Olympus OM4 and OM4T. It's just that the EOS 750 was a highly simplified consumer camera. However, as Dave suggested, there are several ways that the exposure could have been off. If you don't have a way to test the meter, just bracket your exposures on your next roll and see what results you get.
  10. Thank you for the insight, Stephen, what do you mean by meter off a darker area?
    From your response I suspect I should buy a new film, use it, then see if the "graininess" improves, if it does I'll run with it.
    Hector, I may have unintentionally bracketed two exposures whilst trying to capture a coyote, all that changed was the angle at which I was holding the camera (see attached photo).
  11. That was just under exposed and scanned to try and bring it close to something people can see.
    Scanning will bring out grain real quick in under exposed negatives. Let us see the negatives. I know that may be hard but shoot them with a digital .
  12. Some of the photos have a strange, water-color-like grain, which is probably the result of scan oversharpening. To see whether your negatives are underexposed, look say at the one with darker trees in the background and see how clearly you can see the trees on the negative itself. Is anything within the negative "clear", meaning it has the same color and density as the borders that receive no exposure? If so, you are underexposing; if no part of the negative is clear, your exposures are probably fine.
    The camera indeed does not seem to allow any kind of exposure compensation/modification. You could try to point at something darker, press the shutter half way to lock exposure, then recompose and shoot, but the half-press also locks focus, so you have to be careful not to focus incorrectly when doing this.
  13. These scans are plain horrible - try another scanning service. (Of course this doesn't mean everything's fine with the film itself - look at the negative and see if it looks "thin." But really, the artifacts in these scans are truly unnatural.)
    For reference, this is what a half-decent scan of ISO 400/27° film (Kodak Portra 400) looks like when downsampled to 1600 pixels wide:
  14. Looking at the samples, it appears this is an issue of umderexposure and a compressed, oversharpened scan.
  15. Did you take this picture in a deep fog ? If yes then it's ok.
  16. Harry, it was a partly cloudy day, whilst I was taking photos of the coyote there was a cloud overhead. From the responses a lot of the issue seems to come from the scans, and some from my technique/camera so I will continue to experiment and get prints in future. Thank you for the responses.
    Also, a reference is extremely helpful! Thank you Zoltan.
    Larry, I will see what I can do with shooting the negatives.
  17. Yes as that would be real helpful. Really without getting an idea of how the negatives look all is just speculation.

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