Film Cameras

The Mechanics of Film Cameras

Nowadays traditional film cameras are much less bought, although they still have their own magic and many people prefer them still. The only way they differ from the newer digital models is that the picture is projected onto a film where it induces a chemical reaction. Actually real professional photographers use them a lot because they can usually achieve greater precession and control the outcome better in terms of pre-development.


When you press the button on the camera the first thing that happens is that the shutter closes and opens. This will allow lite to enter through an aperture at the end of the lens. At this point two things influence the picture. The shutter speed, which will determine the time-scale that can be captured without blurring. The aperture size will affect the amount of light that enters the chamber and this in turn affects the colors and brightness.

In addition the flash (if any) has a great effect on the lighting of the shot. It is used mainly when the primary light source is faint or nighttime is closing in on you. The flash emits a burst (or bursts) of light which will light up the scene acting as a light source.

The camera may also have built in gyroscopes and other mechanisms to counter the small movement your hand makes when holding the camera. The stabilization of the camera will reduce blur in the picture. This is more important in film cameras because you won't see the final result immediately while with a digital you can just retake the picture.

Zoom is also used to bring the scenery closer to you. Most lenses have adjustable zooms, although it is only usable above 3-5x zoom. Many companies offer separate zoom lenses in amazing variety so you can choose what fits you best.


The light in the end shines on a piece of plastic which is coated with light sensitive silver-halide. This induces a chemical reaction whereby a latent image is formed. This image is invisible, that is why we need to get a roll of film developed. During the development the film is processed, the silver-halide is converted to silver and the byproducts are the colors. At the end an image is formed and is dried by the machine and that's when you can have your finished masterpieces. Due to the light sensitive nature of film you should always keep it in a totally dark place. When inside the camera it is fine, and when you deplete a roll it closes itself so it is safe to take out freely. If you have to take out the film before the roll is finished take extra care to do it somewhere dark.


The use of a film camera also brings up some logistical problems. If you are serious you will need a good case for your baby, preferably one that can also hold a few of your favorite lenses. Lenses for cameras are like instruments for musicians, you have to get to know your lenses, and you'll probably have a favorite. You have to always have film to capture a photo and if you run out you can't just delete the last one like you could with a digital cam. You also have to get the film developed which means extra costs and trips for you. With digital photography you can send your pics for development and receive them in the mail, for non-digital you at least have to send the film by mail if nothing else.

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