I am a very big novice at photography but my 1979 Nikon EM always took great pictures despite my lack of abilities. I had my wonderful old EM stolen (!) but replaced it with a used one from an ebay seller. I took the camera to the US VI and took alot of pictures, some of the film I had brought with me and 2 rolls I purchased while in the USVI. The entire first roll of film turned out grainy - even though I set the apeture based on the light indicator on the camera, same as I had always done with my old camera. The film was 400 ASA and the camera was set to that film speed. Some of the other rolls had some pictures turn out fine, while others were grainy with a kind of "haze", as if there was insufficient light - and these pics were all taken in full daylight. I was crushed when I developed the film as now I have very few photos of the trip. Can anyone tell me why the photos turned out like this? Am I doing something wrong? Could the x-ray machines at the airport have overexposed my film? Never had that happen before... weirdest part was that some photos turned out just fine on a roll while others did not...any help would be appreciated
It's possible that the x-rays fogged your film as it was high speed (ISO 400) which is more susceptible to x-ray damage than a slower lower ISO 100 film. X-ray damage is cumulus and could build up with repeated exposure. It's been years since I've shot film so I don't know if airport security is allowing hand checking of film. Maybe someone else could make suggestions along that line.
Now as to a possible solution. You can have important frames scanned and worked on in Photoshop or Elements. Some of the tools, like Levels and the new Shadow Highlight filter (combined with a contrast adjustment) might go a long way in enabling you to get prints from your fogged negatives.
Another possible cause for the haziness that you are seeing in your images is (are you ready?) atmospheric haze. It may not be noticeable to your naked eye, but the film will pick it up. The USVI are in the tropics and are islands. Both factors increase the possibility of seeing haze in your pictures. Next time you go there or to any similar place put a UV or haze filter over each lens and keep the filter(s) on unless you need another filter. They will go a long way toward improving your images under the conditions you found on your trip. The same advice applies to any shooting that you do at altitudes of over 2000 feet.
We too had the same problem. It is heartbreaking to see the pictures taken in sunny conditions come out grainy and hazy. We have been using ASA 400 films for all our trips. We now notice that this problem is more common in our photos where air travel was involved. The photos of our car trips in proper sunlight conditions have been excellent. Kodak.com has a information on possibilities on how X-rays can cause fog or haze on unprocessed films. They also have some before and after photos for comparision, which is very helpful. Here is the link
If this link does not work for any reason, just google the words "grainy" and "x-ray" to get the page. Hope this information helps
Anton, the haze is not neccessarily the problem. I also live in the tropics and have shot zillions of rolls without a haze filter, and without fogging.
I'd suggest it is either the xray - was the film in the hand luggage? - or a bad batch of film. OR: Change of film rolls out in the sun (big no no here!)
You're right. Atmospheric haze is not necessarily the problem, but it may be. I grew up in Pennsylvania where it is a problem, even if it can not be detected with the naked eye. Another possible source of the problem is the use of ISO 400 film under bright sunlight. ISO 100 would have been a better choice. ISO 50 film, currently a rare commodity, would have been even better.
Totally overlooked the 400 ASA issue: In my experience, that film doesn't like the heat and humidity in tropical areas much. Best is to carry around your film in a small (six pack size) cooler bag.
What could also have happened was that you had the air con in the car on a full blast and went out shooting right away. The warm humid air may fogged your film with water vapor. Happened to me also several times. That would also explain the graininess.
A tip: Although labs in developing countries aren't anything to write home about, you can have them at least develop your negatives, and get the prints made at home. This prevents the x-ray fogging of the film at least on your way back.
It is impossible up to 1600 ISO. Xray machines in airports are specifically made to avoid it.
Last year I put 10 rolls (800 ISO) in Barcelona and Glasgow airport (SAMSUNG xray machine) and no problems. Guarantee.
above 1600 ISO manufacturers of this kind of machine doesn
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