Richard Photo Lab

Find Your Film: Stock and Exposure Comparisons

"Negatives of different film exposures"

With film photography, there are two decisions right out of the gate that will have a major influence on the final look of your photos: film stock and exposure.

So, Richard Photo Lab is breaking down the most popular types of film stocks we see at the lab and showing multiple exposure settings of each, to get you started!

This will not only show you how film choice and camera settings like exposure affect your final image, but it will help you find your sweet spot. What is "normal" to your light meter while shooting film might not be "normal" to you.

We're including snaps of the B&W and color negatives, too, so you can see how the physical structure of exposed film translates into a scan. #negsaresacred

BONUS! Here's a high-resolution download of everything so you can get up close and personal with the scans and negatives! This will be the best way for you to see the amount of grain in each stock and exposure setting, too.

Before we get to the good stuff, a note: please don't consider this to be a license to blindly overexpose your film.

Yes, film does well with overexposure. But, overexposing without metering is NOT a good idea. You risk overexposing your film to drastic proportions, and you lose consistency in exposure by not measuring the conditions of different setups and adjusting accordingly. That means your shots will be overexposed by different amounts, and your scans won't be consistent.

For the purpose of this blog, we used a Mamiya 645AF film camera with an 80mm f/2.8 lens and shot during late morning in open shade. We metered using a handheld incident meter, bulb out, turned back toward the camera.

All images have been scanned on the Noritsu with a neutral color balance and density preference to reflect the qualities of the film and exposure setting as accurately as possible.

COLOR FILM

FUJIFILM FUJICOLOR 400H

"First example of a photograph with different exposures using Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H " "Second example of a photograph with different exposures using Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H"

We rated Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H at box speed. This film is very "light hungry", so Richard recommends pumping it up one stop.

Typically, photographers rate this film at one to two stops overexposed—as the test shows, this film can do that really well without any color shifts. Note how the greens on Fujifilm differ from those on Kodak...

Photo of a Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H film roll

Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H

Stock up on Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H for your next shoot!

KODAK PORTRA 400

Kodak Portra 400 Scans

Kodak Portra 400 Negatives

We rated Kodak Portra 400 at box speed. You can see that as you overexpose more, red tones start to creep into your picture. So, it is really best to rate this film close to box speed.

Photo of a Kodak Portra 400 film roll

Kodak Portra 400

Stock up on Kodak Portra 400 for your next shoot!

KODAK PORTRA 800

Kodak Portra 800 Scans

Kodak Portra 800 Negatives

We rated Kodak Portra 800 at box speed. This is another "light hungry" stock—overexposing one stop in film developing gives you a negative with rich density and no color shift.

Photo of a Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H film roll

Kodak Portra 800

Stock up on Kodak Portra 800 for your next shoot!

KODAK PORTRA 160

Kodak Portra 160 Scans

Kodak Portra 160 Negatives

We rated Kodak Portra 160 at box speed. To Richard's surprise, this film was the most flexible of the color films tested—it looks great at a lot of different exposure settings, even underexposure (if you want a "moody" look)!

We recommend scanning this film on the Noritsu. Kodak Portra 160 can sometimes produce digital artifacting when scanned on the Frontier due to the silver halide crystal retention.

Photo of a Kodak Portra 160 film roll

Kodak Portra 160

Stock up on Kodak Portra 160 for your next shoot!

KODAK EKTAR 100

Kodak Ektar 100 Scans

Kodak Ektar 100 Negatives

We rated Kodak Ektar 100 at box speed.

The most significant change we saw with this film was the appearance of color saturation. Check out the hair color! However, it is wise to note that saturation of other colors, like the blue dress, don't change as much in saturation as they do lightness.

Just like Portra 160, Ektar 100 can sometimes produce digital artifacting when scanned on the Frontier due to the silver retention in film processing.

Photo of a Kodak Ektar 100 film roll

Kodak Ektar 100

Stock up on Kodak Ektar 100 for your next shoot!

BLACK & WHITE FILM

We wanted to show an added stop of exposure to give you an extra frame (wink) of reference for the range of values and grain you can get with these photographic films— download the high-resolution files so you can zoom all the way in on that grainy goodness.

KODAK TRI-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 Scans

Kodak Tri-X 400 Negatives

We rated Kodak Tri-X 400 at box speed. This seems to be the most flexible of the black & white rolls of film, but the most even tones are still found at box speed.

Photo of a Kodak Tri-X 400 film roll

Kodak Tri-X 400

Stock up on Kodak Tri-X 400 for your next shoot!

ILFORD HP5

Ilford HP5 Scans

Ilford HP5 Negatives

We rated Ilford HP5 at box speed. It has much richer blacks than Tri-X film, so Richard recommends shooting at +1.

Photo of a Ilford HP5 film roll

Ilford HP5

Stock up on Ilford HP5 for your next shoot!

ILFORD DELTA 3200

![Ilford Delta 3200 Scans](/storage/app/media/blog/2017/07-19-17-Stock-and-Exposure/8-ilforddelta3200-scans.jpeg)

Ilford Delta 3200 Negatives

We ignored the box speed for Ilford Delta 3200 and rated this at 1600, because it is generally agreed upon by the film community as the "normal" speed for this film.

This film is very grainy, and that only increases as you get farther from box speed... Richard recommends shooting at +1.

Photo of a Ilford Delta 3200 film roll

Ilford Delta 3200

Stock up on Ilford Delta 3200 for your next shoot!

Once you’ve chosen a film stock that might be a match for your style, go out and shoot a test roll or two!

Testing exposure settings in a variety of lighting conditions and shooting different subject matter will give you an even better understanding of how to create film negatives that yield the look you love.