Film is alive and kicking – tips, cameras, beginners advice.

For over a hundred years film was the only option. The greatest names in photography all shot film; I’m sure you’ve heard of Ansel Adams.

Some of the most inspiring, well-known photographs ever produced were shot by famous photographers—so why do all the modern-day pros shoot digital if all the greats shot film? The answer is quite simple: convenience and cost.


If Film Is So Great, Why Do We Shoot Digital?

I would like to preface this tutorial by saying that I make the majority of my income from shooting digital. Film versus digital is a very controversial subject and the point of this tutorial is not to claim that one is better than the other, but rather to provide the reader a better understanding of film, and what it can do for them today, even in a digital world.

The digital format…

  1. Allows you to review your work after every single shot, from the camera, without having to wait for film to be developed.
  2. Is easily transferable in digital format from one computer to the next, or from one mobile phone to another, or from one email box to another.
  3. Costs less in the long run to print because there are no developing costs.
  4. Is more versatile because the digital sensor is able to change ISO on the fly.
  5. Does not expire like film does.

I could go on. The simple fact is that digital simply makes sense for the modern 35mm photographer and certainly for the weekend hobbyist. There are no messy chemicals to deal with, you’re not required to sit in a dark room for hours on end to see if your film [properly] developed, and you only need a memory card or two instead of roll after roll of film.


If Digital Is King, Why Are You Recommending Film?

If you are interested in becoming a photographer, starting out can be very expensive. Granted, if you buy used equipment you can save a lot of money. But even used, a digital SLR (DSLR) can run you a few hundred dollars whereas a mint condition film SLR will cost less than $100.

Even the most expensive, top of the line, professional film SLR’s on the used market go for a couple hundred bucks. On the other hand, top of the line DSLR’s go for thousands, even well used. Start-up cost is one of the toughest hurdles to overcome when getting into photography and this is where film can save you a bundle while getting your feet wet in the world of photography.

The second reason I recommend film to beginners is that it’s a more immersive way to learn about the relationship between aperture, ISO and shutter speed. You also have to be more cognizant of your surroundings and available light when shooting film. I have to admit, I’m a little grumpy knowing that many modern photographers never touched or even wanted to try their hand at film; they’re robbing themselves of a truly wonderful experience that I believe can take them to a whole other level.

The digital format allows one to be very sloppy, especially if you’re shooting in digital RAW format. You’re able to over or underexpose and fix it in post rather than doing it right in the first place. Heck, worrying about white-balance seems to be a thing of the past; a simple eye-dropper tool fixes everything for you in post! Learning on film teaches you to truly care about your surroundings while getting intimately familiar with your camera and all of its little quirks.

If you thought my reasons for shooting film were subjective, my final reasons are even more so; but hear me out. In my opinion, black and white photography has yet to be reproduced in digital format to echo the beautiful black and white film formats that are still available today.

It’s hard to explain; maybe it’s the film grain versus digital grain, maybe it’s the seemingly infinite tones that black and white film can produce or maybe it’s a combination of a lot of different elements aligning to “make it happen”. All I know is that I have yet to see consistent results from digital black and white prints that are as astoundingly gorgeous as examples from countless black and white prints that I have seen throughout my life. Obviously, this is subjective, but there you have it.

Canon EOS 630 – Kodak T-MAX400 B&W Film


Okay Fine, Where Do I Start?

Where else? The camera! There have been so many makes, models and formats of cameras over the years that it would be silly to try and review them all. And I don’t want to “fake it”, I’m not going to scour the internet looking for info on camera systems that I know nothing about. I believe that would only dilute my information and rob you of truly useful, real-world experience. My goal is to provide some of what I know so that you can make an informed decision when you go on the hunt for your own film camera.

In this article, I will not address medium or large format film cameras since I could write a book on that topic alone. Not to mention, I wouldn’t be saving you any money by recommending the medium/large format route anyway. Instead, I’ll start with Canon’s EOS systems, I’ll continue with a short glimpse into rangefinders and finish up with film recommendations.

I apologize ahead of time for those interested in Nikon or other manufacturers. I have far more experience with Canon, but some of these same principles should apply to other systems and the film recommendations should work across the board.

Let’s get started!


Canon EOS Elan

Models Include:

Elan
Elan II(e)
Elan 7(e)(n)(ne)

Up For Review: Elan IIe

The Canon EOS Elan IIe is a steal when you compare the price to performance ratio. While a 1v is a wonderful (and legendary) film SLR, even now a good copy is being sold for several hundred dollars and that might be a bit much to invest on a used film camera when you’re first starting out, especially since the Elan is so cheap and provides many of the same functions.

The Elan is also very easy to find in online auctions. It uses typical 35mm film and has the modern EF lens mount (versus the older, discontinued FD lens mount). I would highly recommend buying one that comes with a battery grip if you want to use AA batteries, the body itself will only take the more expensive 2CR5 batteries.

Why?

  1. Cost. ($20-$50)
  2. Performance and Features
  3. Ergonomics
  4. Pro Features

Where?

  1. eBay
  2. Buy/Sell sections on Camera Forums
  3. Local Camera Shops
  4. Yard Sales

Features

  1. Silent Film Operation (Elan was the first SLR with near-silent operation)
  2. Simultaneous AF/MF with USM lenses
  3. A large thumb wheel for control
  4. High speed flash sync
  5. Basically the first “auto everything” SLR with just about every professional control you could ask for in a film SLR

Notes

  1. No AE Lock
  2. Not weather sealed (although I’ve had mine in the rain plenty of times)
  3. Known for underexposing when in difficult, mixed lighting situations if using lower ISO film (50,100)
  4. Make sure to buy one that comes with the grip so you can use AA batteries

Photo Sample


Canon EOS 600-Series

Models Include:

EOS 650
EOS 620
EOS 630

Up For Review: EOS 630

The reason I’m recommending the 600 series of cameras is that they’re extremely cheap, built like tanks, and can still be found quite easily. This series was among the first to rely on electronic focusing by communication between the on-board microprocessor and auto-focusing motors in EF lenses. The AF system out-performed anything else at the time.

The EOS 630 was the latest from the 600 line. It had the fastest processor which resulted in faster AF, had interchangeable viewing screens, had an illuminated LCD and could use databacks. It was also all metal construction; it has held up amazingly well over the years.

If I had a gripe, the biggest would be that it’s a pain to do manual metering because of the multiple button operations required to accomplish it. The camera is also not the most comfortable to hold in your hands in comparison with other EOS systems.

Why?

  1. Cost. ($5-$50)
  2. Performance and Features
  3. Build Quality
  4. Pro Features

Where?

  1. eBay
  2. Buy/Sell sections on Camera Forums
  3. Local Camera Shops
  4. Yard Sales

Features

  1. Modern AF
  2. Interchangeable viewing screens
  3. Illuminated LCD
  4. Databack Compatible
  5. Metal construction

Notes

  1. Ergonomics not the best
  2. Multiple button presses for some operations

Photo Sample


Canon EOS Rebel Series

Models Include:

Rebel SII
Rebel X/XS
Rebel G
Rebel 2000
Rebel K2
Rebel Ti/T2

Up For Review: Rebel G

The Rebel series is probably the one you know as the “Andre Agassi camera”. The famous tennis player was hired by Canon to market their line of Rebel cameras throughout the 90′s and 2000′s. It was one of the most successful, mass-produced lines that Canon ever made (and continues that course with the digital Rebel today).

I’m recommending this camera because it costs next to nothing; I’ve seriously witnessed people give them away. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them, on the contrary! They’re quite capable with some pro-level features in a very light and compact package.

The reason they’re so cheap is that there were so many of them made and since they were never a “professional” camera, they were not that expensive, even when new. Don’t expect a lot of pro-features and amazing build quality, however.

If you want to spend next to nothing on a body just to get the experience of shooting and developing film, this is your camera.

Why?

  1. Cost. ($5-$30)
  2. Size and Weight
  3. Easy to find

Where?

  1. eBay
  2. Buy/Sell sections on Camera Forums
  3. Local Camera Shops
  4. Yard Sales

Features

  1. Very compact and lightweight (half the weight of the Elan II and 630)
  2. Accepts all modern EF lenses
  3. Full meter scale in the viewfinder at all times, even in metered-manual mode

Notes

  1. Lacks DOF preview
  2. Viewfinder is cramped
  3. Built-in flash is weak
  4. Plastic lens mount rather than metal
  5. You only have one control to set both shutter speed and aperture, so manual mode metering is more difficult than it should be.

Photo Sample


The Rangefinder

What the heck is a rangefinder? It’s a camera fitted with a rangefinder, duh! For all intents and purposes, a rangefinder is a method of focusing. Most rangefinders show two images of a subject; when you turn a focus wheel, one of the images moves until it is lined up with the other image and that’s how you know it’s in focus. Personally, I really enjoy this method of focusing. Rangefinders are popular because of the following:

  1. Very compact
  2. No moving mirror
  3. Quiet operation
  4. “Both eyes open” shooting

Rangefinders offer a unique shooting experience in that you’re not looking through the lens like you do with an SLR. It’s sort of like shooting through a modern point-n-shoot. Because the viewfinder is off to the side, you can leave both eyes open while looking through the viewfinder to survey your scene as you’re shooting. This makes the rangefinder very popular amongst urban and photojournalist photographers.

If you’ve researched rangefinders at any level, you’ve probably run across mention of Leica, they are the bad boys in the realm of rangefinders, the top of the pack. Unfortunately, that means they’re also insanely expensive.

I’ve had experience with several rangefinders over the years, but I always go back to my Canon QL-17 GIII. I love the photos that come out of this thing, especially black and whites. It is often referred to as the “poor man’s Leica” because the lens quality was able to produce incredible photos for the price.

Canon Canonet QL-17 GIII

You can find them on used camera forums and eBay for $20-$30. The reason you can find them so cheap is that the light seals are often shot, sometimes the aperture blades are frozen and the shutter speed may be off.

If you are lucky enough to find one that only needs the light seals replaced, it’s a relatively easy and cheap fix (we’re talking $12-$15 for the new seals) if you do the repair yourself.

Light Seal Replacement on my Canon Canonet QL-17 GIII

Photo Sample

Canon Canonet QL-17 GII – Kodak B&W T-MAX400


You’ve Convinced Me, So What About Film?

First and foremost, find a reputable local camera lab and give them a call. They’ll tell you what kind of film they’re able to handle as well as what they can print and what sort of print medium they can print on.

Don’t be shy about admitting you’re a film beginner. In fact, I encourage it. Otherwise, they’ll assume you know what you’re doing and you may miss out on some very important lessons while working with your photo lab. After you’ve developed your first couple of rolls, feel free to see if there are other services that are cheaper (including online) if you’re so inclined.

I recommend your local camera shop because I’m a believer in supporting your local industry. And, as I eluded to, you can learn a lot by asking questions and dealing with your lab in person.

Negative and Slide Film

Generally speaking, there are two types of film; slide film and negative film. I’m going to focus on negative film, it’s the easiest (and cheapest) to work with. As you progress, you may want to dabble with slide film as it can technically produce better prints than negatives can and slide longevity is much greater than negatives (which start to deteriorate well within a decade).

Film Speed

Next up is film speed. ISO speeds in digital cameras came from the ISO film rating system and the same principles apply. The larger the ISO number, the less light you’ll need to expose your scene on the film negative.

What I would recommend is starting with an ISO400 film (or thereabouts) so that you have a little more latitude with available light. Any higher and you’ll really start to see a lot of film grain and any lower will require sunlight or lots of interior light, more than a typically lit room in your house will provide.

Storage

You may have heard that some people store batteries in their refrigerator. Well, I have no idea if that does anything for batteries or not, but it certainly does for film. I store all of my film in the fridge. Why? Film is made of chemicals that start to break down as heat is introduced. The warmer it gets, the faster it deteriorates.

If you keep your film cold, the process is slowed, although never completely stopped. It doesn’t matter whether you keep your film in the fridge or the freezer, there are no ill effects to film if you freeze and defrost it. However, I keep mine in the fridge so that I can use it immediately instead of waiting for it to thaw.

Types

Here’s some film that I’ve used over the years. I shoot B&W Kodak T-MAX400 almost exclusively these days, although I do pop in a roll of T-MAX100 once in a while. As for color, I can’t remember the last time I used a color negative film slower than 400. I would probably recommend starting with TMX400 if you’re interested in B&W, I find it to be very versatile. Again, call up your local shop and make sure there will be no problems developing whatever film you decide to use.

Black & White

Slow: Ilford Pan F50
Mid/Fast: Plus-X, FP4,Tri-X, T-MAX400

Color

Slow: Kodak Gold 100, Fuji Super G 100
Mid/Fast: Kodak Professional Portra / Royal Gold 400, Fuji NPH

Important Note

When you buy your first used film camera, make sure to put a roll of cheap color film through it and have your photo lab develop straight to a CD so that you can check for possible issues with the camera. You’ll be able to see if there are light leaks, if the shutter is off or the aperture blades are malfunctioning.

I also recommend getting yourself a light meter or using your digital camera to meter (if you have one, of course). Write down the readings and compare them with the photos you get back to determine if your film camera has a metering problem.


Wrap Up

I know you’ll have many questions when you buy that first film camera and run that first roll through it, and a lot of it will be trial and error. But I hope this article will be enough to get you started and I encourage each of you to at least try shooting a couple rolls of film.

I’ve provided some options that cost next-to-nothing, so even if you don’t enjoy yourself, you’re not out that much cash. I’m betting you’ll have a blast!

Just be careful, it can become very addicting very quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be buying developer chemicals and trying to figure out which room in your house you can get away with turning into a darkroom!

All photos © Shane Parker Photography

Source.

How to make prints from 35mm negatives.

This is the basic process how to print 35mm negatives.

Video – How to Develop Black and White Film.

After this extensive post How to Develop Black and White Film,  let’s now see how it develops the practical process.

There are a few important points to retain in the film processing:

  • Dark room.
  • Control temperature and time.
  • Developer.
  • Stop bath.
  • Fixer.
  • Clearing agent (optional for many photographers).
  • Drying the film.

I hope this 3 videos can avoid any doubts about the all  process.

Enjoy.

How to Develop Black and White Film.

1 – Dilute the chemicals. Most photographic chemicals come in concentrate form, which needs to be mixed with water. You are going to use the graduated cylinder to measure the chemicals and water, and the gallon jugs to store them.
2 – The Developer – 1:3 Chemical to water mix. That is, 1 part developer to 3 parts water. This gives you a “stock” solution. Fill one gallon jug with this stock solution. The stock solution will be diluted more before using it on the film. When you dilute the stock solution, you will have a “working” solution.
3 – The Stop Bath – 1:63 Chemical to water mix. Mix the stop bath and water together and store in a gallon jug. This is a working solution.
4 – The Fixer – 1:4 Chemical to water mix. Mix the fixer and water together and store in a gallon jug. This is also a working solution.

5 – Hypo-Clearing Agent – Mix the full packet (4.4oz) with 1.25 gallons of water. This chemical comes as a powder, and you need to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed. Store in a gallon jug.

6 – Once the chemicals have been mixed and stored in the gallon jugs, you need to bring them to the correct temperature. Fill a large sink (like your kitchen sink) with water that is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Use the thermometer to get the correct temperature. This is very important. Now put your gallon jugs of chemicals in the sink, floating in the water. These chemicals must be 20 degrees Celsius when you use them. You are going to put them in 68 degree water because the temperature of the water is going to drop a bit while bringing the chemicals to the correct temperature. You really must be very accurate when it comes to the chemical temperatures. More than 1 degree above or 1 degree below 20 degrees can have a big effect on the film. Remember, the final chemical temperature you want is 20 degrees, and you are soaking the chemicals in 68 degree water because the gallon jugs will sit in the water for at least 30 minutes, and the water temperature will drop a couple degrees during that time.
7 – Pop open the film canister, remove the film, load the film onto the film reel, and place the reel inside the developing tank. This must be in complete darkness. No light whatsoever. No red safety lights either. Take the scissors, bottle opener, film canister, film reel, and developing tank into a dust free room that you can make light-tight. For the moment, you can have the room lights turned on.
8 – Place the tools out in front of you, possibly on a desk. You’re going to be loading the film onto the reel in complete darkness, so make sure you lay the tools out in a way that you can find them in the dark.
9 – Turn off the lights. Use the bottle opener to pop the bottom off the film canister, which should be very easy. While only touching the film negative from the edges, pull the film out of the canister. The film will be taped to the center film spool. Make sure you cut it off right at the base of the spool or you’ll be cutting through your pictures. Also cut the tip off the film (the odd shaped piece that sticks out of the canister when you first buy the film) so that it’s flat. You only need to cut about 1 inch off the tip
10 – Spool the film onto the film reel. While not touching the surface of the negative, slide the negative into the opening of the reel. Slide about 4 inches of film into the reel. Start walking the film onto the reel by twisting one side of the reel back and forth. To be clear on this, keep your left hand steady, and with your right hand twist the right side of the reel forward, then bring it back. Continue doing this until all the film is loaded onto the reel
11 – Place the reel inside the developing tank, and screw the lid onto the tank. The tank is now light-tight, and you can turn on the lights. Even though the developing tank has a hole in the top for pouring in the chemicals, it is in fact light-tight. Pour water into the tank, let stand for 1 minute, this is called pre-wetting and will make the film swell up and accept the developer solution. pour out the water
12 – Bring the developing tank to the sink where you have the chemical jugs floating in water. Check the developer chemical with the thermometer. If it’s at 20 degrees Celsius, then you are ready to go. If it is higher than 20 degrees, then keep checking every 10 minutes until it’s ready. If it is below 20 degrees, add some hot water to the sink the gallon jugs are floating in. Pour 1 ounce of the stock developing solution into the graduated cylinder and then add 7 ounces of 20 degrees Celsius water to that. You are making a “working” solution by using a 1:7 chemical to water ratio. To recap, you made a stock solution of the developing chemical by using a 1:3 chemical concentrate to water ratio, and then mixed that stock solution with a 1:7 working chemical to water ratio.
13 – With stopwatch in hand, pour the working developer into the hole in the top of the developing tank. Do this very quickly and start the stopwatch as soon as you’ve poured all the developer into the tank. Smack the developing tank on a counter a few times to dislodge any bubbles that might be clinging on to the film. Agitate the tank for 30 seconds. Do this by swirling the tank around. You are going to leave the film in the developer for as many minutes is appropriate for your film type ( check the mas dev chart). Agitate the film for 5 seconds every 30 seconds. Agitation is very important. Do not neglect to agitate the developing tank. The developing chemicals become exhausted very shortly after coming in contact with the film. The agitation ensures that fresh chemicals are touching the film. However, this exhaustion of the chemicals is an important part of the process. Over-agitating can give negative results or positive results. It depends on the “look” you are going for. Too much agitation increases the contrast in the image but often you will damage the film and see sprocket marks if you have over agitated. If you want more contrast consider push processing.
14 – When the stopwatch has reached 10 seconds from the end of your time, start pouring the developer out of the top of the tank and into the sink drain. Do not take the lid off the developing tank.
15 – For the stop bath you can use water at 20 degrees Celsius. Pour the water in the canister agitate for a couple seconds and pour out, repeat 4 times. Or, alternatively you can use the stop bath chemical. With stopwatch in hand, quickly pour the stop bath into the top of the developing tank until the tank is full. There is no need to dilute the stop bath more, so you can pour straight from the gallon jug. Start the stopwatch when you’ve filled the tank up. Once again, smack the tank against a counter a couple times to dislodge any bubbles. You are going to leave the film in the stop bath for 1 1/2 minutes. The purpose of the stop bath is to neutralize any remaining developer left on the film, and arrest the developing process.
16 – When the stopwatch has reached 1 minute and 20 seconds, start pouring the stop bath out. Some stop bath solutions, like the Kodak Indicator Stop Bath, can be re-used. If this is the chemical you are using, then pour the stop bath back into the gallon jug for later use. The word “indicator” in Kodak Indicator Stop Bath means the chemical indicates when it is no longer any good. The chemical, when mixed with water, is yellow. As long as the stop bath remains yellow in color, it is good to use.
17 – Next, pour the fixer into tank until it is full. Assuming your fixer is prediluted, there is no need to dilute the fixer more, so you can pour straight from the gallon jug. Start the stopwatch once the tank is full. You are going to leave the film in the fixing solution for 6 minutes, as few as 4 for rapid fixer. Smack the tank against the counter to dislodge any bubbles. Agitate the film for 3 seconds every 30 seconds. Some people don’t agitate during the fixing process. It is safe to open the tank completely after 3 minutes.
18 – Once the stopwatch has reached 6 minutes, pour the fixer out of the tank. Do not re-use the fixer. You can now unscrew the top of the developing tank and expose the film negative to light. Once the film has been “fixed”, it is no longer light sensitive. The rest of the process is done with the lid of the developing tank off.
19 – Pour the hypo-clearing agent into the tank (with the lid off). There is no need to dilute the hypo-clearing agent more, so you can pour straight from the gallon jug. Smack the tank against the counter to dislodge any bubbles. You are going to leave the film in the hypo-clearing agent for 1 1/2 minutes. You can agitate the film a little bit if you like.
20 – While the film is in the hypo-clearing agent, start running some water and bring the running water to 20 degrees Celsius. After 1 1/2 minutes, dump out the hypo-clearing agent. Do not re-use this chemical. Put the developing tank under the running water. It’s time to wash all the chemicals off the film. You are going to leave the film under the running water for 10 minutes. The water should fill up the developing tank and overflow. Let it overflow. Every couple of minutes, dump out the water and let the tank fill back up with fresh running water. You want to keep fresh 20-degree water pouring into the developing tank. This final washing part of the process is very important. Ten minutes is the minimum time to wash the film, but you can do it longer. It is also important that you are washing the film with 20 degree water. Using hotter or colder water can affect the final picture.
21 – After the 10 minutes is up, lift the film reel out of the tank and lightly shake off any remaining water. Turn the reel clockwise (could be counter-clockwise, depends on how you’re holding the reel, so try them both) until the top half of the reel comes apart from the lower half of the reel. Now use one of the film clips and clip it onto the end of the film negative. Some clips have small “hooks” on them. You can run the hooks through the square holes running down the sides of the film, and thus avoid puncturing the film negative. By lifting up the clip, pull the film up out of the reel. If everything went well, you should see your pictures on the negative. Clip the other film clip onto the bottom of the negative. This will act as a weight. Hang the negative up to dry in a room temperature, dust free room. Leave the negative to dry for at least 2 hours.
22 – That’s it! You’re all done. You can now take the negatives to a store and have prints made, make your own prints, or scan the negatives and order prints online.

Similar post:  Video – How to Develop Black and White Film.

History of Photography

Sir John F.W. Herschel

“Photography” is derived from the Greek words photos (“light”) and graphein (“to draw”) The word was first used by the scientist Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. It is a method of recording images by the action of light, or related radiation, on a sensitive material.

PINHOLE CAMERA

Alhazen (Ibn Al-Haytham), a great authority on optics in the Middle Ages who lived around 1000AD, invented the first pinhole camera, (also called the Camera Obscura} and was able to explain why the images were upside down. The first casual reference to the optic laws that made pinhole cameras possible, was observed and noted by Aristotle around 330 BC, who questioned why the sun could make a circular image when it shined through a square hole.

THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH

On a summer day in 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce made the first photographic image with a camera obscura. Prior to Niepce people just used the camera obscura for viewing or drawing purposes not for making photographs. Joseph Nicephore Niepce’s heliographs or sun prints as they were called were the prototype for the modern photograph, by letting light draw the picture.

Niepce placed an engraving onto a metal plate coated in bitumen, and then exposed it to light. The shadowy areas of the engraving blocked light, but the whiter areas permitted light to react with the chemicals on the plate. When Niepce placed the metal plate in a solvent, gradually an image, until then invisible, appeared. However, Niepce’s photograph required eight hours of light exposure to create and after appearing would soon fade away.

LOUIS DAGUERRE

Fellow Frenchman, Louis Daguerre was also experimenting to find a way to capture an image, but it would take him another dozen years before Daguerre was able to reduce exposure time to less than 30 minutes and keep the image from disappearing afterwards.

THE BIRTH OF MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY

Louis Daguerre was the inventor of the first practical process of photography. In 1829, he formed a partnership with Joseph Nicephore Niepce to improve the process Niepce had developed.

In 1839 after several years of experimentation and Niepce’s death, Daguerre developed a more convenient and effective method of photography, naming it after himself – the daguerreotype.

Daguerre’s process ‘fixed’ the images onto a sheet of silver-plated copper. He polished the silver and coated it in iodine, creating a surface that was sensitive to light. Then, he put the plate in a camera and exposed it for a few minutes. After the image was painted by light, Daguerre bathed the plate in a solution of silver chloride. This process created a lasting image, one that would not change if exposed to light.

In 1839, Daguerre and Niepce’s son sold the rights for the daguerreotype to the French government and published a booklet describing the process. The daguerreotype gained popularity quickly; by 1850, there were over seventy daguerreotype studios in New York City alone.

NEGATIVE TO POSTIVE PROCESS

The inventor of the first negative from which multiple postive prints were made was Henry Fox Talbot, an English botanist and mathematician and a contemporary of Daguerre.

Talbot sensitized paper to light with a silver salt solution. He then exposed the paper to light. The background became black, and the subject was rendered in gradations of grey. This was a negative image, and from the paper negative, Talbot made contact prints, reversing the light and shadows to create a detailed picture. In 1841, he perfected this paper-negative process and called it a calotype, Greek for beautiful picture.

TINTYPES

Tintypes, patented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith, were another medium that heralded the birth of photography. A thin sheet of iron was used to provide a base for light-sensitive material, yielding a positive image.

WET PLATE NEGATIVES

In 1851, Frederick Scoff Archer, an English sculptor, invented the wet plate negative. Using a viscous solution of collodion, he coated glass with light-sensitive silver salts. Because it was glass and not paper, this wet plate created a more stable and detailed negative.

Photography advanced considerably when sensitized materials could be coated on plate glass. However, wet plates had to be developed quickly before the emulsion dried. In the field this meant carrying along a portable darkroom.

DRY PLATE NEGATIVES & HAND-HELD CAMERAS

In 1879, the dry plate was invented, a glass negative plate with a dried gelatin emulsion. Dry plates could be stored for a period of time. Photographers no longer needed portable darkrooms and could now hire technicians to develop their photographs. Dry processes absorbed light quickly so rapidly that the hand-held camera was now possible.

FLEXIBLE ROLL FILM

In 1889, George Eastman invented film with a base that was flexible, unbreakable, and could be rolled. Emulsions coated on a cellulose nitrate film base, such as Eastman’s, made the mass-produced box camera a reality.

COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS

In the early 1940s, commercially viable color films (except Kodachrome, introduced in 1935) were brought to the market. These films used the modern technology of dye-coupled colors in which a chemical process connects the three dye layers together to create an apparent color image.

Source.