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I'm new into film and I recently bought a pack of 200 film. I'm just not sure what ISO to use. I don't want my photos to come out over or under exposed. (I have a Minolta X-700)

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  • Great choice of camera for starting with film, btw. – rackandboneman Jan 13 at 4:47
  • @MichaelC I think the proposed dupe is certainly related, and actually fairly close. But surprisingly, we don't have a basics-level question for "what film speed do I use?" This question really should be the "what is X?" for film ISO, IMO. – scottbb Jan 13 at 17:00
  • @scottbb IMO, the other question is a better one than this. – Michael C Jan 17 at 5:51
  • There should be a datasheet/exposure curves documentation from the manufacturer. Is that correct? – TFuto Feb 5 at 19:06
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If you’re new, then you should be shooting at box speed. So, if the film is ISO200, then set your camera to ISO200.

Once you’re more comfy with exposure, then you can look into pushing and pulling.

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I'm new into film and I recently bought a pack of 200 film. I'm just not sure what ISO to use.

There are two implied questions here: How should I set the camera for the film that I have? and How do I know what speed film to buy? Let's take them one at a time:

How should I set the camera for the film that I have? Most of the time you'll set the camera to the speed indicated on the film, which in the case of the film you already bought is ISO 200. Setting the camera's ISO setting tells the light meter how sensitive the film is, and the light meter will in turn tell you whether the current exposure settings (aperture and shutter speed) will give you a properly exposed image. When you get some experience, it's possible to use a different setting than the one indicated on the film, but doing so will require changes to how the film is developed, so it's best to stick with the indicated speed when you're starting out.

How do I know what speed film to buy? Again, the ISO number tells you how sensitive the film is, with higher numbers like 400 or 1000 meaning that the film is more sensitive, or "faster." More sensitive film is better for conditions where there's less light, like shooting indoors. Less sensitive film, like ISO 100, is better for shooting outdoors in daylight. ISO 200 is a reasonable compromise if you're not sure where you'll be shooting, or if the locations will vary over the course of using the roll.

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Your Minolta X-700 does not read the DX coding that for the past three decades or so has been included on the vast majority of cassettes containing 135 format film. DX encoding tells the camera to automatically set the camera's ISO setting to match the film.

You should manually set the ISO speed in the camera to match the speed printed on the film box or film canister.

For more, please see:

What is the relationship between film speed and the ISO setting on my film camera?

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