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I recently had some film developed on my Pentax K1000 for the first time and my photos came out very strange. I’ve scoured the internet to find similar film photos to figure out why mine came out like this but I can’t find any that look quite the same.

I’m sure some photos were under/over exposed to some degree (I’m a newbie) but it seems to be more than just that.

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I used Kodak 400 film which I recently purchased. I did use the light meter and my settings were roughly ASA400, exposure time 1/125, and aperture around f/8.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My guess is substantial underexposure, where the printer tried to underexpose to compensate. This raises the noise level. You could compare your negatives to some properly exposed ones. If I am right, the difference will be obvious. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 18, 2022 at 4:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ What film did you use? Was it expired? What camera settings did you use? Did you use the K1000’s light meter to set the camera settings ? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 18, 2022 at 4:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I used Kodak 400 film which I recently purchased. I did use the light meter and my settings were roughly ASA400, SS 125 and aperture around 8. So I can rule out anything in the developing process? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 18, 2022 at 6:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possibly a faulty camera. The shutter or aperture may not be doing what the exposure settings indicate. Have the camera at least looked over by your friendly local camera store. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Jan 18, 2022 at 10:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ What was the expiration date on the box of film you "recently" bought? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 18, 2022 at 22:50

2 Answers 2

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For whatever reason, the film was either grossly underexposed or grossly underdeveloped, or maybe a combination of both.

Your example has the classic look of underexposed/underdeveloped film that the printer compensated exposure on to try and get something usable out of it. Anytime you see that green tint and low contrast combined, it's a sure sign a negative with not enough density is being printed by underexposing the photo paper to compensate.

The possibilities:

  • Your camera underexposed the image by either closing down the aperture more than it was set, or exposing for shorter duration than set. Usually, when a camera misses a setting it's in the other direction: Either the aperture is left too wide or the shutter is left open too long.
  • Your camera's meter is out of calibration and recommended an incorrect exposure value for the lighting conditions. Your stated settings of 1/125 at f/8 for 400 speed film is approximately Ev10011, which is appropriate for deep shade during midday or unshaded areas right around sunrise/sunset.
  • The developer used to develop the negative(s) was weak or the film was not allowed to remain in the developer long enough.
  • The film was out of date or had been stored in poor conditions (primarily in high temperatures) and was rendered far less sensitive than box speed by the time you used it.
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You can not determine this problem by looking at prints; you need to look at the negatives.

Get out the negs and look. Are they 'thin' (very clear)? Are they ultra dark and dense?

I would guess (having worked in a film lab for years) you have a combination of 'heat struck' film (or very old film) and under exposure.

I say heat struck because there is an inconsistent tint in the middle of the frame; that can also be the case where there is a small light leak into the canister, but heat damage is most likely. I would also say your film was underexposed by at least 4 stops, so instead of 100 speed film you were operating at 1600.

Interestingly your meter is seems off based on the content- it appears to be a late evening photograph; the sky isn't bright enough to be overcast and the lack of hard shadows implies not during the day, so was this taken at dusk? If so your exposure was significantly under- this probably should have been 1/8th @ f2.8 if shot late day/dusk. What time did you take the photo?

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