I know the whole 200 400 800 is based on the speed of the film & say youre in a dark room with dim lighting, 800 would be a better choice to use.. But i have searched through flickr and i see most people using superia 200 film with their 35mm cameras . Why? The lower the number , the better the photo? It has been confusing me for a while now . I shoot with an olympus XA2 usually with a 400 roll & the right asa settings and a lot of my photos come out blurry or zoomed in for some reason. Im mostly concerned about technique and image quality . When i say quality i dont mean extremely sharp & clear either. I just dont want blurry photos & i dont mind the dreamy, light leaks either.

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Sometimes the photos come out extremely highlighted & dark , unfocused , blurry .. I have half a roll that came out cluelessly out of focus & cropped even though i set the settings correctly .

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ While I'm well aware that film is not digital, ISO has the same meaning in both film and digital contexts. In particular, the accepted answer on that question covers film as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Nov 20, 2014 at 8:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess I'm not seeing how size of film grain and it's impact on the image is the same as gain on the sensor. They're analogous, but how ISO differences are achieved in film is not how it's achieved in digital. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Nov 20, 2014 at 15:43

2 Answers 2


The "faster" films work by having larger grains of photon-collecting chemicals.

This has two effects: you get the same exposure with less photons hitting the film compared to "slower" film, and because of the larger grains, the image will be more coarse.

If you don't make large prints, the second effect may be unnoticeable.

Effectively you have to test the high ISO film with you use case to see if the granularity hurts your pictures.


Great! You told us what camera you are using!!

So, maybe reading a bit about the exposure triangle might be able to help you out a bit.

I found on Wikipedia that the XA2 was a 35mm ƒ/3.5 lens. Are you using the flash at all? It could simply be that the lighting environment is too low/poor and it's using a slower shutter speed. Perhaps if the lens were ƒ/1.8 or something then that would give you 1 and 2/3 more stops of light. That's a difference of 1/60 seconds to 1/250 seconds of shutter speed!

Generally, anything slower than 1/60 at hand held results in blur.

If you're shooting indoors, a flash and higher F-stop is needed, possibly on top of ISO400 film.

Are you able to post examples?

EDIT: I found a manual. Take a look at page 15.

They all seem fine to me, especially the one with the girl holding books/magazines infront of her face.

The dog ones (christmas tree and outdoor/footpath ones) are blurry due to low light/slower shutter speed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Im trying to understand the manual but its the XA not the XA2. Thank you for all the info i am currently trying to study everything . I will post examples of some photos i have taken that came out good & bad . \$\endgroup\$
    – SS1
    Nov 20, 2014 at 16:33

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