Your Film (old school) / Digital (new school)

Spinner Dolphins, Stenella longirostris, Maui Hawaii South side, Pacific Ocean 100004
Visit my underwater photo gallery to see many more great shots.

- Your film:

Now that you have a camera and lens you need to select your film.  If you selected a digital camera this has been done for you in the form of the CCD sensor in the camera and you can skip this section since it will not apply to you. The film is very important because it also will affect the quality of the photos you produce.  The first question you may have is do I need special film to take pictures underwater.  The answer is no.  You can use the same film you use in your camera above water.  There are some things that you need to be aware of but they have to do with the effects of water that we will cover on a later page. There are a few things about film that I will cover here.

Film is rated with a number called ASA or ISO.  The ASA number usually ranges from 50 to 800 although you can find higher and lower types.  The most common are 50, 64, 100, 200, and 400.  The number tells you how sensitive the film is to light.  The higher the number the less light you need to take a picture.  One draw back to the higher ASA numbers is that to make them more sensitive to light they had to give up some of the picture quality.  This is usually only seen if you enlarge the picture to a very large size.  Most photographers will use the lowest ASA film that they can.  If you are using a Strobe/Flash underwater you can often still use the 50 or 100 ASA films. If you do not have a flash then it will depend on the amount of light available where you are taking the pictures.

The camera will dictate the size of the film you must use.  A common film size is 35mm but there are smaller and larger film formats.  Keep in mind that when you enlarge a photo the film size will also affect the size and quality of the enlargements you can make.  A larger format film will allow a larger enlargement without loosing the quality.

There is a lot more info that I could provide about film but the important thing here is that you can use the same film you use in your camera above the water.


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