Street Photography and Kodak Tri-X Film: 62 Years of Going With The Grain

This is a syndicated blog post from our premium publication La Noir Image. For more stories like this, sign up for a subscription at a fantastic price. All images and text by writer Mason Resnick.

In recent years, thanks in part to social media and the ease with which participants can share images, street photography has enjoyed unprecedented popularity. A generation of digital cameras, inspired in part by the classic tools of street shooters, has combined with the power of social networks and easy image sharing to empower a new generation of photographers to embrace street photography. The results: A glut of photos: many of them mediocre, some good, and some of them really good.

But even the best of digital street photos have a problem. Digital street photos are too smooth. They’re too clean. They seem clinical. They have very little noise, and certainly no grain. That grittiness, dirtiness that reflects the chaos of the street is missing. And so, software tricks are employed to emulate the graininess of classic films. Click a button, and your grainless digital image suddenly looks like it was shot with the film of choice for many street photographers throughout the years: Kodak Tri-X.

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The Difference Between an F-Stop And a T-Stop

Screenshot taken from video.

The most popularly known imaging parameter to measure the amount of light coming through the lens is an F-Stop, referring to the aperture of the lens. However, not many people know what a T-Stop (the light transmittance rate) means and how that is significant in comparison to the F-Stop. We have found this short and simple video by Channel 8 explaining the difference between F-Stop and T-Stop, and why that matters.

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The mmCalc Crop Factor Calculator Makes Sensor Math a Snap

mmCalc Crop Factor Calculator

Sensor Size math isn’t a problem with the mmCalc Crop Factor Calculator. If you haven’t figured it out by now, there’s a lot of math involved in photography. One of the places you’ll often notice where math and photography intersect is in discussions of sensor size. If you’re trying to make apples to apples comparisons of photography gear, you’re usually talking in terms of full-frame equivalents. Often this will require some mental math (and sometimes not-so-mental math) to determine the crop factor. Or you can skip the arithmetic altogether by using this crop factor calculator by mmCalc.

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Digital to Analog: Daylight White Balance in Various Lighting Scenarios

As more and more photographers start going from digital to analog, we wanted to teach everyone about a big part of how you not only see light, but also color. Note that most film is balanced to daylight, so if you go about shooting with it in various situations, you’ll either like the results or you won’t.

So with that said, we’ve compiled a number of images from our archives showing you how colors in a scene render when using daylight white balance. This post encompasses mostly digital photos, and you should know when you go into a film lab to get your images developed, sometimes a technician will try to “fix the images”. But you should keep this in mind regardless to get your most desired results.

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How ND Filters (Neutral Density) Work And When To Use Them

Screenshots taken from video. 

A Neutral Density (ND) filter is an extremely useful tool for both still shooting and video recording purposes. However, many newcomers to the photography world may not understand what an ND filter is and how to use it. We have found this extremely easy to digest Youtube video made by Fadzai Saungweme in Perth, Australia, explaining what an ND filter can do and in what situations we need to use one.

An ND filter is a filter that reduces the amount of light that enters the lens. A good ND filter will reduce the intensity of all wavelengths and all colors of light, resulting in images captured without any hue or color shifting. The video introduces us to a screw-on filter onto the lens, which is a variable ND filter that changes from ND2 to ND400. The rating of ND numbers and what they mean are also explained with a simple chart showing that the bigger the ND numbers, the larger amount of light is being cut from entering the lens, resulting in a darker image.  Continue reading…

Why You Should Never Underestimate the Power of Cropping

When you’re going through Lightroom or Capture One 10 while looking at your images, there’s a big chance you’re not using the majority of the images from your shooting session. Most people casually glance over them and, instead of trying to find a way to make them into something better, just move on. If you’re on a deadline that makes sense, but if you’ve got some time you should consider cropping your photos. Lots of photographers don’t ever consider just what cropping can do for you. It’s one of the most powerful tools of photo editors at big news wires and can help you to create a better final product overall.

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This Super Cool Animation Shows How a Film SLR Camera Works

Screenshot taken from video.

The Single lens reflex (SLR) system was a game-changer in film photography because it allowed the photographer to see exactly what the camera is seeing through the lens. While digital photography has succeeded film, the operational concepts and mechanics of a traditional film SLR remains the same in the modern digital SLR cameras. In the age of photography being easily accessible to anyone, many digital SLR owners may not understand how their cameras function. We found this useful and easy to digest 60 seconds animation on Youtube by Ilford Photo illustrating how a film SLR works.  Continue reading…