Let Film Dating’s quiz help you choose the perfect film for you

Feb 9, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Let Film Dating’s quiz help you choose the perfect film for you

Feb 9, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Whether you already shoot film or you’ve only been thinking about it, picking the right film for you can be difficult. There’s so many to choose from, and new ones, are popping up every day. Many film shooters chose long ago what they prefer, but how many did you try before making that decision?

This fun web app from friend of DIYP, photographer Vincent Moschetti, is here to help you out with Film Dating. It’s essentially a short quiz. It asks you to pick some images in order to figure out what you like. Once confident in its assumptions, it suggests a film based on your image choices. I’m not usually a big fan of quizzes like these, but I did think the result on this one was kind of interesting, for me at least.

Basically, the first choice is an obvious one. Do you want to shoot colour or black & white? After that, you’re shown a set of three or four images, and asked to pick which one you like based on things like contrast, tone, temperature and saturation. Ignore the composition and the subject matter. You’re only looking at the properties of the film itself.

What I found quite interesting was that it didn’t suggest the film I normally prefer. Typically, whether 35mm or medium format, my camera is loaded with Ilford FP4+. The test, however suggested something a little different. The fact that it got it wrong, though, was not what was interesting to me.

What made it interesting for me, is that I actually do use a TMAX profile in my Nikon DSLRs for when I want to shoot black and white, and absolutely love the results it provides. I still shoot raw+jpg, so I have that original full colour backup to do a manual conversion if I wish. But, I find that with the TMAX profile, the jpg is usually good enough for my needs.

I do actually have a 100ft bulk roll of 35mm TMAX400 here. I think I’m going to have to start shooting some of it now.

As Vincent says right at the beginning of the quiz, there’s really no such thing as the best film. It’s just a case of the best film for a particular purpose. Unlike with digital, where we can change things in post, the colour, tone, contrast and other elements of our final look are determined by the film we use.

So, before you take the test, think about what you’re going to be shooting with it.

What’s your favourite film? Did the Film Dating quiz suggest what you already use?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “Let Film Dating’s quiz help you choose the perfect film for you”

  1. FilmAmmo Avatar
    FilmAmmo

    I’ve been shooting film for 3 years; so I feel qualified to chime in. I only agree with this partially. There are so many ways the inherit color signature of films can be altered. Anything between the film’s age, developing chemicals and even the camera/lens itself can alter how film looks. Chances are, if you shoot film today you use the ‘Hybrid Method’ workflow. This means scanning and processing the film digitally. This digital workflow further adds to the variables on how a particular film will look (it all has to do with color management between hardware and software).

    My suggestion, rather than using this—just look on Flickr. Search for groups dedicated to particular films. This will give you a far greater understanding on how each film will look. Search the groups tagged with the film you’re interested in.

    Generally speaking, yes, each color film stock can be distinguished fairly accurately with enough exposure to the look. One thing is for certain… after a while a standard digital shot will look gaudy in comparison to the creamy textures that film records.