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Learning About Roll Film

Even in the digital age, roll film remains a popular product for seasoned professionals and amateur photography buffs. While most professional and almost all amateur photographers have made the switch to digital photography, fans of traditional imaging techniques still have many types of film available for their creative needs. Browse a broad selection of film products that can help you achieve quality results, whether you own a modern film camera or a vintage model.


How Roll Film Works

Photographic film is made from strips or plastic film coated with a gelatin emulsion containing light-sensitive silver halide crystals. When exposed to light through the camera's lens, the emulsion undergoes a slight chemical change, capturing latent images on the film's surface that can be chemically developed into printed images. The required exposure time and image quality can vary, depending on the type of equipment and film you're using, as well as lighting conditions and whether you're using automatic or manual camera settings.


How to Develop Rolls of Film

Although it's harder to find places that process roll film these days, you may find drug stores, local camera shops, and mail-order outfits that offer film developing services, especially for the more common types, such as 35mm film. The turnaround time can vary from same-day service to a week or longer if the film is being shipped out for processing. If you're feeling adventurous, consider purchasing a film developing kit that comes with all the tools and chemicals you'll need to develop pictures right at home. Not only will you have more control over the final product, but you'll also learn the darkroom tricks that make photography magic happen.


Digital vs. Traditional Photography

You might wonder how digital photography and traditional film compare in terms of quality. Everyday users may find that the on-demand convenience of digital photography suits their needs just fine; no film to process, instant results, and numerous computer programs and phone apps you can use to make quick edits. Since no film is used, you can take pictures when the moment strikes, without a bunch of accessories, filters, and expensive lenses, plus no concerns about the film's shelf life.


On the other hand, film-based photography can pick up details digital cameras may miss without the proper equipment, training, and lighting setup, especially when it comes to long-range photography and black-and-white images. Though it can take longer to get the settings just right with film photography, besides the time and cost involved with developing images, the result may be closer to your creative vision. In addition, you may end up with unique film anomalies that make stunning photo prints.


You'll find B&H Photo and Video carries everything you need for film photography and developing, including movie film rolls.