A Handful of Beginner Questions

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The Lamentable Lens Contributing Member • Posts: 903
A Handful of Beginner Questions

Hi all --

I know my way around a digital camera, but I'm new to film (I shot film cameras as a kid in the 80's and early 90's, but that doesn't count!).  I have a Yashica Mat-124 on the way, and I wanted to confirm a few things:

1.  It sounds like Portra 400 and either Tri-X 400 or HP5 400 are good all-purpose (and forgiving!) film stocks for getting started.  Does that sound right, or would you propose something else?

2. The Yashica I purchased supposedly has a properly functioning light meter, but of course I'll need to test it.  I have a little Ricoh GR3 --  which isn't much bigger than a light meter anyway -- so I plan to use that as my meter for now.  That said, my understanding is that the tolerances run in opposite directions; film is more tolerant of overexposing compared to digital, which is more tolerant of underexposing.  For those who meter with a digital camera, do you find that you need to expose your film a bit more than what your digital camera reads?

3.  I've read a fair bit about scanning, and, frankly, that's the part of this process that feels the most opaque to me.  The last time I used a film camera, the lab sent back prints, not scans.  Given that the scan can obviously have a significant impact on your final images, did most of you try different labs and compare them, or do you generally choose based on price and convenience, and then just adjust as necessary when you edit your scans?  I'd be happy to hear any lab recommendations (I'm in the U.S. -- New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia).

4.  Any other beginner tips and recommendation are more than welcome.

Thanks in advance for your help and advice!

- LL

 The Lamentable Lens's gear list:The Lamentable Lens's gear list
Ricoh GR III Sony a7R III Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Sony FE 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 24-105mm F4 +9 more
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