How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 407

Why are there various types of film (speed, purposes, etc.)?
The different speeds of film have to do with how light sensitive the film emulsion is. A portion of the surface of a high-speed film will register exposure to light when only a few particles of light (photons) reach it. In contrast, a low speed film requires more photons per square millimeter to undergo the chemical changes of exposure.

While high speed film can take pictures with less light than low speed film, there is a trade-off. High-speed films are grainier and have less resolution than low speed films. Thus photographs that you would like to enlarge should be taken with relatively slow film.


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