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3775 Market Stree NE
Salem, Oregon 97301

We're a small-town, family owned and operated photo lab that never gave up on film. Today we provide top-notch film processing, scanning, and printing services from film and digital with the best customer service in the industry.

Blog

Film Flatness

PhotoVision Team

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#filmtipfriday Two words: Film. Flatness. Unfortunately, many of you have seen or experienced this issue firsthand. Let us set the scene: You’ve taken a stunning image, the lighting is just right and everyone is looking great, but you get your scans back only to find that 1 of the 6 people in the image is completely blurry. What happened? All your subjects appear to be on the same plane (e.g. the same distance from your lens), and you even shot at f/4 to make sure everyone was in focus. What went wrong?

Film. Flatness. (whump, whump.) Film flatness is when your film does not lie flat against your insert’s pressure plate. Rather, your film curves away from the pressure plate, creating a slight arch. When this happens, the arched section of your film draws closer to your lens, creating a blurred portion of the image. Yikes!

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And the kicker? If your camera is prone to this, the more time you wait in between shots, the more time your film has to drift away from the pressure plate, creating more blur.

So how can this be resolved? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. The cameras most of us shoot with are 20+ years old. And this issue can really occur at any time. The trick is to be prepared. Have multiple camera inserts ready to rock 'n' roll. That way if you do have an insert that becomes subject to film flatness, only some of your images will be affected.

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Better yet, if you label your inserts “A, B, C and D” and rolls accordingly, you can know which insert has the issue as soon as you see your scans. Or, on the flip-side, you can quickly shoot a test roll through each insert and send them off to your lab to determine which insert needs to be sent off for repair.

We get how frustrating film flatness can be, and that’s why we will run your test roll as a rush, free of charge! #notyourordinaryfilmlab

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📷 by Kristine Nicole on Fuji400h with a Contax645.