Camera negative (film)

Camera negative film is designed to capture as much detail as possible from scenes. This not only refers to its spatial resolution but also its dynamic resolution. Modern camera negative stock has almost 10 stops’ (over 1,000:1) exposure range and so is able to record detail in both the low-lights and the highlights which are well beyond the range that can be shown on the final print film. This provides latitude to compensate for over or under exposure during the shoot or to change the look of a scene. The latitude is engineered into the film stock by giving it a very low gamma of around 0.6.

Exposed and developed camera color negative film has an orange tint and is low in contrast – differing greatly from the un-tinted and high contrast print film. As not only the blue, but also the red and green layers of the film are sensitive to blue light, the orange layer is added below the blue layer to stop blue light going further. All types of film stocks use orange dye but for print films it is bleached away during processing.

There are numerous stocks available. High-speed stocks work well in lower lights but tend to be more grainy. The opposite is true for low speed stocks.