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  1. #1
    wheelygirl's Avatar
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    The Difference between DX and APS film??

    O. K., a request of info:
    Is there a difference between DX and APS film? I have seen Kodak APS, but I know nothing of DX.
    This type film is required of my Pentax P3; which I do hope to use with color film, while I use the Minolta for my b&w class assignments. All responses gratefully appreciated!!
    [FONT=Verdana]"the real truth of a photographic image is in its ability to evoke emotion."--Bryan Peterson[/FONT]
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  2. #2
    thebanana's Avatar
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    I think you are talking about 2 very different things. DX coding refers to the bar code printed on 35mm film canisters which is read by a sensor in your camera, and automatically (if your camera has this feature) adjusts the ISO within your camera's settings. (ISO 50, 100, 400 etc.)
    APS film refers to a type of film produced for specially designed cameras. I believe it is approx. 24mm, not 35mm. APS film cannot be used in 35mm cameras, and vice versa.
    "While you're out there smashing the state, don't forget to keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart!"

  3. #3
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    APS (Advanced Photo System) film was a format introduced by Kodak and copied by everyone else It was a replacement for the Instamatic formats first introduced in the mid-1960's. These formats all had in common that the film was in a plastic cassette that the user simply dropped into special cameras. The camera would then automatically thread the film. After exposure, the user then took the plastic cassette to the processor who would open it, remove the film, process it and make prints, etc. Both the APS and Instamatic formats also shared the common characteristic that the film was an orphan size - the first Instamatic film was slightly narrower than traditional 35mm and was perforated on only one edge, while the second generation instamatic was a tiny 16mm width that worked just fine for 4x6 drugstore prints, but was unacceptably grainy if enlarged to any degree. APS was also a narrow film, but it also had a data track along one edge.

    Both the Instamatic and APS formats were attempts to expand the photography market by producing dumbed-down products for people who were incapable of dealing with the mechanical challenge of loading a 35mm camera. The cameras were all simple point-and-shoot, fixed focus box cameras. APS never really found a strong market, and the introduction of point-and-shoot 35mm cameras that automatically loaded and threaded film pretty much killed the format.

    DX film is ordinary 35mm film in a special cassette. The only thing special about the cassette is the way it is painted - there is a pattern of rectangles on the side of the cassette that is the encoded film speed. DX cameras have a set of contacts in the film compartment that read the film speed from coding on the cassette. It's generally not possible to manually enter a film speed in a camera that requires DX coding, but DX film can be used in conventional 35mm cameras.

    As far as I know, all commercially-packaged film today comes in a DX packaging, so you should not have a problem getting materials for your class. The APS format, by contrast, is essentially obsolete and may be hard to find.
    Louie

  4. #4
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Hi Wheelygirl,

    Simply put - you want to use the DX film in your camera.

    As was earlier explained, the DX is simply a bar code that film producers put on the cannisters. Any camera that is capable of "reading" the bar code will automatically adjust its settings to the ISO of the film in the cannister.

    However, it is just a code on the cannister of what is regular 35mm film. So someone with an older camera that doesn't automatically adjust the ISO setting can still use the film. They just do as they would always have done - and manually adjust for the ISO on their camera.

    For a while there was both DX-coded and older, non-DX-coded film on the marketplace. Now, just about everything is DX-coded.

    Whatever you do, don't buy the APS stuff - it won't work with your camera!

  5. #5
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monophoto View Post
    APS (Advanced Photo System) film was a format introduced by Kodak and copied by everyone else
    The APS format was adopted by a consortium of at least 3 film manufacturers which included Kodak, Fuji and Agfa. They designed the entire system from the ground up. The group also included several camera manufacturers as well so that high end cameras could be designed to fit this. The Nikon Pronea is one of them.

    The film was designed to work with digital photography and the format of the image size was chosen to be identical to that of then current sensors for digital cameras.

    It was intended to be both an amateur and professional film. I have posted the structure of this film elsewhere on APUG. It has extra layers for data recording that inculdes exposure information, date and time.

    The introduction date was simultaneous (as much as possible) with all manufacturers who participated in the design phase.

    PE

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monophoto View Post
    Both the Instamatic and APS formats were attempts to expand the photography market by producing dumbed-down products for people who were incapable of dealing with the mechanical challenge of loading a 35mm camera. The cameras were all simple point-and-shoot, fixed focus box cameras.
    Actually, there were APS SLRs. AFAIK, they didn't sell very well, but they did exist.

    I seem to recall that one of the selling points of APS was that negatives were returned in the original film cartridge, thus protecting them from damage. (I've never used APS products, though, so I could just be misinformed.)

    APS never really found a strong market, and the introduction of point-and-shoot 35mm cameras that automatically loaded and threaded film pretty much killed the format.
    I'm not sure I'd agree that "easy-load" 35mm cameras were what killed APS, since such cameras predated APS by quite a wide margin. APS was introduced in 1996, according to Wikipedia, but almost idiot-proof auto-loading 35mm cameras existed well before then. (My mother gave one to my sister for her birthday in the late 1980s.) I've seen claims that what killed APS was digital cameras; they became popular soon after APS was introduced, thus cutting into the planned APS market share.

    It's generally not possible to manually enter a film speed in a camera that requires DX coding, but DX film can be used in conventional 35mm cameras.
    "Generally" is an important word in the above. Some DX-capable cameras have ISO speed overrides. (The Ricoh XR-X 3PF is one of them that I happen to own, and therefore know about.) It's also possible to use tape to cover silver areas and a knife to scrape away paint on non-silver areas of a DX code to change what it reads, but that's not exactly convenient -- especially not after you've loaded the film!

    As far as I know, all commercially-packaged film today comes in a DX packaging, so you should not have a problem getting materials for your class.
    I bought some Efke film from Freestyle a few months ago that claimed to be DX coded but that wasn't. Pieces of black tape covered the DX codes on the cartridges, rendering them useless. When I peeled the tape away and manually decoded the DX codes, I found they were for much higher-speed film than was loaded in the cartridges. I'm guessing they got cartridges with the wrong codes or ran out of cartridges with the right codes and so just covered them up. FWIW, I didn't notice this immediately; the first clue I had was when I loaded a roll of Efke KB50 (ISO 50) in my Ricoh XR-X 3PF and its display reported that the film was ISO 100. Because of the camera's DX override this wasn't a problem, but if I'd used certain other cameras that don't report the DX film speed I'd have exposed it at ISO 100 without realizing it. (Most cameras with DX sensors default to ISO 100 if no DX coding is detected.)

  7. #7
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    The Nikon Pronea that I mentioned above was a very high end SLR in the Nikon tradition.

    PE

  8. #8
    Neanderman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    ...the format of the image size was chosen to be identical to that of then current sensors for digital cameras.

    PE
    Is that they way it happened? I was thinking APS pre-dated digital imaging (as we know it today...) and that the digital sensors were designed after the APS formats.

    (I'm not questioning you -- this just sounds backwards to how I -- perhaps wrongly... -- remember it. :-) )

  9. #9
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I think slow implementation of the plan was another major contributor to the lackluster success of APS. I'm pretty sure there was a Canon, and another make of SLR in addition to the Nikon, but there was practically nothing other than C-41 film available. As a result, high end users didn't queue up to buy the fancy high margin cameras because the choice of films was too limiting. Also, the point&shoot models could be extremely compact -- I have a Canon Elph Jr that I really liked for those don't really want to carry a camera but might wish I had one situations. It fits in a pager-sized belt pouch and works very well within its capabilities. But the SLRs were almost as big as 35mm, so the size advantage was minimal. Then the much heralded exposure info encoded on the film to optimize printing was ignored by many labs, so that advantage was ineffective. The end result didn't provide much foundation to fight the onslaught of the bit bucket brigade.

    Too bad in a way, but what is, is!

    DaveT

  10. #10

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    Nikon, Canon and Minolta made APS SLRs.

    Nikon had two Pronea models -- the 6i and the S. I have the S, and it's a nice little camera.

    Canon's was the IX or something like that. Minolta made the Vectis.

    APS predated digital by a couple of years. APS first, digital SLRs second -- not the other way around. In fact, most believe digital killed APS.

    Processing costs for APS generally are abnormally high. I wonder how long it will be before APS film is no longer available and processing is no longer offered.
    Last edited by elekm; 08-09-2007 at 11:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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