WHICH FILM TO USE:
Film speed - Lighting conditions
100 - bright light
Source: Jeff Wignall, author "Kodak Guide to Shooting Great Travel Pictures"
200 - gray day
400 - light begins to dim
800 - nighttime events
How to buy the right film for a trip
From Mary-Jo Lipman
CNN Interactive Writer
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Selecting a film to buy can make even the most avid shutterbug shudder. The choices seem endless. But there's a painless way to narrow down the selection. Photographer Jeff Wignall, author of the "Kodak Guide to Shooting Great Travel Pictures: How To Take Travel Pictures Like a Pro" (Fodor's Travel Publications, 1995), has some suggestions.
First decide whether you want color or black-and-white film, and then choose either slides or prints. That should be easy. The next decision is the one that probably trips up most people: Which film speed? The two major factors to take into consideration are lighting and action.
All films have a speed rating: 100, 200, 400, 800. The higher the number, the faster the film responds to light. So a 100-speed film responds to light more slowly than an 800-speed film.
What does that mean to you?
"When the light is dimmer it's better to have a faster film," Wignall says. "Conversely, when the light is very bright it's better to have a much slower film."
Assess where you're going, Wignall says.
"If you're going to the islands, the Caribbean, southern California, 100-speed film is very good. It's the best image quality you're going to get. It's terrific in bright light.
"If you're using a zoom camera," Wignall says, "and you're not sure that it's going to be bright, bright light, probably the best film to choose is just an average film, like 200. The 200-speed film is plenty fast enough for even a fairly gray day, and it's slow enough so that you're going to get excellent image quality.
"If you're going to be photographing anything where the light is going to start to get dim, and you can't use a flash -- like a cathedral in France -- then you need to go to a little bit faster film. 400 is perfect for that.
"If you go to another extreme -- if you're going to be photographing at night; if you like to take pictures in restaurants of your friends just by the light that's in the room; if you want to photograph a stage show like a concert or something -- then an 800-speed film is probably what you're going to need. "
Besides lighting, you must think about whether your subject will be moving.
"If you know there's going to be action involved," Wignall says, "it's better to use faster film because the camera will be able to select a faster shutter speed which will, in turn, help it stop the action.
"If I were shooting anything with action involved in it, I would shoot nothing less than a 200-speed film and probably a 400-speed film."
Hedge your bets. If you're not sure what you're going to encounter, Wignall advises using 200-speed film as a base film and carrying a couple of rolls of 400 or 800 just in case.