Staining, Histochemistry and Histotechnology
(Frequently Asked Questions)
Dr. John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy
and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
Which color print film for photomicrography?
What brand of color 35mm film and ASA (film speed) is best suited for photographing H & E sections? I would like to produce prints, not projection slides.
Fuji or Kodak, use the slowest speed, lowest ASA you can. ASA 25 is good, 100 will produce good results.
If there is much vibration where your camera is, you may need to go to a faster film to shorten your exposure times.
Use professional film, not consumer. The difference is that pro film is refrigerated after it's made, so there is no color shift with aging. Keep used film in your lab refrigerator for this reason.
You don't have to worry much about daylight vs tungsten film because you're shooting negatives and not transparencies. If your photomicroscopy set up controls color temperature, then try to shoot at 5500K (5500 deg), because color film likes sunlight. Use neutral density filters to lower light levels if needed.
Also: who's doing your printing? A film lab or someone used to histo shots? If it's a film lab, then they won't know how to balance the color of your sections, and you're likely to get weird results. If your camera back comes off the scope, take the first one or two shots of a Caucasian person outdoors, sun behind the camera. The automated developing and printing machines are set to correctly balance Caucasian skin tones, and should keep this setting for the rest of the roll. If your camera cannot come off of the scope, then when you send your film to be printed, include an image of an H & E section with correct color balance. This will give the photo lab a reference to use for balancing the colors of your film when printing.
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