Fujichrome Provia 400X for Northern Lights

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by psychoanalyst_god, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. psychoanalyst_god

    psychoanalyst_god Member

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    Hello,

    I intend to take my Pentax 645N to an impending trip to the Arctic primarily for shooting the Northern Lights (although I also intend to shoot landscapes and wildlife). I would love to capture the lights on slide film and from the research I have done, it appears to me that there is only one "practical" choice: Fujichrome Provia 400X pushed to 800, 1600 and 3200, especially given that I have a max aperture of f4.5 on my FA 45-85.

    My question mainly concerns reciprocity failure compensation. Fuji lists no compensation upto 1 min of exposure (I expect most of my exposures to land within 1 min) and 1/2 stop for 2 mins. Does that hold for pushed film as well?

    I would appreciate your input. Any other advice on the subject would be welcome as well as I would be miserable if I came back with rolls of slide film with crappy shots of the lights.

    Thanks a lot.

    Avi

    P.S: my primary shooting gear for the lights would be my Nikon D300+Tokina 11-16 f2.8, so it won't be the end of the world if I can't get many good shots with the Pentax. But it sure would be nice!
     
  2. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Can't comment on the Provia 400X, but you could also consider shooting a roll or two of the new Portra 400. It's very, very resistant to over exposure, so you could probably go many stops over and still get good images.
     
  3. Brian Puccio

    Brian Puccio Member

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    Since Provia is what I shoot 90% of the time, let us know how it works out for you, follow up with some images to this thread, I'm subscribing to it. I hope to get there myself one day.
     
  4. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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  5. psychoanalyst_god

    psychoanalyst_god Member

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    I cannot imagine shooting the lights with 100 speed film. Its too slow for something that evolves quite fast. The whole objective is to keep the exposure time to a minimum.

    Thanks.

    Avi
     
  6. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    For Northern lights, shoot 400 speed film at f/4 for 45 sec. This will avoid star trails for standard or wide angle lenses and will capture the aurora.
     
  7. psychoanalyst_god

    psychoanalyst_god Member

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    In my experience 45 sec is borderline ok before the Aurora is completely "smoothened" out...besides, I would want to shoot at f5.6 or smaller.
     
  8. thuggins

    thuggins Member

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    I have shot Provia 400 at 1600 with excellent results. I suspect that it would go another stop without much problem. My exposures were much shorter though. If you have enough time, you can always experiment before you go.
     
  9. psychoanalyst_god

    psychoanalyst_god Member

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    Hi Tim,

    Thanks. Yes...I plan to buy a pack and test before leaving.

    Btw...did you use the Fuji specified reciprocity compensation or did you use a "corrected" one to account for the pushed film?

    Avi
     
  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Use Velvia 50 at EI64. Take it to the max! :smile:
    ....or wuss out and use Provia 100. I don't think 400X has very nice colour, but more like an Edwardian looking-glass palette. You'd be wanting to accentuate the colours, which are sometimes pale and almost always fleeting. A long exposure will record more of the 'dancers in the dark' than a quick one, but it's all what strikes you as personal preference.

    Northern lights and star trails would be a treat!!

    By the reports I receive from correspondents in Oslo, you will come away with something, but not always a spectacular record of the lights. This year has been one of the best for 50 years, with I believe many shows of the relatively rare red/orange aurora layered with green. This is the apparently the exception, not the norm. Do lots of research to plot travel to expected aurora. The top north of the country is a hot spot for aurora-baggers.

    I am heading to Norway in the next 3 years for the Northern Lights — research is proceeding. There are Norwegians here on APUG. It would be a great thread starter to discuss the aurora, travel options, timing and rubbing shoulders with Vikings...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2012
  11. psychoanalyst_god

    psychoanalyst_god Member

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    ha ha....capturing the lights on Velvia 50 would be magical....if only I could do that. 50 or even 64 is way way way too slow for the lights.
     
  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Sorry! I didn't realise you were using 4x5. I doubt very much Velvia 50 would be the fitting Cinderella under the stars for such long exposures...:smile: