High speed film + developer combination

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by fencer, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. fencer

    fencer Member

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    Hi,

    In a couple of days I am going to shoot a roll or two at the local classical fencing competition. Action will be quick, and light will be poor :smile:
    I have measured the light level on site and I guess ISO3200 would be the only possible choice with 1:3.5 lens.

    Now, the question is - what film&developer combination I should use in order to save as much details in shadows as possible and avoid getting grainy pictures?

    I was thinking about Delta 3200 in Microphen stock and Neopan 1600 pushed to 3200, also in Microphen stock. What's your opinion?
     
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  2. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Delta 3200 is really a film with a real ISO value of 800 (some optimistically say 1000). If you try to get the speeds you want, you won't have shadow detail. It's the law. I think Neopan 1600 is similar, but I have no actual experience with it.

    Unless you really understand how film works and can use it under only the rare conditions where expansion of contrast is helpful, "pushing" is a little less reliable than the lottery. Pretty much everyone blows it, and oddly, few ever seem to learn from the experience. Almost always it is used under the worst possible conditions, where it is the last thing that one really ought to consider doing: harsh light in dark places. Just plain wrong.

    Can you rent something with an f/1.4 lens?

    Good luck.
     
  3. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

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    Delta 3200 is the fastest and grainiest of all of those fast BW films. It's all about compromise.

    BTW welcome to APUG from a fellow fencer!
     
  4. fencer

    fencer Member

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    I've got my own f/1.8, which would probably be sufficient, but this time can't do without a zoom.

    David, nice to meet you :smile:
     
  5. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Bowzart has it right, it is a compromise. D3200 is grainy. That's where it gets the speed from and it's not just D3200; fast films are grainy.

    There are developers that allow you to "push" film. Acufine, UFG, Diafine are good examples. These allow you to shoot a film like D3200 at an EI above its real speed of 800. You will lose shadows, contrast goes up and so does grain, in my experience.

    If possible, try a test roll under these conditions and see what happens. IMHO, pushing film is a crap shoot. Yes, you will get an image, possibly an important and timeless image, but will it be a good one? That is up to the artist.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I largely agree with Bowzart and Jim, but I would not call pushing a crapshoot. You just have to know what pushing is, why it works, what it does to your pix, and you will know when to do it, and how to do it. If you care about shadows, don't do it, or just do it a little bit. Personally, I don't care all that much about detail in the shadows when I use this film. I am usually after a graphic, gritty look. You can get much more graphic results with a slower film such as HP5 (deeper blacks, punchier highlights), but I find the more washed out shadows and the neat grain pattern of Delta to be aesthetically perfect for lots of things that I shoot. In most cases, even though it is one stop faster than HP5, this film is sharper in low light than pushed HP5/Tri-X, due to the non-random pattern of the grain. The grain is there, but does not necessarily make pix unsharp. I almost always shoot Delta 1000 with a two stop push in development. If I have the luxury, I set the EI to 1000 on my spotmeter or in-camera meter and place a tone that I would like to push (as opposed to placing a shadow). Usually, however, I just use the exposure that I can "get away with" hand held and develop to either increase contrast with a push, or to lower contrast with a stand development. The choice of which one to do depends on the lighting and compositions that were shot. In flat light, I push, and in contrasty light, I stand. The film is inherently a low contrast film, so it does not blow highlights OR loose shadows as badly as other films. Give it a go. Shoot a test roll if you can. I am of the opinion that something is always better than nothing. Don't fear underexposure. You can do a lot in printing, and also a notable amount with intensification. A lot of times I will combine pushing with stand development in order to increase the overall fog level on the film as well as bumping the highlights up. You can do this with one bath or two. I like to do it with two: First the highly diluted stand dilution (1:63 - 1:127), then the "normal" strength push dilution (1:31).
     
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  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You can use the loss of shadow detail to your advantage. In fencing, there are lots of bright hotspots, usually white uniforms, and shiny metal, bright shiny floor with lots of texture. All while you may want to blur the background out. If you lost that shadow detail, bluring the background out might be pretty nice. But please do tests first.

    I agree with what's said above, but you can learn to get the most out of pushing your film, but it's probably not something you want to do the first time you try, so if you can find a similar lighting setup somewhere else, or even in the same arena, you are well served by some testing.

    Good luck. My son is a fencer, and I've been thinking about taking my camera. I would probably use a monopod.
     
  8. fencer

    fencer Member

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    I finally decided to go for lights&contrast and not to worry too much about shadow details :smile: I took Kodak p3200 and will probably develop it in Rodinal 1+50.
    Thanks for your advice guys.