IS0400- too slow at night/indoors, too fast outside?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by GarageBoy, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    I'm not a fan of tripods, as I'm usually out and walking around. I'm currently using lots of ISO400 films and I'm about to finally get down and process my own soon enough. My issue is, ISO400 films feel too fast during the day (bumped up at 1/2000 F8) and too slow at night (can't 1/15s at F2)
    Should I just switch to ISO 100 during the day and push the beejesus out of TMAX400/TRI-X Delta 3200 for when I'm inside bars, etc?
     
  2. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Jack of all trades master of none.
    There is no such thing as a universal film. Each has pros and cons.
    To accommodate the different lighting conditions, you need to accept that you will need to use more than one film.

    I use ISO 100 film as my standard film for outdoor shooting during daylight, for the exact reason you mention. 400 speed film would almost max out the controls on my camera at f16 @ 1/500 sec, leaving me with very little to no exposure control.

    And indoors, besides pushing the film, use FAST GLASS, like a f1.4 lens. I learned the hard way, that pushing film with a slow lens will not make up the light lost by that slow lens. There is image quality reduction when you push film.
     
  3. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I use ISO 400 at EI 250, so even in bright sun, I shoot 1/300 f/16 (my top shutter speed).

    Even at rated speed you should have 1/400 f/16.

    Double-check your metering technique if you are getting 1/2000 f/8.

    Indoors, I don't know. Maybe someone will strike a match. I've been known to use other people's flash (use B and synchronise your shot with somebody else taking a flash picture)
     
  4. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Do you wish to use flash?
     
  5. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    You don't say where you live but in my part of the U.K. at this time of year D3200 is fine in both daylight and relative darkness but given this isn't the case for you then you have two options:

    1. Use ND or B&W filters such as an orange, green or red
    2. Swop films as you have mentioned

    Well there may be a third option which gives some flexibility but yes it does involve a 400 film. My very short experience with TMax 400 is that you can switch between 400 and 800 and develop for 800. This still might mean a filter during the day but you might get away with a yellow which alters the negs less but of course 800 needs to be fast enough.

    Based on your examples this would give 1/30 at f2 which might be enough. Incidentally you could go to f11 and 1/1000. OK the DoF is greater than f8 but is this a problem? I assume that 1/2000 is only a problem because you don't have this as a shutter speed?

    There isn't anything wrong with fast shutter speeds per se if the camera supports these

    Finally just remember that B&W has a great range so I would think that overexposure by rating at 200 if this is necessary during the day and developing for 400 but exposing at 800 should be OK. You can compensate with good old VC paper

    pentaxuser
     
  6. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I use ISO 400 film most of the time. Sure, it can't handle extreme situations like you mentioned but it does handle most situations very well. To me, it's very convenient. If I was going somewhere on bright sunny day, like beach, pool, or somewhere and it's going to be like that all day long, I load ISO 100. If I'm going to be indoors and flashes aren't allowed or not going to be used, I usually push Tmax400 or Tri-X to 1600 or go straight to Delta 3200. Otherwise, I just load ISO 400.

    I also don't load film until I get to the site, and I typically take 100 and 400 with me.

    I experimented with Tri-X and Tmax400 pushed to 1600 and compared that against Delta 3200 at 1600. They were actually remarkably similar.

    I'm not sure what camera you are using but mine can handle 1/4000. I also don't hesitate to stop down way more than f/8 - unless of course I need shallower DOF.

    Various film speed exists for purpose. So why not take advantage if you are going to be in extreme situations?
     
  7. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You'd maybe change your tune shooting medium format with filters; 400 in full sun will give f/10 1/125 with red-25, or f/14 1/125 with a CPL, both of which make for a decent handheld hyperfocal shot.

    If you need shallow DOF in full sun, stick a CPL on there (you DO carry a CPL at all times outdoors, right?). Most 35mm SLRs can do at least 1/4000 and with a teensy bit of overexposure you can happily shoot at f/2 in direct sun. If that's not shallow enough, geez, get closer to the subject or something. Or shoot 1.5 stops over (totally fine on any ISO400 negative you can name) for f/1.4.

    TMY2 will do a very good 1600 in Xtol though it's contrasty. D3200 likewise without the huge contrast but the grain is much larger.
     
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I find 400 to be a good speed for a dim cloudy day, or for shooting in indirect-daylight situations like under a tree canopy. In full sun it's often too fast, yeah.

    Nighttime and indoors are such variable lighting situations that it's hard to generalize. I've done street shooting at night with an f/4 lens and a push to 800; if it had been an f/2.8 lens I could have been shooting at box speed. But those were some pretty well-lit streets, and there are plenty of situations where even 3200 isn't really fast enough for comfort.

    Your suggestion---slower film in daylight, push in darkness---is basically what I do most of the time. I guess you could also carry a monopod to the bar (or brace your camera on a chair, pool cue, drunk, or whatever else is handy) or invest in seriously fast lenses. Or try putting together an infrared flash; I never got it to work to my satisfaction, but some people have had good results that way.

    -NT
     
  9. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I'd try something like Ilford XP2 Super 400. You can over expose this by many stops, and it still looks great. Also, according to Ilford, you can shoot this as ISO 800 without any development changes. I shoot it a lot, it's very flexible indeed.
     
  10. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    There isn't a lot you can't shoot in a city at f1.4 @1/30th with 400 asa film. With the Leica I can go down to 1/15th and still get acceptable results, or even down to 1/8th, if I'm leaning against something...

    During the day I just use an ND filter if I want to shoot wide open.

    In my opinion 400 asa strikes a very good balance. It works in the brightest of sunlight (f16 @ 1/500th), yet still has the reserves to work indoors during the day and in to the night. And of course you can push to 1250/1600 in an emergency.

    The ND filter is the trick for added flexibility on very bright days.

    Obviously Tri-X and HP5+ come to mind, but TMY2- 400 has the advantage of offering 400 asa speed and the grain of a traditional 100 asa film. So, TMY-2 400 almost is a universal film. It's also a very linear film, so you get lots of shadow detail at night.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2013
  11. msk2193

    msk2193 Member

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    How about a 2 stop ND filter in front of the lens for daytime!
     
  12. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    Or, you can do what I do, use a G(15) filter which will darken blue skies nicely and will basically convert your 400 speed film to 125.
     
  13. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Like desertratt, I worked for years where the company bought Tri-X so you shot Tri-X regardless of the conditons. ND filters might help you stay within shutter speed limits on a bright sunny day BUT in the end, its really about contrast control.
    You think 400 is too fast for outdoors/daylight because the contrast gets out of control with blown highlights and empty shadows. Its too slow indoors in the dark because there is simply not enough contrast.
    Pushing to 1600 in the dark is really raising the contrast by using a more active developer. I used a LOT of Acufine in those days, a co-worker used Edwal FG7 with added sulfite and we both got usable pics out of 400 speed Tri-X with the camera meters set to 1600.
    Pulling back to 200 or so needs a less active developer to hold the highlights back from over development. That's harder to figure out but D76 diluted 1 to 1 at the time recommended for straight D76 is a good place to start.
    Bottom line - if you have one film, you need multiple developers to cover all situations.
    Takes lots of experimentation to find what you like.
     
  14. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Just started out in B&W, so just started looking into filters
    I carry around a camera with me all the time (these days, it's a Nikon F2)
    From the digital world, I worried about diffraction closing my lens all the way down, hence F8-F11 out of habit.
    Harry Lime, what do you mean TMAX 400 v2. is more linear than Tri X? (longer toe or shorter toe?) (sorry, B&W terminology is still a bit new to me)
    Thanks!
     
  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I'm just the opposite, I have to use a tripod. I have nerve damage in my feet and hands.

    Jeff
     
  16. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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  17. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If shadow detail is not important (and it usually is not for night scenes) then it is easy to push 400TX by 2 or 3 stops. Using a solvent developer like Perceptol will lower the film speed by about a stop. So 400TX can have an EI range from 200 to 3200.
     
  18. nicholai

    nicholai Member

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    I find ISO400 to be the most flexible of all. I use Tri-X to almost anything now.
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I use 400 speed film at box speed for black & white and color because it covers almost all my needs. If I need more speed, I choose a tripod first, strobe second, and flashbulbs third.
     
  20. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Camera bodies are so cheap these days one can keep a daytime camera and a nighttime camera loaded with the appropriate films.
     
  21. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    That is my thought as well. In 35mm, I find 400 too grainy most of the time, unless you are going for that look. For medium format 400 speed makes life a lot easier since the lenses are slower and you need some depth of field.

    My biggest problem is remembering what kind of film I have in each camera.
     
  22. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    @Hatchet
    Tape the end of the film box to the back of your camera.
    That is a trick we used a LONG time ago.
    Then someone made a stick-on pouch that you would slip the end of the film box into. I don't know if they still sell this pouch.
     
  23. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Black camera for day, chrome camera for night..

    Since I use OM-1 and OM-2 I leave the flash shoe off my day camera and the night camera has the flash shoe on it.

    There's a system for everyone.
     
  24. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    I shoot 400 speed almost all the time. And the only time I shoot a slower film like FP4 is when I want longer exposure times shot on a tripod. I often use filters during the day, and in bright sunny condition with a polarizer and orange filter over the lens 3 stops are absorbed, so I may be shooting at f/8 at 1/60th of a second hand held. This could never be done with a 100 speed film. The only time I can get away with shooting a 100 speed handheld is when I'm shooting the lens near wide open. But then again my fastest lens is f/4. If I were you I'd keep shooting the 400 speed for everyday stuff and find a faster film for inside the bars like Delta 3200.