Paper negatives and flash photography?

Discussion in 'Paper Negatives' started by m1tch, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hi all,

    I am just thinking about using paper negatives for maybe some portrait shots (still deciding and looking at different options that I might want to look into), my main question is around the use of flash and the slower paper negatives.

    Would it be possible to use a flash but still use a paper negative? I know that paper negatives are rather slow but was wondering if it were possible to use a paper negative and a flash to get a short enough exposure time for a portrait?
     
  2. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Most paper negatives fall somewhere around the ASA 6 range (at least for me). Why not do a test?
    Shoot a still at the speed rating you want to use with flash and see what happens.

    Perhaps 5 seconds at some mid-aperture with flash.
    Would be interesting to see what came out of shooting in total darkness with multiple flash bursts.
    There are plenty of people that shoot portraits without flash.
     
  3. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Just for a ballpark sense of the problem, here's a generated flash-to-subject distance chart (from a small utility I wrote for my own use) for a higher-end Vivitar 285HV flash.

    The Guide Number for this flash is rated at 120 at ISO-100 by the manufacturer. All three regular zoom modes are shown, plus a column for use of the external diffuser filter at the Normal zoom setting. The "film" speed is set to ISO-6, per JohnRichard's estimate. The Guide Numbers for each 285HV zoom mode are indicated at the top of the chart.

    As you can see, even at the likely optimistic manufacturer's flash rating, the distances for standard large format apertures result in very compromised flash-to-subject distances. Generally (see NORM column) from only 5+ feet (at f/5.6, generally wide-open) down to less than 1 foot (for f/32 or greater, apertures required for any reasonably usable DOF). All distances shown are in feet.

    [​IMG]

    Ken
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    it really depends on the paper ..
    i have taken many portraits with modeling lights and
    flash. graded paper and VC paper are sensitive ( it seems )
    to different types of light so do some tests before you shoot ...
    ( i have used a lot of agfa grade 1 ( and 0 ) paper
    and it took 3 600WS bursts through soffboxes to get a good exposure
    and without the flash same soffboxes, same modeling lights 30-40second exposures )

    YMMV
     
  5. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Thanks for everyones help :smile: perhaps multiply flashes would be the answer? I havn't yet started to use paper negatives but will be soon, I am currently looking into different lighting setups as well so that I get the right sort for what I am looking to do.

    How were portraits done 'back in the day'? Was it a case that the wet plate was much faster than paper negatives?
     
  6. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    just go for it - I do it all the time - I rate my paper (mostly Foma RC paper) a 8-12 iso so it is highly possible with only one flash...

    I can show some examples if need be..

    Don't wait - it is too much fun for that!!
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    yes, wicked fun, and sort of addictive!! :smile:
     
  8. pasiasty

    pasiasty Member

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  9. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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  10. pasiasty

    pasiasty Member

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    shutter speed? does it matter with flash lights?
     
  11. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    As long as you are using a synchronized shutter speed setting, no. It's the paper emulsion speed, flash intensity and flash-to-subject distance that counts.

    That's why I posted the chart...

    [Edit: Flashbulbs are a slightly different story. Due to their slow-burning nature, their effective GNs can vary by shutter speed.]

    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2013
  12. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    Nice work!
    Can something similar be achieved with speedlights or do they not have enough power for slow speed of paper?

    Sent from Tap-a-talk
     
  13. pasiasty

    pasiasty Member

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    You'd have to keep very short distance between your flashes and subject (as Ken mentioned above). Or you may, for a static subject, open a shutter and fire the flash(es) several times (kinda light-painting with flash heads). Anyway, PE paper is cheap, if you have a suitable camera, you can just try.