Pushing 400 ASA film.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Robert Ley, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo, New
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My plan is to shoot 400 B&W film in a club with my Leica M3 and 50cm F:2 Summicron(relatively new to me) I have to say that it has been a long time since I have shot available darkness shots and am wondering which film and developing techniques I should use? The film that I have available to me is new TMax 400, HP-5+, Agfa APX 400, Kentmeer 400, and Fortepan 400. I will be able to use a good light meter (sekonic l-508) and may be able to shoot at 400, but might like to push at least one stop to 800.

    For those with experience in this light, what would you use? I have a 9cm Elmarit f:4 that I might like to use also so an ei. of 800 might be uselful.

    I don't have Acufine or Diafine developers or Rodinal, but can mix up pretty much any other developer.

    My plan is to shoot on Sunday afternoon, so I would like to get this information soon ;-).
     
  2. ww12345

    ww12345 Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Shooter:
    35mm
    In my opinion, I would just meter the scene and shoot at speeds lower than 30. I did some night/indoor restaurant shooting a while ago with ISO 100 film in a Leica IIIc and didn't have any issues.

    Here's a sample shot (indoors, ISO 100, 1/15, f 2.0, Nikkor 5cm - pretty much as close to dark as you could be and still see to eat):

    [​IMG]

    Btw: I forgot to mention - developed at 80 F for 3:30 at ISO 100. No pushing or pulling. Regular Arista Premium bulk film.
     
  3. Robert Ley

    Robert Ley Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo, New
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I expect to have better light than that. It will be a stage act and I should be able to get very good incident readings and I have the spot function of the meter if I choose to use it.

    More concerned with which film and developer.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  4. ww12345

    ww12345 Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The film I used was Arista Premium ISO 100, and the developer was Arista Premium developer, if that helps. :smile:
     
  5. ww12345

    ww12345 Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Here's a couple from outside, same film and developer.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And here's one in literally no light. Looks like a flash, but was really just a street lamp a half a block away. The booth was tucked back in an alley between two buildings.

    [​IMG]

    I think it was 1/10 sec. exposure.
     
  6. CCOS

    CCOS Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Pushing the TMax 400 to 800 is something I done a lot, the reason is that the development time are the same, so you can shoot both 400 and 800 on the same film.
    I've haven't noticed any diffence in the print shooting the TMax at 800.

    Jesper
     
  7. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,048
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    127 Format
    TMAX would be my preference out of those choices. If there is relatively little motion in the stage act, I'd say set your camera to f/2 and 1/30 and brace on a table/wall as available. You're likely not going to have any shadow detail with contrasty night club lighting. Don't overdevelop the highlights and blow them out to try and save shadow detail. Less agitation in the developer (+ longer time) should help tame the contrast as well.

    I shot a bunch of Tmax 400 at a concert, I had an f/1.2 lens available and used it to get shutter speed up to stop motion blur (1/60th ended up being OK). It's still contrasty but it worked. D76 was all I had to use, it was fine.
     
  8. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Of the films you list I'd use Tmax 400, shoot at 400 & 800 as needed and just develop normally in either Tmax or DD-X. No push needed IMO.
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,947
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you sneak in a monopod you won't need to push, most likely. Hand held with an f/4 lens 90mm - different story. You'll need a 1/60th of a second as a bare minimum for sharp pictures (if that's what you're after), especially if you make big prints.

    Keep in mind the huge brightness range with stage lighting. You may wish to just leave some of the shadows black for that reason. Mind the highlights. I would use a spot meter unless you can go up on stage and measure the light the performers will be in.

    Both HP5+ and TMax 400 push to 800 with ease. I even think HP5 doesn't come alive until you start playing with a tad bit of underexposure and some appropriate processing. Both films will do well.
     
  10. garysamson

    garysamson Subscriber

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshir
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    I would suggest Tmax 400 and Kodak Xtol and use the spot meter to determine the correct exposure as suggested above.
     
  11. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,932
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You could get a tripod or a monopod.

    Jeff
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,220
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Rural NW Mis
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I struggled with TMAX 400 for indoor sports until TMAX 3200 became available. Exposing TMAX3200 at ISO1600 and developing as recommended for ISO 3200 gave full shadow detail and acceptable grain for the purpose. TMAX 400 was finer grain, but for me the pictorial improvement of the faster film made up for that.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    14,947
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    TMax 3200 is amazing.

    But I have to say that TMAX400 is also exceptional. Exposure wise it'll handle a wider range of tones than anything I know. You just have to really pay attention when it's processed, because it does react to processing variables very rapidly.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

    Messages:
    780
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Delta 3200, or Tri-X at 3200 using whatever you're comfortable with, although I would recommend Acufine or Xtol.

    F/2 and 1/60 should be your baseline, although you can get away with 1/15 if you are very careful about timing movement in your subject.

    Speed is the name of the game here. If there's more stagelight than darkness, you can probably sit pretty at 400 all night long (it sounds like this is more of a "focus your attention on the stage" type of event instead of a "focus your feet on the dancefloor" type of deal...which are usually darker, or have vastly more sporadic and fast changing light.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,194
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    At the risk of being irritating, if you shoot TMax 400 at an EI of 800 and then develop it normally, you aren't pushing it, you are just reducing the exposure. To "push" means to increase development. A "push" development is a technique used to increase contrast in order to improve the appearance of the near shadows in under-exposed film (often at the expense of highlight rendition).
     
  17. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,469
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Tmax 400 (TMY2) in Xtol will give you the best speed from those options. Delta 3200 would be faster - shoot it at 1600, develop for 3200 and get lovely negs with plenty of shadow detail.

    TMY2 will do 800 easily and still looks extremely good at 1600.

    wrt MattKing being irritating :wink: Kodak actually recommends the same dev times for 400 and 800 because the film has so much latitude; they assert that it will be easier to print (lower contrast) without the extra development that people would normally apply. Personally, I give it a little extra development when shooting a whole roll at 800; if the roll is mostly 400 I won't worry about including some shots at 800 because I know they'll come out fine anyway. T-grain films are very sensitive to changes in development time and temperature.
     
  18. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    1,956
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've shot enough Tmax 400 and Tri-X 400 at 400, 800, 1600, and sometimes even 3200, in 135 and 120, I've tried TTL metering in multiple cameras, I've used the Digisix on incident, I've had it lab-developed, I've done my own in Xtol using times from the MDC, sometimes i've devved a stop higher than I shot at. There's never enough shadow detail, or more correctly, the entire thing is shadow, negatives are as thin as all hell and there's barely a face in a spotlight surrounded by black.

    And at the end of all that, the best thing I can say is, buy Delta 3200.
     
  19. Lamar

    Lamar Member

    Messages:
    342
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have had good results shooting 35mm Delta 400, HP5 Plus, and Tri-X at ISO 1600 and pushing 2 stops in XTOL. I push the HP5 Plus to 3200 with good results as well. Delta 400 I did not like at 3200, haven't tried Tri-X at 3200.

    Here is a roll shot in similar conditions to what you are asking about: Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville on July 24th, 2013 . Camera - Nikon F2SB; Lens - 35mm f/1.4 Nikkor-N Auto; Film - Ilford Delta 400 shot at ISO 1600 and pushed 2 stops in Kodak XTOL I think my shutter speed was 1/30th or 1/60th for most of the shots, aperture was f/2.

    http://www.lamarlamb.com/On-Film/Film-Blog/Future-Country-Music-Stars-in
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2013
  20. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

    Messages:
    489
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Figueira da
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Normally I push tri-x 400 to 1600 and develop in Tmax dev. I prefer the results in relation to XTOL. Here are a few:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  21. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,284
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Stage lighting varies so much that it's hard to say anything general. If you have to handhold, you're going to be hard pressed to get anything useful with an f/4 lens unless the stage is seriously bright, I think. My experience is that you can never err on the side of too much light in these situations; use the fastest film speed available (probably 3200), and shoot as wide open as you can tolerate the DOF, at the slowest speed you can handhold. I bet you still won't have any overexposure problems!

    If you can take in a monopod or tripod, things get a lot easier. The same principles apply, except with the slowest speed that will yield acceptable motion blur.

    I've sort of given up on gig photography after seeing how low my "hit" rate was. And by "hit" I mean "remotely tolerable photograph with something identifiable in it". The people who can make it work with any consistency have my undying respect!

    -NT
     
  22. ww12345

    ww12345 Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Edit: wrong thread. Thanks, Tapatalk... :S
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 27, 2013
  23. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

    Messages:
    474
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have done a lot of shooting in low and no light by pushing 400 asa films.

    I used to shoot a lot of Delta3200, which is a really impressive film, but it was too expensive given the large quantities I was shooting back then.

    So, I started to push Tri-X 400 and TMY-2 400 to 1250 in Diafine.

    The brilliant thing about Diafine is that you can shoot wide open and the compensating action of the two bath developer will prevent your highlights from blowing out, while extracting tons of shadow detail. Note that this works best once Diafine has been 'ripened' a little with a few rolls. Virgin Diafine is quite active and you don't start get that smooth pearly glow, until you've put a good dozen rolls through it.

    Contrast ratios can vary quite drastically when shooting in the dark and once again the compensating action will save your tail, if the exposures are uneven on the same roll.

    In many cases I would simply open up my Summilux to f1.4 and shoot away at 1/30th or less, sucking up as many photons as possible and letting Diafine take care of the rest.


    XTOL is excellent at pushing, but I prefer Diafine because of the compensating action.

    Tri-X @ 1250 in Diafine is a classic combination and produces results that are better than they should be.
    TMY-2 400 produces even better results. The grain is finer, producing smoother tonality when pushing. TMY also has a more linear curve, which should give you more shadow detail. Diafine will keep the highlights in check.

    I also tried the TMAX developer with TMY2-400 and TMZ3200. There is a noticeable boost in the shadows, but I prefer Diafine, because of the way it protects the highlights.

    I also tried a few rolls of Delta3200 in Diafine. The results were excellent. D3200 is a low contrast film and produces an enormous exposure range.
     
  24. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - U.A.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nice, i was going to ask about pushing a film, and i was only thinking about TMAX 400 even i have another films, but this the my favorite 400 film so far and i have lots of it in the fridge to be used.

    So if i want to shoot @800 with TMY then i just shoot normally for 800 and develop for 400 as it is the same time for 800 too?
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,670
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Short answer. Yes, it really works fine for most situations.

    Any time exposure is reduced, relative to a normally exposed shot, some shadow detail is "lost" on the negative. The silver in the negative simply won't "see" enough light during the exposure to change enough to do anything when dunked in the developer. That's true regardless of how long it gets developed.

    The true film speed doesn't change significantly with extra development. Extra development is more about getting the mid tones brighter but that can easily push highlights up too far, many times clear out of the paper's printable range.

    Many, even most times where a push is being considered, a 1-stop underexposure from box speed may have no discernible effect on the print. Typically the only adjustment needed might be a little less exposure in the enlarger when printing.

    This is true because at box speed most negative films have some extra room on the film curve, call it a built in exposure safety factor if you want. (If scanned and printed at a lab the technician or the scanner software may not automatically make that adjustment for you, or they may not do it well. You may have to ask for a reprint and tell them exactly what you want.)

    The other thing to keep in mind, given that the real film speed doesn't change that much, is that the film isn't the only place you can make contrast adjustments. Changing paper grades is a good way to get the mid tones to look brighter.
     
  26. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Subscriber

    Messages:
    533
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    To my eperience, for taking pictures in low light, whatever film you use, at whatever EI, measuring the essential parts of the scene is essential. For instance measure the faces and give +1 stop. Don't worry too much about drowned shadows. You aren't doing landscape photography, nobody is interested in what's in the shadows.