Shoot Tri-X at 100, or Use a Polarizer?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by momus, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. momus

    momus Member

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    I recently bought an early Nikon Q 135 3.5 lens. It's a non ai lens, and surprisingly sharp! The only Nikon cameras I own are a Nikkormat FT2 and an EM that I hacked to shoot non ai lenses. The problem is that I normally shoot Tri-X w/ a yellow filter, and need more shutter speed to open the lens in bright sun to shoot portraits. The lens gives nice bokeh at f3.5 if you get the right background, but both my cameras top out at just 1/1000. I have: plenty of Tri-X, a yellow filter, and a polarizer. So my options are: 1-to shoot w/ the yellow filter and the polarizer. That should give me plenty of opportunity to open the aperture, but I'm concerned about vignetting and image degradation. Or, 2-just shoot w/ the polarizer and set the iso at 100, figuring that the polarizer will cost me 2.5 stops. Not sure I'll get the added contrast the yellow filter gives me w/ this idea though. Or, 3-just use my regular yellow filter (which seems to lose about a stop), and set the iso at 100. I could always buy some 100 iso film of course, but I do like Tri-X, and it's already here. My developer is usually D76 by the way. However, I have Acufine and Fomadon R09 as well. What I DON'T want is to end up w/ flat negs or big grain. Any ideas?
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Why not use a ND filter?
     
  3. momus

    momus Member

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    I thought of that. Two reasons I guess. I would have to buy one, and I am concerned about the same issues in 1 above....image degradation and vignetting when used in conjunction w/ the yellow filter. I really like the K2 filter to add contrast and punch up the skies a little.

    I was thinking of going out and shooting tomorrow, so it would help if I can get by w/ what I have, as I would have to order a ND filter.
     
  4. donkee

    donkee Member

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    Try the yellow and the polarizer. I shoot both on a 50mm with no vignetting. A 135m would have less of a chance of that happening. You might like the result.
     
  5. momus

    momus Member

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    I think I will try the yellow filter and the polarizer together. It should be possible to see vignetting in the viewfinder using an SLR, but I've been fooled before. I'll probably shoot a series of shots using different combinations, then develop and see what looks best. Thanks.
     
  6. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    A CPL should be 2 stops on average, and if it's sky contrast you want, it'll get you that. The only drawback though is that it will (depending on adjustment) probably erase all the specular highlights, the result of which is that skin can look flat and plasticky or over-madeup. I would not expect any vignetting from two stacked filters on a 135mm lens on 35mm, as long as you don't use a step-down ring! And even then, it'll probably be mostly equivalent to using a smaller aperture.

    Shooting one stop over (EI100 with the yellow) will be no problem for the film at all. Plenty of people shoot TX at 200 and deliberately so.
     
  7. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Shooting wide open and concerned about vignetting and image degradation? Wide open produces these two effects.
     
  8. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I would use a 100 speed film to begin with and not bother with a filter. T-Max 100 and Ilford Delta 100 are excellent films for example. They can be developed with your D-76. Contrast could be increased if necessary with development time or printing on multigrade paper with filters. Use your Tri-x for the times you need a film with more speed.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  9. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    I wouldn't use a polarizer, unless I really want/need it. It will needlesly effect your image (as described above).

    For your purposes I would get a ND filter and/or shoot Tri-X at ISO 50 or 100.

    If you're willing to use an other film as well, try Ilford FP4+ at ISO 60 or 150.
     
  10. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    For the same reasons you mention I often shoot Tri-X at 200, even 100. I use Rodinal, I used to use D76 and loved it, but I like the storage capabilities of Rodinal better, which is the other reason to shoot it at 100, to get less grain.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    There are many of us who shoot Tri-X at 100 on purpose, and actually developing it pretty far too. Printed using high contrast filtration it makes for really interesting looking prints. Especially from 35mm.
     
  12. momus

    momus Member

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    I found an orange filter that I didn't even know I had, and that alone gave me 3 stops. When I used itw/ the polarized I had 5, so it was a breeze shooting wide open w/ my top shutter speed of "just" 1/1000. I tried several different combinations and kept notes (shot w/ polariaer, shot w/ polarizer and Y. or Or. filer, etc). The metering drove me a little nutty because each combination called for a different iso setting, and my in camera meter was adjusting for things, but not always correctly, as the color filters were not being totally compensated for. I finally just used my hand held meter and went w/ those readings, as it was a lot faster to change the iso on that meter than the fiddedly iso setting on the camera. When I get it developed I'll post a few photos of the different set ups. Didn't see any vignetting in the viewfinder. I love this little 135 H lens. Think mine is from 1969. Really small and light.

    You have my interest Thomas. My attempts at shooting TRi-X under the rated speed by more than one stop has given me some negs w/ largish grain and/or flat tones, but working w/ that in the printing process might be fun. I could probably mitigate some of that if I used Acufine, but I prefer the tonality I get developing in D76.
     
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  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Maybe I'm not reading your post right. If so, I apologize....

    You are going to take a portrait, right? Use 135mm and hope to use wide open. ISO is 400. You use yellow filter.

    I love taking portrait but the last thing I'd try is try to do that in FULL SUN. Extreme contrast and shadow will be very difficult to manage. Also, I would probably not use yellow filter for portraits. I just don't need it. I'm more inclined to use partial shadow. With it, it exposure should fall fairly reasonable even with Tri-X. Come to think of it, I've done this plenty of times with Mamiya M645Super which topped out at 1/400 or something.

    Maybe high contrast portrait is what you'd like to do.... If so, I'd just pick more appropriate speed, rather than try to use Tri-X.
     
  14. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You don't find out what your materials are fully capable of until you start to hit the limits of what's possible.

    I don't do what I do to affect grain one way or another. I really don't give a rip about grain. It is ALL about tonality. Rich fat blacks that are heavy, and lots of tone where it matters. Most people I know get so hung up on grain and miss so much potential of the film.

    Experiment with your film until you have something you like. Overexpose, underexpose, overdevelop, underdevelop, etc. Just try many different things until you find what you like.

    The filters you mention can be useful, but not for every damned shot, because they seriously mess with how the film sees color.

    I also don't understand why people are so hung up on shooting everything wide open. Does it really make the pictures better, or is it just another gimmick to cover up something inadequate? Depth of field is a tool to control how much is in focus, based on how close to the subject you are, what lens you use, and how much of what's in the frame is important to show. Again, experiment, and don't lock yourself into a corner where you only see a small portion of what's possible.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  15. momus

    momus Member

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    This one was made w/ just the orange filter on the Nikkor Q 135 3.5 lens and shot wide open. The film is Arista Premium (rebadged Tri-X) shot at box speed, but w/ the 3 stops needed for the filter it was actually shot at 50 ISO. Developed in D76 full strength, which is my preferred method, and scanned on an old Epson flatbed. I like the results small 32.jpg from the combination of the polarizer and orange filter too. This lens is actually way too sharp for people shots. I shot it in Florida high noon sun w/ a busy background to see if there was any flare, and to see if it could handle the bokeh thing. No flare, and it blurs the background out pretty well.

    If you need sharp, this lens will sure fit the bill. I'm waiting on a FD Super Canonflex R 100 2.0 lens for portraits, which I suspect is going to be too sharp too. If so, it's back to a poor man's Leica R lens, the Canon FD 85 1.8, or even the FD 135 2.5, a real sleeper of a portrait lens.
     
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  16. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    Jeffrey gave you a good thought by changing to a different film for outdoor portraiture. OTOH, Tri-X is great stuff. There are (or used to be) Tri-X rated at 400 ISO or Tri-X pro (TXP rated at 320 ISO). I shoot TXP at ISO 250 and process it in either T-MAX Replenishment System developer according to the package directions. OR same ISO 250 in D-76 cut 1:1.

    I avoid using polarizing filters in any portraiture. ND filters at ISO 250 probably won't help you out much. Green filters help add contrast to male portraits and require about .5 stop filter factor. Yellow is ok for enhancing blue sky making it appear darker to emphasize some nice cloud formations. Avoid using direct sunlight on your subjects. Either wait for it to soften, shoot before 10AM or after 3, or put them in a shaded area and bounce light in using a chunk of white poster board and have someone hold it for you to maneuver it around or hang it on a light stand. You should get some pleasing results that way. :cool:
    Mark
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Mark, how do you figure that? If I shoot Tri-X at EI 250 in broad daylight, so that f/11 or f/16 would be 'normal' apertures for portraits for 1/250th shutter speed.
    Now, I want to shoot at f/4 instead. The difference from f/16 to f/4 in terms of stops is four stops. Put a four stop ND filter on the lens and shoot at the same shutter speed, but a four stop wider aperture.
    How is that NOT helpful?
     
  18. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    Welllllllllllll, if you start off by pulling ISO 400 TX to Tri-X to 250, you're knocking off 1.5 stops right there and still only gaining 1.5 stops over ISO 100. So in broad daylight as you mentioned, even using the sunny 16 rule, I'd say you'd be working at f-8 to start with without the ND filters.
    When you go through all this with Tri-X, I think you're just obviating the need for the faster ISO and the trade-offs of using it with the grain structure that you get with slower ISOs like Ilford Pan-F or Fuji Acros. But some like that kind of grain. Personally I try to avoid it which is why when I pull TXP I process it or have it processed in T-Max RS.

    And without being critical, I'm trying to understand why you want to shoot portraits at f4 anyway. I say that because generally, every lens has a sweet focus spot, usually somewhere between f8 to f11. So if you're working at f4 to soften the background, you may not be getting the sharpest image of your subject. There are many ways to play with camera placement and/or lens choice to manipulate depth of field aside from shooting near wide open in order to soften the background. But you know that, right? Why not use 5.6? How much background softening are you looking for?

    I'm also thinking if you're using a ND to knock off four stops shooting a portrait, you may have trouble trying to manually focus the image although at your calculation, probably just a 1.5 or 2 stop ND pulling Tri-X to 250 would suit the result you're trying to get or maybe just moving the person into open shade would eliminate the need for the ND filter altogether.

    What I'm saying is that I prefer to match the film to the purpose and unless it's impossible for me to move either my camera, the subject or both for background purposes, I much prefer shoot portraits to use the sharpest focus of the lens I've selected. I also don't like putting any additional glass in front of my lenses if I can avoid it.

    But if you like the results, afterall, that's what really counts. It still comes down to personal preference.
    Take it light ;>)
    Mark
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Mark,

    With all due respect, the OP isn't asking what you like, but asking advice of how to use Tri-X while shooting at wide apertures in bright light. Incidentally, I agree with you that wide open isn't everything it is dreamed up to be, but that is way besides the point.

    Sweet spot of the lens? I'm sure it's there, but depth of field is a tool that should be exploited to the same extent focus, brightness, composition, gesture, and treatment of light should, so to lock into a single aperture and calling it best is missing the point of having several apertures available to you. I mean, why do you think they are there? That's right, to give you a choice.

    If you can shoot the same film in all lighting conditions, then everything becomes much easier at the printing stage, because you know what to expect, and in my experience that saves me a lot of wasted (expensive) paper. If you don't like Tri-X grain, that's too bad, but that is again not what the OP was asking about. It doesn't actually matter what film the OP is using, or what aperture they use, because it's a question that applies universally regardless of materials used.

    I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but you are not focusing on answering the OPs question.

    So, again, if somebody arbitrarily wants to shoot at f/2.8 because they like what their lens does at that aperture, using ISO 400 film, but their shutter can't open and close faster than 1/500th of a second. If you rate TX400 at 250, you could shoot at f/11 at 1/500, but if you really want to open to f/2.8 you're going to overexpose four stops, or similar to EI 16. Now you're starting to push what's reasonable for Tri-X to manage, so why not put a four stop ND filter in front of the lens?
    It doesn't change how the film sees color, and it doesn't change contrast. It keeps all other things equal.

    To me that sounds like the perfect tool for the OP's needs, and it does answer the question, while explaining why.
     
  20. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    Quote from Tom:

    . . .If you can shoot the same film in all lighting conditions, then everything becomes much easier at the printing stage, because you know what to expect, and in my experience that saves me a lot of wasted (expensive) paper. If you don't like Tri-X grain, that's too bad, but that is again not what the OP was asking about. It doesn't actually matter what film the OP is using, or what aperture they use, because it's a question that applies universally regardless of materials used."

    Yep. I get it now. Clearly THAT must be your Zen, the underpinnings of your photographic philosophy. While I'd strongly recommend you try another film of a lower ISO simply for thrill of doing something different, what you said above is your opinion as opposed to mine. And I have to say that generally, it leads to stagnation and a body of work that looks, well, (at least from a technical perspective) pretty much the same.

    So, I gotta ask; How can you possibly learn anything when you don't try new approaches to the same issues? In essence, that can't lead to "Good art". It seems to act as a barrier toward expansion and more complete use of the mind and the camera as a tool of the mind and that in turn, I think, obviates excellence simply by leading one to act strictly out of habit. To me, that all leads to boredom and would lead me to question why I chose a profession so intimately associated with art and finding new ways of visual expression along with creativity and a universe of technical variances. And yes, that's my opinion too. :cool: yet to some, mind boggling I'm sure.
    Mark

    As the Great Buddah once said: "Don't just DO something SIT there !!!" Jay Weinstein, Ph.D. Northwestern University 1976.
     
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  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    The magic does not lie in your choice of film.

    The magic lies in what you do with it.

    It's amazing how much we learn by exploring the absolute limits of our materials, by working with all sorts of ways of treating it. I claim that if we change materials often then we never really learn them fully, but we just scratch the surface.
    I'm very grateful to have learned a lot from experienced mentors over the years, with several hundred years of photographic knowledge combined, many of them with several decades in print making and portraiture, and the approach that has forwarded my own art and print quality the most has been to dial in my film exposure and film development so that it fits the paper and paper developer that I use.
    The amount of variation I can get by treating film exposure, film development, and how I print, goes very far beyond what can be achieved by switching films. It gives infinitely more creative freedom to have this knowledge than to have an arsenal of different films, supposedly with different 'looks'. Basically, don't lock yourself into believing that switching materials will somehow transform your photography. The only thing that will happen is that you'll be swearing for a while when are in the process of figuring it out, and then you'll arrive at pretty much the same point you left off. Creativity and inventiveness must come from within, from you brain, your intellect, your emotions, and your heart. That is what I call keeping it fresh, alive, and truly creative. No materials can ever substitute for that.

    The biggest mistake I ever made was to experiment with many different films and film developers, because it was frustrating beyond belief to get a good print from so many inconsistent negatives, and resulting in a lot of darkroom waste, and prints in series of photographs that look terrible together as a group. But the worst part was that I ended up being so focused on the materials themselves that I forgot about the most important part - the subject matter. It ended up being a huge distraction and an obstruction.

    Again, the magic lies in what you do with it, not what materials you choose.





     
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  22. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    :munch:
    (I'm still waiting on the web page) :munch:
    CAN I GET THE CHECK PLEASE ?
     
  23. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Any time you want it, just say the word.
     
  24. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    How true.
     
  25. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    This is all a bit baffling and ass backwards.

    The OP wants extra contrast, which is normally dealt with by choices of film>exposure>developer>time and dilution. But he is using a yellow filter for contrast and stacking it with a polarizer to block some light. Stacking two filters will increase the possibility of flare, which will reduce contrast. Unless a polarizer is constantly tweaked to bring back highlights it is at best random in effect, at worst it will reduce the mid tone/micro contrast by removing highlights and reflections. If the polarizer is constantly tweaked it can only mean the lens hood isn't being used (unless a slow working formal portrait session perhaps), which will reduce contrast. So for the sake of buying an ND filter of the right strength, and developing the film for extra contrast, every action taken is mitigating against increasing contrast.

    Steve