Solution to "changing ISO's"?

Discussion in 'Weddings' started by dugrant153, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Hi everyone,

    So, I love shooting weddings and events, and I love shooting them indoors.
    However, I'm pretty used to using my digital and just racking out whatever ISO I need. With film, this luxury doesn't exist so much.

    My question then is... how do you folks "switch film" for weddings? I generally shoot ISO 400 film (working with Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H at the moment) but I've been in situations where I'd need something like 640 ISO to get the shot.

    I'd love to get Fuji 800Z but I heard it's been discontinued :sad:

    Curious on what you folks do to compensate? do you have many camera bodies with all kinds of films?
     
  2. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I usually prepare with some form of bracing the camera for slower shutter speeds. The tripod is the best but sometimes it is as simple as a table and some napkins. Faster speed film usually brings higher grain and is not what I want. Extra bodies with different film is another way, however, for me, its usually B&W in one, color in the other. RF often can be shot as slower shutter speeds since you don't have to have the mirror flapping around. I am sure there are many other ways that work also.
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  4. AgentX

    AgentX Member

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    You could shoot medium format using a camera with interchangeable backs...but that's unlikely to give you a wide enough lens to shoot available light indoors at a wedding with most setups anyhow.

    Best solution would be another camera set up for indoor work, IMHO.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Flash :smile:.

    Really!

    At all the weddings/events that I have shot, flash had at least a small role.

    Of course I almost never used 35mm, and my medium format equipment had leaf shutters, making for relatively simple fill flash and "catch light" work.
     
  6. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    I've thought of the idea of flash and I've used it extensively before. However, I'm trying to develop a style that doesn't use flash. I'm quite heavily influenced by people like Jeff Ascough and other non-flash (or don't use it often) users.

    I'm thinking maybe loading one camera with Kodak Portra 400H and another one with Kodak Portra 800... and then a medium format camera with... hmm... Portra?
    (Or Fujifilm equivalents).

    Seems like quite a juggling act, I must say.

    Oh, I should note that I have Pentax cameras and lenses (FA31, FA77 for lenses, Pentax 645 with 75mm F2.8 for MF). I only have an MZ-60 at the moment. thinking maybe two PZ-1s or MZ-5n's in conjunction with the 645... trying to simplify it as much as I can!
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    How about faster lenses?

    I like primes and use a 55mm f/2 most of the time. Trying to lay my hands on a nice 85mm f/1.4 when I can, and a 50 f/1.4 or so. Those extra stops are worth a lot.

    And shooting ISO 400 film at 640 isn't going to destroy the picture.

    Have fun. I saw your intro too. Welcome to APUG!

     
  8. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Thanks :D

    Oh, I shoot fast lenses like crazy (and love them like crazy)! FA31 is an F1.8, FA77 is an F1.8, and I have a 50mm F1.7 manual focus lens... and if I can adapt my digital, I have a DA*55 F1.4 waterproof lens.

    The only thing with shooting at ISO 640 is that you lose some contrast? I really like shots that have that really 'deep' look to them. (full of color or tone) and I find that when I underexpose it becomes very air and light... almost kind of faded... especially in the shadows!
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Why not get some Fuji Pro 800, do shots which replicate your wedding ones then enlarge to the max size your clients are likely to ask for. If the colours and grain are acceptable then use 800 exclusively. One film, one camera. Much simpler

    pentaxuser
     
  10. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    do they even make Fuji 800Z anymore? I can't even find it in my local specialized photography stores! Sounds like I'd be digging into the last reserves?

    an 800 film (probably shoot it at 640 ISO) would probably do the trick :smile:
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have checked a number of U.K. stockists including the Fuji film site itself and there was no sign of Pro 800 but neither was there a notice saying "discontinued". It is still available at one stockist with a stock plenty listing but that stockist may simply have put in a massive order prior to its discontinuation( if this is the case).

    It would appear however that Superia 800 is still a product line and 1600. The latter is very fast but gets a bit grainy above 10x8 in my experience.

    So a bit of a mystery. There seems to be some evidence that Pro800 may have been discontinued but it is not conclusive.

    pentaxuser
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Just a bit of an update. On one of the most reliable of U.K. sites, Agphotographic( run by Matt a subscriber here) there is a notice to the effect that Fuji almost discontinued Fuji Pro 800 in 35mm in 2009 but changed its mind due to customer reaction. However there is no 120 but there is Kodak Portra 800 in both 35mm and 120.

    So crisis over

    pentaxuser
     
  13. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Since I'm shooting Kodak Portra, that's good news that they're still producing 400 and 800 ISO. Unfortunately, it's all special order here where I love, or atleast I have to find a store that sells it.
     
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  15. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Do you love where you live, or live where you love?
     
  16. marco.taje

    marco.taje Member

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    Pushing film should actually INCREASE contrast. What you observe might be cause by some different placement of luminance levels across the toe region, maybe.. That is, if you push a negative, shadows tend to be more "packed" and have less local contrast. If you or your printer try to raise them to brighter levels, you might end up with muddy shadows, which might be your case.

    Just my 2 pennies from the small experience I have. :smile:

    Ciao
    Marco
     
  17. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Thanks for that tip, Marco! Something I have to keep in mind if I ever push/pull film.

    Oops! I should've said "where I live". haha. Give me access to Portra 800 and I'll be happy as a clam.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I would think that you can find Portra 800 at Beau Photo. Lens and Shutter may have it too. Leos Cameras are a possibility as well. Finally, it would be worth asking at ABC Photocolour too.
     
  19. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Oh yeah yeah. I just checked Beau Photo and they have stock.

    Lens and Shutter (the new one Downtown) did not have it nor seem to have access? Leo's I haven't checked.
    I'll have to check ABC as well :smile:
     
  20. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    kk... well, I'm starting to get a workflow down.

    Here's my question. When there's a lot of changing light throughout the day, how do you setup your cameras and film?

    Do you folks stick to a certain film all day and just underexpose or overexpose?

    I've been in a lot of churches where 800 ISO would've been best but had a 400 ISO film in the camera and... well, couldn't easily change unless I had another camera.

    Curious if you folks load up one camera with one film, and a second camera with another or.... something like that? I'm planning on using two 35mm cameras + 1 medium format (645) camera.
     
  21. marco.taje

    marco.taje Member

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    Well, no, I don't think it's supposed to work that way. Under- or overexposure is a function of the development you choose for that roll. That means that you decide to develop that roll to suit a certain brightness range and hence adjust your exposure accordingly. So you can't change these settings within the same roll, from this point of view.

    So, one roll ---> one development method ---> one EI.

    That said, you may as well use only ONE type of film, and adapt its development and EI as lighting changes. This is also when interchangeable backs really have an edge! I will typically use one film, and if I find I have to cope with different "brightness range" setups at the same time, I will load another back with the same film, but deciding to give different development and EI to the second roll.

    If you have the chance to switch backs or cameras, I think that's the way it goes. If you're stuck with one roll at a time, try to find an average development and exposure that will be ok, although not exactly spot on, for what you expect to shoot.
     
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I usually shot the entire wedding on Portra 160 NC (and before that on Vericolour).

    Always 120.

    If the light was low - tripod or flash.
     
  23. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    I suspect that I might end up using flash for the uber uber dark times when there's absolutely no light and even 1600 iso film struggles :wink: For the most part, I'm trying to stay away from flash as I really like the look of natural light.

    I'm beginning to understand that I can't really "change ISO" without changing film or push/pull processing. Since I'm not particular about either of those options, I'm thinking that a 2 camera setup would be ideal. or maybe a 3 camera setup - 2 x 35mm and 1 x medium format 645, each with a different lens and each with a different film. one color, one black and white or some strange concoction.

    For those who use multiple cameras to overcome the ISO thing (without using flash), curious as to what's your setup like?
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Multiple bodies and/or backs, with flash. I always have a flash on at weddings, just because it makes one at least somewhat adaptable to most situations. Though I usually do not use it, it comes in handy when the film happens to be too slow for a shot that is worth taking. You can shoot it into the ceiling to add some light, and it won't stick out as being all that different from the ones shot in ambient light. However, after shooting one or two weddings, you generally know when to have your camera loaded with what (which is why the flash is used so little).

    If you have to, just rewind a roll and change films, or finish off the roll quickly.

    With digital, I like to have three bodies for shooting candids at a wedding, though the third is just a convenience, to prevent changing lenses as often. I shoot plenty often and just fine with two. With film, I like to have at least two on me, and two or more bodies (or backs) loaded with a different film, just in case. However, the times when I shoot film at weddings are few and far between. When I do, it is usually medium format, and the shots are of the more formal variety. You are correct that digital has great advantages in this area.
     
  25. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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  26. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    When I was film based for weddings, that was a big plus using medium format with removable backs as I could change backs for different types of film. That's when I needed someone just to keep up with unloading and re-loading film, having backs ready to use. I brought a large cooler to each gig for the film. For 35mm I had a couple of cameras, one with color and another with B&W, but I used medium format most of the time.

    Much simpler and easier now as I get everything in a backpack with back ups and a few other things in my Pelican case. My lighting is all off camera and all flashes are battery operated. Smiles!