Why is Tungsten film so slow?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by ajuk, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    I would love it if there was a Tungsten balanced 800 speed colour neg film, for the low light situations that I am almost inevitably in when I need tungsten balanced film.
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think because you can normally control the lighting indoors by increasing the power of your light sources.

    - Thomas
     
  3. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    There used to be Kodak EPJ 320T E-6 film, which you could push a stop or two if you had to. Many used it for stage shooting.

    The closest thing today would probably be the process ECN-II tungsten negative films. Kodak makes Vision 500T, and Fuji makes Eterna 500T. I do not know if you can push-process in ECN-II chemistry, but I am interested in finding out the answer from an expert, as I am sure you are also.

    Another option would be to use a high-speed daylight C-41 negative film, such as Portra 800, Fuji 800Z, or Fuji Superia 1600, and push process it several stops, with or without a filter to compensate for the color temperature of tungsten light (partially or fully depending on how blue the filter is, but with lose of speed).
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    ...if all of your photography is staged.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I thought that was how most of that type of film was shot anyway? I've used some Kodak tungsten E6 film in the past, but only in staged lighting. I don't think I'd use just ambient lighting for indoor portraits or something for the fear of running into obscenely long times with reciprocity failure.
    But I'm not much of a studio artist, perhaps somebody with more experience in the matter can chime in?

    - Thomas
     
  6. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    I thought that was what (for example) Portra 800 was for, indoor shots without a flash, do most pro labs correct the white balance for you?
     
  7. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    'Cause Tungsten film was originally designed for studio hot lights, so it was assumed you'd be shooting on tripod with little movement, if any in your subject.

    Better to use fast color negative film.
     
  8. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    any decent lab will color correct. However, the results will be much worse than if you had used a tungsten film, or had filtered pre-exposure.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Kodak 320T and 160T were my most used films. They are gone. Even when I was shooting them,my film was almost or already expired. I used them for any color I shot in low light. I used them a lot for night street shooting and shooting in clubs, parties, etc.; usually overdeveloped +2 or +1. I used them once to shoot a friend's fashion show sans flash, and the pix looked really good (subject matter aside). Many others use them a lot for studio stuff. I use them when I want to shoot a still life in studio, or anything else with tungsten lamps or clear flashbulbs.

    Reciprocity failure does not occur for quite some time with tungsten balanced films. That is another of their great characteristics.

    They are mostly slow now because, frankly, digital is "superior" in many ways for low light high ISO hand held work, so there isn't a lot of demand for the fast ones. Also, as you stated, not a ton of people used them for available light work. There must still be enough demand for the ISO 64 varieties to keep them alive (thank heavens). When they finally go, it will be a pretty sad day for me!

    I miss pushed 320T a lot, but usually Fuji Press 800 does OK, and they are cheaper and easier to print. Most print shops just do it digitally now, and color neg films scan very well, so having the pix on transparency film is not all that much of an advantage to printers like it used to be. Like I said, however, I still miss having it as an option, and if there were a tungsten balanced version of Fuji Press 800, it would be almost all that I use for color film in low light.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2008
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Most everyone uses high intensity strobes indoors so the "art" of using tungsten for candid or for studio shots began dying out. Work on new products is expensive and keeping on making the poor runners is also expensive, so high speed tungsten films began dying out.

    I have never designed a tungsten film before, but have designed tungsten papers, and there are technical details to consider. For daylight film, the "swing" layer is blue sensitive, but for tungsten film the "swing" layer is the red sensitive layer due to the relative energies. This introduces a lot of differences into the product with respect to speed balance in color films, and a lot of choices for color temperature as well. This ends up with compromise to a greater extent than in daylight balance films.

    PE
     
  11. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    So what are most people using Portra 800 for?
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I read somewhere on APUG that overexposing color negative film some would push all the usable data up the curve into a usable area making WB easier regardless of light.

    Would using an 800 speed daylight film, exposing an extra stop then just balancing the color at printing be workable here?
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Mark;

    This does not work. Ctein has an excellent explanation of it in one of his books. I believe this is covered with print examples in "Post Exposure".

    Basically, exposing a daylight negative film to tungsten light causes a bad mismatch in curves leading to bad results. Sorry. You need to use correction filtration to move between illuminants.

    Another myth sad to say.

    PE
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I agree (and this is why I loved shooting 320T so much, even having to push it), but it can be done on neg. film with acceptable results. Acceptable, not laboratory perfect. Often (for me) there is no other option. I would not bother filtering an 800 daylight film for tungsten light, as it would simply make it too slow.
     
  16. Heinz_Anderle

    Heinz_Anderle Member

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    The Fujicolor amateur negative films from 100 to 1600 ASA (CN, CA, CH, CZ, and CU) are in general insensitive to the color shift by incandescent (tungsten) illumination. That may have been the reason why the 800 speed film has been so popular in photojournalism. Tungsten light is reproduced visually correct, and grain is similar to other brands' 200 ASA films.

    Portra 800 gets a strong yellow to red color cast, similar to slide film.
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Concerning cine films there are tungsten films with 500 ASA.
     
  18. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I used to like the Scotch (3M) 640T film, grainy but good speed wise. Now I would use Fuji 800 Press and correct digitally.
    Mark
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Thanks PE
     
  20. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    PE: what do you mean by 'swing' layers?
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The layer which determines speed, which is based on the maxium energy output of the light source.

    For a tungsten balanced film, red is the highest output level of the 3 spectral regions, and red is the swing layer from which the other 2 have to be measured.

    This is true of color paper and is how they adjust the paper to use only red filtration. Ciba/Ilfochrome is daylight balanced and used M + C filtration as a result, no yellow.

    So, with a daylight film in tungsten, you use a blue filter and with a tungsten film in daylight you use an orange filter.

    PE
     
  22. Jessica

    Jessica Member

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    I know this is an older thread but it caught my eye as I was searching tungsten light and color film...I'm experimenting this coming weekend LOL! I bought these little fun lights:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/48951-REG/Smith_Victor_401172_Soft_Light_600.html and I'll be shooting my portra NC but I got a filter (80A cokin) and looks like pushing 2 stops per the film suggestion for 3200K lights. Is portraNC 160 NOT good? do I need to start out with like 400 or more for a film? (I'm use to b&w and natural light so this is new but I love a challenge LOL! -I usually shoot trix400 natural light)... With my digital (sorry, said the "d" word LOL!) I shoot strobes and big softboxes but I love film so much I'm experimenting.
     
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    The exposure adjustment for the 80 filter is not a recommendation to push the film. Filters not only change color, but also block the overall level of light, so you just have to rate the film at a lower EI in order to give it enough exposure. The papers that came with your filter should say how much adjustment you need. It should be two stops, but may be plus or minus depending on the specific filter manufacturer. This means that you rate your 160 film at EI 40 if you want to read the meter directly, or keep it at 160 and add two stops to what the meter says. It will be tough if shooting a person with 600W lamps, but it can be done, especially if you get the lamps close enough and use your lens wide open or close to wide open.
     
  24. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I've been using 320T a bit for shooting in museums - specifically car museums where I like to capture the fall of light on sections of the car, producing almost abstract results. I've got ten rolls left, then I need to look for alternatives.

    This interested me:

    Could anyone say if this correction is easy for the home RA-4 printer to achieve or is it a digital thing?
     
  25. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I've found that the Fuji negative films (400 thru 1600) are very forgiving in available light and mixed light, definitely much more so than the (now discontinued) Agfa films. I've been told that the "4th color layer" is responsible for this.
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It was my favorite film. Use it wisely! I am out of it, and I want more. I fear that it won't keep well, however.