IS0400- too slow at night/indoors, too fast outside?
I'm not a fan of tripods, as I'm usually out and walking around. I'm currently using lots of ISO400 films and I'm about to finally get down and process my own soon enough. My issue is, ISO400 films feel too fast during the day (bumped up at 1/2000 F8) and too slow at night (can't 1/15s at F2)
Should I just switch to ISO 100 during the day and push the beejesus out of TMAX400/TRI-X Delta 3200 for when I'm inside bars, etc?
Jack of all trades master of none.
There is no such thing as a universal film. Each has pros and cons.
To accommodate the different lighting conditions, you need to accept that you will need to use more than one film.
I use ISO 100 film as my standard film for outdoor shooting during daylight, for the exact reason you mention. 400 speed film would almost max out the controls on my camera at f16 @ 1/500 sec, leaving me with very little to no exposure control.
And indoors, besides pushing the film, use FAST GLASS, like a f1.4 lens. I learned the hard way, that pushing film with a slow lens will not make up the light lost by that slow lens. There is image quality reduction when you push film.
I use ISO 400 at EI 250, so even in bright sun, I shoot 1/300 f/16 (my top shutter speed).
Even at rated speed you should have 1/400 f/16.
Double-check your metering technique if you are getting 1/2000 f/8.
Indoors, I don't know. Maybe someone will strike a match. I've been known to use other people's flash (use B and synchronise your shot with somebody else taking a flash picture)
Do you wish to use flash?
Originally Posted by GarageBoy
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
You don't say where you live but in my part of the U.K. at this time of year D3200 is fine in both daylight and relative darkness but given this isn't the case for you then you have two options:
1. Use ND or B&W filters such as an orange, green or red
2. Swop films as you have mentioned
Well there may be a third option which gives some flexibility but yes it does involve a 400 film. My very short experience with TMax 400 is that you can switch between 400 and 800 and develop for 800. This still might mean a filter during the day but you might get away with a yellow which alters the negs less but of course 800 needs to be fast enough.
Based on your examples this would give 1/30 at f2 which might be enough. Incidentally you could go to f11 and 1/1000. OK the DoF is greater than f8 but is this a problem? I assume that 1/2000 is only a problem because you don't have this as a shutter speed?
There isn't anything wrong with fast shutter speeds per se if the camera supports these
Finally just remember that B&W has a great range so I would think that overexposure by rating at 200 if this is necessary during the day and developing for 400 but exposing at 800 should be OK. You can compensate with good old VC paper
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Originally Posted by GarageBoy
I use ISO 400 film most of the time. Sure, it can't handle extreme situations like you mentioned but it does handle most situations very well. To me, it's very convenient. If I was going somewhere on bright sunny day, like beach, pool, or somewhere and it's going to be like that all day long, I load ISO 100. If I'm going to be indoors and flashes aren't allowed or not going to be used, I usually push Tmax400 or Tri-X to 1600 or go straight to Delta 3200. Otherwise, I just load ISO 400.
I also don't load film until I get to the site, and I typically take 100 and 400 with me.
I experimented with Tri-X and Tmax400 pushed to 1600 and compared that against Delta 3200 at 1600. They were actually remarkably similar.
I'm not sure what camera you are using but mine can handle 1/4000. I also don't hesitate to stop down way more than f/8 - unless of course I need shallower DOF.
Various film speed exists for purpose. So why not take advantage if you are going to be in extreme situations?
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
You'd maybe change your tune shooting medium format with filters; 400 in full sun will give f/10 1/125 with red-25, or f/14 1/125 with a CPL, both of which make for a decent handheld hyperfocal shot.
If you need shallow DOF in full sun, stick a CPL on there (you DO carry a CPL at all times outdoors, right?). Most 35mm SLRs can do at least 1/4000 and with a teensy bit of overexposure you can happily shoot at f/2 in direct sun. If that's not shallow enough, geez, get closer to the subject or something. Or shoot 1.5 stops over (totally fine on any ISO400 negative you can name) for f/1.4.
TMY2 will do a very good 1600 in Xtol though it's contrasty. D3200 likewise without the huge contrast but the grain is much larger.
I find 400 to be a good speed for a dim cloudy day, or for shooting in indirect-daylight situations like under a tree canopy. In full sun it's often too fast, yeah.
Nighttime and indoors are such variable lighting situations that it's hard to generalize. I've done street shooting at night with an f/4 lens and a push to 800; if it had been an f/2.8 lens I could have been shooting at box speed. But those were some pretty well-lit streets, and there are plenty of situations where even 3200 isn't really fast enough for comfort.
Your suggestion---slower film in daylight, push in darkness---is basically what I do most of the time. I guess you could also carry a monopod to the bar (or brace your camera on a chair, pool cue, drunk, or whatever else is handy) or invest in seriously fast lenses. Or try putting together an infrared flash; I never got it to work to my satisfaction, but some people have had good results that way.
San Diego, CA, USA
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-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
I'd try something like Ilford XP2 Super 400. You can over expose this by many stops, and it still looks great. Also, according to Ilford, you can shoot this as ISO 800 without any development changes. I shoot it a lot, it's very flexible indeed.
There isn't a lot you can't shoot in a city at f1.4 @1/30th with 400 asa film. With the Leica I can go down to 1/15th and still get acceptable results, or even down to 1/8th, if I'm leaning against something...
During the day I just use an ND filter if I want to shoot wide open.
In my opinion 400 asa strikes a very good balance. It works in the brightest of sunlight (f16 @ 1/500th), yet still has the reserves to work indoors during the day and in to the night. And of course you can push to 1250/1600 in an emergency.
The ND filter is the trick for added flexibility on very bright days.
Obviously Tri-X and HP5+ come to mind, but TMY2- 400 has the advantage of offering 400 asa speed and the grain of a traditional 100 asa film. So, TMY-2 400 almost is a universal film. It's also a very linear film, so you get lots of shadow detail at night.
Last edited by Harry Lime; 02-21-2013 at 09:55 PM. Click to view previous post history.