You could get a tripod or a monopod.
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.
TMax 3200 is amazing.
Originally Posted by Jim Jones
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.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
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.
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).
Originally Posted by CCOS
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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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 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.
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.
An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
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.
Last edited by Lamar; 10-20-2013 at 10:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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!
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_