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  1. #1

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    What ISO film with flash for indoors?

    I hope this is the right forum for this question. I'm confused with the available options for film for indoor use. There's ISO 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 negative film options available.

    In terms of which film to suit the situations, am I right to assume that 160 iso film is only for outdoors during the day time with fill-flash as necessary, while iso 400 is for darker outdoors and indoors with fill-flash, and iso 800, 1600 and 3200 film is "mainly" for available light shooting.

  2. #2
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by film_guy View Post
    I hope this is the right forum for this question. I'm confused with the available options for film for indoor use. There's ISO 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 negative film options available.

    In terms of which film to suit the situations, am I right to assume that 160 iso film is only for outdoors during the day time with fill-flash as necessary, while iso 400 is for darker outdoors and indoors with fill-flash, and iso 800, 1600 and 3200 film is "mainly" for available light shooting.
    Depending on whether flash is your main light source, if your flash(es) is/are strong enough, and/or your lenses are fast enough and your subjects are close enough, you can shoot with slow film with flash.

    -Anupam

  3. #3
    dmr
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    I usually avoid flash, but when I use it I'll usually use plain Fuji off-the-shelf 200 or sometimes 400.

    No particular reason, actually.

  4. #4

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    In purely practical terms, I guess you could classifiy things that way. I would tend to judge film in terms of grain, color rendition and taste, then conditions, because there are always exceptions. For example you may shoot with 400 outdoors if you have a goal of large depth of field and/or very short exposures, say for fast action. On the other hand, if you have a flash that can produce lots of light, then shooting indoors with a slow film works just fine. Available light depends on your ability to steady the camera, and whether or not you need to worry about subject movement. And there are lots of ways to steady a camera without resorting to tripods, and such.
    Since my taste runs toward fine grain, and good color if it's not B&W, I tend to use films around 100 iso, rarely anything as fast as 400.

  5. #5
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    Perhaps you should start with the variables that are already set for you. For example: when I had to make flash shots for a work assignment, I bought a flash that was within my budget, a Sunpak 383. I was going to shoot in a hotel during a busy conference, so that means handheld on-camera flash that provides all the light. Set.

    Next item on the list, what kind of photos I wanted to take. I had to take people pictures, from headshots to waist-level. I figured a 50mm lens was a pleasing and useful focal length for this. I also use the 50mm because mine is an f1.4, which also helps focussing (I'm using manual focus). Set.

    Then I use a diffuser, because I shoot people, which cuts about 2.5 stops. Set.

    Given these parameters, I can now look at the distance scales on my flash. I take most pictures between 0.6 - 5m, so I use the auto mode. Set.

    If my film were 100 ISO, my aperture is f8. Given the -2.5 loss from the diffuser, that means I would need to work around f3.5, which is not much depth of field, even in 35mm. If my film were a 400 ISO, on the other hand, I can work at ~f8/f5.6, which is much better.

    Now I can pick my film, and I was working with color. So I picked my favorite 400 ISO color negative film (Kodak Portra NC). Had I wanted to work with slide instead, I would compromise for 200 ISO, because that's the faster slide film I like (Kodak E200). Set, and ready to go.

    Took me a while to figure it all out; start by laying out the variables you can't change, and then calculate the remaining ones. You'll find out that there are surprisingly few options in the end.
    Using film since before it was hip.


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  6. #6

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    'In terms of which film to suit the situations, am I right to assume that 160 iso film is only for outdoors during the day time with fill-flash as necessary, while iso 400 is for darker outdoors and indoors with fill-flash, and iso 800, 1600 and 3200 film is "mainly" for available light shooting.'.............

    .............There's no mistake about why each film is usually double/half the succeeding film, they can of course be used in terms of an EV. Considerations of grain and patina notwithstanding, you're shooting with strobe, you run out of power/need more depth of field, you can double the film speed/force develop, or use a film w/double the speed, same as opening up the lens/increasing shutter times.

    The reverse is also true, you've got too much of 'X' or 'Y' and you use a slower film, which is why, depending upon the issue/problems/sudden ideas/inspirations that always come up, no matter what I shoot, I have several films w/several diff. films speeds ready when I shoot.

    This is also gives you freedom/flexibility when you're using variables filtration that sucks up power like a sponge.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  7. #7

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    If I shoot folks in b&w with dark skin, I'll many times use an orange filter(21), ..............since skin has red in it, and since the filter sucks up 2 stops, I'll use Ilford HP5(I rate at 320), and set my meter to EI-80, no calucations/hassle, and this works a lot better for me than reaching for Ilford FP4 which starts out @ISO 125(on the box [I rate it @ EI-100]).

    Now if I wanted to open up for more selective focus, then I reach for the FP4, which I meter/rate @EI-25 behind an orange filter, since I've now got a much slower film speed.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  8. #8

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    It depends on how big an area you want to light, how powerful a flash you are using, what flash technique (direct, bounce etc) you want to use and how much depth of field (and so what lens aperture) you need.

    David.

  9. #9
    tbm
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    I've always used Fuji Acros 100 and Delta 100 indoors with my Metz flash on my Leicas and have always gotten wonderful results. One day last year, I tried several 400 speed films in the same environment (Neopan 400, Tri-X, and a forgotten third) and I disliked the grain and contrast immensely.

    Re color film, I've always used Fuji Reala 100 when using my Metz flash on my Leicas and, again, have always gotten superb results. Several years ago, I photographed the interior floors of a four-story mansion in Rock Island, Illinois with that film and all the flash shots were grain-free, sharp, and full of beautiful colors.

    Terry

  10. #10
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    Unlike the others, I have no immediate recommendation to your question.

    First, let me ask you a few questions:

    1. What camera do you use?

    2. Do you already own a flash unit?

    3. If not, what is your budget?

    Quite frankly, if your shooting say a Nikon F5 with a SB-800 flash unit, the flash will auto-adjust to your film speed via the DX setting and the ambient light conditions as read through the lens!

    While use of flash can vary somewhat - generally it is all close in work - so if you think of my above example as the "total no worry" way to go - you adjust downward in terms of the capabilities of your flash unit and camera to attain the same (and maybe better, at times) result.

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