The XA has a backlight compensation switch on the bottom of the camera that will increase exposure by 1.5 stops. That doesn't help the motion problem, though. If you want less blur, you will need a faster lens or a flash. No way around that.
Put some Ilford or Kodak 3200 film in the camera and fire away. Both those films have true speeds of about 800 anyway. Just because the film setting doesn't go beyond 800 doesn't mean you can't put faster film in there. The XA was made before DX bar coding was used, so it does not read the "instructions." These are amazing little cameras for pulling good exposures out of poor lighting.
You can easily focus in almost zero light by scale focusing, but unfortunately the [original] xa has no distance markings. I have an xa2 with which you could zone focus, but... scale focusing would be the way to go and has been used for a long time in available light shooting.
You can pick up a yashica electro 35 with a fast lens for next to nothing and scale focus with that.
You can of course shoot fuji 800z at 1600 or so; I'd develop for 3200 if you rate it at 1600. You can also push provia 400x to 1600 and beyond, look over at rangefinderforum.
Last edited by keithwms; 05-10-2010 at 09:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Low light photography can be challenging, especially with film.
The other method of capture offers some cameras with capacity to have high ISO settings.
Here is a snapshot I made of my wife holding our youngest grand daughter with a small incandescent lamp on the table at camera left. Lots of neat stuff can now be made with low available light.
If anybody has a Ouja board they could try to use it to channel Stanley Kubrick. He shot several scenes in the movie "Barry Lyndon" entirely by candle light. But, then, again, he used an ƒ-0.7 lens designed by NASA to do it!
IME, forget about meters. Shoot wide open, at the slowest possible hand holdable shutter speed, and you'll be fine. In-camera meters stink anyhow, but especially in extremely dark or extremely light and/or extremely contrasty light.
A faster lens will help. F/2.8 is pushing it for being usable when shooting very low light work with film. IME, rangefinders are also difficult in low light (slower and more inaccurate than an SLR), though many rangefinder users feel otherwise.
A good place to start for hand-held low light work in bars, clubs, etc. would be a good-ol' 50mm f/1.4 on an SLR.
The Canon AE-1 is one of my favorites for low light pix, because the "soft" electronic shutter button seems to fire the camera so smoothly, and perhaps because the camera is so light. When using this camera, I am very successful when shooting at '30, while with my F-1s and FTbs, I have some easily visible camera shake probably half the time at '30. I have about as much success with the AE-1 at '15 as I do with the pro bodies at '30. Not bad.
Then, there is pushing your film. You can overdevelop any film to increase contrast. It won't give you shadow detail, but that is usually pretty boring stuff in low-light situations anyhow, if you ask me.
You are probably better off not pushing if shooting in very high contrast light, however, as all it will do is block up your highest tones. You'll lose colors of lights, most notably.
So, fast film, fast lens, development tweaks (combined with paying attention to he contrast in which you shot, so you know whether or not pushing will help you), and a steady and smooth SLR are my suggestions.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
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One thing you could try is flashing your film with a second exposure to give you an overall density of .05 - .10. It is really amazing how much detail will show up in the negative. Then make a print on VC paper with a low contrast filter. Easier to do with sheet film but works with roll film in the darkroom if you can't do it in the camera.
Why are there no speaker jacks on a stereo camera?
" How do you photograph without light, with great difficulty
Regrettably, the wratten filters for IR (and wratten in general) have gotten really pricey.
I have a (getting brittle 25 year old) wratten 89 that I have used over a 283 etc. flash head.
It can be fired bounced off the ceiling, because it does emit a visible dull glow if pointed straight at the subject.
It works great with HIE, and ok with SFX to take photos 'in the dark' SLR, and f 5.6 or so and zone focus with a wide angle lens.
Such an approach could work as 'open flash' with an XA. Set the camera steady, and fire the camera with the lens at f/4 or f/5.6, and fire the flash while the shutter is open for the 10 seconds or so that the camera is trying to gather enough ambient light.
A deep red, like 29 filter could even be tried with conventional films.
my real name, imagine that.
I used to photograph in jazz clubs which had practically no light with a Leica and an f2 lens. Hand held at around 1/10 second. No flash, no noise, no interruption for the activity. In these cases I was not worried about shadow detail as the only important parts were the highlights - faces, horns, etc. These gave a much better feel of the club than a fully lit image would have done.
Set you camera wide open, as slow a shutter speed as possible, brace your elbows against your body or the bar and fire way. You may be very happy with the results.
[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]
I'll just basically second what has been said. I think your camera just isn't suitable. 2.8 is slow in my spoiled world of fast 35mm. An f/2.8 XA with 800 is 4 stops slower than f/1.4 @ 3200. That's huge.
Wait a tick.... has no one posted this??...
"Infrared Flash with an XA2" - http://www.kpraslowicz.com/gallery/i...h-photography/