I wouldn't see it as an issue particularly if your using a tripod and doing long exposures if things get too dark. I can hand hold 35mm camera's reasonably successfully at 1/4sec and for some reason I like doing that. To do that though I will use any available object (wall... post... anything) to lean on.
Of course long exposures in dimly lit streets will render the street pretty desolate for the people may not even be seen in the exposure. So long as your into that I guess. I have always usually used slower films unless I want the effect of grain etc. 100 to 160 iso films are common place for myself personally.
I am new to photography and use 35 mm so take my advice as such...
I settled on tri-x 400 because the advised development time for iso 400 and iso 800 are the same. I would then expose on the same roll shot at both iso. my contact print are then heterogeneous but I would do a small print anyway if I think a photo is interesting so I can then adjust when I print individually
i used to expose lots at f22 @ 45seconds for overhead vapor lamps and doing
"ground-work" i think it was tmy ( 400 ) .. so it might be a few seconds at f4.
before you shoot anything "important" maybe you should bracket the same scene ...
5, 10 20seconds &c
have fun !
Cafe Diplomatico by Missi1005, on Flickr
Arista Premium 400, not pushed. you may need a fast lens but it all depends on the available light.
Night photography, outdoor in available light falls in the EV 3 to 5 range at 100 ISO, let's take EV 4 at ISO 100 as a typical value.
With a 400 ISO film, you could take hand-held pictures at 1/8th@f/2.8 free hand. This exposes you to both motion blur and imprecise focusing, as focusing at night, with whatever camera, is risky stuff (if you go for optimum sharpness, that is).
Using a tripod would make things much easier. You can use a ISO 100 film, take pictures in the same situation at 4"@f/8 or, as you use black & white, you can take to luxury to expose even more (8" or 16") to open the shadows more and have more printing options in the darkroom.
Check reciprocity failure of your film. Prefer films which have no reciprocity failure for this kind of use (until 16" or so of exposure).
EV tables: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_value
PS When using the tripod with these long exposure, beware of ground vibration induced by underground trains, truck, buses, etc. Also consider that during the 16" or so exposure people walking will basically leave almost no trace in the picture. This can be interesting for architectural subject: using long exposure will eliminate the human presence in the picture.
I'm sure it really does depend on exactly what you're shooting at night. But for me, walking around on city streets with average sort of street lamps and stuff, I'm always good with my 400 speed and my 50mm 1.7 lens. I'll shoot wide open and hand held the shots with 1/30, 1/15, or 1/8 shutter speeds with pretty good results most of the time. Sometimes I'll steady myself against a pole or building if need be.
If you are using Tri-X (probably works the same way with other similar films too), the development time for shooting at 400 and 800 is the same, so you can push one stop even if you shoot the same film at 400 during the day.
Also, with most cameras it is possible to change films in the middle of the roll. Just make sure you don't rewind it all the way in to the cartridge (this may take some practice on some cameras). Mark the roll with the number of exposures. When changing back, just shoot the amount of exposures taken with the lens cap on, and you are back where you started. This way you can use one body but different films for daytime / night time.
I'd try opening your lens all the way up and shoot at the lowest speed you know from experience you can hold..and see if you like the results. In the end, it is a night shot and you probably want the shadows to go black anyway so. ...Missi's picture above is a good example. If you shoot handheld a lot at night, I'd highly suggest a range finder of some flavor...that alone is good for about 2 shutter speeds.