Film for night ?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by EZzing, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. EZzing

    EZzing TPF Noob!

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    I want to take some shots of a beautifully lighted building before the week is out. I picked up a tripod and I have a remote cable for holding the shutter open. I will be using a 35mm because I think I need a wide angle lens and I have one for it.

    What type of color film should I use and which asa speed.

    What aperture setting should I use and how long should I hold the shutter open?

    If you're beginning to suspect that I don't know the 1st thing about night photography, you're getting warm !

    Seriously any and all helpful suggestions are appreciated!:hail:

    Bill
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    use ISO 100. Use a tripod and you can get the right exposure using shutter speed.

    You can usually get a nice exposure in around 1 or 2 seconds depending on the subject and how fast your lens is.

    However, you can go all the way to 30 seconds if you really want/need to...

    I would'nt know specific settings for you though, cause I don't know what your scene looks like. Good luck!
     
  3. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    See if you can pick up a 12 exposure roll of ASA 100 and bracket. Pick an aperture and stick with it. Vary your shutter speed. Or vice-versa. Pick a speed and vary your f-stop. Write everything down. With my medium format, and on ASA 50, the lens is usually about half-way closed and my speed is about 8 seconds. Not too bad.
     
  4. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Avoid using a zoom lens at all costs for exposures longer than a few seconds. Even well-built ones can exhibit noticeable problems during very long exposures.

    As for film, I would opt for Portra UC or VC ISO 100 if available, if you want the colors to pop.

    If you need to shoot fast, I would opt for Fuji. The EI of the high speed Superia is pushing 800.

    Oh, and stop down. All the way. That's why the tripod's there.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Bill,

    There's quite a wide variety of film you could use. If I am shooting reversal (slide) film, and using a tripod, I usually prefer to use a tungsten-balanced film for lit buildings. That would mean either Kodak Ektachrome 64T (EPY) or Fuji 64T Type II (RTP-II). The latter is the more recent film, but they are both good films. EPY needs no reciprocity correction for exposures of up to 10 seconds, and RTP-II is OK up to 64 seconds. As you have probably guessed, these are ISO 64 films.

    Negative film, with its ability to cope with a greater brightness range (dynamic range, sometimes called latitude) tends to be more suitable for night scenes. The exact exposure is not as critical, and it gives more capability of changing the colour balance during printing.

    I use both Kodak Portra 160 NC and Fuji Pro 160S. The slightly more contrasty versions of these are Portra 160 VC and Pro 160C. They are all excellent films - in this case the Kodak films are the more recent. These are all ISO 160 films, but I would suggest that you expose them as if they were 64- or 80-speed films (called EI 64 and EI 80*) but get them processed normally. Kodak suggest that you don't need reciprocity correction for exposures up to one second for Portra films - in practice I find that I can go up to about two seconds before I need to apply reciprocity correction. Pro 160S can be used up to about four seconds with no reciprocity correction.

    There are plenty of other great films, including Kodak Ultra 100 which would be my recommended film for night scenes if you can get it. This is an ISO 100 film, and it is fine for exposures up to 10 seconds. I suggest using it at EI 50 or 64.

    The extra exposure helps when colour balancing at the printing stage. If you are shooting in daylight you can use these films closer to their box speed.

    For hand-held work at night I use mostly Portra 800 or Fuji Superia 1600. The current version of Portra 800 is an outstanding film for its speed, but the Fuji 800 equivalent (Pro 800Z, which is NPZ renamed) is also a good film. Unfortunately Kodak have stopped making my favourite film for hand-held night shots - Ektachrome 320T (EPJ). There was no Fuji equivalent.

    Exposures for lit buildings can vary enormously. For EI 64, try something between 1 s and 5 s at f/8 - going from brightly-lit buildings to darker ones.

    *As an aside, the ISO rating of a colour film has been obtained by following the relevant ISO standard (which are basically the ASA/ANSI standards applied internationally) and a colour film has only one ISO speed. Anything else should be referred to as an EI setting, EI being Exposure Index. EI and ISO are measured on the same scale. Though the film manufacturers follow this (with the occasional slip-up) not everyone on the web does, so ISO, EI and ASA are pretty much interchangeable in a lot of people's minds, and it doesn't matter a great deal. Some of us think that the difference between EI and ISO is a useful distinction, however. The ISO speed standard for digital cameras is widely ignored, both by the camera manufacturers and by photographers. How many times have you seen a reference to a digital camera being set to EI 1600 rather than ISO 1600?

    Good luck,
    Helen
     
  6. EZzing

    EZzing TPF Noob!

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    NEAL SIDEBURNS and HELEN!

    Thanks for the advice. I looked for 100 speed film but came up empty handed.

    I'm happy to say I picked up a pro pack of portra 160 VC for the 35mm and the same for the 120 camera.

    I should have worn my glasses and checked the film more carefully. As I was getting ready to load my cameras this morning I noticed the experation date on the 120 was 04/2006 and the 35mm was 06/2007. I'm going to shoot them anyway and the price did seem good at $9.00 for a 5 roll box.

    I need to get it right the first time because security is very tight around the building and they don't allow photography.

    I can get a good shot from a neighboring property but they have a gate located there and share a common drive.


    This will add to the excitement for sure. I'm thinking of securing the tripod to the top area of a 12 foot stepladder which is an inconspicuous bright yellow in color.

    I almost feel like a 53 year old teenager plotting this bit of adventure
    .

    There is also a miniature carnival at a nearly defunct shopping center a few miles from the building. I would like to capture a ferris wheel in motion , but the closest thing is a hammer ride that could turn out nice with the bright neon on side of the moving part. I want to catch it in motion as they slowly gain momentum to make it to the top and put the occupants upside down.

    Sincere thanks again for the great advice!

    Bill
     
  7. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Are you sure it is a good idea to take pictures if photography is not allowed? Make sure what you are going to do is legal or you may get into serious trouble depending on the nature of the building you want to photograph.
     
  8. EZzing

    EZzing TPF Noob!

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    HI Steph, the building is not governmental or anything like that. It is a religious structure and I won't be on their property at all.

    I guess it's my rebellious nature, but I believe if a structure is in public view anyway, it's fair game even if it offends the occupant's religious sensitivities.


    There are no local ordinances or penalties that I'm aware of for offending someone by taking a picture of their structure.


    The adjoining property owner may have a problem, but I am a long time customer of theirs.

    I would prefer not to have a confrontation, but I'll take my chances. It's absolutely the most beautiful building I've seen, day or night!

    Thanks,

    Bill
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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  10. EZzing

    EZzing TPF Noob!

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    Once again thanks to my internet friend, Helen!

    I downloaded the photographers rights. I have a copy in my wallet now.

    I am a firm believer in our civil rights. If we don't exercise them, we will lose them! We should all carry this with us.

    Sincere thanks,

    Bill in Lilburn Georgia
     
  11. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    I may be crazy, but don't you want a 1600 or 3200 (800 at the least) speed film for night/low light shooting? I've always shot 100-160 speed film on sunny days...
     
  12. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    It depends on whether or not you want to use a tripod, whether the subject is moving or not and, to a lesser extent, how great a brightness range you want to capture.

    Best,
    Helen
     

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