Indoors without flash

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by agellius, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. agellius

    agellius TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    So Cal
    Question from a beginner: I have shot 35mm film for most of my adult life, but it has always been on point-and-shoot or cheap auto-focus cameras. I recently bought a Minolta X-370 and am hoping to learn to take decent pictures for a change. I don't aim to be an artist, really, I just want my photos of special occasions with family and friends to come out nice (although I also look forward to being able to take decent landscape photos while on vacation, etc.).

    The first thing I want to learn is how to take good pictures indoors without flash. I have been studying various "exposure charts" on the Internet. While they list various lighting conditions, they don't specifically mention "indoors during the day": They list "brightly lit home interior at night", "well-lit school auditorium", etc., but not "inside a house in daytime".

    I find the same thing when reading film speed recommendations: On the side of the box it will say, for example, that 800 speed film is good for action shots, for cloudy days, and for flash photography. But not a word concerning "indoors without flash".

    So I guess my question is, what speed film do you recommend for indoor shooting during the day without flash. At night too, for that matter. Is 800 usually adequate or is it worthwhile to spring for 1600? Again I want decent pictures, but I'm only going to have them developed at Costco so obviously I'm not looking for artistic and technical perfection.

    I have a 50mm f/1.7 lens, but have just purchased a 135mm f/2.8 lens. The reason for the latter is that I like to have shallow depth of field -- I really like the effect of being focused on a person's face with the background somewhat out of focus. From my reading I gathered that that is best accomplished with a telephoto lens, so that is what I would like to use indoors. But the 135mm has a smaller maximum aperture so I assume it will not capture as much indoor light as the 50mm. For that reason I wondered if I will be better off with the 1600 film.

    Any other advice for indoor shooting without flash would also be appreciated. I'm hoping to learn as much as I can from you kind people to minimize the amount of film and developing costs wasted during the learning process.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Pete Grange

    Pete Grange TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hartlepool, Enland
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I thought i replied to this but it seems i failed

    If you just put your lens on the camera and set your iso to 800 (with out film in) on most cameras you can still meter for light that will give you a good idea, but both of those lens are quite fast and i would say 800 should be more than fast enougth unless its a very dark situation but then thats quite obvious

    i have actually been shooting a 50 iso roll with a f1.7 50mm lens and taken some shots inside, it is quite bright light and shutter speeds of an 8th or 15th but if i can do it with 50 the 800 should be more than enougth
     
  3. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ohio
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Indoors or out there are three ways to get more light to the image:

    1. Open up the aperture (smaller f/number). This gives less DOF, but that's apparently what you want.
    2. Shower shutter speed. If you are shooting inanimate objects with a tripod then no problem. Shooting animals or children, or shooting hand-held can be a problem.
    3. Faster film. The faster the film the more grain. You need to experiment and find how high your grain tolerance is.
    If you are shooting color the problem of color temperature raises its head. Most film is daylight balanced. If you shoot it under tungsten (incandescent) light you will get a red cast on your print. If you shoot it under fluorescent light you will get a green cast. To shoot under tungsten you will need an 80A filter, and it will cost you two stops of light. To shoot under fluorescent light you need an FL-D filter, also costing two stops.

    I will take the trouble to replace the new spiral fluorescent bulbs with the traditional incandescents. I used to buy high wattage (300 watts or more) bulbs from photo shops. These have a color temperature of 3400 K (necessitating an 80B filter), but are only good for a few hours because their color temperature drops as they age. Also using them in lamps that are not designed for high wattage poses a safety issure.

    I think you will find that aperture is a bigger factor in DOF than focal length. Your 50mm may give you a more shallow DOF than your 135mm if you open up the aperture to the max. In any event aperture gives you more control if you are going to use prime lenses.
     
  4. agellius

    agellius TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    So Cal
    Actor:

    Your explanations are much appreciated, you've given me some things to think about and maybe try out. As far as film speed, I guess I just need to try different ones and see how much grain I can live with.

    I have tried 800 speed film indoors without flash, using the 50mm lens opened all the way to 1.7. In some of my shots, but not most, I got the DOF effect that I wanted, but all of them came out yellowish. I suppose that's the red cast you are referring to from the tungsten filaments. The graininess, to the extent that I even notice it, is tolerable.

    I suppose what I need is to learn to use a flash properly. What I don't like about flash shots, in my own experience, is that they make the subjects come out too bright and the background too dark. I'm sure there are techniques for overcoming that, but as I said I'm a beginner, so I thought it would be easier to just shoot without flash. Now I'm learning that there are limitations to that approach as well.

    Anyway, thanks again to both you guys!
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    35,456
    Likes Received:
    12,795
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Honestly, if you like the look of indoor lighting,and wish to shoot color print film, you owe it to yourself to look into learning how to shoot "bounced flash" shots. if it is done correctly, bounced flash will look a *lot* like indoor lighting, and it will be easily accomplished with ISO 400 speed color print film, which is daylight balanced. Your negatives will also print well at Costco, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, or Rite-Aid.

    Why? Because the negatives will be exposed correctly. The color balance will be correct. And the automatic printing machines will see that your negatives have adequate density. Straight-ahead, on-camera flash looks poor, and I can understand exactly why that would not be what you want to shoot; but skillfully-done bounced flash in most homes is quite possible to do with only a minimum of experience, and can be done at apertures of f/4 to f/8 with ISO 400 color negative film and a Sunpak 383 or a Vivitar 285HV or comparable flash with a Guide NUmber of roughly 110 at ISO 100 in Feet. Like I said, done right, it looks a lot like good indoor room lighting, day or night, and achieving good lighting consistently is within reach, and is relatively easily mastered. Indoor, available light shooting OTOH, demands a lot more practice and skill.
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    +1 ^

    And if you gel your flash (to match the ambient lighting) you can get to the point where you can't tell there was a flash.
     
  7. agellius

    agellius TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    So Cal
    Derrel and Mike:

    You've convinced me, I'm going to do some studying and learn how to use a bounce flash. I had encountered that term before but wasn't sure what it meant. From the sound of it I gather it's basically bouncing the flash off the walls and ceiling rather than aiming it directly at your subject? If so then I can imagine how it would have a better effect than a "direct" flash.

    It's not so much that I like the look of indoor light, it's just that on most special occasions that's where the people I want to photograph are located, sitting around a big table eating and drinking.

    Thanks again, I'm now a man with a plan.
     
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Pssst, google "strobist" ;)

    Good Luck
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    38,216
    Likes Received:
    5,002
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
  10. agellius

    agellius TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    So Cal
    Many thanks! One more question, please, again with the idea of saving time and expense during the learning process:

    Keeping the following in mind: (1) My camera automatically sets itself to 1/60 shutter speed when the flash is attached; (2) I want shallow depth of field, so I want to use the widest possible aperture (I think); (3) I will be bouncing the flash straight-up, off a white, 9-foot ceiling; (4) I will be shooting in a reasonably well-lit home interior at night -- what film speed should I use? Will 100 be too slow?

    As far as the lens, I have two: a 50mm f/1.7 and a 135mm f/2.8. I will shoot at least one experimental roll, switching between the two lenses. So what film speed is recommended for best results, assuming wide-open (or nearly) aperture?

    Thanks again!
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    OK, your sync/shutter speed has no real bearing on your aperture setting it just makes sure that the flash goes off during the time that the shutter is open. This means that you can use a fairly wide range of apertures but were I you and using film I would invest in a flash meter and practice for a bit.

    Honestly, as far as film speed goes in 35mm you could shoot a lot of film and not be happier than you would be with Fuji 400 Superia. Yes, it's a consumer film but you can shoot it in any color temp and it's inexpensive with a fine grain.

    The 800 is good too and can easily be pushed to 1600.
     
  12. T-town photographer

    T-town photographer TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tulsa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I was just about to mention the fuji line of film.

    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

    Michael
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
35mm indoor shooting
,
film great for indoor shooting
,
film photography shooting indoors no flas
,
how to shoot film indoors
,
how to shoot inside film without flash
,

indoor film photography without flash

,
indoor film shooting
,
indoor film speed
,

shooting film indoors

,
shooting film indoors without flash