Night shooting/Meter

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by doobs, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Hola,

    I've never done any really extensive night shooting and this weekend I plan to buy a handful of rolls of Delta 3200. I'm planning on going downtown soon after sunset and when it starts to get a little darker. I'm going to be using my Pentax K1000 (mainly -- I may bring the ME Super, as well) and I'm not sure about metering. I do not want nor plan to bring a tripod and I'd prefer to stay handheld or at least resting the camera on a flat, stable surface -- if I can find one. I plan on bringing my cable release in case I need to rest it on an object for a long exposure. The downtown area is somewhat lit at night. About metering -- I realize I won't be able to shoot at f/8 and 1/1000 which is a setting I usually like to keep it at on a sunny day. I will be shooting at f/2 and I'm not sure what shutter speed to use. I was told to meter my camera in under streetlights that will be in the picture and to ignore metering in the dark. How will my pictures come out? Will only the street lights be lit up? Does my meter adjust to my ISO that is set into the camera? Any other suggestions?

    EDIT: I'm interested in purchasing a flash as well. What flashes are suggested for the Pentax K1000 (cheap, preferably) and will they help in what I am trying to accomplish? Are there any things that I should change when shooting with a flash?

    Thanks a ton!
    - Steve S. Stevenson, Esq.
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Flash generally won't help unless it's very powerful. If you can afford it, a spot meter would be invaluable for this type of situation (unless you're doing street photography). Your exposure of course will also depend on what speed you shoot the film at. Most people would probably shoot it at 800 or 1600. Its true speed is probably somewhere between 800 and 1000. You'll need to just bracket a lot depending upon how tricky the lighting is. Alternatively, you might consider shooting Kodak TMZ, which if I recall is T-grained, or pushing Tri-X. The Delta films tend to be a bit flat in my opinion. So if you're going for a grainy, punchy look, I'd opt for shooting TX at 800 or 1600 and pushing the development.
     
  3. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    I've always been an Ilford shooter, but I'm open to try new things. I'll pick up some Tri-X and shoot it at 1600. It's downtown, so the light should be somewhat decent. I do plan on doing some street/candid photography (hopefully I wont have to do a lot of running). I do also plan to shoot with my 50mm lens with a doubler (a total of 100mm focal length) and perhaps my telephoto lens -- 80-200mm. This will probably add to my shutter speed, I assume. Do you think I am safe to handhold the camera? My main concern is underexposure.
     
  4. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    I just went out and took some pics with Ye Olde Digital camera to see what I could do. The pictures are not serious, I was just looking for something to hold the camera up against. The camera only goes up to ISO 400 for some strange reason. The results are as follows:

    f/2.8, ISO 400, 4 seconds:
    [​IMG]

    f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/1.3 seconds:
    [​IMG]


    Will I have better luck with the 1600 ISO and the extra open stop? I'm in need of much shorter shutter speeds.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    You can use Delta 3200 and T-Max P3200 (TMZ) at EI 3200. You sacrifice a bit of shadow detail by shooting at over the ISO speed, but it usually doesn't matter. Most of the pictures in this series were shot on TMZ at EI 3200. Typical exposures were around 1/15 or 1/30 at f/4 - I wanted some depth of field.

    One technique for increasing the effective sensitivity of a light meter is to measure off a piece of white paper, then open up two stops. Spot meters tend to be less sensitive than incident and wide-angle reflective meters - in general the narrower the acceptance angle, the less sensitive the meter will be. One of the most sensitive meters is the Profisix, also known as the Luna Pro SBC. These measure down to EV -8 at ISO 100. They are not all that expensive on eBay.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  6. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Hmm, so I'm caught at two angles here, pushing film and shooting 3200 speed film. As you suggested Helen, I do lose shadow detail. So perhaps I'll pick up some of both, and see what I can do. I'm not probably going to purchase a meter by this weekend, but it might be something to add to my holiday list.

    However, shooting TMZ 3200, you think I should be fine with f/2 and around 1/30 or 1/60? I should be able to stand still for that long.

    Also, I was taught to meter off my hand and open up one stop. However, the meter in my camera is not a traditional meter. It is is a bar with a small pointer and the pointer is centered when the image is in the correct exposure range. I've always just metered in the direction of what I was taking a picture of and never bothered to meter off my hand and open up a stop or whatever. Perhaps I'll try that when I'm out taking pictures.
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    As Max has mentioned, there is no ISO 3200 film. Both Delta 3200 and T-Max P3200 (notice the 'P'?) have a speed of around ISO 1000, depending on which developer is used, so using them at EI 3200 is pushing them - hence the slight loss of shadow detail. Neither Ilford nor Kodak hide this fact, by the way, and neither company rate their films as 'ISO 3200'.

    It looks like the lighting in the series I gave the link to was more even than the lighting in your example, so your exposure is going to vary more.

    Good luck,
    Helen
     
  8. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Ah, I get it now. I'll pick up some T-Max P3200 and see what I can do. Did you hand hold all of your shots in that series?

    Also, I do plan on going to a more well lit area. The example was just across the street.

    EDIT: I plan on bringing both cameras (one for telephoto lens and one for normal lens), and while my K1000 has an ISO choice of 3200, my ME super does not. It goes up to 1600, but has a weird wheel thing on top of the ISO selection wheel -- I was told Exposure Compensation? -- that has 1/4x, 1/2x, 1x -- default, 2x and 4x. Would I need any of these? Or should I shoot at 1600?
     
  9. frXnz kafka

    frXnz kafka TPF Noob!

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    Does anyone have experience with Fuji's 1600 speed film? Since Ilford and Kodak's EI3200 films are closer to ISO1000, would you get better results pushing Fuji ISO1600 to 3200? Or are the EI3200 created to respond better to push processing?
     
  10. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Neopan 1600 isn't an ISO 1600 film. Fuji call it an EI 1600 film but unlike Ilford and Kodak they don't give an ISO speed. I think that it is around ISO 800, but I'm not claiming to have done tests to the accuracy required by ISO 6!

    All the shots in that series were hand held. Most of my urban night scenes are hand held. The colour ones are mostly Ektachrome 320T (EPJ, sadly discontinued) pushed two stops.

    If you want to meter at EI 3200 with the ME then you could use the exposure compensation dial. Remember that the sensitivity of TTL meters depends on the speed of the lens.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  11. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    Some crazy math going on here...

    I'll just stick with TMZ3200 and f/2...
    As for metering with it, do I just put the Exposure compensation dial on 2x (1600 x 2 = 3200)?
     
  12. frXnz kafka

    frXnz kafka TPF Noob!

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    I see. Those crafty film manufacturers ;)
     

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