best at iso 1600 - 35mm

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by dusty_p., Oct 13, 2011.

  1. hi guys, I need to increase the shutter speed in certain situations (I can't use faster lens, or additional lighting, or tripod, etc etc) and the only thing left is shooting the fastest film that my camera will take which happened to be iso 1600. I am interested in your suggestions since I'm trying to minimize grain at those speeds and have decent tonal range etc.... Anyone has experience with the Neopan 1600? Also, should I be looking at iso 1600 films or shoot 400 at iso 1600 and then compensate at processing; and if so, which one tri-x, t-max or the ilfords? I process my 35mm at a lab but I can ask what they use and method of processing. Much thanks in advance.
  2. If you want to minimize grain, pull your film. I recommend delta 3200 @1600 or neopan 1600@ 1200. C41 films have less grain but less tonal range as well, if I remember right. Tho, if you really want to cut the grain, shoot digital...
  3. Neopan 1600 is wonderful, but I think it's been discontinued. At this point I agree with Leslie: if you need ISO 1600, use Delta or TMax 3200. Actual ISO for those films is around 1000, so at 1600 you're not really pulling them, just not pushing them as far as you could.
  4. Ilford Delta 3200 at 1600, in a suitable developer, will produce reasonable grain and true shadow detail. I prefer Microphen but I've seen good results from other photographers using Ilford DD-X, Kodak Xtol and other developers. I've also used Diafine with Delta 3200 but it tends to enhance the fluffy popcorn grain of that film.
    I've also seen excellent results from photographers using T-Max 3200 at 1600. Never got around to trying TMZ myself since I was satisfied with Delta 3200. In the same situation (same theater at night or under stage lights), the TMZ photos taken by an acquaintance had finer grain but less true shadow detail in the darkest zones. My photos with Delta 3200 were noticeably grainier but less contrasty and with closer to true shadow detail. It's a tossup, mostly based on personal aesthetics. I actually preferred the other photogapher's TMZ photos from that same theater, but that's mostly because she's a better photographer.
    Either way, with Delta 3200 or TMZ, 1600 isn't much of a push, pretty comparable to rating Tri-X at 500-800. But you'll get better results with a developer suited to pushing. I was disappointed with ID-11 and Delta 3200 at 1600.
    T-Max 400 pushed to 1600 in Microphen will have finer grain than Delta 3200 but not true shadow detail. However it's an appealing look, not too contrasty, and I generally prefer it over pushed Tri-X. Tri-X at 1600 in Diafine or Microphen has also been very satisfactory for me for years.
    "You might be interested in this thread - Tmax 100 at EI 3200-6400"
    TMX cannot be underexposed that much and produce much of an image other than in the highlight areas. Every time I see claims for pushing a b&w film more than three stops, it turns out the photographer biased the exposure situation - consciously or unconsciously. Every example I've seen to support such claims either showed a photo taken in daylight or the photographer biased the metering and exposure in such a way that the film was not really rated as claimed.
    The photos taken in daylight - used to support such claims - usually showed good detail and tonality from the lower midtones to highlights, but the background foliage was absolutely black with no discernible detail. In the examples of indoor or low light photos, the photographer would describe a typical EV 4 or 5 lighting scenario but exposure settings that would have underexposed the film only 2 or 3 stops, not the claimed 4 or 5 stops.
    I'll believe those claims when someone demonstrates it can be done using a control situation and methodology that can be duplicated by other objective persons: standard procedures for lighting, metering, exposure settings, development, etc.
  5. Lex, I don't know what to tell you other than that is what TMAX 100 pushed looks like.There is no bias or even relationship to how you under expose the shot, you push 3 stops -> you are looking at film pushed 3 stops.
    TMAX 100 at EI 3,200 has much smaller grain than TMAX 3200 at EI 3,200. The pushed film has the midtones a lot more compressed though.
    It seems from your comments that you have pushed TMAX 100 3+ stops and didn't get good results. Please post them - I would like to see them for analysis. Thank you.
  6. I can also tell you TMAX 100 pushed looks fantastic on a 4 feet by 7 feet canvas. (Direct observation nose to the print).
  7. When it is not pushed the midtones look buttery like this:
  8. I await Lex's rebuttal. Pending that, if it weren't for Mauro's efforts, I'd be fooled into thinking that film cannot match a 12Mpx DSLR, let alone a 24Mpx one (and how about the claim that DSLRs out-resolve 6x4.5!). I thought EV -2.0 was impressive - but EV -5? Wow.
  9. Mauro, I've seen your example photos. They're lovely, aesthetically. You're a skilled photographer and could probably wring out detail from negatives in the darkroom or via scanning that would defy the efforts of most amateurs.
    But as I said before, the only worthwhile test would be to decide up on a methodically sound control situation that can be duplicated by all participants who care to test your assertions. Otherwise we're debating personal aesthetics, and not any sort of methodology.
  10. XTOL (60% of total solution) + Distilled Water + Love + Ascorbic Acid.
    "My own" simple times for TMAX 100 (I vary them often though):
    Temp: 75-76 F===>
    EI 100: 6.5 min
    EI 200: 7.0 min
    EI 400: 8.0 min
    EI 800: 9.0 min
    EI 1600: 10.0 min
    EI 3200: 11.0 min
    Temp: 78-80F===>
    EI 1600: 8.5 min
    EI 3200: 9.5 min
    EI 6400: 10.5 min
  11. Lex, in general I don't push for speed's sake but for contrast.
  12. These are two small crops from almost identical shots (you can tell by the tiny car and the railroad worker that they are slightly different times).
    The top was developed at 75F for 7 minutes. The bottom at 80F for 10.5 mins.
  13. The shutter speed and apertures were the same.
  14. the dude at my lab also advised me that I'll be "pushing it" if I push more than 1 stop, which is within film's natural range. Going against that, I just switched the iso to 1600 in camera that was already loaded hp5. Should I tell them to push it 2 stops or more? I am looking for well exposed negatives.
  15. Mauro, how much ascorbic acid?
  16. Half a teaspoon every 5 liters.
  17. Mauro, thanks for the comparison. This is a perfect demonstration that N+ development affects the highlights and not the shadows.
    What does it mean to call this "push" processing? I don't know. Seems like N+4 development to me to get the highlights up where you want them. When I learned the zone system, nobody talked about N+ development as increasing the film speed, but rather for contrast management. Mauro, it sounds like that's how you are thinking of it.
  18. Dusty P. , Oct 16, 2011; 12:36 a.m.
    the dude at my lab also advised me that I'll be "pushing it" if I push more than 1 stop, which is within film's natural range. Going against that, I just switched the iso to 1600 in camera that was already loaded hp5. Should I tell them to push it 2 stops or more? I am looking for well exposed negatives.​
    He's correct. If I'm recalling correctly what the former U.S. representative for Ilford wrote on's b&w forum several years ago, the maximum true speed of Ilford HP5+ was 500, when developed in either Microphen or DD-X. That was based on the standard methodology for determining a film's true speed.
    However HP5+ pushes fairly well. Ilford offers useful and practical advice on push processing their films. Push processing documents on Ilford website.
    I prefer Microphen stock solution for pushing, but there are other suitable developers. HP5+ pushed to 1600 should do well in Microphen stock solution for 10-12 minutes at 68F. See Ilford's PDF on push processing for additional practical advice.
    In practical applications - mostly of live theater or other available light candids - HP5+ at 1600 in a suitable developer will have some grain noticeable in brighter midtones and highlights, but nothing objectionable.
    Keep in mind that your results will depend on certain variables. For example, metering in typical low light scenarios can be very tricky. Over the decades I've used many different cameras with built-in meters - SLRs, rangefinders, etc. - as well as handheld incident and spot meters. Knowing how to meter appropriately for low light candids is essential to getting good results.
    For example, a camera like the Olympus OM-1 or other SLR from that era using averaging metering can be fooled by attempting to meter stage performers against a black or very dark background, or against the opposite - a white or very bright background. If you're not familiar with the quirks of your camera's metering, you may get results that vary wildly from what you might expect.
    Take a look at Fred Parker's Ultimate Exposure Computer for guidelines to typical exposure conditions, including those that cover virtually every conceivable available light scenario. When you know the typical indoor home scenario is EV 4-6, and the typical stage lighting is EV 6-9, and how to use that quickly to determine the appropriate shutter speed and aperture, you'll be more confident and get consistently good results and won't be disappointed by a meter that's easily fooled.
    Typically if I'm photographing people I'll try to get into light comparable to my subjects and meter off the palm of my hand. With live theater performances I can usually check the stage lighting ahead of time. If not, I'll use a spot meter and meter off the subjects or a suitable bright midtone area.
  19. Most of this is a digression unless folks are suggesting the OP use TMX pushed to 3200 for the situation he described, rather than a more suitable faster film and less extreme push.
    Mauro, have you published your methodology anywhere, either on a discussion forum or elsewhere online? I'd like to see a description of your methodology so I can try to replicate your process.
    "There is no bias or even relationship to how you under expose the shot, you push 3 stops..."​
    I may be misinterpreting your statement here. If you're asserting that exposure has no relationship to pushing, then you seem to be describing N+ development to control contrast. For example, if you rate TMX at the ISO of 100, but give it extended development equivalent to three stops, then you're not pushing the film. You're extending development to increase contrast.
    Again, I may be misinterpreting your statements, but you seem to be deviating from the widely accepted definition of push processing. The widely accepted concept of "push processing" means underexposing the film, followed by a suitable development process to compensate for the underexposure.
    " are looking at film pushed 3 stops."​
    I'm not sure what I'm looking at until I have a better understanding of your methodology.

    "TMAX 100 at EI 3,200 has much smaller grain than TMAX 3200 at EI 3,200. The pushed film has the midtones a lot more compressed though."​
    Frankly, I'd be surprised if there are any midtones at all in TMX underexposed five stops. Perhaps your underexposure is less drastic than five stops. And a good scanner can salvage thin detail that would be impractical with conventional darkroom optical enlargers.
  20. Sure. This is how I push TMAX:
    XTOL (60% of total solution) + Distilled Water + Love + Ascorbic Acid.
    "My own" simple times for TMAX 100 (I vary them often though):
    Temp: 75-76 F===>
    EI 200: 7.0 min
    EI 400: 8.0 min
    EI 800: 9.0 min
    EI 1600: 10.0 min
    EI 3200: 11.0 min
    Temp: 78-80F===>
    EI 1600: 8.5 min
    EI 3200: 9.5 min
    EI 6400: 10.5 min
  21. The train example was developed at 80F for 10.5 mins.
    - I used a tank with 2 120 rolls loaded with 5 inversions and 2 taps every 30 seconds.
    - Stop bath for 30 seconds.
    - Fix for 8 mins.
    - Rinse for 2 mins.
    - Hypo for 2 mins.
    - Rinse for 6 mins.
    - Soaked in PhotoFlo for 1 min.
    - Hanged to dry.
    - Scanned with a Coolscan 9000 with glass holder and all adjustments other than auto focus off.
    - Brightened a tad more in PS with curves.
  22. The shots were taken at 1/125 sec f11 I believe. I metered with a Sekonic 358 excluding the sun and read EV9. I spot metered with a 758 and measured most areas within +3 and -3 of EV9 (excluding specular reflections).
  23. It is not surprising to keep midtones when the majority of the scene was contained in 6 stops since Tmax at EI 100 has about 15 stops of DR. In general you give up one stop of DR for every stop you push.
  24. This is what the negative would look like in the 6 stops around EV 9 (simplified). Note that even with this amount of pushing, the 6th stop gets very dense but does not reach the full density allowed by the film.
  25. Gradation would be sacrificed though - as you can see.
    Bright areas would be blown (around the reflections on the rails).
  26. What's more important, my daughter approved it before delivery:
  27. My vote is for HP5 and push it two stops. Way back when I shot an open shade portrait using Delta 3200 rated at 1600 and HP5 +2 and for me HP5 was the clear winner. If reducing the amount of grain is important to you, it doesn't even come close.
  28. Faster film will produce larger grain but retain the midtones more effectively.
    For example:
    - Tmax 400 at EI 1600 produces larger grain than Tmax 100 at EI 1600, but it will retain the midtones better.
    - Tmax 3200 produces larger grain than Tmax 400 at EI 3200, but it will retain the midtones better.
  29. This is TMAX 3200 at 6400:
  30. This is TMAX 400 at 3200:
  31. All things considered, if 1600 speed is needed, I would use TMAX 400 and push it just 10% development time.
    If the goal is grain or contrast management I prefer TMAX 100.
  32. The shots were taken at 1/125 sec f11 I believe.​
    Unless I'm missing something, and the above refers to the image posted, and the processing was TMX for 10.5 min @ 80F, then your film wasn't pushed at all, but over exposed and grossly over developed. Since we can see the sun in your photo, and no clouds, we can reasonably apply the Sunny 16 rule, which indicates an exposure of 1/100 sec @ f/16. If you exposed for 1/125 @ f/11, you over exposed your film by one stop. This is not pushing, by any reasonable definition of the term.
  33. Ha.....hello from the future, old thread.
    Found this thread when googling about for some info on Neopan 1600 and just wanted to comment on that claim, to push TMax 100 to 1600 or even 3200.
    I've had pretty crappy results, even trying to push Tri-X to 1600 and even crappy results with Neopan 1600 @1600 (HC-110). All these occasions have been dark setting, where you need a higher sensitivity film.
    Always wondered why my pushed negatives looked so bad, but I think it has an easy explanation:
    You cannot really push a low-iso film to astronomical heights, or a medium sensitive (400) film in dark situations because:
    - The film, at it's nominal rating, will not be able to see see any real highlights, mostly mid-tones and shadows.
    - When you expose a 100 ISO film at a 1600 ISO film, you effectively put a pair of welders-goggles on your camera, your film will "see" very very little during exposure, unless it is very sensitive.
    - During development, the highlights is the thing that moves up the zone scale (usually from zone 5-6 and up), the rest of the zones stays put, in the case of dark scenes, they go black, no matter what you do.
    So basically, if it's dark, you better use a film that can actually "see" that scene the way you want it.
    This means that if a scene is dark, you need a high sensitivity film to be able to "see" what you after after, then expose accordingly, or else, you are left with mid-tones and shadows and you'll end up with thin negatives and a bad day in the darkroom.
    The TMax 100 @1600 - 3200 claim is a shot done directly into the SUN, the reflections in the scene holds so much power that even with "goggles" you will still have highlights to work with, thus the push works, somewhat because it's not a dark scene at all.
    The shadows are blocked though and the tonal scale is compressed, because all zones below 5 is basically black.
    I'd like to see the poster shoot his TMax 100 at a dimly lit party at 3200 and try and get something useful out of it (not just blank negatives, because in my mind, they will be so thin that they will be effectively blank).
    Pushing, effectively, is a mute cause with film, either you are lucky to retain something above zone 5 when you expose, or you are shooting a scene that has enough light to begin with.

    Since Fuji has discontinued Neopan 1600, IMO the only viable option for low-light photography, is to actually use digital these days, no film can compete with cameras that operate normally at ISO 6400, 12800 and even higher.
    Push film for effect, not to save the day (IMO)

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