Push 160 or shoot 400 at wedding reception

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by gary_griffin, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. I will be shooting a friends wedding reception and I am wondering
    whether I should use a 160 Asa (pushed to 250 or 320) or shoot 400
    Asa film. I will be used a Canon T50 and T70 with Vivitar 283 flash
    units, and two AB 800's for some of the family portrait shots that
    they want. The reception is taking place in the evening so I will not
    have the advantage of having any sunlight coming in to help with
    exposures. I am thinking about using NPS or NPH but I have not used
    these films before. I know from reading past posts that most of the
    folks here have recommended using Fuji films for wedding and
    receptions. I have used more portra in the past and I am pretty
    comfortable with this film. But as I stated at the what are your
    feeling about pushing 160 or shooting 400?

  2. Gary, I shoot weddings all the time and wouldn't hesitate to use 400ISO for a reception at night. I use 400ISO for whenever I'm shooting indoors when the bride is getting dressed, indoor ceremonies, and indoor receptions, or those that go into night.
    For weddings I always shoot Kodak Portra NC (Natural color) but have used the NPZ before on film sets and loved the results as well.
    But not doubt in my mind about the speed, it's got to be 400ISO.
    Good luck!
  3. Christel,

    Thanks for the help. One more question I am thiinking about also shooting some b&w also. Any recomendations there?

  4. If you need 400 film,buy 400 film.NPH or 400NC is the way to go for weddings.As for pushing color negative,the PHOTO.NET experts do this all the time & love the results.In professional wedding & portrait work this is un-heard of,and never done for a variety of reasons.Your mileage my vary.
  5. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Gary, don’t push the 160. Use the NPH 400, rate it at 250/320 depending on the contrast of your scene. If you need more speed, try the NPZ 800 @ 500/640. If you’re outdoors and can use 100asa, then load the 160 and rate it such. Hans is a trouble maker, just ignore him.
  6. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Steve, I’m sensing sarcasm…I’ve never heard on this forum that the “experts” love the results, as in pushing film for the joy of it. But only having to accept the results from the possibilities of pushing. Any shooter in the trenches doing live rock and roll, theatre, or coliseum sports has to push film. Understand yet butthead? There are other photographic situations other than sitting on santas knee or doing weddings.
  7. jbs


    Gary ~
    If you are shooting with the t~70, use only Ektar 25 and give her a good shove...;)... Sorry Had to do that...Loved the t~70 and Ektar film ~ just haven't heard it mentioned in a while...Since you're only shooting the reception 400 is going to be your friend. If these shots are NOT going to processed on a computer, i.e. Photoshop, I urge you to take at least one roll of B&W film. kodak, Ilford, whatever 400asa. The drama will be appreciated by your friend...;)...J
  8. Many wedding Photographers dont like the "push film process gambit" because of higher contrast; emptier shadows; weird possible color shifts of the brides dress. The brides mother may be twice the photographers size; and may punch his lights out for experimenting with goofy films at a wedding.<BR><BR>Shoot some straight asa 400 films; and take an extra body for your experiment of "Pushing the 160". If it works; then great; super. What one wants is to actually learn by a controlled test. Is the "pushed 160" better or worse than the "straight 400"......<BR><BR>Borrow a spare 3rd body or use your 2nd body for piece of mind having a spare; and also to do your test of the two films...If the actual asa/iso is higher on the "pushed 160 to 400"; you should get decent shadow detail. If the shadows are void; you are treating HANS wrong......<BR><BR> When we get negatives to print from customers; ones that are "called pushed" usually look underexposed; and void of shadow detail. Some look better; like the C41 processor actually varied his process abit. Many processors do nothing at all; and just give better attention to the printing end..Saddly the general public seems to think that all C41 labs do real overdeveloping. It is abit interesting when one of our customers claims their asa/iso 800 print film was pushed 2 or 3 stops. These negatives require alot of care to scan; precurves; post processing curves; to pull the little bit of the image above the film base. Most negatives I see from customers who claim pushing have the same damn film base density as normal c41 negatives...Interesting magic job here :)
  9. I've never liked Fuji's colors, so I always shot Portra before I changed to digital. Portra 400NC is my standard indoor film, but I often use 800 in low-light situations. I do however, use Fuji Press 800 pushed to 1600 or 3200. It's much better than Kodak's equivalent films at that speed.
  10. Use ISO 400 for color and B&W when shooting indoors. ISO 160 for outdoor color work.

    However, if you are going to be shooting formals of the wedding party inside a place of
    worship, I strongly advise using ISO 160 or less and put the camera on a tripod using a
    cable release. The wedding party isn't playing soccer, so a slower shutter speed can be
    used in concert with a smaller f stop like f/8 to hold DOF on the group.

    The advice to lower the Camera ISO setting rating is good advice when shooting neg films.
    Neg films have a greater latitude for over exposure than they do for under exposure.
  11. Gary,if you meter correctly with any negative film(for the shadows)there is little reason to change the exposure index(ISO).The arm chair experts reason that downgrading the ISO,somehow is different from correct metering at "box speed"(it isnt).I would suggest Portra 400 B&W among the chromogenics(C41 B&W's),which does benefit from a stop of overexposure.Many have tested both TCN & XP2,and found them to be pretty flat(low contrtast).As always,your mileage may vary,depending on your lab,etc.
  12. It may not be true now, but I have often felt that film manufacturer's tend to rate film at the highest speed that will produce a usable image.

    A number of years ago I saw an article that compared saturation and contrast at manufacturer speed and then at a lower speed. The images from the stronger negative looked better.

    I think +1/3 or +2/3 is a pretty good rule of thumb, but you really need to use a densitometer if you really want to control this.
  13. Gary,

    Although I now use Fuji NPS, NPH and NPZ, suggest you use what you are comfortable with. If you want to try Fuji films, TEST with it (them) first, BEFORE using on a special event. IMHO, correct exposure and use of film that is fresh/has been stored correctly is far more important than the subtle differences in color palette and other nuances of films of the same speed from different manufactures.

    With respect to film speed, suggest a practice of erring on the side of the faster film, i.e., if you're not absolutely sure that 160 is fast enough, use 400. The obvious advantages with a faster film are additional latitude in controlling depth of field (especially in your group shots), reducing chance of camera movement induced blurring in non-flash shots and faster recycle times on your 283 for the flash shots. Especially when using your on-camera flash this can make a big difference when that special expression appears right after you shoot and the 283 might not be fully recharged and puts out insufficient light for a correct exposure. I know this is basic but keep in mind that by using 400 vs 160, that first shot requires less than 1/2 of the output required for 160 AND the flash only actually has to recover to 1/2 of the energy level to properly expose the 400 film on the second shot. Don't misunderstand, I'll always use the 160 over the 400 so long as I am sure I can get a PROPER exposure. As I think another poster(s) above indicated, if erring on exposure, error on the over exposure side.

    If you decide to use one speed film in one body and a different speed in the second body, suggest masking tape on back with film speed clearly marked to avoid potential of grabbing camera with 160 and exposing as if it had 400! From experience, can guaranty you will not be happy!

    Lastly, plan and test. Spend some time with your friend and make a list of "must" shots, e.g., bride & groom, bride & groom and brides parents, etc., etc., etc. Determine the largest group size that you will have to shoot and plan ahead of time how you will light that size group, and shoot a test roll with that setup to MAKE SURE your plan will work. (If you anticipate a group size of say 8 people, and can only find one or two stand-ins for your test, simply take multiple shots with the standins in different places.) I assume the "AB800" are Alien Bee 800 units which will give you the ability to make some great shots. Especially for group shots, suggest using some fairly large umbrellas. For setups with the AB800s, suggest using flashmeter, again from point of getting a proper exposure.

    To the extent possible, get all of the mechanics worked out ahead of time so that you can concentrate on composition, posing, expressions, etc.

    Best regards,
  14. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Steve H,

    You’re in the same camp as most of us. However the signal:noise ratio can be quite high here. I’m tired of being told once a week that higher octane gasoline doesn’t make a difference…

    It’s been two weeks since Steve L. said that c-41 cannot be pushed, as well as there is no lab providing this service in the USA from the two biggest commercial labs. Two weeks!

    That magical number on a box of c-41 film is just that, a magical number for safety and acceptable results for the inaccurate and difference from meters that the population will be utilizing. Of course this is coupled with the abilities and screw up factor of today’s colour print paper. It has no comparison whatsoever to printing or placing zone 5 with good old conventional B&W or the bang on exposure needed for E-6.
  15. I routinely shoot ISO 400 film at ISO 200!But I undertand that this is the same as metering the dark areas of the scene at ISO 400.I do this to insure shadow detail and to avoid black ,detailess (blocked up) blacks.This is done to fool my camera's meter,and is a poor man's way to meter properly.A camera's meter tries to read everything as if it were mid toned gray.Pushing any color film is strictly done as a special effect or when faster film is unavailable.Since fast (800-1600)films are available,why would anyone purposefully want to push a color film,unless they want some special effect and dont regard negative quality as their goal?I used to experiment with this stuff too,then I turned 12.
  16. When Flexicolor/C41 first came out; I went to a Kodak seminar on it. The processing temperature was raised well above the old C22 process; to shorten the process time. New emulsions were made; to withstand the greater development temperature. The shortened and simplified process cuased the advent of 1 hour color print processing. The intent of the process for a machine was a standarized process; in which all film is processed the same. "overdeveloping"; ie is possible by increasing the temperature; or increasing the development time. Typically automated labs dont fool with this; but custom labs may. At the Kodak seminar we were told that the "overdeveloping" increased the contrast; and thus voided the formal definition of asa; which requires a defined slope of the DlogE curve. The curves they presented showed the standard DlogE curves versus exporsure. <bR><BR>Overdeveloped c41 films DlogE curves are steeper; in the tests I ran long ago; for "pushing" film experiments for Astronomy. The toe region doesnt move much; the contrast; ie slope of the DlogE curve is higher. Since the legal definition of asa/iso requires a specific slope; overdeveloping voids any legal asa/iso rating of these overdeveloped negatives. One can properly use the phrases "I shot my asa/iso 160 film at an EI of 400" ; but the resultant is not a asa 400 film; the contrast is higher; this voids the test.<BR><BR>The Kodak Flexicolor Seminar I went to 3 decades ago mentioned that "pushing" was for emergency usage; where a gross underexposure error was made; and a custom lab should be used. Back then the film was slow; say asa 80 thru 120......Colors shift abit with overdevelopment. In my Flexicolor tests; I kept the same temperature; and increased the development time. We did the typical things of slight formal Kodak recomended increases 30sec; 1 min; and massive 2x and 3x times just for "fun/ie break the rules". The color layers respond differntly; and the color control patches shifted alot with massive 2x times. For shooting rock concerts; the weird shifts dont matter much; all the colors are goofy anyway. For a formal wedding; goofy shifts with massive overdevelopment might not be so cool. Maybe cool for a goth wedding? I shot a band in the 1970s'with both massived overdeveloped E6 and C41; and some "normally" processed stuff too. The band members liked the "pushed" stuff WAY better; with the goofy color shifts; I almost didnt show them the "pushed" stuff; since the colors were really weird! <BR><BR>For old rock; Earlier about 1970; I would use either GAF500 slide film (darn grainy); or Kodak High speed Ektachrome asa 160slides ; with Kodak pushing to asa 400.......The GAF 500 looked like a real asa 500 product; the Kodak 160 at 400 always seemed less than a claimed asa 400 product...<bR><BR>Using two different asa/iso's at an event might cause a mixup; marking the bodies is a good idea.<BR><BR>With all the uncalibrated meters floating around; there are a zillion correct answers on "pushing" of film....<BR><BR>In the 620 days; one goof was to drop a film roll; and have the metal "penny size" flange break off. Then all the edge of ones exposures would be fogged. I had a bad batch of 620 rolls once; that would come apart while still in the camera; the flanges had bad crimps/tack welds.
  17. It is good to experiment; but shoot some straight stuff too to please the bride and her parents!
  18. 'I routinely shoot ISO 400 film at ISO 200! But I undertand that this is the same as
    metering the dark areas of the scene at ISO 400.'

    Hmm, not really.

    If you're using your camera's meter (centre-weighted or matrix) then by rating your
    film at 200 ASA you are ensuring that most frames will be exposed at between 100
    and 400 ASA, and will therefore yield acceptable prints. Not a bad approach.

    If you're spot-metering for the shadows, with your spot-meter set at 400ASA
    (which is what you seemed to be suggesting in this and previous threads), then you
    are exposing your frames at between 25 and 200 ASA. Whilst such an approach will
    yield acceptable negatives, it is very inefficient in terms of shutter speeds, limited
    depth of field etc...

    Personally, when shooting 400 ASA film, I nearly always use an incident meter, set at
    200 ASA. This ensures that all frames are exposed at 200 ASA. ( I like to expose at
    200 rather than 400, because I believe Portra 400VC looks better that way.)

    To the original question:

    Use Portra 400NC (or NPH), rated at 200 if possible.

    If you rate it at 400, push it half a stop. If you fancy doing some candid reportage
    shots, consider Fuji Superia Xtra 800, rated at 800, pushed one stop - or Ilford XP2,
    rated at 400, pushed one stop - or Neopan 1600, rated at 1000, processed Normal in
    TMax. In the context of a wedding I can't see the point of underexposing a 160 ASA
    film and then pushing to regain contrast - you'll just sacrifice the shadow detail that
    you could have retained with a 400 ASA film.

    (Who cares about 'voiding standards'?)
  19. 1. C41 film can be pushed. Not as well as E6 and B&W films, but it can be push developed to get mor density in the midtones and highlights. Shadow density stays where it is

    2. Push developing makes sense under certain circumstances, but a wedding is *NOT* one of them, especially if there are excellent films for the problem, that you are trying to solve by pushing.
  20. Gary, in my opinion, R. Miller told you everything you need to know several posts back to prepare for the event so you can approach it calmly and confidently, and get excellent results.
  21. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    What do you tell the editor? He was running for the winning touch down, he looked great in my 300 f2.8, but at a 250th of a second I couldn’t get a sharp shot off because Hans says I can’t push film…(lies?)
  22. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    “Since fast (800-1600)films are available,why would anyone purposefully want to push a color film,unless they want some special effect and dont regard negative quality as their goal?I used to experiment with this stuff too,then I turned 12.”

    Steve, film has developed in the last few years since you where 12. Please try a roll of NPZ 800 pushed 1, and compare it to any 1600 c-41 film. You can thank me later if you have the b*lls.
  23. You asked about Black and White.

    Can't beat Tri-X if you have a lab that can process it.

    You can push it a bit, best way to set things up is to test and find the best setting for your metering style, camera and the processing.

    I avoid the B&W films that are processed with color negative film, not the same quality image as traditional square films.

    The new T-Max and others brands B&W films are much harder to dial in and fussier about exposure and processing. Once done they are ok, higher statistics but no better tonal quality.

    Your milage may vary, subject to change without notice.

  24. Eric,there are no 120-220 ISO 1600 films available,so I wouldnt be able to try this comparison.My 35MM shooting is limited to Portra BW400.I never have had a need to shoot film faster than NPZ(800)anyway.My normal bread & butter,flash film is Portra NC 400.(I did use NPH and liked it,but my lab is KODAK channeled).We use multiple lights to create depth at weddings,so I never shoot available light either.Outdoors,I shoot NC160 both with flash fill & avalable with reflector fill.Thanks for thinking about me & my testicles.
  25. Steve; Konica made a 120 format C41 film in asa 3200; Kodak made Royal-X in asa 1250 in B&W years ago. The 3200 is in my fridge.<BR><BR><IMG SRC=http://www.ezshots.com/members/tripods/images/tripods-390.jpg>
  26. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Steve, does NPZ come in 120? Push it 1, now you have a 1600 asa 120 stock.
  27. Of the three labs that I trust with my commercial work,none will push C41 films.In fact they would probably toss me out on my ass for asking!I use flash to light large rooms when ambient and NPZ cant do this alone.
  28. To all:

    I want to thank each and every one of you who responded with advice. I have actually decided to use NPH and Portra B&W for the reception. I know that I said I was more comfortable with Portra earlier but since I will have a chance to shoot beforehand to work out settings, I think everything will be ok. I will post one or two here when done to let all see as I feel that everyone here has had a hand in helping me shoot them.

    Thanks again,

Share This Page