Pushing Film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by stevenmusgrove, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. Hi All

    Hope you're all well.

    I'm new to film and looking to see what i can and cannot do... with regards to pushing film.. i see that i should be able to push ISO 100 film 1 or 2 stops but was wondering if i push one shot by 1 stop do i then have to keep that the same for all other shots on the roll? or can i do some at 100 and others at 200 or 400?

    I'm using a Yashica Mat 124G and currently Provia 100f

    Appreciate your help.
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  2. You really can't push film at all and when you underexpose and overdevelop a slow film you usually just get way too much contrast and black shadows. Use the film you need.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  3. AJG


    +1 on Conrad Hoffman's response, and no, you can't use different ISO's for different images on the same roll. Once you decide to push process, you need to use that ISO for the whole roll. A further result of push processing film is larger grain--some photographers deliberately over develop to give images a grainier look, but if you don't want that don't push your film. One other suggestions is to use a tripod and a cable release if you don't have enough light to get the depth of field that you want at a shutter speed that you can hand hold the camera at. Transparency film like Provia is the most demanding of correct exposure--color negative film is more forgiving of slight exposure errors, as is B&W negative film.
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  4. To simplify slightly on the above answers, no.

    When you 'push' or 'pull' film, you do so by altering the development process (normally time). As you develop the entire roll in one go, you need to shoot the entire roll with the same development in mind.

    Unless you fancy your chances at cutting between frames, with millimetre precision, with no indication as to where those frames begin or end, in the pitch dark.

    Different films and developer combinations give different looks. Pushing and pulling further adds to this, but is best used for aesthetics, not as a substitute for having the right film for the job.
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  5. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Hmm... I prefer to call it
    "shoving" or "yanking"
    the film...
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  6. SCL


    Since you're new to film, try to master the characteristics of the film/developer combinations first. Later, you can experiment with a variety of adjustments. If you jump in too soon, you won't have a base to judge your results from.
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  7. +1 to all the above. If you're new to film, I really wouldn't bother. Get used to the process of developing normally first, and once you've nailed that, stick with it. 'Pushing' is only underexposing the film, and trying to compensate by overdeveloping the film. It was done in desperation in days of yore when the jobbing photographer, loaded up with slow film, found himself suddenly needing to photograph a subject indoors, or moving fast, where the loaded film couldn't provide the shutter speed to cope handheld. So he rated the film at the higher ASA he needed to get the shot, then overdeveloped it to try to coax out an image in the thin parts of the negative. Of course, where there was no image (because reducing the exposure meant the darker parts of the scene were lost) over developing did nothing. As others have said, unless you do this for the whole roll, the overdevelopment then overdevelops all the 'normally' exposed images. Whatever you do, you cannot change the sensitivity of the film, which is what the manufacturer put on the box, so if you uprate or downrate the exposure you are not using the film at its optimum. Digital will knock spots off any 'apparent' increase in sensitivity by pushing a film.

    Of course, if you really just want to play, to see what you can and can't do, then go for it. Just remember to treat the whole roll as if it were more sensitive, not just individual frames. And I wouldn't bother with one stop, go for two or three if you want to see what effect it has. And make sure your exposures are accurate! And have fun!
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  8. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    As others have said, "pushing" is just underexposing the film and then overdeveloping to bring up the highlights. The shadows will stay where they are. Overdeveloping effects the highlights not the shadows. If you feel like experimenting using negative film, take several shots of the same scene. Let us say the meter calls for 1/60 sec. @ f/11. With the lens set on f/11 take one shot at 1/60 sec. one shot at 1/125 sec, one shot at 1/250 sec. Develop the film normally and view the results. I'm sure you will see the difference on the negatives. The underexposed negatives will be lighter (thinner) than the normal (1/60 sec) negative. The prints will all be about the same. The printer analyzer will recognize a thin frame and print the negative lighter so it looks more normal, like the 1/60 sec, frame.

    Note: The above is for color negative film. Since slides are a direct process, underexposure will show up on the slide.
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  9. The exceptions to this are some of the chromogenic (C-41) B&W films like Ilford XP-2, but no compensation in processing is necessary there.
    [​IMG] XP2 Super technical data sheet Nov.18
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  10. AJG


    I stand corrected--I've never used XP-2, so I wasn't familiar with that.
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  11. BTW, Ilford XP-2 is a magic film. Try it and you'll see.

    The results are fantastic however you expose it (for that level of exposure, to be sure)
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  12. SCL


    +1. I'm not sure though that XP-2 is readily available in 120 size, which is what the OP is shooting.
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  13. Of course you can't push some frames by 1 stop and others by 2 stops. Pushing is done in development. All you are doing in camera is underexposing essentially. If you want to push some frames by different amounts, then you need to cut the film (in complete darkness) and process different parts separately, and frankly, for someone new to film, this is a crazy jumping off point.

    Start in a straightforward manner. Don't push or pull film. Shoot it at box speed. And while I love Provia, I would also recommend starting with colour negative film. I love Kodak Portra too.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  14. yes XP2 is available in 120.

    Like other C41 films, it has a low gamma, so can take a lot of overexposure.

    It also has enough latitude for some underexposure.

    And you can still push it, at least a little.
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  15. Not, though, that the low gamma of the film makes it harder to print.

    That has been part of the design of color negative films for a long time.
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  16. I've known of people who also changed ISO shot to shot doing stand development in Rodinal, although it's not something I've tried.

    I do stand sometimes, but always at box speed.
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  17. cameragary likes this.
  18. I think the technical name for that is 'guessing the exposure'.
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