What film for overcast conditions

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by giverin, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. I'm spending Christmas in Paris and really looking forward to it. I've spend a lot of time there and its great for street photography. The only problem is that the weather forecast isn't that great with it predicted to be cloudy/rainy for most for the time. I don't mind the rain because it presents lots of possibilities.
    I'll be taking some Tmax 400, Nepopan 400 and also some Delta 3200 with me. I planned to use the Delta 3200 nights/evenings, possibly at 1600 if conditions allowed. So I was wondering, for day time use, with cloudy rainy weather, would the Tmax 400 or Neopan 400 be better suited to those conditions?
  2. When I read the title, I thought about some of the films you mentioned. I think they
    are all good choices. I think you could do some neat effects with the high speed film,
    and maybe even stand develop some of it to really bring out the grain. I think you are
    set for film and you cant go wrong with any of them. The only thing I would add is
    some slower film, like Acros, to do some fast lens play, or capturing movement with
    longer exposures.
  3. Hi Michael, stand developing is out I'm afraid. I use plastic reels and my past attempts at stand developing with Rodinal have resulted in streaks from the sprocket holes. I do have some APX100 in the fridge but I don't plan taking it as I think it will be too slow for the conditions. I'm not taking a tripod either because I want to stay fairly light. I might take my monopod though as its quite compact. I'll be taking three small Pentax M bodies so I will be able to have all three film types loaded and ready. That's the beauty of older SLRs. I can carry three bodies and a couple of sharp primes in the bag that would normally hold one DSLR and a zoom lens.
  4. Overcast gives a wonderful light. If you are on narrow streets with building blocking the available light, the 400 speed films you are carrying may be necessary. Paris, however, has many wide boulevards with good light.
    Overcast does not necessarily equate with dark. Here is an example of a picture taken on an overcast day using Ilford PanF+ rated at ISO 50:
    http://www.photo.net/photo/1421752 The technical data is posted 1/60 @ f/4 and my subject was moving.
    I would take at least one roll of the APX 100.
  5. Depends on whether you want to enhance the gloom or try to overcome it.
    If you like the gloomy, soft, overcast look, Delta 3200 is terrific. It's a moderate contrast film. I like it at EI 1600 in Diafine. And Delta 3200 can handle high contrast lighting as well.
    If you'd prefer a bit more contrast and deeper blacks, try T-Max 400 at 1600 in an appropriate developer. I like Microphen, but others would probably do as well - Acufine, T-Max, Xtol, anything suitable for push processing. The downside to pushing TMY to 1600 is that it can be difficult if the sun happens to break out. On the few occasions when I happened to shoot daylight and nighttime photos on the same roll, the daylight photos needed a lot of darkroom wizardry: split grade printing while dodging and burning with selective application of yellow and magenta filters, etc. Pretty comparable to pushed Tri-X, but I like TMY a bit better.
    By the way, take a look at Peter Turnley's recent book "French Kiss". While I think he's using a digital Leica M-whatever now, many of those photos were done with film. Great looking stuff.
  6. I say Tri-x. It's all I use now for any condition. A highly versatile film. @400 and F4 you should have enough shutter speed of most daytime situations including gloomy. Go 800 in a pinch.
    (BTW no developer does any better with Trix than Microphen. Suberb results at any speed.
  7. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    All my b&w work is digital nowadays, but when I started with b&w film I spent a lot on time trying out different films in the range of conditions I expected to operate in. Then I settled on one-in my case Tri-X -and materially I shot that all the time afterwards. I could do that despite the fact that on colour slide films ( my other focus) I habitually carried a range of film stock to suit different conditions or even time of day. However with B&W film the dynamic range is much greater and I never really felt it was too much of a struggle to get the effects I wanted in daylight at least. Also, the fact that you can influence the look of the final product at printing and development stages meant that film choice was IMO at least less critical than when using colour transparency where no such opportunities exist. So for me, it was a question of shooting the film I preferred and understood best.
    I did always enjoy photographing Paris in b&w- and I had several visits there using b&w exclusively, and I still struggle with colour photography there.
  8. The simple answer is ... ANY that you've been using. Quality results don't come from picking a "right" film for conditions, but rather from developing a level of predictable control of a film and process one uses. Jumping from one film to another makes results worse, not better. Many, many good photographers use one or two films irrespective of conditions, which allowed them to adjust exposure and processing to match conditions and all of it only possible from experience they've accumulated over the years. If on the other hand you intend to experiment, then take a film you have NEVER used before and see what you get, but keep in mind such results will have likely been significantly affected by your own lack of experience with such a film. Meaning, if they come out RIGHT it just as well could be an accident never repeatable again.
  9. Thanks for all the replies. I've just found a couple of rolls of HP5+ in the freezer that I had forgotten about so I'll probably take that with me too.
  10. I really like T-Max 400. It gives very nice results for me, even in basic D-76 developer. I think that should be fine in Paris in the conditions you describe. Rate it at 800 if it starts to get gloomy.
  11. Don't miss the Jardin du Palais Royal, always something happening. This one was last week, no sun:
  12. HP5+ is a good choice. Similar technology to Tri-X or Neopan 400, but just different enough that users of conventional grain ISO 400 films have their favorite among these films. With Microphen you can go with an E.I. of 800 if the light is too low and the one stop push on a cloudy day shouldn't be overly contrasty. Be aware, though that going to E.I. 1600 will show more grain.

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