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Thread: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

  1. #1

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    Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Brand brand new to LF, but not to photography: finding that LF seems to require a TON more light to get a good negative (as compared to 35mm film, or to digital):

    Shooting Ilford HP5 400 at f/11 (for sharpness on my f/6.8 210mm Calumet lens) for 1/30 in open shade and getting THIN negs!? 4x5 Calumet monorail cam.
    I will admit: I've been bad and haven't really used a light meter...but still!

    Should I start push developing all my film?
    Can't use a much slower shutter as I am shooting portraits!
    And my lens wide open at f/6.8 is too soft for my liking

    Googled "large format needs more light" and found an article describing LF cams with bellows as "Light-Eaters"...I am inclined to agree!

  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Why would 4x5 require more exposure than 35mm etc. if you are using the same film? I use the same Minolta V meter for all my cameras, 35mm to 8x10.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  3. #3

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Get a proper light meter, use it to it's fullest abilities.

    Majority of LF view camera images are made using a tripod rendering the camera essentially fixed. Typical LF view camera subject is also mostly fixed.

    Why force the exposure to be 1/30 in open shade?

    Hint, fastest shutter speed on a Sinar shutter is 1/60 down to 8 seconds then B.

    As for portraits, 2 second exposures are ok. This is a matter of style and portrait sitter knowing what they are dealing with.
    If pressed for short shutter speeds and need for a given f-stop. apply electronic flash as needed.
    Leaf shutters sync at all shutter speeds allowing controlled exposure of ambient light relative to flash light output.


    Bernice

  4. #4
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Sure, you can try pushing. Deardorffuser, a member here, regularly pushes Foma 200 to EI 800 with great results.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  5. #5

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Why would 4x5 require more exposure than 35mm etc. if you are using the same film? I use the same Minolta V meter for all my cameras, 35mm to 8x10.


    Kent in SD
    the film itself still requires the same amount of light per square inch, but the larger the format, the higher the magnification needs to be to fill the frame with your subject. higher magnification=dimmer image. having to use smaller apertures doesn't help either.

  6. #6
    jim_jm's Avatar
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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Also, if you're focusing on anything closer than infinity, you need to compensate (overexpose) for the bellows factor. The longer the bellows is extended past the position it was at infinity focus, the more you need to compensate.
    With your 210, the distance from the film plane to the lensboard is probably around 210mm focused at infinity. If you focus on a closer subject and your bellows extends to about 260mm, that's about 25% more, which would require an additional 1/2 stop more exposure.
    I'd strongly suggest you get a good light meter and learn how to use it. Spot meter is probably the best for LF, given the cost per sheet of film.
    Otherwise, the light sensitivity of LF film is the same as in other formats. You can push it if needed for your purposes.

  7. #7

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    In open shade I would expect an exposure around 1/iso @ 5.6. Rating your film at half iso and allowing a one stop bellows factor I would think 1/30 would be sufficient. A light meter would say for sure. You didn’t mention whether a filter was used which would be an additional factor.

    Re longer lenses being used the f stop is based on focal length.

  8. #8

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Shoot a test shot with a digital camera to check your exposure really is in the ballpark. There are lots of things that can be slightly off that can add up to a big overall error. So meter 1 stop off, have a shutter that's 1/2 stop off and forget to compensate for bellows extension and suddenly you are two stops out. You have to be much more methodical with large format to get everything out of it.

  9. #9

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Adrienne, welcome, and thanks for posting. I used to live somewhere across the Sound from you in CT. I shoot portraits, too, and as I was coming back into LF some years ago with location portraiture in mind, film speed, shutter speeds, etc., were at the top of my list of considerations. I use HP5, usually rated between 200 and 400 in LF, depending on lighting conditions.

    Don't be discouraged. I suspect that what jim_jim wrote above may be a large contributing factor to your immediate problem. Let's look at an example, assuming your lens is clear, shutter speeds are accurate, and light meter (yes, a necessity, whether you choose to go the spot meter route or adapt a 30-degree or incident reading approach) reasonably well-calibrated.

    With a 210mm on 4x5 film, an upper body portrait (~ 2'10" in framed subject height with the long film edge vertical) will put the lens about 5 ˝ feet from the subject. Due to the bellows extension, you'll need to add about a half-stop to your exposure. However, if you're framing a head and shoulders portrait, the lens will probably be about 3'10" from the subject, requiring a bit more. And, if you are framing a "head shot" (~ 11" in vertical subject height), you will need to add more than a stop.

    Of course, open shade can vary very considerably, depending how much light is reflected in from the surroundings. Pushing a stop in soft lighting may be an option for you; that depends entirely on your vision and total equipment and processing train from exposure technique to print, as with any format. The extra development will boost the lower vales a bit, but, of course, won’t recover those around exposure threshold.

    At the same time, as Bernice noted above, LF, due to the smaller apertures typically used, portends longer shutter speeds. For LF we need to adjust our portrait intentions, unless using action-freezing strobe as the primary light source. And, here we might shoot at f/4 or 5.6 in 35 or MF, f/11 on our 4x5s slows the shutter and, at the upper body framing given above with our 210 lenses, DOF is only 5"—and less than 2 ˝ at head -and-shoulders distance.

    I spent decades with studio strobes for portraits. My decision to leave them behind for natural light has presented plenty of new challenges, but lots of fun.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  10. #10
    Exploring Large Format Exploring Large Format's Avatar
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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdrienneCatanese View Post
    Brand brand new to LF, but not to photography: finding that LF seems to require a TON more light to get a good negative (as compared to 35mm film, or to digital):

    Shooting Ilford HP5 400 at f/11 (for sharpness on my f/6.8 210mm Calumet lens) for 1/30 in open shade and getting THIN negs!? 4x5 Calumet monorail cam.
    I will admit: I've been bad and haven't really used a light meter...but still!

    Should I start push developing all my film?
    Can't use a much slower shutter as I am shooting portraits!
    And my lens wide open at f/6.8 is too soft for my liking

    Googled "large format needs more light" and found an article describing LF cams with bellows as "Light-Eaters"...I am inclined to agree!
    As a fellow newbie, I can tell you that that post about LF cameras being "light eaters" rattled me at first too. However, I find no contradiction between his observations about LF and all the comments in this thread by the experienced old hands of LF. Just trade offs.

    I do portraits with both ambient and strobe. Bellows Extension seemed like a complicated wild card at first as I struggled to get all the other exposure (and operational) factors under predictable control.

    Bottom line for me is that if I MUST have short shutter speed for portrait of family with wriggling dog, then strobe is a must. For relaxing spouse (now trained on LF modeling to stay still), I can often use ambient light easily. Other bottom line is facility with a solid meter as others have said.

    To remove Bellows Extension Compensation from my worry list, I keep the Quick Disc handy. No math, just a quick check. Then you get it. There are other such tools. Here's the link: salzgeber.at/disc/

    Sent from my SM-G981V using Tapatalk

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