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I own a number of fixed lens rangefinders in a variety of formats: Yashica, Olympus, Kodak, B&J and others more obscure. Many of these old rangefinders top out at 1/500 or in many cases 1/250. Do many of you use Ilford, Fuji or Kodak fast films (i.e. 1600+)or other fast films that may not have been around when these cameras were developed. If so, what are some of the ways that you do so? What counsel would you give "newbies" just starting out.
are you talking about using the meter?
i would use either a handheld meter or sunny 16 rule.
Especially with the cameras that go to only 1/250th or so, using sunny 16 means that it's far easier to shoot a slower film - maybe fp4 or something. That way, normal sunlight is 1/100 or 1/125 at f16. Darker and you can open up or decrease shutter speed. But if you put TXT in there then you'd need 1/250 at f22, which you might not even have.
I think you pretty much have the choice of sticking with films no faster than your "sunny 16" can handle, or investing in a neutral density filter (or maybe a dark yellow, green, or orange contrast filter). If your camera tops out at 1/500 and f/16, then ISO 500 is your limit... If you can make f/22, then ISO 1000. But then you're out of choices in bright light; you HAVE to use your top combination or very close to it.
One thing to consider is having two of these cameras, then you can load one with really fast film and use it only in dim light. The other one is loaded with slower film for general use outdoors.
I have done all of the above at one time or another. I like Ilford FP4 at EI 250 developed in Diafine. I also like to shoot ISO 400 C41 films (like Fuji 400H and Ilford XP-2 Super) at EI 250, giving them "generous" exposure for richer shadows. And 250 is a pretty versatile film speed.
I just put a red filter on my Canonet for sunny days with TriX. I have more problems on the other end of the spectrum - the ISO setting for the meter only goes up to 800, so I find myself just using the auto mode for metering, then adjusting shutter speed and manually stopping down before shooting if I want to go faster than that.
What's wrong with using two cameras simultaneously, one loaded with ISO 100, the other with ISO 800 (Tri-x for example) ?
When I use Tri-X in the Lynx 14 (max ISO 800, max SS 1/500), I develop in Diafine, which bumps the speed rating for Tri-X to 1600. I expose at 800 (max I can set the camera to) and, while I get very good negatives, they're a bit dense but I like the look.
Really, while high-speed film has improved, my experience at least with the type of shooting I do, hand-held candids... I've realized that you really don't need high speed film with a fast lens. I would rather shoot 400 speed with the f1.4 on my Lynx. 800 is fine, and really beynond that (shriek) you need a flash. It's easy to get enamored with high film speed ratings, but in "available darkness" often you ask the camera and film to do the impossible, and the results disappoint.
I came to this conclusion, and felt vindicated when a book on low light photography echoed this... Go with lens-speed over film speed, and really an 800 speed is plenty. The only time I use 1000+ film ratins is when shooting available light with slower medium format lenses to compensate for the slower lens.
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