View Full Version : Chang film or filter?
Some opinions please, folks.
A brief bit of preface:I started photography with Tri-X and I have been using mostky 400 speed film since with the occasional foray into slower speeds(I really liked Agfa's APX 25 but didn't buy enough of it.) I like shooting at wide apertures and minimum DOF. Before I started to get into the FSU rangefinders that wasn't a problem. Now, with nicer weather/more sunshine coming on I'm missing the choices I had with more modern gear.
Also, I either have to mail order my BW processing or stick to C-41 BW.
So, my question is-- slower film or ND filters?
My practice is to minimze as many variables as I can so I prefer not to have too many film choices.
Any thoughts are welcome!
slower film...gives you more advantages than just shallower depth of field.
It depends. I don't know what gear you use, but in my case, I carry my Leica M6 everywhere, when I go outside, for a walk, to work, even to parties. Yeah, it's an addiction, but that's another thread.
I carry with me mostly 400 speed film, but I also carry 100, 125 (FP4) and 800. Like you, I like to shoot wide open. The fastest shutter speed with the Leica Ms is 1/1000 as most here know. My solution? I have a B+W 0.9 ND filter; at almost $35 (plus shipping) it's a bit expensive, but it's worth it. Even when I'm stuck with 400 speed film, that filter will effectively set my exposure as if I were using ISO 100 (0.9 ND reduces the exposure by three full stops).
It also works for me because three of my four lenses for my Leica use the same filter size, 39mm.
I would suggest doing both, but if you want to keep things simple, perhaps the ND filter is a good choice.
I think it will depends on where you like to take pictures the most. For me I use filters because I usually go indoor and out very often. And When you are moving indoor and out constantly sometimes you will just hate it when you are not loaded with faster film indoors. But then that is just me.
I use ND filters.
Like you I also shoot much wide open, and often people. I like the Tri-X a lot for it's own signature. The slower films are really great, but if you like the Tri-X signature it's difficult to find a similar one among the slower films.
ND if you are reliant on others for film processing: slower films are all too often overdeveloped by all but the best labs.
Or of course XP2. You can over-expose it by 2 or even 3 stops. Sharpness will suffer progressively but grain will becpme even finer.
have you tried rating the xp2 at 200?
that is my preferred speed with this film. that might work.
Thanks folks. VERY helpful thoughts so far.
Roger and joe: I had actually forgotten this aspect of XP2(and I'm pretty sure you mentioned it in one of your articles I read, Roger) so for now I think I will head in that direction and get some ND filters. Actually I own a small set of Cokin filters(Y,O,R,G,B, ND, and a polarizing). I got them to use on my TLR and with the right sized adaptor ring I'd be good to go. Not especially elegant but cheap.
If I decide to down rate XP2, do I need to make that known to the lab? Or just let them dev. it as 400?
Thanks again, Rob
PS: If there is a second edition of your rangefinder book, Roger, could you put check boxes next to the equipment pics so I can plot out my GAS? :D I like the book alot.
develop normally, no need to tell the lab.
Thanks for the kind words. Have you ever seen A History of the 35mm Still Camera? THERE'S GAS for you!
Just overexpose. Two stops (EI 100) won't be a problem. Honest. They'll be dense but a decent scanner should see through that. No processing change.
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