Lubitel+ Masterclasses: Working With Film Speed

2008-10-18 2

Previously, Mandi gave us a background about choosing the right speed for different lighting conditions. Now he’s going to show some examples on how to work with certain film speeds should you want to let the speed control your body.

Previously, Mandi gave us a background about choosing the right speed for different lighting conditions. Now he’s going to show some examples on how to work with certain film speeds should you want to let the speed control your body.

ILFORD PAN F 50 – Late afternoon on a cloudy day, guy with a skateboard – this sounds like the perfect setting to shoot wowyeahglossymagazinefrozeninactionstyle pictures. But as we happen to have slow speed film, b&w and no flash available, there is no chance to shoot this style of pics.

The reason: Check the chart of the Lubitel+, let´s say the conditions indicate 1/125s (shutter speed) and f/4.5 (aperture). This value is valid for 100 ASA, as we have 50 ASA (which happens to be half of 100) we have to adjust our settings. As slower film needs more light to expose the same scenery we either have to increase the time that light can enter through the lens OR we open the aperture.

(If you need a more concrete analogy: if you fill 1 liter in a bottle, it takes a certain time with a given bottleneck, if you have a bottle with a bottleneck double the size of the other one, it takes half the time to fill that same 1 liter into this bottle).

Back to our example, we could increase the size of the bottleneck to get according values for 50 ASA. The next f-number in the series would be 2.8 which isn´t available on the Lubitel+, so we have to adjust time as compensation. If you are wondering why a smaller f-number means bigger aperture, just remember that it actually is f/4.5, f/5.6, f/8 …. fractions. (If you divide a cake between 8 people, you get a smaller piece than the same cake divided between 2 people)

We are still stuck on f/4.5 and need more light entering for the 50 ASA film, the next time setting is 1/60s which is perfect to make a handheld shot without seeing the trembling of your hands. Sounds perfect, right? Well, there is just one thing you should consider: the depth of field.

To make it simple: depth of field just means when the aperture is open wide you have to focus precisely, when the aperture is small you have a wider range of things in focus, and the closer the subject, the smaller this range as some examples should show:

focus set to 0.8m: 
f/4.5: everything from 0.78 to 0.82m is in focus 
f/22: everything from 0.71 to 0.92m is in focus

focus set to 3m: 
f/4.5: everything from 2.7 to 3.4m is in focus 
f/22: everything from 2 to 6.4m is in focus

focus set to 8m: 
f/4.5: everything from 6.2 to 11.2 is in focus 
f/22: everything from 3.3 to infinity is in focus

It would be easy to set the aperture to f/22 for all images and don´t waste too much time on exact focussing, but as we are still speaking about the Ilford Pan F 50, this would mean we would (please have a look at your Lubitel+) go from 4.5 to 22 that´s 5 stops towards the dark side, to compensate this we would also have to go down with the speed, from 1/60s to 1/2s which you would have to shoot on “B” mode and hope that your getting that half second right manually. It would also mean you would need a tripod, put it down on the ground or accept blur when using the Lubitel+ handheld.

Blur isn´t always bad, just as a small depth of field can be useful. When taking a close portrait of a person at f/4.5 you can blur out the background as it becomes pretty much out of focus.

As you can see, you always have to deal with compromises and work with them.


written by lucasjakobsson on 2008-10-18 #news #lubitel #film-speed #masterclass

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  1. graefin
    graefin ·

    great! I love this filmclass! I've read so many things so far about shutter speeds and stuff but this is the first time I really UNDERSTAND :D. Normally I just "do" and don't think ;) even with the Lubitel. Sometimes it works, at other times the pictures are just crap :D. Now they will all be *räusper* perfect *ggg*

  2. pantsuitugggh
    pantsuitugggh ·

    I cannot wait to order mine for the holiday season!

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