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Want to Try Film at least once... what do I need to know?

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#1 GraySkies

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 09:16 PM

So I have a Nikon F5 and a fresh roll of film (36 exposures) anything I need to know in order to try film astrophotography coming from DSLR photography?

 

I'm going to do a test shot with my Digital Camera first with the same ISO setting to dial in the correct shutter speed (yes cheating... but whatever)

 

Then I'll have a roll of film with 26 astrophotos on it, send it in for development and tada?



#2 Michael Covington

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 09:27 PM

What kind of film?

What kind of astrophotography do you want to try -- lunar and planetary or deep sky?

Do you have a darkroom?

Do not expect good prints of astrophotos from a commercial lab.  You can scan your negatives or slides and adjust them digitally.

 

Do tell me more.


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#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 09:28 PM

If you are considering film astrophotography, especially Deep Sky... and have never done that before... best look up:

 

>reciprocity failure

>hypersensitization

>color balance

>push-processing

>custom film labs

 

If you don't, odds are your images will be very disappointing.

 

But, it's worth fooling around with --- just for the experience!    Tom


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#4 TOMDEY

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 09:43 PM

P.S. Michael wrote the books that we amateurs (and professionals) use! Indeed, a great combination would be film capture > digital negative scan > digital processing > outsource printing (I use the CVS Kodak Kiosk!) That gives the best of all three worlds and massively reduces the dark room size, expense, materials, equipment.  Michael... love your books!     Tom


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#5 agmoonsolns

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:13 PM

Do they even still make film?



#6 telesonic

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:15 PM

I'm curious to know more also, what you intend to shoot - film, etc. What sort of lenses, all that jazz. The F5 looks like a beast of a camera, just from checking out the specs.

 

You've came to the right place though, there are quite a few extremely knowledgeable and helpful (guru) folks here with regard to film astrophotography, and they can get you better info than myself..... I'm still a relative newb at it. lol.gif

 

My personal thought of it is - I don't mind at all, hanging around in the dark messing around with such oddball.. but long forgotten things. 

Then again, I'm kinda an oddball myself.

 

Welcome to the niche! edit... club, whatever we are. :/

Temp


Edited by telesonic, 02 May 2019 - 10:19 PM.


#7 Michael Covington

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:25 PM

Do they even still make film?

Yes.  Ektachrome has in fact just been reintroduced to the market.  Color negative film is still around for 2 reasons: (1) Grandma who got a good camera in 1975 and still uses it and gets the film developed at CVS (yes, you can still do that); (2) a good many wedding photographers take images on film because of its great exposure latitude and then scan the negatives and print digitally.

In a few months I am planning to do a comparison of Ektachrome with modified and unmodified DSLRs, using the same lenses and exposures.


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#8 Michael Covington

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:26 PM

The OP hasn't told us what he plans to do, but if it's deep-sky, two things stand out:

 

- Cheaply made prints won't bring out what's on the negatives or slides.  Scanning and digital processing are called for (or, in the old days, skilled darkroom work).

 

- Plan for LONG exposures, like 30 minutes with constant guiding.  (Well, you can get something in 5 minutes.  You can get a little in 10 seconds, but only a little.)

 

I hope he'll come back and tell us what he has in mind and what equipment is available.



#9 agmoonsolns

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 10:32 PM

Awesome, I really miss using film. Digital is great, but there was just something about the colors you could get with film. Yes, I know there are Photoshop filters for that, but shooting and developing your own film was wonderful. A Leica or a Hasselblad with good film was like magic.

 

I really look forward to reading your review!



#10 GraySkies

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 12:07 AM

What kind of film?

What kind of astrophotography do you want to try -- lunar and planetary or deep sky?

Do you have a darkroom?

Do not expect good prints of astrophotos from a commercial lab.  You can scan your negatives or slides and adjust them digitally.

 

Do tell me more.

I have a few rolls of Kodak Professional ASA100 / 400 colour and B&W and some Rolllei ASA400 IR sensitive B&W, I can buy additional rolls as required.

 

DSO as planetary and lunar benefit greatly from video techniques.

 

i can setup a temporary dark room and process the film as required (I have a degree in Chemical Engineering so I think I can figure out but open to suggestions on best developer for astronomy needs).

 

ill be converting them into digital so I can stack/final process as required.

 

I'm curious to know more also, what you intend to shoot - film, etc. What sort of lenses, all that jazz. The F5 looks like a beast of a camera, just from checking out the specs.

 

You've came to the right place though, there are quite a few extremely knowledgeable and helpful (guru) folks here with regard to film astrophotography, and they can get you better info than myself..... I'm still a relative newb at it. lol.gif

 

My personal thought of it is - I don't mind at all, hanging around in the dark messing around with such oddball.. but long forgotten things. 

Then again, I'm kinda an oddball myself.

 

Welcome to the niche! edit... club, whatever we are. :/

Temp

Telescopes are listed below, likely a suitable DSO target in June. To be determined.

 

the F5 is basically top of the line Film Camera (only the F6 surpasses it). But for this I’ll rely on the bulb trigger I have for it and setting it up so that it doesn’t advance the film until I decide (a feature in the camera to do double exposures but useful when you want to ensure your not imaging planes during a long exposure).

 

The OP hasn't told us what he plans to do, but if it's deep-sky, two things stand out:

 

- Cheaply made prints won't bring out what's on the negatives or slides.  Scanning and digital processing are called for (or, in the old days, skilled darkroom work).

 

- Plan for LONG exposures, like 30 minutes with constant guiding.  (Well, you can get something in 5 minutes.  You can get a little in 10 seconds, but only a little.)

 

I hope he'll come back and tell us what he has in mind and what equipment is available.

My mount will guide for as long as I require, currently I tend to image 5 minute subs (that way if something flys through the frame I only lose 5minutes) but I have taken 1 hour subs before when we were tweaking the mount wormgear before adding guiding.

 

I can setup the camera such that I can do multiple exposures, opening/closing the shutter based on objects about to fly through the frame. As the noise is very little as  the film either sees light.. or it doesn’t. I’ll need to figure out a flat (darks are pointless) but I might be able to extract from my digital library.

 

Available equipment is listed in my signature, the DSO target is to be confirmed but I’ll likely use the RedCat and go wide-field. 


Edited by GraySkies, 03 May 2019 - 12:12 AM.


#11 Michael Covington

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 08:35 AM

OK, I would suggest the color negative film.  It's easy to get developed inexpensively (even through local pharmacies).  Cheap prints won't be good but will at least show you if there is anything in the picture.  Then scan the negatives and make good prints digitally.

 

The RedCat sounds like the best choice.  Try exposures ranging from 5 to 20 minutes of a bright deep-sky field.  

 

Because of reciprocity failure, a 20-minute exposure does not pick up 4 times as much light as a 5-minute exposure.  It's more like 2.5 times as much.
 

Focus with a Bahtinov mask.  You need all the help focusing that you can get, since there is no digital live view.

 

What is the exact kind of film?  The ISO 400 film is probably the better bet.  I want to try to look it up and see the data sheet.

 

It would be good to do a test run at first opportunity and see what you get; this is going to take more than one try, and each try takes a long time because of waiting to get negatives developed.

 

And tell us how it goes!



#12 Michael Covington

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 08:45 AM

One other thing.  Include some daytime photos on the same roll, before and after the astrophotos.  Otherwise the people who develop your film may think it "didn't come out" and may cut it in the wrong places.


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#13 GraySkies

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 09:29 AM

One other thing. Include some daytime photos on the same roll, before and after the astrophotos. Otherwise the people who develop your film may think it "didn't come out" and may cut it in the wrong places.


All good advice, my main concern is matching between Film ASA400 and Digital ISO400 for dialing in the correct exposure as I know the two being the same number do not mean they respond the exact same.

For the first roll I think I’ll do a test with my Noct-Nikkor Lens (f1.2 so it’s really fast) that way I know I’m getting enough exposure in short durations and can math out the RedCat exposure for the second night when I try to get solid images; then I can skip the digital uncertainty.

#14 Michael Covington

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 11:08 AM

Careful... careful... reciprocity failure!   In exposures longer than one second, the amount of light captured is not proportional to the exposure time.  That is why film went out of use.

Sensor ISO 400 and film ISO 400 match exactly in exposures shorter than 1 second.  With longer exposures, film starts forgetting photons almost as fast as it receives them.  You may find it takes 20 minutes on film to do what you do in 2 minutes with a DSLR with the same lens at the same f-ratio.

What's worse, reciprocity failure varies with the batch of film and the temperature and the humidity.

It's a wild world!

 

The RedCat is f/5 roughly.  That is 4 stops slower = 2^4 times less light = 16 times less light than f/1.2.  Film will require *much* more than 16 times as long an exposure at f/5 than at f/1.2.   If you get good pictures in 1 minute at f/1.2, I would suggest 30 to 60 minutes at f/5.

 

But all bets are off -- reciprocity failure is substantially unpredictable!


Edited by Michael Covington, 03 May 2019 - 11:09 AM.


#15 Alen K

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 12:11 PM

Check my CN photo gallery for some film photos from "back in the day" (2002 - 2008) taken primarily through 6-inch f/5 telescopes but also through a 300mm telephoto that is not too far from the Redcat in focal length. My photos are no match for what Michael has done but he doesn't have a gallery here so I can only point you to mine. They will give you an idea of what you can expect with various objects and various exposure times. Thirty minutes to an hour at f/5 or f/5.6 was typical for me. Presumably you will be using an autoguider instead of manually guiding as I did, so such exposure times won't be quite as painful.

Edited by Alen K, 03 May 2019 - 12:15 PM.

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#16 Michael Covington

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 12:15 PM

Thanks for the link, Alen.  My film photos weren't all that great -- in those days it was amazing if we got anything at all!

I like this one (of yours), 10 minutes at f/5 of a very bright nebula:  https://www.cloudyni...43-running-man/

 

With a DSLR, either of us could probably capture that in 1 minute or less.


Edited by Michael Covington, 03 May 2019 - 12:16 PM.


#17 GraySkies

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 12:57 PM

Thanks for the link, Alen.  My film photos weren't all that great -- in those days it was amazing if we got anything at all!

I like this one (of yours), 10 minutes at f/5 of a very bright nebula:  https://www.cloudyni...43-running-man/

 

With a DSLR, either of us could probably capture that in 1 minute or less.

Using a new Mirrorless with relative ease.... but I still want to give film a go, if only to say I did it :)

Orion-Nebula-2019-For-Facebook.jpg?resiz


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#18 Alen K

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 01:05 PM

Using a new Mirrorless with relative ease.... but I still want to give film a go, if only to say I did it smile.gif

Orion-Nebula-2019-For-Facebook.jpg?resiz

Nothing wrong with that one.

One thing I can say about my film photos. When I managed to get something halfway good, which I only knew typically weeks after I took the shots (being cheap I waited until I filled the roll before sending it in for processing), my feeling of elation was just about as high as it could get. With the DSLR, it's almost too easy.
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#19 Michael Covington

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 01:09 PM

Side-by-side comparisons of film and digital with the same equipment under the same conditions would be really useful.  The film will need longer exposures, of course.  When I do my digital-versus-Ektachrome experiment I'll probably do 1-minute digital exposures and 1, 2, 4, and 8 minutes on Ektachrome.


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#20 GraySkies

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 02:32 PM

Nothing wrong with that one.

One thing I can say about my film photos. When I managed to get something halfway good, which I only knew typically weeks after I took the shots (being cheap I waited until I filled the roll before sending it in for processing), my feeling of elation was just about as high as it could get. With the DSLR, it's almost too easy.

I'll finish the roll off in the night and then send it in, its part of my "comparing Film to Digital" youtube vlog I'm working on.

 

Side-by-side comparisons of film and digital with the same equipment under the same conditions would be really useful.  The film will need longer exposures, of course.  When I do my digital-versus-Ektachrome experiment I'll probably do 1-minute digital exposures and 1, 2, 4, and 8 minutes on Ektachrome.

I'll be doing a Side-By-Side test of the same target, using the Nikon F5 and Z6 cameras.


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#21 Michael Covington

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 02:46 PM

Outstanding!  I am looking forward to the results.

I also would like to compare the sharpness of film to digital (viewing the film through a microscope so that the resolution of a scanner is not involved).  I think we'll find that digital is a lot sharper.


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#22 GraySkies

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 04:40 PM

Outstanding!  I am looking forward to the results.

I also would like to compare the sharpness of film to digital (viewing the film through a microscope so that the resolution of a scanner is not involved).  I think we'll find that digital is a lot sharper.

I as well am interested in seeing what I end up with, I'm really enjoying making these youtube videos too, sharing in my experimental nature; now I just need to finish up the editing and get the next batch out the door and wait for clear skies to try the F5.


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#23 Todd N

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 04:43 PM

Do they even still make film?

 

The irony is we maybe are not too far off from that questioned being asked about CCDs with CMOS taking over. BTW, film rebounded from it's lows and continues to grow. "Out of Stock' is a frequent  nuisance.



#24 GraySkies

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 04:57 PM

The irony is we maybe are not too far off from that questioned being asked about CCDs with CMOS taking over. BTW, film rebounded from it's lows and continues to grow. "Out of Stock' is a frequent  nuisance.

My BSI CMOS Sensored Camera can probably out-shine all but the most expensive mono-CCD cameras. It's insane how nice an Image I'm getting out of the camera for less than 1 hour of exposure and I'm not even cranking up the ISO; thus why I want to test against film, see how well all this digital tech competes with celiode.


Edited by GraySkies, 03 May 2019 - 04:57 PM.


#25 Todd N

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Posted 03 May 2019 - 05:55 PM

My BSI CMOS Sensored Camera can probably out-shine all but the most expensive mono-CCD cameras. It's insane how nice an Image I'm getting out of the camera for less than 1 hour of exposure and I'm not even cranking up the ISO; thus why I want to test against film, see how well all this digital tech competes with celiode.

Isn't this a long dead issue? It's rather clear digital for the most part out performs film. There's more than twenty years of evidence for this. In my opinion, the one category that film had been able to surpass digital was wide-field. With the demise of the two outstanding films or this(Acros & E200), it may not be the case but that doesn't mean film isn't worth pursuing.

 

I've noticed complaints from those using these newer generation CMOS cams: Lower dynamic range(less than 16Bit) and artifacts from the microlensing. Nevertheless these cams of coarse are going perform way better in regards to resolution given a large enough chip and quantum efficiency.




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