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05-23-2015, 07:23 PM   #1
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High ISO Film Photos

I grew up when film was the only option for photos, but never had an SLR camera until digital basically took over a couple of years ago. I acquired a Canon AE-1 Program a while ago from an uncle before he passed away, and it's top ISO (ASA) setting was 3200. I figured that was the limit back then. But I just recently inherited a different uncle's Canon A1 (he's still alive) and there is an option for ISO (ASA) 12,800 on the dial! I had no idea that film was sold at that sensitivity and thought all these new super high ISO values on DSLRs were just due to sensor technology advancements. Then I got to wondering how many users there may be on this forum that shoot film super high iso photos, but found no threads on such a topic. I'd like to see some if anyone would be willing to post any What's the highest you've shot?

05-23-2015, 07:33 PM   #2
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I know that film camera's usually maxed out at 6400 ISO, but didn't think it ever went passed that.
05-23-2015, 07:39 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by disconnekt Quote
I know that film camera's usually maxed out at 6400 ISO, but didn't think it ever went passed that.
Depending on how the film is processed it can be "Pushed" several stops higher in sensitivity - therefore if you have a 6400 ISO it is quite feasible to push it to a much higher number. This usually comes at a cost of grain size, but it makes sense for the camera to handle the higher ISO from a light meter perspective.
05-23-2015, 08:44 PM   #4
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I know while developing film it can be pushed, but I'm saying "in camera" I didn't know they put anything higher than 6400.

05-23-2015, 09:18 PM   #5
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Quick search says that the only film made that was faster than 3200 was B&W polaroid 612, which was rated at 20,000.

Info on push processing: Push processing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
05-23-2015, 11:33 PM   #6
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I remember well shooting film in the `70s when the Canon AE-1 and A1 were current models. I shot with a Spotmatic II and later a Ricoh XR-2, Pentax MX and others. I set my meters higher than 800 only a handful of times as the highest rated films for normal, practical use maxxed out at 400 ASA. However there were a few special purpose materials around in the 800-1250 range giving coarse grain and usually lower resolution. Some films were often pushed to higher speeds in processing so camera meters were commonly made to handle 1600-6400 starting in the mid `70s. Then, as now in digital, the finest images for resolution and sharpness demanded the lowest sensitivity media available such as Kodachrome 25 or 64 and Kodak Panatomic X at 32 ASA. These days the noise at higher ISO ratings is akin to film grain size increase at higher film speeds then.
05-24-2015, 05:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by disconnekt Quote
I know while developing film it can be pushed, but I'm saying "in camera" I didn't know they put anything higher than 6400.
But the way you push film, was to set the ISO on the camera above the films natural ISO to systematically under expose it by several stops, then extend the processing time during development to account for the under exposure.

You needed the range in the metering and ISO settings to do this
05-24-2015, 08:49 PM   #8
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I have shot Tri-X when it was rated at 160 ASA as high as 3200 ASA in hockey rinks. With a #50 flash. Using an original Pentax. You could tell it was hockey, and if really lucky, I could work out the jersey numbers. It looked like a pointillist painting in black and white. Well, more like grey and white, actually. I had to use pretty high contrast printing techniques.

05-28-2015, 08:24 PM   #9
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Re: the A-1, I think the reason you saw 12800 on it was due to the fact that it allows +- 2 stops of EC, which is set by rotating the ISO dial. If the top film at the time was say 3200, then in order to provide that 2 stops of EC the dial's range would have to be able to go up to 12800, even though you'd never likely set that as a legitimate ISO normally. Just a guess. I never even noticed my A-1 went to 12800 because the highest I've used so far in it is 400. Learn something new every day.
05-29-2015, 06:51 AM   #10
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my ricoh XR-2s is up to 3200 with EV comp of +/- 2 stops,
my KX went to 6400, but as it is a manual only body exposure comp not applicable, but possible with either setting different ISO or manually using matched needle.
my PZ-1 was DX coded up to ISO5000, and manually to 6400 and exposure compensation +/-2 stops
06-04-2015, 12:13 AM   #11
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Canon A-1 with HP5 (not plus) pushed to 6400








Pentax 645N with Rollei R3 pushed at 6400





I will make new tries with this film and Caffenol, normally the grain will be smaller...
06-04-2015, 07:25 AM   #12
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I'm liking the look of the HP5. Good work!
06-04-2015, 08:36 AM   #13
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This is Ilford Delta 400 pushed +3 stops @3200 iso.



B&W film, when pushed, can give good results if properly exposed ! As soon as you get an underexposure, pictures won't be as good. The dynamic range (the difference between burnt part and dark part) is quite reduce by pushing.

Grain is quite low on the well exposed part, but really pop a lot more in the middle exposed and underexposed part.

If you are wondering, i did'nt adjust any curves, nor luminosity on this picture.
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