There are several different approaches to taking pictures in low-light situations. The typical approach is to use some sort of artificial light. This runs the gamut from adding extra light bulbs in the scene to using flash bulbs or electronic flash. Since the use of flash with submini cameras is covered elsewhere in the FIELD, it will not be repeated here.
But many of us avoid artificial light since it can startle the subject and create an unnatural looking light. If you want to avoid these problems, there are several approaches to take. These can be used by themselves or in any combination.
FAST FILM -- The lower the light the more you need a faster film. Films are available up to 3200 ISO. The downside to faster films is increased grain in the pictures and muted colors with color film. But some people like the effects. Some of these higher speed films are special order items. Check the CAMERA SHOP for a complete list of films.
FAST LENSES -- Another way to operate in low light conditions is to use lenses with wider apertures. Many submini camera lenses have maximum apertures woder than f2.0 which is perfect for low-light situations. The downside to faster lenses is narrower depth-of-field and poorer lens performance. But some people like the effects. For a list of the fastest submini lenses check out the LIBRARY.
PUSH PROCESSING -- A common approach is to "push" the film. This is really a two-step process. First, set the ISO film speed at a higher than normal setting. Secondly, develop the film longer than normal. How high to set the film speed and how long to develop the film is up to you and may require some testing. It is typical to double or triple the film speed, but it is possible to set the speed even higher than this. Each doubling of the film speed necessitiates an increase in the developing time by about 40%.
A similar approach is to use special high activity developers and techniques. Some are available commercially, such as Acufine, but other are only available if you mix them yourself, such as S-76 which is D-76 with a pinch of hydrazine dyhydrochloride (a rocket fuel). Other approaches are baking the film in hydrogen peroxide fumes after developing or prefogging the film to very low light levels or special chemicals, such as mercury fumes (DO NOT TRY THIS LAST ONE AT HOME).
SLOW SHUTTER SPEEDS -- There is yet another approaach to capturing those low-light pictures. Use as slow a shutter speed as needed. With this method you can take a picture just about anywhere. But there are downsides. First, if the subject is moving, you'll end up with a blurred subject (see the shutter speed section in the FIELD). Next, you aldo need to use a tripod (or rigid support) which can be a nuisance to bring along (see the tripod section in the FIELD). Last but not least, you'll have to deal with reciprocity rule failure or risk grossly underexposured pictures (see the exposure section of the FIELD).
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