Pushing Kodak Vision3 500T Film – Shooting Handheld At Night

Here I go again with my second round of night film photography challenge by pushing Kodak Vision3 500T one-stop and shooting handheld at night. After the success of my first film photography at night, I decided to try something different giving more film speed by pushing Kodak Vision3 500T and using the diffusion filter.

I was just wondering what my film photos will look like when pushing Kodak Vision3 500T, combined with one of my favourite FX filters for cinematic film look which is the Moment CineBloom diffusion filter. Previously I pushed the Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and got some excellent results, although it was grainy, it looks great. I can tell that when pushing the Kodak Vision3 500T, the film has high grain tolerance and still looks amazing.

Most of the shots for this round are done with available artificial light and neon lights. Yes, I was hunting for neon lights while doing street photography in Kuala Lumpur at night. It was the weekend and the weather condition is good, compared to a few weeks ago it was raining almost every day. Whenever I wanted to go for a shoot, I always follow the photoshoot checklist so my shoot will go smooth.

Is It Fun To Do Night Photography on Film?

Panggung KL Kodak Vision3 500T
Contax G1 // Panggung KL, July 2022

Yes, I can say night photography on the film is fun because it is a big challenge at night to get sufficient light compared to daylight. This is where you get the idea of finding the brightest light at night. Low light photography on the film is not easy, as, with insufficient light, you will be using a low shutter speed and eventually if unlucky, you’ll get shaky photos unless you use a tripod. But going for a photo walk, you want to go as light as possible. So a tripod is a no-go.

I was photographing in Kuala Lumpur’s major tourist areas, Chinatown and Kwai Chai Hong. After recovering from the epidemic, the nightlife in this city is somewhat lively. I had been ‘camping’ at the location for hours to acquire some photographs and had been circling the area on foot for approximately 4 hours.

I was shooting wide aperture with the Contax G1 film camera with the Carl Zeiss Planar 45mm T* F2 lens, and I don’t see any shaky images out of the 36 exposures although there were a few underexposed or ruined photos due to incorrect camera settings. I get out of the box, follow no photography rules and was shooting handheld without any tripod. But of course, if you want to get better and brighter photos with accurate exposure, it is recommended to shoot with a tripod because of the low shutter speed.

Pushing One Stop on Kodak Motion Picture Film

Petaling Street Night Street Photography Film Kodak Vision3 500T
Contax G1 // Petaling Street, July 2022

Is it worth it by pushing Kodak Vision3 500T at night? For this test it was just a trial and error for me to find out what the photos will look like, after all, it is all up to our taste and mood. I love this series of photos I’ve captured at night. There is visible grain when zooming or cropping but still acceptable for me. It does look great when you share it on social media such as Instagram,  you won’t be able to see the grain not noticeable on a smaller screen.

I like the saturated colour when pushing Kodak Vision3 500T one stop underexposed. The film speed for Kodak Vision3 500T is 500 ISO so I set the film camera ISO to 1000 ISO and developed one stop at the film lab. In this series, none of my shots is blurry or shaky throughout the 36 exposures which I was quite happy about.

On the Contax G1, I tried to use the exposure compensation to shoot 1/3 stop overexposure (compensate with a lower shutter speed) but I end up not knowing which photos that were shot overexposed. Next time I could try to note it down on my mobile phone.

Does It Work If I Use Diffusion Filter on Film Camera?

Chinatown KL Night Film Photography
Contax G1 // Kwai Chai Hong, July 2022

Previously I didn’t get good results shooting using a diffusion filter with the Yashica film camera but I was quite surprised and never expected it to look great on the Contax G1 film camera. It worked and I did get the cinematic highlight bloom and glowing on film stock this time. I was shooting with the CineBloom filter with 20% density. I know some photographers shoot on digital with a diffusion filter but I haven’t seen anyone trying to use the filter on film stocks if I’m not mistaken.

Feel free to give it a try when you’re shooting film stock at night, you’ll be surprised!

Push Kodak Motion Picture Film At Night
Contax G1 // Kwai Chai Hong, July 2022
Pushing Kodak Vision3 500T Night Film Photography
Contax G1 // Kwai Chai Hong, July 2022
Pushing Kodak Vision3 500T Film Night Photography Malaysia - Panggung KL
Contax G1 // Panggung KL, July 2022
Push Motion Picture Film at Night
Contax G1 // Da Bao Kuala Lumpur, July 2022
Pushing Kodak Vision3 500T Film Photography Night Handheld
Contax G1 // Petaling Street, July 2022

Final Thoughts

What do you think? Pushing Kodak Vision3 500T or shooting at film speed at night looks better? Well, pushing film stock gives you more film speed but introduced more film grain and look saturated. I prefer shooting at film speed. I suggest when shooting film stock handheld at night to find the brightest area that is well lit with tungsten light or neon lights to avoid handshake or blurry photos.

The best solution for night film photography

  • To shoot with a tripod, use a slower shutter speed and let more light into the lens
  • Suggested to shoot with a fresh film, non-expired roll
  • Hunt for the light source. Find well-lit areas with artificial lighting such as tungsten or neon lights

Here are some of the photos I took during my solo photo walk at night with the Contax G1 do check out the photo gallery for more shots. Some of my pictures has been chosen to be listed in the best SOOC street photos series, feel free to check out the list and photos to get some inspiration. Happy shooting film and are you up for a night shoot challenge pushing Kodak Vision3 500T film?

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