AE1 issues

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by marylandphoto, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. marylandphoto

    marylandphoto Member

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    Hello, all. I've had a lot of metering problems with an AE-1 I bought recently. I've never had this with any camera of age purchased before. It seems to be extremely sensitive to really light or dark areas. I know that this happens when metering areas that are far from grey, but the camera seems to adjust sometimes 2 or 3 stops in either direction versus a neutral colored area. It also treats items in brilliant sunlight as close to white in its calculation.

    Furthermore, I've tried using a 100mm macro lens with it, and anytime it's at full extension, the meter underexposes by several stops. I've had some disappointing results, so I'm just wondering...is the center weighted meter extremely sensitive to changes in brightness and can't deal with long lenses, or do you think I just got a lemon?

    Thanks.
     
  2. BobD

    BobD Member

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    Difficulty using the AE-1's meter is common, probably due to a poor explanation
    in the original camera manual for manual-metered operation. Apparently Canon
    wanted owners to only use it in AE mode. I suggest reading the manual
    carefully and making you sure you are following it exactly.
     
  3. Obtong

    Obtong Member

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    Hi. I have an AE-1 that I used for many years without problem. When you take a picture of a landscape, does the picture come out exposed OK? If so, you camera is probably metering OK. A landscape is close to an "average" scene, which is what your camera was designed to meter.

    However, if most of your frame is filled with a very dark subject, the camera thinks this is an "average" (18% grey) scene so your film will end up being overexposed. If you take a picture of a mostly white scene, the camera will underexpose, making a very dark subject appear grey. This is normal for most cameras/meters. You as the photographer will have to recognise when to give some exposure compensation.

    I have a black dog and a white dog, and it is very diffivcult to take a close up picture of either of them because of the under/over exposure problem when photographing a scene which is not average. I get around this by either manually setting the aperture and shutter (if they are sitting still), or by having a dog only take up a smaller portion of the frame. I will have to crop the picture later, but at least the camera will meter for an "average" scene and the dog, either one, will come out pretty good in the final picture.

    Hope this helps.
    ~Dom
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2010
  4. marylandphoto

    marylandphoto Member

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    Thanks, Dom. I do understand this, it just seems to be going WAY under/over. I think I just may have to replace the camera. Thanks for the help.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    This is a new one.....:rolleyes:
     
  6. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I used to use the AE1 Program with a 300 f2.8 and got fantastic results; could be the meter is faulty.
    Centre weighted will on most occasions average out the exposure and be correct, but you will have to compensate for white or black areas that are quite dominant.

    Admittedly I used mine in manual mode 95% of the time and used a hand-held meter, and adoption of the Zone System to assist me.

    Have you tried to compare your camera readings with a hand-held?

    It is possible you got a lemon, but I'd investigate a little further before I gave up on it. :smile:
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The way it sounds, when your meter sees something very bright or very dim it tells you to change your exposure by several stops versus something that is a mid tone.

    This is what light meters do!!! What do you want it to do? Suggest the same exposure no matter what you point it at?

    It is very easy for there to be a scene in which there are over ten "stops" difference between the darkest area and the lightest area, so if you are just getting three stops each way from middle grey, your negs are going to be quite easy to print, if not a bit flat.

    This is one reason that we have grey cards. They are the best way to make an in-camera reflected meter actually give you consistently decent exposures. Read a grey card that is placed in the light for which you want to expose, and open up half a stop from your meter's recommended exposure. In-camera meters were originally designed as tools of compromise, and so they still are today. They were not ever intended to replace more accurate types of metering, but only to increase convenience. They will very rarely give you the ideal exposure if read directly off of the composition. Use a grey card whenever possible, and your exposures will improve about 90%.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2010
  8. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Obtong, if the landscape is snow - you'd end up with an 18% grey scene using the meter reading from the camera (or a hand-held meter); in this instance you would need to open up by 2 stops to get a "correctly" exposed image. (The same would be true of a very dark scene, but in that instance, you'd need to stop down 2 stops to render it "correct".)

    I remember doing a test at college with grey cards - you had to make the same card: 18% grey, white and black; it all had to do with your exposures. Some got the idea quickly, others had problems, but once you worked it out, adjusting to compensate for any scene you were presented with was much easier. :smile:
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Not only can all sorts of photos be made in all sorts of different levels of darkness and brightness, but landscapes are typically some of the least average-toned photos there are.

    When spot metering snow that I want to be white, I place it three to four stops above middle grey, not just two. It is very easy for snow to become a bear to print if it is even slightly underexposed.
     
  10. marylandphoto

    marylandphoto Member

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    That is not what I'm saying. I understand that they will change for light/dark areas, I'm just saying that mine is wildly off, changing many stops at just the slightest change in tone. This probably is just my camera. It's lasted me forever, just need a new one.
     
  11. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    If it has just started to be a problem (after years or reliability) then I think that it probably IS the meter playing up. If you can get another for the price of repairing the one you have (or even better *cheaper*) with a meter that works correctly - go for it.

    Will save you an awful lot of heartache. :smile:
     
  12. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    Thanks for explaining why the camera meter is off from my freshly reconditioned Weston.I took the risk and trusted the Weston when using it with my AE-1.When the film comes back from the lab we'll see if I have a clue.................
     
  13. Obtong

    Obtong Member

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    You might also try comparing the meter readings from your AE1 and your Weston with a camera with which you know you get good results.
    ~Dom
     
  14. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    The AE-1 is the only film camera I own with a meter.I'm trusting in the latitude of Delta 100,the meter and what I've learned.Like I said earlier we'll see.It's B&W,there's filter factors,water and end of day lighting involved.I didn't pick an easy subject for the trial.I am aiming for a certain result.It's a test I'll learn regardless of outcome.Nice images?We'll see..............
     
  15. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    And while you're at it.... don't forget to "bracket" those exposures! :wink:
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    You did not say that. What you said is that it changes two or three stops when you point it at very light or very dark areas.
     
  17. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    Nah not this time.I wanted to see what happens.I picked a tough subject in difficult lighting with a busy background.
     
  18. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    From what I seem to recall from when I had an AE-1 Program years ago, if the DoF lever is engaged before mounting a lens it can play havoc with exposure. Just a thought.
     
  19. MFstooges

    MFstooges Member

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    He/She did say that :
    Try to understand the whole post before cutting it into pieces and presume. The fact that he had other cameras to compare should bring some idea that at least he knows what lightmeter does.