Are such things no longer manufactured?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Charles Webb, May 13, 2006.

  1. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In a recent thread the mention of film plane metering was brought up. Suggesting that metering on the ground glass was an easy way to circumvent the gadgets and math normally used to figure bellows factors or corrections. Well, when I read that, it started me thinking (alway a bad thing) about exposure meters back in my day, and those available today. It seems like only yesterday that several major players in camera business offered models or adapters to modify their brand of meters to read exposure
    from LF focusing panels. I had one made/sold by Calumet with their brand on it that worked very well through the 60's and 70's. Since I seldom used a meter for studio work, I gave it to a friend. He loved it.

    To night I went on a search looking for a modern up to speed ground glass metering system. Now I admit it was more of a casual search to simply check out what might be available. But the bottom line is that I couldn't find anything, new or used that mentioned being able to meter light from the rear
    of an LF box. Have they gone the way of Kodak paper? Is no one making such items, or did I just completely miss them in my search?

    I am not really interested in purchasing one of these meters but would like to know if they are still available? With the popularity and renascence of LF today it seems to me it could be a very profitable venture for some company.

    They did a wonderful job of telling you the starting place for figuring your exposure, bellows compensation included. Would appreciate you thoughts and input.

    Charlie.....................................
     
  2. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    East Kent, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,818
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

    Messages:
    1,504
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Westminster,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    bellows factor isn't hard to calculate
     
  5. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,099
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Whilst a bellows factor isn't hard to calculate, falloff is a bit of an issue sometimes and a reading off the glass will tell you if you are stretching things a bit.

    I am not a LF photographer, but in another life I did more than my share of 4x5 & 8x10 repro and studio work.

    I myself have a Gossen Profi-Six meter and one of the attachments I have is the Flexi-pro, I think it's called that.

    Anyway it's a fibre optic attachment about 200mm long, designed to measure light in small places, directionally, or off the GG of a LF camera. Or the screen on my Nikon F3 camera to see how different the metering is, pretty much the same, for what it's worth.

    It can also be used to measure film step wedges or for testing shutter accuracy by reading density diferences.

    Quite an interesting piece of equipment for $20.00 secondhand, about 15 years ago.

    Mick.
     
  6. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

    Messages:
    349
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Knoxville, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can always get a "chip-and-scale" from Calumet. You place the 1"X1" chip, black on one side and white on the other, in your shot, than read the size of the chip on the groundglass with the scale, to get the bellows factor. Cheap, simple and effective. Just remember to remove the chip before exposure.
    I used the Sinar metering system at a studio I once worked at. I kinda thought it was a pain in the neck. I used to unhook the meter from the probe and use it as a conventional flash meter. When the boss wasn't around, that is. Dean
     
  7. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

    Messages:
    274
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use quickdisk - sounds similar but free. I printed the PDF, laminated it, and cut out the disk and measuring ruler.

    http://www.salzgeber.at/disc/index.html

    Don't forget to remove it from the scene!
     
  8. dphphoto

    dphphoto Member

    Messages:
    349
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    Knoxville, T
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Mike: I didn't know about the Quickdisk. Thanks for the tip. Dean
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,943
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    On all of my LF cameras, I have a table for converting magnification factor to exposure factor. I can usually estimate the magnification factor by comparing the size of the object at the plane of focus to the size on the groundglass, or sometimes I'll measure it with a ruler or just put a ruler in the scene and compare it to the width of the format for the purpose of measurement.

    I have a Minolta Booster II for groundglass readings, but I don't use it too often. It's easier just to compute the exposure factor and I usually just dial it into the ASA setting on my meter, along with filter factors, and in the field it can be hard to avoid stray light under the darkcloth, which interferes with the reading.
     
  10. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Figuring bellows factor was not my question, my questions was, is anyone still manufacturing a ground glass metering system?

    Sinar and Horsesman seem to still be offering them, but that is a far cry from just a few years back.


    Thanks for the input, I somehow have trouble understanding how good and well thought out systems can just disappear. Perhaps a new accessory will be introduced to LF'ers tomorrow.


    Charlie............................
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,775
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Gossens made a metering back for LF cameras a while back.

    I have one for 4x5 and it is quite nice. You can use a spot metering stick to move the meter around on the GG to position it perfectly for your subject.

    PE
     
  12. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Charlie, I had one once. To my style of working they seemed awfully fiddly compared to simply pointing a good spotmeter. Granted for some, the fiddlier the better, but to me it seemed un-elegant. This in no way addresses your question I suppose but to make one of these systems affordable in the numbers it would be produced would be the biggest surprise of all.
     
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have a Minolta light meter with the Minolta Booster II adaptor for ground glass readings. I don't use it much, mainly because I rarely do anything that requires it.
     
  14. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The read-through-glass gadgets from Minolta and Gossen were tough, in that the ambient light DID make a difference. The Off the film plane readers from SInae were awesome. Since I stopped shooting LF chromes, I haven't missed 'em.

    For negs, I think a sane system of exposure makes an simple incident or spot reading system more than adequate. I don't base my exposure on the bitter end of the toe, so even a wild guess with kentucly windage makes superb negatives. I don't think there is need for GG focus any more.

    Of course, if one were shooting LF chromes for magazine advs, that's a different problem. Then composing to fit the printer's window is the issue.... and if a photographer knows how to do THAT, computing a simple exposure isn't much of a problem.

    d
     
  15. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Don,
    I totally agree with you and Jim that they are gadgets that for the most part are not necessary. They have had their 15 minutes of fame.

    About 90 percent of my camera work WAS involved with LF Transparancies and fitting products into "printers windows". At times with matte boxes for multi imaging to add to the confusion.

    The Calumet device I used was like a film holder, it slowed things down a bunch and did not provide me with a proof to bounce off an art director. Polaroid was my crutch and answer for that one.

    During my search on the internet I discovered that my brand new Gossen
    Ulta Pro has been discontinued. Darn the luck, it's only been 25 years since I purchased it, and now they have replaced it with more geejaws. I expect the next thing I learn is that Wollensak has quit making Velostigmats!

    Well better shut up for now, I have to go make out an order to J&C for 500 sheets of 8x10 Dupont Velour Black grade 2........................:smile:

    Thanks everybody for your input!!!



    Charlie..................................
     
  16. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you get hold of that Velour Black, see if you can reach Gene Smith and tell him he owes me a bottle rum.

    don
     
  17. rmann

    rmann Subscriber

    Messages:
    287
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have used the Horseman meter - it works like a film holder but only meters an area in the center - about the same area as 6x9. Meter readings were good for the times I used it. It is about 50% bigger than a film holder, so it was not something that I took into the field. I still use it if I am doing a set up where I want to double check because of bellows extension.
     
  18. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

    Messages:
    719
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Funny isn't it that Varilour has magically reappeared under the Adox name and at a lower price than almost all its competitors - not that I'm complaining! :smile:

    More to the point - how did Gene Smith end up in debt to you for a bottle of rum? :confused:

    Lachlan
     
  19. glbeas

    glbeas Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Location:
    Roswell, Ga.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's all in the marketing. Think about all the crap sold out there thats not really neccesary but hyped like heck in the media. You get buyers. Then theres the good gear sold by word of mouth but not really marketed hard. They might evaporate overnight if the financing powers that be aren't convinced of a new sale overnight. Sad but true.