Beginner Question - Exposure

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by GeoffHill, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. GeoffHill

    GeoffHill Member

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    I've just bought my first MF camera, (501CM) which is manual everything.

    Unfortunately, my piggy bank is now completely empty, so I can't afford an exposure meter for a little while. Can I use the meter on my digi-slr, if i set the ISO to 400 on the dslr, and use HP5 in the 501, and then set the same speed and aperture setting as the meter on the digital camera reads, on the other camera?
     
  2. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    That should be close enough.

    If you bracket shots on the first roll of film, and keep notes, then you will see how closely the DSLR meter corresponds to the speed of HP5+ in your chosen developer. You might end up setting the meter to a different speed for the best results.

    Alternatively, you should be able to pick up a older used meter like a Weston Master for a few quid on eBay.

    Ian
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  4. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I don't know about the DSLR question, but since in digital you get a positive as a result of exposure instead of a negative, then it might be that the exposure will not be the same for film----I'm totally digital ignorant but that's what comes to mind. Slide film is also a "positive" result of exposure and one should base exposure on ensuring the important highlight detail rather than exposing for the shadows; thus, slight underexposure with slide film is usually more preferable.

    Don't forget the "Sunny 16 rule" with film. On a bright sunny, cloudless day, the exposure for HP5 (ISO 400) would be to use an apeture of f/16 with a shutter speed being the reciprocal of the ISO, i.e. 1/400. This will work generally speaking, and you could provide a +1 compensation value to this to gain more density in the deeper shadows i.e. open up to f/11 "OR" slow the shutter to 1/250 sec. and then provide reduced development to control the highlight densities on the negative. Also, don't forget the other exposure suggestions that may be on the box the film came in.

    Chuck
     
  5. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Unless your 501 is beat up and the shutter is dragging (you can sorta eyeball this at the slower speeds), go with Chuck1's suggestion. The Sunny16 rule works very well! HP5+ is pretty forgiving stuff so for those first 100 or so rolls you do in the next week you should be fine!
     
  6. GeoffHill

    GeoffHill Member

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    I think it may be closer to sunny 11 in england this time of year :smile: I'll bracket a lot of shots, then I'll be able to decide if the meter on the dslr (a canon 400d) looks about right for HP5
     
  7. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I used to carry a homemade exposure slide rule when using my unmetered Zorki. I drew it up in Works, printed it out and laminated the two parts. Here it is: The top row of figures on the insert is the ISO. You find the ISO you want in the small window, then in the large window read off conditions against the F-stop to give you the shutter speed.

    (click pictures to see larger).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2007
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have a 'Johnson Standard Exposure Calculator' which my father gave me a few years ago.

    It is printed plastic with a rotating disc inside a holder and has shutter speeds and apertures which line up in a window. The inner disc also has notches so you can move it around.

    To work out the exposure you need to determine four things:

    1. Month and time of day (one table)
    2. Scene type
    3. Weather
    4. Film speed (given in BSI and Scheiner values ISO 100 = BSI 31)

    You start with the disc in a pre-determined position and then 'dial in' the four variables. You then end up with the corrosponding shutter and aperture combinations.

    The reason for all this rambling is that I agree, the time of year does make a bit of difference and according to this calculator, there is a one stop difference between July to August, 10:00 to 15:00 and September to October, 10:00 to 15:00.

    i.e. In September and October (and March and April) it is Sunny f11.

    And from November to February it's Sunny f8!


    Steve
     
  9. Brian Jeffery

    Brian Jeffery Member

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    When finances permit, you can always pick yourself up a Weston Master V. I just picked one off Ebay for £18, complete with Invercone and case. Just be careful to get one that's fully working, otherwise it'll cost a few pounds to get it serviced.

    If you're using HP5 Plus then you'll probably get away without using a meter as the exposure latitude is pretty good with this film.


    Brian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2007
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Since negative film has a far greater exposure range than digi, you might find a 1/3 to 1/2 over exposure gives a better negative. Its generally better to err on the side of over exposure with film, as you can manage to print even very thick negatives, but it is difficult to print what is not there. The meter in your DSLR should do fine in general situations, but depending on your developer, you may not get the rated speed of the film,as said previously. If your first roll is thin, adjust the ASA/ISO and nothing else, so you may, for instance decide that HP5 is a 320 for you. Shooting film gets confusing when you change more than one variable, because it becomes difficult to figure out what did what.

    Congratulations on your new camera, and happy shooting.
     
  11. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    A very simple slide rule for exposure I like : http://expomat.tripod.com/

    In Canada I also get sunny f/11 most of the year. Shadow is f5.6. Except for the hour or two before sunset, it's pretty reliable. But yeah, the DSLR should give you an idea. Match it with received wisdom like the sunny rule, and it should tell you whether you're in the right ballpark.

    Daylight photography is very easy without a meter; studio photography isn't.
     
  12. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    I use my DSLR as a ligtmeter with my BW negs and color chromes (MF and LF) with success. Just try to comapre your reading to some other SLR to be sure. Put on longer lens and set the camera it to spot metering mode if you want to simulate the spotmeter. I find it a bit cumbersome but at the time being the Pentax DIgital Spotmeter I would like to get is beyond my buget too.

    good luck.
     
  13. dferrie

    dferrie Member

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    I got my first MF during the "summer" and was lucky enough to have a Weston V, which is in permanent loan from my Father, however as it had been a loooong time since I used the Weston V I wanted to check it against something so for the first few rolls not only did I bracket but I took a reading on the Weston V then on my Minolta 800si (35mm Film) and Sony A100 (Digital), I actually found that they all matched, so from my perspective the answer to Geoff's question is that using your DSLR will work.

    I would second Brian's suggestion of getting a Weston V, they are relatively cheap and a great little meter. If you get one and need a manual let me know and I'll scan my original manual for you.

    Enjoy the MF, I have to say that I'm really pleased that I took the plunge!

    David
     
  14. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I would suggest that you use sunny 16 (or sunny 11, or sunny 8, as circumstances dictate) and then use the meter in the digicamera to check your results.

    That way, you will get into the habit of evaluating exposure, rather than just reading exposure off a dial/display.

    This allows you to build up your experience and judgment, and will increase the likelihood that your exposure choices will be based on decisions, rather than gadgets.

    It also means that in many cases you'll be able to photograph even when the batteries on your equipment give out!

    Matt
     
  15. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Thats a new definition of Digital spotmeter :smile:
    Before I got a spotmeter I used my F90X as meter for MF nightshots. I probably would do that again since it is easy to read in the finder where my Minolta meter can be a bit fidly
    Kind regards
    Søren
     
  16. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

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    I used a 35mm camera for a meter for quite a while when I first started shooting MF and it worked very well. After reading this thread, just out of curiosity, I compared my DSLR (in spot meter mode) to my Pentax digital spot meter and they match up perfectly.

    I also use the digital camera sometimes instead of a polaroid back to test certain long exposure situations where a light meter is useless.
     
  17. GeoffHill

    GeoffHill Member

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    I've shot a few rolls now, and exposing using either the Eos 400d or the Eos 1n seem to give good results. The meters on both the cameras seem to give identical readings.

    I'll try and get some contact prints done and scan the results, but I'm definately happy with the results of my first few MF rolls.