cant seem to expose Pro400h consistently

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by 10speeduk, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Hi all. I have been shooting Pro400h recently as a change from portra 400. I have been using it with my Nikon F5. I have rated it at ISO200 and spotmeter off peoples faces (forehead or cheek) and place this in zone V-VII according to how bright it is -using the F5 spot function. Id say 10% of the time the exposures look perfect, 50% of the time they look like this:

    img325.jpg img302.jpg

    these are straight scans from negs I developed. I am sure this is an exposure issue as I have had perfect exposures off the same roll. Here is one from the same roll:

    img349small.jpg

    I cant use matrix metering as I am not using auto focus lenses, plus I should really know better! Any comments on how I can meter more reliably would be great! Thanks Paul
     
  2. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    I tend to meter for the shadows but then you still need to attend to skin tone exposure. I'm not sure why you're exposing the film for ISO 200?, 320 should be enough of a margin. Secondly, the Kodak Portra films are excellent so is there a reason for the switch to Fuji 400H?

    Tom
     
  3. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Hi Tom, for reading up around the web it seems to be safer to over expose, plus I prefer the washed-out colours like this. Can you explain to me how you meter for the shadows? Thanks Paul
     
  4. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Paul,

    I use mostly B&W negative film but have exposed plenty of colour negative film and find the C-41 process is more forgiving. Based on a vague approximation; trying finding the darkest area you want detail in and reduce the exposure given by two stops relative to the meter. e.g. meter gives f/8 1/125 aimed at shadow area, so you expose f/8 1/500...

    Tom
     
  5. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    Seems to me that you're comparing apples to oranges a bit. The "good" photo was shot what appears to be late afternoon sunlight (hence the shadows), while the first two were shot in less contrasty light. They look rather flat because the light was rather flat, perhaps. I'm not sure your exposures are far off.
     
  6. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    I agree, the first two were taken in cooler shadow. You can either fix the white balance in software or using filters on the lens.
     
  7. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I like to shoot such films at ASA 200 also, however I wonder if your spot meter on pale skin is still causing just a little underexposure? If you're scanning though, you can alter the hue very easily. Otherwise I don't think you have anything to worry about with these shots.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I shoot loads of 400 H, I rate it at the box speed of ISO 400 and use an incidental light meter reading, the exposures are perfect every time.
     
  9. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Hi Trask, these were all shot with 5 mins of each other. The light appeared consistent at the time....!?
     
  10. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Hi Benjiboy, could you post some unedited examples please? I would love to see them to give me some reference. cheers Paul :smile:
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The problem shots are slightly backlit, but mainly lit by what appears to be open sky.

    The better shot appears to be lighted by diffused sunlight from the front.

    Those two light sources have really different character and colour.

    That being said, I would think that there may be some scanning issues involved as well.
     
  12. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Hi Matt, these were all scanned at the same time on the same strip! literally at the same time, open lid put in film and scan. open lid remove film. Anyway, not to worry, I have been doing some meter tests Vs my D700 and Minolta IV. It appears that centre weighting is pretty accurate, in fact more accurate than the D700! Plus my manual lens has a CPU chip so I can also use Matrix metering if I want. So no need for me to worry. I will run a few more rolls with these settings before I decide. Thanks Paul
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Paul:

    Most scanners love to try to "improve" things by having the software automatically adjust each individual scan. So what you are seeing could very well reflect at least partially those automatic adjustments.
     
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  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Sorry Paul I don't have a scanner, but I have been shooting portraits with it for as long as it has been available in both 35mm and 120 and had good results with this method. Forget about the zone System and use incidental metering.
     
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  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Blindly shoot in at half the box speed with color will generally get you CRAP. Use the box speed and use the average light reading. Spot readings are good as a reference for highlights and shadows, but should not be used to "guess" the exposure. The manufactures do a lot of scientific research to obtain the box speed; alternative suggestions on the internet bimbos, are at best SWAGs [Scientific Wild Assed Guesses] and are somewhat less than useless, especially for color film.
     
  17. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    Like others, use incandescent meter to get correct exposure, forget about zone system for colour. Pro 400H looks great when it's shot at ISO 200.

    Learn about white balance. Your D700 most likely tries to guess it automatically. Set your D700 to daylight balance and shoot it in shadow and it will look the same. It's not magic.
    If you would give this film to get printed, the white balance would get corrected automatically. Since you are doing the scanning, you have to correct it as well.
    This photos might be shot at the same time, but it's clearly obvious that the light sources are different. One is sun and the other is shadow.
     
  18. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    just use an incident meter.

    I've found that 400H goes BLUE if it's shot @ box speed. This is with both DIY c-41(with Trebla/CPAC chemicals, the same as Kodak quality-wise IME) AND pro-lab development(again, in both Kodak AND Fuji chemistry). I try and do my own c-41 now, not just to save costs, but also because I control each step, so I know that my "normal" is actually a slight push(3:30 vs 3:15(c-41's "normal" time), just a tad higher contrast)

    Rating it @ 200(so a 1 stop overexposure) gave me more warmth, not just more density. I found it was easier to scan(and optically print) than those shots made @ ISO 400.
    *ALL METER READINGS WERE DONE VIA INCIDENT METHOD*

    In all honesty, if you really want those "pastel" colors, rate the film @ ISO 80-100. It'll wash the colors out more, and the grain will be less pronounced. At least in my experience.

    here's what I've found I get my color to look SIMILAR(not exactly) when rating it @ iso 125(my personal favorite when using 400H):
    http://josevillablog.com/2011/07/havana-cuba/

    -Dan
     
  19. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut Member

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    I've found Pro400h to be spot-on on box speed. I spotmeter my subjects so I can't be that much off. However I've found it's prone not to be so forgiving on overexposures as most color negatives are. For underexposing is more forgiving. Meaning you can burn out some highlights when you shoot at some ASA100 or so, but this can also depend how you develop it.

    It's a lot due to scanning and inverting technique used on the particualr C41 scan. If you don't know how to properly scan C41 negative then the results are almost always dissapointing, whether exposure- and colour-wise, or both, IMHO at least.

    Pro400h is my overall favourite C41 film and I always shoot it right at the box speed, couple of my drumscans for "box-speed" (ASA400) proof:


    [​IMG]
    David+Sandra by tsiklonaut, on Flickr




    [​IMG]
    Gamelan man by tsiklonaut, on Flickr
     
  20. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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  21. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut Member

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    Hi Tom,

    No actually, I use my own developed recipe that's almost fully done using curves in 16-bit- and in large color-space mode. No plugins required with my method, just knowing your color space and using simple adjustments.

    Margus
     
  22. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    That is an interesting approach; I assume you are using a standardised approach, e.g. a saved set of curves?

    Tom
     
  23. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Not to my eyes. There is clearly some sunshine in the bottom shot of the lady by a iron gate judging by the shadow of the bars on her skin. The top two seemed to have been shot in very overcast conditions and have a blue look. especially the first one. Not saying this is any part of the solution to the problem but clearly the light conditions seem different despite there being only 5 mins between the shots.

    pentaxuser
     
  24. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Who particularly knows why the cast is present on the 1st two shots, but seeing as you have an almost perfect white reference in the last shot (dress), you might as well use this as your base to correct the others, if desired.
     
  25. damonff

    damonff Member

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    Light can change in 1 second or not for hours. Just because you shot them within 5 minutes means nothing. Our eyes adjust in a more subtle way than lenses/film and we don't always notice. Get a hand meter. I also have struggled with 400H. It takes a while to learn a film. Just keep practicing and understand that you won't always get the shot. I have shot color rolls (c41) where 1 shot out of 36 was good. And I have never, ever, shot a perfect roll.
     
  26. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Wow. Thanks for all the feedback. I will shoot a couple of rolls today. I will incident meter for both and shoot 1 at box and one at asa200. Cheers Paul