clockwork mechanisms

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by cliveh, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    As well as those who appreciate film photography and film cameras, is there an appreciation of camera clockwork mechanisms. They work beautifully, so why do we need batteries?
     
  2. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    For light meters. Yes, selenium cell meters need no batteries, but they suck for low light and they don't make selenium spotmeters. Honestly though, electronic shutters are more accurate. I don't see the difference in black and white work, but I've been bitten a few times with slides because of shutters off a little bit. Never happens with my electronic-shutter cameras but does with my Leicas and Hasselblad.
     
  3. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Sure that's not metering technique, not in accurate shutter speed?
     
  4. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    I'm sure. I use the same handheld meter the same way. The cameras are the only variable.
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Last night I went to a show and was humbled by the work of a talented Black and White Silver Gelatin photographer who works without light meter.
     
  6. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I really like the mechanical precision built into the Exakta VX. My 2 were built in 1952 and work like the day they were made.
    Also I use 2 SRT's. The light meters are not that good so I leave the battery out and use a hand held meter instead. Of course I have later cameras, XD-11, X-700's, 8000i, and I don't mind that they use batteries to control the shutters. Spare batteries are on hand in my camera bags.
     
  7. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    Using a meter is not exactly brain surgery, and it makes your photos consistently good, if you gear is adjusted right (My cameras went in for CLA after finding their shutters were not accurate). Guessing may work most of the time if you accumulate enough experience, but why bother? Photographers who brag about not using meters are fools, loudly proclaiming it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2011
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Being able to expose correctly without a light meter is a skill that you will appreciate having learned the day you have hiked for several hours and then discover you have left the meter at home. Or the batteries.

    When you get really good at it, you will start bringing an extra lens, or extra film holder, instead of the meter.
     
  9. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Hmmm... I went for years without a light meter, had an Argus C-3 from a yard sale. I went by the leaflets that were packaged with the film back in those days(as did many millions of photogs prior to that). Maybe my exposures weren't spot on perfect, but I have thousands of photos that proved good enough to win a few awards. Then I purchased an Olympus FTL with built in meter, life went downhill from there. I found myself mired down with trying to figure out the best things to meter off of for consistancy. Now I am back to my roots, Retinette without meter, Mamiya C-220 and 330 occasionally use handheld meter, OM-1's that I usually forget to turn the meter on when using. Something about the "sunny 16(or sunny 11 most days)rule that still rings true and usefull. I have a few examples posted here from a Kodak Tourist II that I purposly left my meter home when shooting, loaded with iso 25 film and hand held every shot. Results were six of the eight shots were very well worth printing, and recieved some raves.
    http://www.apug.org/forums/members/...rt-best-guess-exposure-printed-polymax-rc.jpg
    http://www.apug.org/forums/members/...rt-best-guess-exposure-printed-polymax-rc.jpg
     
  10. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Rick, I can identify with this. Reminds me of an old saying, "A man with one watch always knows what time it is, but once he has two or more, he's never sure," or words to that affect. We can sometimes get so caught up in the technical aspects of taking a picture we lose sight of the the fun if not the spontaneous inspiration.
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    It's the same with thermometers and spirit levels.


    Steve.
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Ansel Adams and Edward Weston made fine photographs before they ever saw a selenium cell meter. Even later, experience sometimes served better (Moonrise over Hernandez). No meter of the time would have helped in some of Weston's macro photography with exposures of several hours. Yousuf Karsh said he sometimes checked lighting with a meter, but if the meter reading didn't agree with his guess, he favored the guess. However, for us mortals, meters are valuable tools, and better than ever. My failure rate dropped in 1967 upon buying a Nikon Photomic TN and semi-retiring a Weston Master II with a missing exposure calculator dial. That dial was not necessary for us who learned math before the digital calculator era, but was convenient.
     
  13. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Subscriber

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    Adams was wrong on moonrise, he severely underexposed it and had to use an intensifier on the foreground. Karsh was a studio photographer; exposure with studio lights is based on distance between the lights and subject and can be set up without a meter if you have an exposure table for the light (back in Karsh's day, light manufacturer's gave exposure info in the instructions).
     
  14. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Absolutely! camera clockwork mechanisms are good enough when maintained properly.
     
  15. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    If I could be there to give advice to analog photographers starting out right now, I would recommend a quality manual camera without (or avoid getting battery for) a working meter. The reason for a quality camera is not for status, it is for durability, something that can stand up to minor knocks or splashes without losing all functionality. I would recommend getting a high quality spotmeter/incident meter. Chris' advice is well-taken, get a good CLA for the camera. Negatives will have a consistency and it will be easier to fulfill your vision.

    But this local photographer chose for whatever reason to work without a meter. Her vision comes through this self-imposed constraint.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    If you often shoot in the same kind of light, which is not so unusual for some kinds of photographers--to seek out a certain kind of light--then you can do pretty well without a meter. Average indoor lighting, enough to read by, for instance, is astonishingly consistent (around ISO 400, f:2, 1/15 sec.), not to mention sunny 16, open shade, full sun at the beach, and those exposures included on the film data sheet that used to be in the box. It's those unfamiliar situations, or situations with rapidly changing light, that can get tricky.

    "Moonrise" was difficult not only because Adams didn't use a meter, but because a landscape with the moon in it is always difficult, particularly without tricks like ND grads or double exposures. You want detail in the landscape without blowing out the moon, and you need a fast enough exposure to get the moon sharp.

    Having a good idea of what the exposure should be without checking the meter, I would say, is a fairly important element of knowing how to use a meter.
     
  17. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I do have great appreciation of good clockwork be it's in a clock, watch or a camera but I do use electronically controlled camera with batteries. I do have appreciation for a good efficient electronic device as well.
    I can and do get good exposure without a meter but I do use a meter often as well.
     
  18. X. Phot.

    X. Phot. Guest

    I use a 1960's Hamilton Swiss wristwatch to time exposures for small aperture Waterhouse stops & pinholes. It has yet to complained about exhausted batteries. The shutters I am using on the view cameras are ancient. "Accurate" is probably the last word I'd use to describe these shutters. But the "T" and "B" settings nearly always function with utmost precision . . . that is . . . if I remember to squeeze the bulb with gusto.
     
  19. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Clockwork

    It is posts like this that restore my faith in real mechanical clockwork mechanisms. How wonderful to use a favourite timepiece to aid an exposure on physical light sensitive material, especially if squeezing the bulb with gusto!