Dropped pentax Spotmatic off tripod, lightmeter is broken, what to do?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Markok765, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I got a new tripod, see other thread, and I dropped my camera off the tripod.

    I accidentally opened the quick release.

    My lightmeter inside is now broken, and it will take a while to save enough for a new body. I will have to carry my large pentax spotmeter V around for metering now. It won't be so bad because I will be using the tripod most of the time.

    What can I do? Can I fix it, is it gone?

    Thank you!

    PS. This is slightly a good thing because it will FORCE me to use the camera slower, and make better photos. My exposure will be better with the spotmeter too.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For now, use your handheld meter, and see if you can learn to expose without the meter. Observe the lighting conditions around you and guess before you check with your spotmeter, and you'll start noticing patterns. Exposure is pretty constant under certain lighting conditions--full sun, overcast, open shade on a sunny day, normal room light that you could read by, a floodlit building at night, etc.
     
  3. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Thanks David! I used to be able to guess exposure. I'll try that when I am not shooting with flash/on a tripod. I'll try to carry the meter.
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Hey, Marko, David is spot on here. Be observant and take this opportunity to make good from apparent disaster. Teach yourself by learning what conditions produce what sort of light and learn to listen to your gut that way, when in a pinch down the road you won't be left hanging. (Apparently my answer is yourself for dropping the camera) Sorry but 1.) be more careful in the future and 2.) take this chance to broaden your photographic mentality.
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Sorry to hear about this Marko.

    If it is any comfort, there are probably very few of us here on APUG who haven't had a camera go for a tumble or two, and sometimes with even more disastrous results.

    David's suggestion is excellent. If I can add a slight refinement, I would suggest finding an old cheap incident meter, and learn to use it as well.

    Incident meters actually measure the light levels, rather than the light reflecting back from the subject. Spot meters are almost exactly the reverse. IMHO, careful observation of light, supplemented with incident light readings to check, are a great way of improving your photographic skills.

    Matt
     
  6. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    So, why would a incident meter be better than a spotmeter for improving my photos?
     
  7. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    a good tool to aid in guessing exposure

    found on the web, and since used extensively with my stable of old non-metered cameras. I take the tables and feed them into excel, and edit them to exclude shutter speeds or apertures that the camera does not support. I edit them to fit the size of the camera back, laminate them with tape, and then stick them into the camera bag or case.

    I also have one in my wallet at all times.

    It works surprisingly well.
     

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  8. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Hey Marko!
    If you 'pm' me your email address, I'll send you my set of "Sunny 16" cards. I have them for most film speeds & they cover more than just 'sunny' (since it is rarely sunny here these days)! hahaha :D
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Work with the light...

    Marko:

    Because use of an incident meter teaches you more about observing and evaluating light levels and the photograph as a whole.

    What I tend to do is observe the scene and come to a "guestimate" about the light, including its intensity, character and direction. I then use the incident meter to confirm or correct my guestimate. That gives me my basic exposure, plus some information on likely contrast. Finally, I consider the main subject of the photo and, if it is unusually dark, or unusually light, I might adjust further.

    Like you, I only shoot roll film, so I'm not able to tailor the development of individual negatives. If I was shooting sheet film, I would be more likely to want to use a spotmeter, as the ability to adjust development means it makes sense to focus more on the SBR ("Subject Brightness Range") and less on the light illuminating the subject.

    This is easier to observe in real life than it is to describe here. As an example, say you wanted to take photos of a bunch of your friends on an overcast day with high and even light. Your friends may have different coloured clothes, different coloured hair, and different complexions. If the light is even and consistent, most likely the best results would be obtained if you used essentially the same exposure for each photo. An incident meter would give you that. A spotmeter would, however, most likely indicate different exposure for different friends, depending on their clothes, their hair or their complexion, and where you took your meter readings from.

    When I photograph, I look first for the light.

    Hope this helps.

    Matt
     
  10. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Thank you very much! I am trying to now look at light, whereas I had been just focusing on the subject. Would shooting a grey card/some grey thing work as well?

    Mike, I used to have that in my camera bag!

    Do you think the Nikon F series is tougher than the Pentax screwmounts?

    EDIT: My filter thread is a bit bent, can I fix it?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2008
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Marko, it's all a matter of practice. Look at the subject, but be aware of the light.

    I think of it as taking a picture of how the light falls on the subject!

    and BTW: I sometimes shoot LF slides without a light meter. I haven't been seriously off on the exposure yet. :smile:
     
  12. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Makes sense Ole. I'll try to think about that!

    Slides without a light meter?!?!? I used to do B&W without a meter.
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The "Holiday snaps" in my gallery were shot on 4x5" Fuji Velvia, with an uncoated lens, exposure by guesstimate.

    It works. :smile:
     
  14. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Marko, you might benefit by learning the SLAT rule. EV = S + L = A + T (where EV = the Exposure Value: S = your film's speed index number (ISO): L = the Additive Light Value , numeric value of the light reflecting from your subject: A = your aperture setting: T = your shuTter speed setting)


    EV = A + T

    Shutter speeds and apertures are given numeric values that combine to give you an exposure value (EV).
    Shutter speeds
    1 second = 0, 1/2 sec = 1, 1/4 = 2, 1/8 = 3, 1/15 = 4, 1/30 = 5, 1/60 = 6, 1/125 = 7, 1/250 = 8, 1/500 = 9, 1/1000 = 10.
    Apertures
    f/1 = 0, f/1.4 = 1, f/2 - 2, f/2.8 = 3, f/4 = 4, f/5.6 = 5, f/8 = 6, f/11 = 7, f/16 = 8, f/22 = 9, f/32 = 10.
    Say you meter a scene and read an exposure value of 13, then any compination of settings that total 13 will give an equal and average exposure to your scene, ie. 1/60(6) at f/11(7). 6+7=13. And any other combination as well.


    EV = S + L

    For Additive light values and film speed indeces, the same roughly applies.
    Film speed
    ISO3 - 0, ISO6 = 1, ISO12 = 2, ISO25 = 3, ISO 50 = 4, ISO100 = 5, ISO200 = 6, ISO400 = 7, ISO800 = 8, ISO1600 = 9, ISO3200 = 10
    Additive light values (in candles per square foot (c/ft 2)
    6 c/ft2 = 0, 12c/ft2 = 1, 25c/ft2 = 2 50c/ft2 = 3, 100c/ft2 = 4, 200c/ft2 = 5, 400c/ft2 = 6, 800c/ft2 = 7, 1600c/ft2 = 8, 3200c/ft2 = 9, 6400c/ft2 = 10.
    There are tables of rough estimates of your light source depending on bright sunlight, open shade, night illumination, etc. If you know the approximate c/ft2 of your light and you can get your film's speed index then you can get the exposure value ie. the light of the full moon (roughly 250 c/ft2)(5), ISO1600(9) then your exposure value would be (5+9) 14. Then you choose a S/S-f/stop combination that equals an exposure value of EV14 (f/11 at 1/125 and so on).

    S + L = A + T SLAT

    The combination of shutter speed and aperture will be equal to the combination of the light reflecting from your subject and your film's speed rating. For rough figuring of exposure you now have two ways to go about it. 1.) EV ratings on your light meter and the S+L combination of light and film speed.

    There is more information such as this at www.fredparker.com. The Ultimate Exposure Calculator.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2008
  15. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    The light meters in those cameras was a real weak point anyways, so don't even think about repairing it. Even the meters in the latter K1000 (tank) series was an expensive pain to repair according to a friend that repairs Pentax cameras. Use a handheld or judge the light.
     
  16. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Wayne, should I get another body and keep this as a backup then?

    Thanks everyone, The Ultimate Exposure Calculator is really great!
     
  17. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    filter thread repair method

    Take a block of wood, and scribe the raduis of the outside of filter thread portion you are trying to straighten. Cut the wood along this line to yield a backing board. Clamp it to a work bench, into a vise, etc.

    Get a 3/8" or so hardwood dowel, 6" long, and whittle one end down to have a flat surface on one side to form the re-bending mallet.

    Place the dented filter thread against the curved backing form (Having someone else here as 3rd and 4th hands lolding the lens or filter helps immensely at this stage.) Use a hammer to cause the dowel mallet to gently in multiple blows strike the dented portion and bend it back into shape.
     
  18. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I don't think that I personally would. It was just a design that didn't hold up very long. If you look for a good body you'll see lot's with bad meters. You might be better off buying a small shoe mount meter and using it between camera bodies. If shooting b&w you could go without a meter and use Diafine as a developer. Eventually like all things practice makes perfect and you'll find that you can be very light sensitive as concerns exposure. Besides, 36 frames is paradise compared to 4x5 color sheet film. Shoot multiples and learn.
     
  19. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Have you tried fixing it? I have a spottie that had a bad meter. I took off the bottom plate (only two screws) and found the wire for the battery had come off from corrosion. The impact of the drop may have loosened a wire. It's an easy fix if that 's the problem. Buy some small screwdrivers from the dollar store and have a go. You have nothing to lose. If the problem is in the top end of the camera you're out of luck.
     
  20. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I'll try that today! Question: I have film inside, if I open the bottom, will it ruin it?
     
  21. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    You can wind the film back into the cassette, just make sure you leave the leader out. Mark the leader with the number of frames already exposed. Then when you're ready to use the camera again, put the film in, wind and fire the shutter with the lens cap on until you get the next fresh frame + 1 or so. You'll either end up with one blank frame, or an interesting double exposure.
     
  22. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    The wires in the bottom were not the problem, sadly.