F100 and B/W film

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Steve Mack, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Steve Mack

    Steve Mack Member

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    I need some guidance on exposure for black-and-white film with my Nikon F100. On Aperture or Program, the Matrix metering looks like it tends to underexpose the shots. This is especially true when there are dark tones near the bottom of the photo (or anywhere else, for that matter). The film is metered at its rated ISO. I was wondering if I should change the metering to Center-weighted and the exposure mode to Manual, and see what that does. The F100 does excellent work with Kodak Ektar 100, at its rated speed, FWIW. What is your collective experience with this camera and B/W film?

    Thanks to all who reply.

    With best regards,

    Steve
     
  2. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I have 3 F100s and shoot on Tmax100, 400, Plus-X, and Tri-X. My camera is set to Aperture priority and usually Matrix metering, but when needed, I switch to Center weighted. My exposure is usually good, or as good as any automated metering would be. I have not noticed any under-exposure tendencies.

    If there is a deep shadow in the scene and is a high contrast situation, it does under-expose the shadow but I don't expect the camera's metering to be able to recognize this kind of situations and adjust accordingly. In these cases, I typically use exposure compensation and over-expose by one stop by hand.
     
  3. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    It should not make any difference what type of film you are using. My F100's are used for slide, colour neg and B&W. I don't have a problem with any of them except with flash they tend to over expose all mediums. Could it be that you are not developing the films for long enough? I have always suffered from excess contrast when I come to printing stage so always half the film speed and chop the development time, that way I get 'meaty' negs that print quite easily. I don't think it is your metering. Of course you could always use the spot meter. Meter off a mid tone shade (grass) and hold that so when you move the camera back to the chosen view point the exposure will be what you want.
     
  4. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I have a F100 but it is rarely used since I prefer MF and LF but my comment is to refer to the reason for Aperture and Manual mode. I would set the aperture according to the depth of field you want in either of the modes which could require the use of a tripod if the shutter speed was too slow. As I understand it Matrix metering will give you an average reading of the scene and Center will predominately read a centered subject. If you spot meter and manually set both the aperture and shutter speed you can set an average setting or meter for shadows or highlights as desired. Consider bracketing just in case.

    I mainly use a spot meter or incident meter reading with the formats I use and since my cameras are all manual and I most often use a tripod, I control the settings. I don't know why B&W would be different from color other than the characteristics of the film used. The camera doesn't know which is being used other than the ISO. Stick to one film until you are familiar with it's properties because switching often just becomes confusing.
    Half time is over -- back to the Super Bowl.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    How are you setting the film speed?
     
  6. jochen

    jochen Member

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    Hello,
    I think the last question brings it to the point. Do you use the nominal ASA setting from the film box? For many developers this is too optimistic. You should set the film speed about 2/3 to one EV lower (e.g. 50 - 64 instaed of 100 ASA) and develop about 20 - 25 % longer.
     
  7. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    The ISO setting is automatic with the DX facility but can be manually changed. Check the film speed the next time you have a film in the camera. It may have been accidentally moved over.
     
  8. Salem

    Salem Member

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    Most of the time I shoot the F100 with the meter on "spot". Look through the VF and spot a midtone area and press AE lock. Using custom settings, I set the exposure lock to stick, meaning you only press and release the AE lock and exposure would remain locked, then recompose and fire. Works all the time and it gives consistent results. I have never been able to get consistent results with the matrix metering, mainly because the matrix metering relies on thousands of lighting "situations" programmed into it and you have no clue what the meter is going to pick for your specific scene. With spot metering you know exactly what's going on and you expose accordingly.
     
  9. jochen

    jochen Member

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    Hello,
    exactly that ist the true problem. Nobody can tell you which "thousands of light situations" are the base of the matrix measurement. And nobody can say whether these light situations have been evaluated for color negative-, B%W- or colour slide film.
     
  10. mablo

    mablo Member

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    I noticed the matrix metering problem with F100 and b&w films several years ago. I tried to raise the issue but people wouldn't notice or told me to fiddle with ISO values. This is nonsense if you know how matrix works. My theory is the matrix exposure scenes were adjusted for shooting chromes. Remember, everyone was shooting chromes when F100 came out. It all makes sort of sense if you think of how to expose for the chromes versus exposing for b&w. You will get underexposed shots for b&w in situations where contrast is wide (bright sky, dark woods for example). The only good cure is to use weighted average for exposure. I've never had exposure problems since I switched to weighted average.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2013
  11. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    The F100 is the only in camera meter I will use. For everything else I use a spot meter.
    There is however a learning curve with using a meter.
    You have to learn to think like a meter...
     
  12. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    How would you think like a Nikon matrix meter?
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I don't have an F100 but I do have an F5. I do a lot of test with the F5 matrix metering and sending it back to Nikon for calibration twice. My take on the Nikon matrix is this.
    With flat lighting and a low contrast scene, it's fine and read the same as center weighted.
    With high contrast lighting it bias toward the highlight. It seemed that it try to determine the highlight that is important (fairly large, at the focus point etc..) and try to keep that high light from burning out and that's about 2 stops above middle gray or so.

    With that it works great with slide film and also with digital. But I shoot mostly color negative film and B&W film is about the same so the matrix meter would be underexposing in such a situation. Biasing the exposure by putting a + compensation or changing the ISO wouldn't work because in a flat scene it would over expose.
     
  14. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Can I ask what is the evidence for the matrix metering of the F5 and F100 being designed for chromes? I'd have thought that when both these cameras came out, chrome sales were already declining and most users were shooting B&W and colour neg.

    What Chan Tran has said seems to render the very extensive matrix memory of the F100 and the F5 almost useless or certainly seriously defective for users of B&W and colour neg as exposure compensation will not rectify the situation.


    pentaxuser
     
  15. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    There is nothing from Nikon as to the matrix metering system is designed for. So that I had to send my camera back to Nikon for calibration because I thought it was bad calibration. But twice it came back the same. My film test showed the results. No publication details how the matrix is supposed to work and thus my question how to think like one. I know that it gave me many underexposure for color negative film (and I assume it would be similar for B&W). It's to the point that after 2 years of trying I don't use it any more. Film test on slides gave excellent results sometimes to my surprise because I wouldn't think of exposing it that way if I were to use a spot meter. Only when I got the slides back they looked good but not to my intention. Using the F5 matrix meter to determine exposure for my coolpix also gave good results.
     
  16. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    I have had under-exposed results for negative materials with both F100 and F80 cameras using matrix metering. I had concluded that it was aimed at transparencies. Lowering film speed should correct the problem.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    This is not to deny both Alex' and Chan Tran's experiences but I suppose the only way to reach a meaningful conclusion would be to get all the F5 and F100 users here on APUG and probably elsewhere to give their experience of underexposures to reach a statistically significant conclusion.

    It just seems to me that if this was a feature of both cameras then an awful lot of users should be complaining in forums and complaining to Nikon and maybe affecting sales of both models. I have seen a number of threads on both cameras and I can't recall seeing many complaints of this nature.

    On the issue of correcting the underexposure I'd have thought as Alex says that lowering film speed would correct the problem. If the problem can be rectified via a spot meter for instance or an incident meter in the right circumstances then isn't this in effect the equivalent of lowering the film speed i.e the F5 user overrides the matrix and the camera does what it is told and produces a correctly exposed neg:D.

    It cannot do otherwise

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    Nikon doesn't recommend use of exposure compensation with matrix metering. I'm sure this information is given in the camera manuals. Altering the film speed to a lower value, however, will cause the meter to give more exposure throughout the film. This should solve the problem whether it is a problem with calibration, a peculiarity of this camera or the particular film you are using. Keep in mind the advice already given that many B&W films give better results with a lower than stated ASA value.
     
  19. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    When I aim my camera to an evenly lighted and of neutral color surface with the surface fills the entire frame,the spot, center weighted and matrix meter read the same and also the same as my 2 hand held meters and one is a spot meter and the other is a 40 degree reflective.
    Only when aiming at a scene that has bright/dark areas then the meter readings are different.
     
  20. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    For fast point-and-shoot pictures matrix metering is good enough but not 100 % accurate. For elaborate controlled pictures spot metering should be used and film tests should be done before spending film on big projects. I'm very happy with my F100 but I never use matrix metering, not even for slides.
     
  21. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    You have to understand that film speeds are not set in stone. With black & white there is a general rule of "exposing for the shadows and developing for the highlights", quite the opposite of colour tranny.
    Setting you meter to approx one third slower.....i.e. re-rate 400asa black & white to 320asa and you will get better results. The developer used makes a difference too, for instance if I was using a "speed increasing developer like Microphen, I'd re-rate the 400asa film to 650asa and develop as though I'd exposed at 800asa.
    These days camera meters are calibrated to suit colour film. I find older cameras like my Nikon FM and Nikkormat with centre weighted metering give more accurate exposures with black & white, than my current electronic Nikons. This is because they were designed in the days when black & white was the norm.
     
  22. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    i started a thread a few months ago about using certain films in certain cameras for this very reason. I noticed that most of my modern film cameras, F5, N80 and N90 performed best with slide film and worst with B&W. but my FA and FE2 gave their best images with B&W. so it could be that Nikon calibrated (would that be the proper term to use) their meters or the camera to work best with the popular film of the time. I absolutely think that the color meter in the F5 gives amazing results with slides, better than any of my non color metered cameras.