Love my Nikon F3HP... but weird exposures??

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by dugrant153, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I've been shooting with my F3HP and loving it so far. However, I find that I'm getting some weird exposures on some frames. I shoot black and white and the F3 does a pretty fine job in A mode most of the time. However, I find that the odd frame here and there turns out muddy in the blacks. Or, everything seems dark (as compared to a well exposed negative).
    I push my film to 1600 and expose at 1250ASA and I tend to lock exposure for the subject. Some frames are awesome, others... I think they look underexposed.

    I'm wondering if maybe there is a problem with the F3? Or (most likely) a problem with the way I'm shooting it? I know this has a slightly different 80/20 split for metering than most cameras and maybe that's throwing me off.

    (Sorry not at a comp with my pictures so can't show any samples. But I'll post some when I get home later today.)

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated :smile:
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Check your exposure comp. settings? I'd wonder about shutter speed variances but the quartz-timed shutter on the F3 seems to be near bomb-proof. The 80/20 "fat spot" pattern can be fooled but less often than typical 60/40 meters. Processing?
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Do we really need to answer that or can you figure it out :D
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Hmmmm...
     
  5. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    If I'm shooting at 1250ASA but developing at 1600, they should be slightly overexposed, ya?
    Or has my mornin tea not kicked in yet?

    On thing I realize also is that I set my ISO dial to 1600 but added a +1/3 exposure via the exp comp dial. I wonder ... could this be messing me up?
     
  6. Peter Simpson

    Peter Simpson Member

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    If most frames are good and only a few are underexposed, it would point to some kind of intermittent problem. You say you "lock exposure" -- if that means you meter the scene and then set shutter speed and aperture manually, the options for problems are aperture stopping down too far (unlikely) or shutter speed changing to a faster value than set. If it's a well-worn F3, perhaps the shutter speed is inconsistent? Easy to check.
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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  8. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    OP is saying he/she is shooting in aperture priority and tends to lock exposure, presumably via the Memory Exposure Lock Button as there is no other way to lock exp. Have you verified that shutter speed in LCD display remains constant once Lock is depressed/held depressed despite changing composition/lighting? Any chance your finger didn't hold/retain Lock Button in fully depressed position? Will have to await sample images as they would be most helpful. How are exposures in manual mode?
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You are pushing your (400 ISO?) film to 1600, and you are concerned that your shadows are sometimes muddy?

    Sounds like some of the scenes you are photographing have enough light in the shadow areas to give you some detail, even if not enough detail to be "pleasing".

    For other, more typical scenes, I would assume that the shadows are dropping right out, giving you pleasingly black shadows.

    Unless of course you are using Diafine.
     
  10. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Yup. It's on my iPhone for reference. Took a quick read-thru but didn't find anything that could be the cause of my problem.

    I'll have to double check. Now that I think about it, since the grip of the F3 is a bit small for me, I may be inadvertently not-locking (exposure memory lock) my meter reading by slightly letting go of the button. I've shot this in manual mode before and don't recall there being a major issue.

    The problems first arose when I shot some images (dark dark room) with white wall in the back and I'm trying to take images of people in white clothing. Not fun for the camera meter. I noticed those images came out a bit drab (looked to be quite underexposed - more dark than they should be as in little highlight detail). I've tried to remedy by "exposure memory locking" but perhaps my metering is still off. I try to meter for the shadows.

    Yup. Delta 400 pushed to 1600. By muddy, I guess I mean that they lack even more detail than they should. I have properly exposed negs right next to them and the shadows just go. But even more than that, the highlights go as well - by "go", I mean that the image is just overall dark and drab.

    Hopefully I can post some examples tonight. Maybe I'm just more used to 60/40 center-weighted metering in my F90x.
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Member

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    The problems first arose when I shot some images (dark dark room) with white wall in the back and I'm trying to take images of people in white clothing. Not fun for the camera meter. I noticed those images came out a bit drab (looked to be quite underexposed - more dark than they should be as in little highlight detail). I've tried to remedy by "exposure memory locking" but perhaps my metering is still off. I try to meter for the shadows.


    Yup. Delta 400 pushed to 1600. By muddy, I guess I mean that they lack even more detail than they should. I have properly exposed negs right next to them and the shadows just go. But even more than that, the highlights go as well - by "go", I mean that the image is just overall dark and drab.

    Hopefully I can post some examples tonight. Maybe I'm just more used to 60/40 center-weighted metering in my F90x.


    I usually take an incident reading in that kind of lighting. Failing that, you can use a gray card and shift over to manual rather than futz with the memory lock button and aperture priority.
     
  12. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    I think that might just be my solution. I took the camera out for a spin today and the metering is pretty dead on (matches my sekonic incident reading, or very close to it). The day is grey overcast outdoors.

    Once I brought it in, I noticed it would read weirdly in extreme situations. And I think all my shots on my last roll were in very contrasts situations that probably threw off my meter. I think, after doing some reading, I'm probably not metering properly and possibly locking exposure on the wrong things.

    That being said, I will give it another go and see if i can post some scans tonight.
     
  13. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Alright, after further review of my negs, while my exposure has been off a bit here and there, it's been pretty harsh in some images. And I'm quite sure I didn't under expose those images quite so radically.

    Something tells me that some of these negs are also being exposed to light leakage?

    Cupcakes-F3-85mm---18.jpg

    Cupcakes-F3-85mm---24.jpg

    Cupcakes-F3-85mm---31.jpg

    Appreciate all the help!!

    Edit: forgot to add that I shot these all in "A" mode.
     
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  15. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    I'm not surprised you're getting underexposed pics. in these circumstances.....you need to understand there are limits as to what automatic exposure systems will do for you. Basically in the kind of situations you submit, you need to manually meter and expose to get an acceptable result...for instance, in your first picture, you'd have got a more accurate reading by going inside the building and metering the available light, then manually setting your camera accordingly.

    Also if you entrust the development of such pictures to a commercial lab., it's unlikely you'll get satisfactory results...you need to process yourself and use a developer suited to low light situations such as Microphen.

    There is much to learn about exposing in night time conditions, and you're not going to learn simply by relying on the camera's auto exposure system. They are calibrated to give satisfactory results in most average lighting conditions, and nightime exposures are anything but average.

    Suggest you hunt down a good photo book dedicated to night time exposure techniques.
     
  16. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi,

    Nothing is wrong with your F3. In this situation I would give maximum light possible to the film. For example if meter shows 1/250 @f2 --> I would shoot 1/60 @f2 in manual settings. It is better to overexpose in this situations (imho).

    regards,
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2012
  17. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    I develop my own film and received satisfactory results (even in the same lighting situations) in other frames. The issue is that these frames pop up out of no-where.

    Thanks for the heads up on exposure. I'm pretty familiar with how to expose night time exposures properly but still learning a lot as I go. The issue with the first frame is not so much the exposure (I actually intended it to look that way) but the black splotches coming out from the bottom of the image. That's supposed to be just an even exposure.

    While I suspect the third image is also my mistake (in terms of exposure), the issue for me is the black edges near the top and bottom.

    Strangely enough, it's only certain frames that are affected, not parts of a roll. This leads me to believe it's not my developing as such.
     
  18. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Those negs look like they show evidence of surge marks around the sprocket holes.

    This happens from over vigorous agitation.
     
  19. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Looking closely at your samples, they do seem to show uneven development which, as bruce suggests could be down to excessive agitation. One of the reasons I suggested you read up a bit on night photography is, there is such as thing as "reciprocity failure" with film when it comes to low light exposure....this is most commonly associated with colour film, but I find it applies also (albeit to a lesser extent) with black & white. Basically what it means is that you often have to give approx. double the exposure that your meter suggests when it comes to longish exposures.....depending upon the shutter speed in use. It takes experimentation to find the right amount of compensation..(which will also depend on the developing technique). So long as you bear in mind that auto-exposure systems in cameras are a compromise, and you always need to modify your exposures in unusual lighting situations.
     
  20. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Thanks for all the tips. After all this, I think I will take my time to really learn the principles of exposure... This time on a more higher level now :smile:

    I think the Nikon F3's meter is narrower than what I'm used to and so it gets thrown off more so than the 60/40 CW metering I'm used to. Different way of working I suppose.

    That being said, I have my Sekonic light meter that hasn't really been in use. Now might be a time to ring it back into my photo workflow :smile:
     
  21. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    Also I think I will need more dark room experience :smile: more to learn I suppose!
     
  22. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    A few things:

    With a 2 stop push you have to accept that not everything is always going to turn out as you imagined.

    Shooting in very low light can make the meter fumble, use a good hand held light meter and set manual exposure, or use a camera with off the film metering.

    There are many more variables, from age of film to how you processed it.

    The best and easiest way to find out if your camera if running fine is to shoot a roll at box speed, in adequate lighting in the daytime. If problems occur then its the camera, if the roll is fine, then it has to do with you pushing it.

    edit: also the F3's meter may display a certain shutter speed, but when you hit the shutter it may take it at another speed.

    From the MIR site:

    [FONT=Trebucht MS, Arial, helvetica]"When you are in automatic exposure 'A' mode, All shutter speeds proved are stepless - meaning even if the LCD panel has shown with a speed of '125' (1/125 sec) or '30' (1/30 sec), the actually speed could be 1/108 sec. or 1/26 sec. In this case, all speeds are governed by a highly precise[/FONT][FONT=Trebucht MS, Arial, helvetica] [/FONT][FONT=Trebucht MS, Arial, helvetica]256 Hz[/FONT][FONT=Trebucht MS, Arial, helvetica] quartz oscillator.[/FONT]"

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf3ver2/f3manual/detail/detail1.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2012
  23. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    Because my previous experience isn't with metered cameras, I tend to use my camera more like a meter and I'm finding that matrix metering in my FA doesn't work well for me. The F3 has matrix metering, right? Try turning it off and see if things get better. You may be subconsciously doing what has always worked for you on other cameras.

    I also agree with the others who are saying that when you push film you are basically underexposing. There's no such thing as pushing if you are considering shadows. More contrast (through overdeveloping) is not more speed.
     
  24. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    No. It is 80/20 center weighted metering.
     
  25. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    In order to avoid the surge marks & dark bands you may want to make sure that your developing tank is big enough to allow the *entire* volume of developer to clear the film when you invert the tank. IME this issue is a more likely cause for surge marks than over-vigorous agitation.

    I always use a tank of a size at least twice the volume of the developer poured in. The latest type Paterson tanks are especially suitable in this respect because they have something of an 'empty head' on top, thus providing extra volume without making the tank excessively tall. Any other brand tank will do equally well provided that it's big (tall) enough.
     
  26. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    I think it's probably more my technique this roll than my tank size cuz I use a Patterson 8 ( big enough for 3 135 rolls!). Perhaps I'm inverting too fast and letting the develop slosh like crazy.