Overexposure on a Nikon FM2n

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by denmark.yuzon, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    i burned 5 test rolls from my Nikon FM2n.. i shoot in a slightly underexposed settings, meaning, my light meter reads at 0- for me to get as much detail in post processing, but after developing, ive noticed that all my shots from my five test rolls, were all overexposed.. all unusable.. :sad:

    i was wondering how did this happened, was my light meter broken? or my shutterspeed is off by one stop? anyone had this problem with other cameras too?
     
  2. ken472

    ken472 Member

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    Did you process the film yourself or was it done commercially? Black and white or color film? I have an FM2n and have never had this problem.
    Was the film overexposed or underdeveloped?
     
  3. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    What kind of battery do you use ? Going from mercury (1.35V) to akaline (1.5V) could explain it.
     
  4. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    i had it processed at a local lab.. i used a color C-41 film... i shoot in a slightly underexposed manner.. my light meter reads at 0-.. but the film shots, after it got developed, all was overexposed.. i dont know what happened, it maybe my cam, or the processing..
     
  5. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    I use two LR44's alkaline batteries... the specifications said it could use two 1.5V LR44 alkaline batteries...
     
  6. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    im shooting with a color C-41 film.. i use two 1.5V LR44 alkaline batteries... the specs said it could use that as well, or a 3 volt lithium battery as well... could that be it? my other friends use LR44's and didnt have any problems...
     
  7. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    It's difficult to overexposed color negative film. You can overepose by 2 stops and still OK. I am wondering if what you think as overexposed is really underexposed. Nikon meter tends to underexpose. Battery voltage should not be a problem. The camera would work exactly the same with voltage of 3.4V or so down to 2.4V.
     
  8. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    an overexposed subject is bright right? and an underexposed shot quite dim.. or am i wrong? all my pictures were quite brighter than usual and colors were not as vibrant as they need to be.. please ellaborate more from this overexposure - underexposure issue...
     
  9. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    ???

    anyway, why don't you compare the meter reading with another camera, e.g. the one you shot your FM2 with for flicker? do they show the same values for the same average outdoor scene? (you are setting film speed correctly, right?)

    you would get more precise responses if you posted some of the overexposed pictures here

    cheers
     
  10. ken472

    ken472 Member

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    I tend to agree with Vilk. Did you set the film speed correctly. What lens are you using? Have you used the same lab before? Batteries should not be an issue. It is possible the lens is not stopping down during exposure. Without film in the camera open the back and trip the shutter with the f/stop set at the smallest setting and look through the shutter and check to see if the lens is stopping down.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Something that you are saying does not make sense. If you are shooting to add detail to the shadows (which I think is the gist of what you wrote), then you are overexposing, not underexposing. First things first: We need to know exactly what ISO of film you used, and to what EI your meter was set.

    Next, your negs would have to be seriously bad off to be unusable from overexposure. How far over are they? How many stops over, in estimation? What do your proofsheets look like (a number on the zone scale, on average) when they are printed so that the sprocket holes are barely visible? Can you give us a densitometer reading or two?

    "Post processing" is a digital term used in the film industry that has been misappropriated for stills to mean everything that "processing" and "printing" mean in reference to an analog process. It makes no sense when used in reference to working with film. With film photography, there is shooting (exposing), processing (developing), and printing (making the positive).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  12. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    this is what im talking about..

    FUJIFILM YKL, ASA100, set at slightly underexposed.. indoor lighting, 50mm f1.8 Series E nikon lens..

    [​IMG]
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Forget the prints for a second.

    Are the negatives very dark or very light?
     
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  15. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    well.. the negatives are the same color with the other negatives from a different camera.. not much of a color difference... and i had it processed at a local lab..

    i took shots and used like half of the roll indoors... the newbie that i am, i depended only on my light meter... i was instructed to get it at slightly underexposed so that if i want to do post process, i could still suck out every last detail that i can..
     
  16. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Okay,

    The advice of slight underexposure is generally given for digital or for slides. The idea is to protect the highlights because the media in use has a very limited range of brightness that it can deal with. The argument goes that highlights are more important, blah, blah, blah...

    I don't believe it, this advice just trades one problem for another; blown highlights for bad shadow detail. That's a really lousy trade.

    If scene contrast is to high for the media in use, an ND grad filter is a better choice if you want all the data.

    Back to your negatives.

    A thin/light/underexposed negative produces a dark print or scan, right?

    Well kinda, mini labs as a normal part of their service try to "fix" the exposure and color and they do this digitally.

    The problem here is that when the lab tries to fix the scanned version of an underexposed negative you get a print that's too light and off color, exactly what you have shown in this thread.

    The scene you show is also one that will normally fool meters into under exposure.

    Meters try to "average" every scene. Too much white in the scene and the meter gets fooled into asking for underexposure, too much black in the scene and the meter gets fooled into asking for over exposure. Your shot has the same same problem as a snow scene. Zooming in on the fruit only to set exposure would have solved most of that issue.

    Your intentional underexposure (1/3) plus the white space (1-1.5 stops) probably got you about 2 stops under what would be "normal".

    From the setting you shot at (I'm guessing about -2) you could probably have shot as much as three or even four stops brighter and gotten a much better result because of the latitude inherent in the film.
     
  17. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    You should examine your negative to see how dense it is. Overexposure causes the negative to look quite dense. Judging from the scan of your print (which is not a good way to judge exposure) I think your negative just needs to be printed darker.
    You have quite even lighting and your subjects are light in color (white background), the basic meter in this case would underexpose your film. Now if you really have overexposed negative your meter must be off about 3 stops which I don't think is the case.
     
  18. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    Purchase a roll of color positive(slide) film and set the camera to the correct ASA. Take your pictures, have the film processed and then diagnose.
    Your problem is you have no reference standard.
    Underexposing negative film and using a lab allows so many variable to enter the process that you can't make any sense of the final result. With a positive film you cut out all the variables except you and your camera.-Dick
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Tell us the specific EI your camera was set to, not whether you think you set it to underexpose or to overexpose.
     
  20. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    Im using an Nikon FM2n.. it has no Exposure Index... It has only, the film speed knob, and shutterspeed knob.. i only base my shot from my FM2n's light meter.. and yes, i set the film speed correctly.. its a test roll, i only used a cheap film to test my camera.. im gona put a good film on it and test it again.. im gona try three shots per subject.. one would be, exposed correctly, then, slightly underexposed, and finally, one full stop underexposed.. il tell the lab to not color correct my film.. im gona post one more image.. and a pic of the color of my negative... im just new to film.. i just started photography a few months ago.. so im not familiar with looking at the density of the film... thanks guys.. please post more information about this... im disappointed with my shots.. i dont know how far off my light meter or even compensate with the lighting..
     
  21. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    I agree with those who proposed to make a test with slide film. If you have access to an E6 lab, that would be by far the best choice. Buy a roll of Fuji Sensia, it's cheap. This way, you will eliminate all the variables that could creep in and make your judgement hard. Have a look at the slides and see if something is weird. Try to take photographs of scenes with even illumination too. Don't use scenes with extreme brightness range, that is deep shadows and harsh highlights.

    If slides are not an option, then use neg film. You can tell the guy at the lab to make no corrections, but he might just ignore you! Sometimes they don't even know what they're doing and let the "auto pilot" do the trick. In any case, you can have a look at the back of the prints. Most of the minilabs write the frame number and some colour/brightness information there. An uncorrected print will probably have NNNN printed on the back. IIRC the first 3 Ns are for colour correction (CMY) and the last one is brightness correction. If you see something like NNN+1, that means that the lab did no colour correction, but altered brightness.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2009
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I'd actually suggest that you try various situations. Yes do the normal scenes but also throw in some tougher scenes too.

    My FM2 meters very differently than my N90s's do, it has taken practice and patience to understand how to use it effectively.
     
  23. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Mark,

    trying tough scenes is a good way to learn how your meter sees. It will be good practice and useful experience. There's no other way to learn the limitations and characteristics of your equipment.

    The difference is that in his case, eliminating as many variables as possible will reveal if the meter responds strangely or not. There's no need to go too far and buy a grey card, but keeping it simple will prevent confusion. I'd even avoid back lit subjects in this test.
     
  24. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Exposure Index, EI, is a setting not a knob.

    If you are using, for example only, an ISO 400 film you can rate it at EI 200 or EI 800. This is done by setting the ISO/ASA knob on the camera to either 200 or 800. The 200 rating, for a 400 ISO film, tells the meter "I want to overexpose this roll of film one stop", the 800 rating tells the meter "I want to underexpose this roll of film by one stop".

    Cheap film is fine for playing around as long as it is fresh.

    I strongly suggest that you try overexposure too. Negative films in general like more light.

    I'd also go farther, -3, -2, -1, normal, +1, and +2, +3, seven shots.

    Try this in a white scene like your example above, a normal scene, and a dark, dark scene.

    I'd actually let the lab do their thing. Negatives are meant to be corrected and you need to know what their limits are too.

    Keep notes so you know what you did, then look at the negatives to figure out what you did and how that relates to what the lab does.

    If you start underexposed and work up to overexposed you should see progressively darker negs. Match those to the prints.
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I don't disagree.
     
  26. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I don't want to make story long but from what I saw so far I think it's this.
    Your film was exposed slightly under (not much about 1 stop).
    Your lab print it too light.
    Your meter was just right.

    I would bring the negative back to the lab and ask them reprint darker.

    If I were to shoot another roll I would increase (not decrease) the exposure by about 1 stop.
    I would also check the print and ask them to print dark enough to my liking.