Simple metering solution.

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Mike Kennedy, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    I am in a bit of a dilemma in regards to metering. A friend of mine has "come in from the cold", shelved her digi and picked up a nice little Pentax K-1000.I have no problem with instructing her in film development and basic darkroom tecniques but my personal way of metering has left her cold.
    Over the past number of years I have tweaked the standard metering tecniques to suit my tastes.Its extremely difficult to teach to a very structured thinking person. Any thoughts on a "one-size-fits-all" metering solution?
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. 2Ldude

    2Ldude Member

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    Mike,

    I have a handful of the same camera's. I usually meter off the most important subject, set camera controls and then reframe the shot. Maybe a quick class on using the meter needle and how it apply's to image tones??? Is she going to be using a handheld meter??

    I started 3 years ago using pentax K1000 and after self teaching how the thing worked, average film developing times and chemicals, then really got into what would happen when I played with the metering of subjects by a stop or two, keeping things real simple to start until I got a basic understanding of the how's and why's.
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    If you are doing B&W, you will increase the success rate of beginners ( not to mention old pros ) by using generous exposure and slightly less than normal development. This gives you a 'margin of error' so that metering doesn't have to be 'perfect'.

    Time honored: cut the ISO rating of a 400 speed film in half. Use D-76, or Diafine. You'll print on a #3 most of the time, but so what ?

    Of course, if you're shooting color neg, the film has 4 to 5 stops of overexposure latitude built in, so no problem.

    Do this, she'll think you're a genius.

    :wink: Which, of course, you are !

    .
     
  4. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    As I recall, a Pentax K1000 has averaging metering (not even center-weighted), which is without doubt the hardest type of metering to explain to a beginner (the readout for a landscape scene will of course vary wildly depending on how much sky you have in the frame). Is it possible to remove the battery from the camera and have your friend use a separate meter? If so. incident-light metering is about the closest thing to "one size fits all" that I know and would be a great place to start - you can then gradually deal with the exceptions to the rule where a little compensation would be useful (subjects which are light all over, dark all over or strongly backlit). What is fact is the metering technique which you use yourself?

    Regards,

    David
     
  5. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Most B&W films have a 3 stop overexposure latitude.
     
  6. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    What I do with such cameras as the K-1000 when dealing with scenes that contain sky is to meter on the scene without including any sky and then recompose for exposure.
     
  7. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    I have a K1000 and when time and conditions permit I meter off a gray card to work around the camera's very rudimentary metering system and make my exposures as accurate as possible. Obviously this doesn't lend itself very well to spur-of-the-moment shooting in which case all you can do is rely on your eyes.
     
  8. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Grey Card!

    Thanks to all for their advice.Guess I will dig out my old grey card and instruct my "student" on its use. Actually thats what I started with way back when. I tend to forget just how puzzling the concept of "full manual metering" was.
    Mike
     
  9. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Why not use the cameras suggested exposure, and then explain why some didn't work out properly once the film has been developed. Take the teaching in little, steps not one big leap.

    Martin
     
  10. Scott Edwards

    Scott Edwards Member

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    Yes, grey card. This is probably the best answer. If all else fails, use the K1000's meter when shooting outside, and be sure to aim slightly down to avoid the high value bias that the sky will give. Tell your student to pay attention to lighting situations which might become overwhelming (ie, backlighting, bright subject on dark background etc.).
     
  11. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    Teach her the sunny f/16 rule. Once you get the knack of differentiating among the different "degrees" of sunlight, you should always be within a stop of the perfect exposure.

    Even if she winds up relying on a meter, knowing the general rule of exposure helps you understand that, in certain situations, your meter is probably lying to you. :wink:

    Oh yeah, and she has to do a film speed test first, or else none of this stuff matters.
     
  12. Saganich

    Saganich Subscriber

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    My crude method, and I use this with triX mostly on the street wide angle, is to drop the film speed to 250, meter a shadow full frame, close it 3 stops and shoot. If my subject is in mostly shadow then I open it up 2 stop from the origional shadow meter reading. So I'm only working with two f stops and one shutter speed.
     
  13. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I bought a cheap little CDS meter on ebay with an Incident metering option. I use it pretty much all the time set to Incident. It hasn't let me down yet, even with difficult to meter scenes (like dark painted wood in bright sunlight like this).

    If you can't find a meter, a very cheap and simple method is to make a Sunny 16 Slide Rule. I made one for use with my unmetered Zorki 4K, it took about half an hour in Microsoft Works. See attachment, you slide the top piece into the bottom piece, choose the ASA in the small window, and your f stop and speed settings in the large window (see second attachment).
     

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  14. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Just explain that we only ever expect to get one printerable frame on a roll of 36, and let her lose with the Sunny 16 rule. When she betters that success rate, she’s hooked for life, and then you can start on the technicalities. KISS.