Using densitometer for filters

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Donald Miller, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I dont think this will work if you are using glass filters. If you are using acetate filters then it could be a good way to check filter factor.
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  4. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Hey, Don, if it's not going off on a tangent too much, mind if I ask why you find yourself doing more incident than spotmetering these days?

    This isn't a trick question and I don't have an axe to grind. I'm just often curious about the metering techniques we use.
     
  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    It *does* make sense - but ...

    "Spectral response" (energy transmission at a given frequency) is usually determined with the use of a "Spectrophotometer". This is a device consisting (simplified to beat @#$@#$) where there is a controlled w-i-d-e spectrum light source, a *very* sensitive device for reading light energy, a controllable "slit" and a and a rotatable (and controllable) prism. In use, the prism and slit are set to a given angle to allow a narrow beam of light at a given frequency, the energy output is measured without the medium in question; then with the medium. The two values are then compared and a transmission attenuation factor is calculated for that one specific wavelength.
    The prism is then rotated to supply a different wavelength of light; before and after measurements are again taken ... etc.

    After the required range has been investigated, the spectral transmission is then plotted.

    At least that *was* the way it was done, back in the neolithic ("neo" indicates "new" - what indicates "old"?) age, before fancy computers and lazy optical technicians. Now, I imagine, one turns the wildly expensive machine ON, stuffs the "filter" into it and pushes a button.

    You speak of "channels" with the densitometer. I would guess that there are a few at discrete wavelengths of light. Probably the values at those particular wavelengths would be valid; I can't see why they would not. .

    However, all films - black and white as well as color, are sensitive to energy at a wide range of wavelengths - so I'm not sure how useful the (accurate) information would be.

    Comment: Ho boy!! Memories of an Optical Bench .... and a sore back...
     
  6. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    On the alleged superiority of acrylic vs. glass, I have a lot of 3x3" acrylic filters, mostly made by Ambico when they were trying to compete with Cokin. These come up fairly cheaply on eBay, so it's not too hard to accumulate lots of them, and there are many holders that will handle 3x3" filters, if that size is large enough for you. Voss, for instance, made a clip on 3x3" filter holder, which I use for all sorts of odd series sized lenses. I happened to acquire enough of the Ambico adapter rings (these are not so easy to find) when it was in regular production to make it worth while, though now I have several lenses that need a larger filter, so I'll have to find another system eventually.

    In any case, I tested all my filters of various types once for flare, and while I found that even a cheap glass multicoated filter was better than a fancier glass single-coated or uncoated filter in supressing flare, the acrylic filters fell somewhere in between.

    Acrylic filters can have other problems, such as ND and ND grads not being really neutral, and I'd be concerned that acrylic sheets not made for a specifically photographic purpose may not be optically flat.
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    David,
    Thanks for sharing your experience and information. I think that I have a compendium bought (will know tomorrow) that requires 4 inch filters. The reason that I am shying away from gel filters is that they have always struck me as susceptible to damage in the field. Do you know of an alternative for 4 inch filters?
     
  9. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    It has to do with the thickness of the material and being able to read it with the densitometer probe. If the material is too thick you will have extraneous light going into the probe, plus the aligment of the sensor will not be the same as if it was a thin material, for which these instruments are designed.

    Suppose you turn off all the lights to read the glass or acrylic filters, then at the same time you have light from the densitometer bulb escaping due to thickness.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    4" square filters come as gelatin filters, polyester, and acrylic, as far as I know. I know B+W and Heliopan make glass filters in frames to fit 3x3" (really expensive last I checked), but I'm not sure they make them in 4x4".

    I don't necessarily think that acrylic is a bad choice, but I'd be a little concerned about flatness if they aren't manufactured for optical use. The Lee and Hi-Tech filters are supposed to be good, as far as new acrylic filters go. I know that my Ambico ND filters and Cokin ND filters and ND grads are slightly warmer than neutral, but the Lee filters are supposed to be much better in this regard, if you're shooting color.
     
  11. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    Don,

    I'm not sure what you expect from using a densitometer instead of a normal light meter for determining filter factors. Although a normal light meter might not exactly match the spectral sensitivity of your film, this is usually sufficient in practice. It is still photography and not rocket science!
     
  12. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Lex,
    The reason that I am using incident metering more these days is that a lot of the work that Sandy, Clay and others have done regarding films and development times is based upon BTZS methods and procedures. BTZS utilizes incident metering. In order to save effort, time and to not "reinvent the wheel", I try to follow their shared experience. Hope that this answers your question.
     
  13. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Jorge,
    I can understand what you are saying. I am not sure that it is applicable and I am not sure that it is not applicable. The factor that I see is that the sensing unit in the head of the densitometer is still reading only the known light as presented on the light source side of the material. Extraneous light or the absence of it would seem to be of no effect since the sensing unit is flat against the material. I have tried to read densities of samples of the material that I want to use for filters and the readings seem to be reasonably accurate (at least at this juncture). I will try the readings in actual field conditions and see how they hold up. Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  14. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Thilo,
    If I were using a spot meter for my exposures, it would be a simple matter of metering through the filter. However when I am using incident metering I am not able to meter through the filter and must assign some exposure factor to the filter effects. I have long felt that filter factors are arbitrary in that the considerations involve not only the general density effect on light transmission but also the effect that a yellow, orange or red filter would have on the relative transmission of cyan in a sky for instance. I would like to know not only that a yellow filter has a 1 1/3 stop general density effect but also a 2 1/3 stop effect on a sky luminance for purposes of visualization at the time of exposure as an example. While the first effect (general density) is useful as far as a proper exposure, the knowledge of the 2 1/3 stop effect on a sky luminance is useful insofar as visualization is concerned.
     
  15. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Fair enough. I've been curious about the BTZS method. So far I've only glanced over the material. Thanks, Don.
     
  16. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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  17. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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  18. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Paleo = old, ancient, prehistoric.

    Probably doesn't work as a political prefix, but I like it along with 'analog photography'.

    Paleo-photography, anyone?

    Murray
     
  19. KenM

    KenM Member

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    About four of your posts have the text '000' in them, but nothing else.

    What gives?