What is your method of exposure?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by mark, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. mark

    mark Member

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    This kind of goes with the other question I posted. I find it interesting the number of ways people meter a scene. There is the BW crowd and the Color crowd.

    What method do you get your good exposures, and is it based on some mathematical formula.

    I'll start.

    BW-reflective meter the darkest portion then the lightest. Place the darkest area without important stuff on ZOne 2 and expose for that. I think I develope for the highlights. In the past this worked well with silver printing on VC paper. I don't do that any more so I don't know how what I am doing will work with the ALT processes I am just starting.

    Color. Usually hold the incident meter above my head and expose that way. In difficult situations I spotmeter my bag(black) in even light and drop 2 stops, and cross my fingers. Since I started this I am happy to say I have missed very few exposures. If I use a filter I meter through the filter. LF film is too expensive for me to bracket.
     
  2. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    BTZS method. I use the EV value of my meter to measure the lightest and darkets part of the scene where I want to hold detail. This gives me the scenes Subject Brightness Range (SBR). For each SBR, as a result of earlier testing of film, developer and paper, I have different development times that apply.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Three or so different ways, depending on camera, film and subject:

    BW / LF: spotmeter shadows, check highlights and midtones to see what will happen if shadows are placed on zone III. Adjust exposure until feasible with home-mixed chemicals. Then forget my planned development and develop by inspection anyway. Or stand development in FX-2 if I have truly no idea of what it is.

    Colour: Aim incident meter backwards over my shoulder, set speed and aperture accordingly (outdoors).

    Old Folders: "Debatometer"! Look at the sky (or other light source), guess how strong the light is compared to "sunny 11" (empirically determined for 60° north latitude), open up for clouds, maybe close down for old uncoated lenses (less contrast due to flare), wiggle the dials a bit, look at the sky again, guess what the longest time I can hold the camera still is, set the aperture I want, look around for nice solid support. This sounds nowhere near as haphazard as it really is, but I get a surprising number of well-exposed negatives this way! I justify it as being "historically correct". Or should that be "hysterically incorrect"?
     
  4. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    My normal method for ....? Well, the "usual" is to keep the raincoat unbuttoned but held close around me; to walk in front of an unsuspecting ...
    Wait ... Do you mean "Photographic Exposure"?

    I use a lot of Incident metering in the Studio, with the Gossen UltraPro and the "Studio Incident Metering" attachment. That has proven to be the most accurate method, being independent of the "brightness" - or lack of, of the subject.

    I'll use "reflective" - including "spot", metering where I cannot get to the position of the "subject.

    Did I read something here about a different mathematical algorithm used in determining the relation between "Incident" and "Reflective-Spot" metering? :
     
  5. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    Mark,

    for slide film candids, I prefer incident metering. For CN and all modern B&W-Film, I prefer shadows on Zone III. In controlled light situations on slides, I usually do multispot metering. I never meter thru filters, I always use the given filter factors.
     
  6. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    For outside shots I go along with the “sunny 16” rule down rated for England to “sunny 11” as Ole. Roughly equal to 1/125th at f11 in bright sunshine with 100 EI film. Adjust for location of sun, in front of or behind cloud, do some mental gymnastics regarding adjustments for filters, and then check the result with my Weston Euromaster lightmeter. If the two reading don’t coincide; then I disregard the Weston’s. For inside work I set the flash to “auto-bounce” and let it get on with it.
     
  7. Leon

    Leon Member

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    for black and white, i spot meter important shadows and place on zone iii - for most situations, this is fine with my developer choice. Sometimes, if the highlights fall well above zone viii based upon my shadow exposure, I pre-expose the frame to boost shadow detail with a transulcent filter and then expose to place the highlights on zone viii.

    When i do shoot colour transparencies, i rely upon a 4 stop detail range and use nd grads to control highlights.
     
  8. harveyje

    harveyje Subscriber

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    As a complete amateur I use the "sunny 16" rule at 7000 ft elevation in Colorado. I frequently check this with a Pentax digital spotmeter using mostly middle tones such as folage. If I adjust "fudge" the settings it is toward overexposure with negative film and under with color slides. With color slides in 35 I just use the incamera meters in a Nikkormat EL or Nikon F2. I also use the recommended ASA/ISO and correct for the appropriate filter factors. While I will admit to no formal film testing I occasionally adjust my developement times. I find that my negatives look appropriate and print well at grade 2 or 3 for average subjects and my slides are not "blown out" but have good highlight detail.

    (As I said - This is from the amateur side)
     
  9. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Was wondering the same thing recently. If deving LF by inspection (which I'll be doing soon as a newbie), I assume I should spot shadows, place them on zone three, then dev for the highlights?
     
  10. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Sean, that is correct, most of the time, and works well for expansion or plus development. For minus development i usually add another stop (or two if really getting into minus) and then develop. It works for me, maybe not for others....
     
  11. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    You are correct in your exposure and development considerations. Typically the EI of a film is not a stationary number. As one moves into expansion of contrast on a film the EI increases and as one moves into contraction of contrast on a film the EI decreases.

    For instance with Efke PL100 I would rate the film at EI 50 at a SBR of 7 (normal). If I had a scene with a SBR of 8 (N minus 1 appr.) I would still rate the film at 50, When I get into a SBR of 9 (N minus 2 appr) I would rate the film at 30. On the other hand at SBR of 6 (N plus 1 appr) I would rate the film at 80 and for a SBR of 5 (N plus 2 appr.) I would rate the same film at 100.

    Regarding low value placement, John Sexton is reportedly to have said that "nothing lives on Zone III". I would guess from that comment that he doesn't place his values at III.

    I use incident metering exclusively today. I have a spot meter but just don't use it anymore.
     
  12. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I use a spotmeter and read the darkest shadow which is placed on Zone IV and I read the brightest highlight to determine the contrast range and develop accordingly, for example if the contrast range is 7 stops and the highlight falls two stops above Zone VIII I reduce development by 2 stops and increase exposure by one stop to bring the highlight back to Zone VIII. The increase in exposure is to compensate for the information lost in the shadows as a result of reducing development. I don't know if John Sexton places shadows on Zone IV, I suspect he does but I do know that Bruce Barnbaum does. I understand that any blue light present causes the meter to give the wrong values particularly in the shadows hence the need to compensate by one stop. It works for me.
     
  13. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Yup. Pretty simple, isn't it? Although I do sometimes point the meter at the light source instead of the camera.
     
  14. Juraj Kovacik

    Juraj Kovacik Member

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    scaning scene with camera - Nikon FM3A - meter and then usually set up exposure for shadows...jk
     
  15. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Sunny 16 unless I'm shooting Auto. Or rather "Sunny 16 with variations" e.g. "shadows -3 stops" and "indoors is usually 1/30 f/4 or f/2.8 most places at ISO 400"

    I recommend a quick perusal of John Brownlow's Non-Anxious Exposure Guide for all B&W shooters.

    I also have a little excel spreadsheet I made for myself a long while back, with typical exposures at ISO 400 and typical situations... "sunset 1/125 f/8" etc. Wish I could find the file I made it from, but I've had a (rarely consulted) printout of it (along with a DoF chart for my Contax G lenses) in my wallet for years.

    I am also not afraid of black, heh
     
  16. Jan Brittenson

    Jan Brittenson Member

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    For B&W I set my spot meter to the mfg rated ISO speed, point it at the darkest area where I want texture. The reading is my exposure. When I use auto metering to handle changes in illumination I'll turn the compensation dial until the in-camera meter agrees with my spot meter. I'll also scan the scene with the meter first to choose a film and developer.

    When shooting slide film I meter at the ISO speed with the expectation that I will have 2 stops of texture below, and some amount above which depends on the film. For Astia, for example, I expect 2.5 stops of texture above the reading.

    Works every time. Like magic. :smile:
     
  17. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

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    I read Les' post with great interest as I sometimes do place my shadows on Zone IV. However, my thinking was not from how my meter might respond to different colors of light. Typically I think of shadows belonging on zone III. However, my goal behind exposing any negative is to assure that all of the important detail is recorded on the negative. Thus, a bit of over exposure and over development will be okay. This really all comes back to the old adage: expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights.
     
  18. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Okay, I admit it, I'm a philistine!

    Most of the time I leave my F80 in 3D matrix mode and trust it. If I'm in doubt then I'll find some grass or tarmac and spotmeter it (again with the camera) but, to be honest, I'm not much good at finding a midtone.

    If it's a critical shot (and I can) then I'll incident meter using a Weston Master from the subject aiming back at the camera, but this usually confirms the F80's reading.