Robert, Good to meet you.
We have 2 F5s, and love them. They as solid as a tank and the metering is great. We use one for B/W and the other for slide film. I hate negative color film.
My wife uses the slide camera much more than I. She loves backlit shots. The F5 does one hell of a job with that.
We also live in Canada, so we get a lot of snow and every other weather condition you can imagine. We have used both of them in -30C to about +30C.
Our local camera shot loaned me an F6 to see what I thought. Returned it in about a day or 2.
Google Lightwisps and you will be able to see some of our work. They are all shot with an F5.
Glad you enjoy film.
Contact me anytime.
That is true! Developing the slide film is similar to developing the negative film. It's a strict procedure and requires no operator judgment. Most labs if they do it right the negative or slide should come out fine. However, in the printing or scanning stage of the negative, operator judgment comes in and because the lab tech is not you and so often the result is not to your liking.
Originally Posted by markbarendt
If you print (in the darkroom using RA-4 process) or scan your own negative then there is no advantage in this respect by using slide film.
Standardization isn't the issue, the C-41 process that the OP can't get done well is just as standard.
Originally Posted by Chan Tran
E6 has all the same problems of quality and operator mismanagement
These processes are also still capable of adjustment, like push/pull.
Originally Posted by lightwisps
The pictures look great. I'm just over the border in Buffalo, NY.
I picked up a roll of elite chrome 100 just to try it out before I buy slides in bulk online. I'll post up some pics when I finish it. As many people recommended i'm using the spot meter get an idea of the scenes latitude. How many stops can a slide normally tolerate? My color negative of choice was Portra 160 which has an insanely wide latitude.
I've never been to the local lab that does E6, but they look very professional. They process everything from 35mm to 8x10. Hopefully I'll have better results with them; $9 for 36 exposure processing doesn't seem too unreasonable either.
My experience with Velvia is 1.5 to 2 stops max in diffuse illumination. In bright contrasty light it is closer to 1.3 stop. Note that I am speaking as a user of Velvia (100); I last used 100VS in 2004 experimentally and didn't take to the palette. A spot meter should be used over the scene, including mid-tones (the first reading), followed by low and high points, then averaged. The use of a spot meter is to determine individual luminances over specified parts of the scene; an incident will just provide an overall value of the scene with no critical analysis of highlight and shadow. One of the best cameras I've used for transparency film exposures was the Olympus OM4 (1984 to 1988 before switching to Canon T90). As I always teach, this should be more about the film and process of learning and experience through active use, not about cameras and what meters and features and following they have.
Unless I missed it no one has mentioned bracketing exposures (i.e., taking additional shots above and below your meter reading). The F5's meter should handle most scenes fine, but with static subjects in complex lighting (which is often the most interesting), bracketing will give you a lot more keepers. Keep notes so you know which exposure you end up liking; in the future you won't have to bracket so much. I have shot slides for over 20 years and still bracket in many situations because slide film is so finicky. Usually +/- 0.5 stop covers it, but if I'm in a really good unrepeatable situation I'll shoot a full stop over and under as well. The F5 will autobracket to save time.
I also second the suggestion for the F100 if you want a lighter, smaller camera with most of the features and durability of the F5.
Also if you want saturation you should try Velvia 50 too. Slower than E100VS, but with finer grain and (to my eye) more pleasing colors and contrast.
When you guys shoot a scene with shadow and bright sun. Is it better to get an average exposure or expose closer to the shadows? Assuming the details of both are wanted.
Also if anyone is using an Android phone download the app 'phototools'. It has a notepad and a lot of useful calculators (DOF, multiple exposures, minimum shutter speed, blue and gold hour, moon exposure). It even has a light meter (no idea how accurate it is)
Today's contrasty transparency film are not designed for shooting in bright sun. There is no law, of course, specifying that you do not shoot to gay abandon in the brightest and contrastiest light you can find (I've done it on occasion!), but when you mix shadows and bright light something has to be given up, and most meters will strive to bring up detail in the shadows at the expense of highlights (burnout). CWA of an at the margin area (partial shade and sun) can give a better reading, but multispot metering around a mid-tone can avoid either blocks (featureless shadows) or blown highlights. My favourite shooting conditions are grey, wet, overcast days which accentuate the colour of, e.g. rainforests that I have specialised in.
Velvia, as with most transparency films, blows gracefully, but blocks shadows at the slightest provocation. You might want to try 100VS as the first stop before moving onto the less forgiving Velvia stable. Stephen Schoof, above, makes a valid point about bracketing your exposures. Even a third stop adjustment either way will be noticeable, but often 2/3 is too much; so if the camera allows it, you can switch metering steps from say 0.3 (third stops), 0.5 (half stops) or 1 stop increments. Velvia responds well to either 0.3 or 0.5 stops. One big advantage of a handheld meter is to take several readings of different parts of the scene (as mentioned above) to get an idea of the scene's contrast and "fit" to the film's dynamic range. As a tool for analysis, this is worth the expense of a meter alone. This multispot metering of a scene was a big selling point for the venerated OM4.
iPhone meters are popular. An APUG friend of mine was using an iPod with an efficient on-board App meter for 35mm pinhole shots recently; can't recall exactly, but he may also have used it for SFX200 (faux-IR) exposures on that same walk. I'd still specify getting your hands on a decent spot meter to get a grip on the basics. Understanding metering from the spot meter's perspective is much easier than being confounded (or angered!) by unexpected results from evaluative / multipattern / matrix meters.
Dunn and Wakefield's exposure manual suggests that for color, pegging the mid tones, normally provides the most usable result, regardless of the scene's brightness range (SBR). This is also true for any shot, color or B&W, that includes the human face. This is my experience too.
Originally Posted by nikonF80
Using Dunn and Wakefield's advice for color or faces, the metering intent; pegging the mid-tones, stays the same regardless of the SBR.
You could and should, IMO, use SBR as a factor in what film you choose for a given subject. On E-6 I'm more familiar with Fuji so I'll give my thoughts from that point of reference. Velvia is well suited for short to very short SBR's and non-face subjects, Provia for normal to short SBR's and reasonably good skin tones, Astia for normal to slightly long SBR's and very accurate skin tones.
If you are using a negative film, you expose for the shadows, and let the highlights fall where they may. Unless the contrast is very, very high, you should get both good shadows and good highlights.
Originally Posted by nikonF80
If you are using a slide film, you expose for the highlights, i.e., you take care not to blow highlights. You let the shadows fall where they may. Shadows can be blocked because slide films have less dynamic range than negative films. The final result will typically be unpleasant with blocked shadows, and disastrous with blown highlights. You would go for the lesser evil.
If you own a spot light meter you can measure the exposure range, figure out the exposure "for the highlights", check where the shadows fall, visualize the final result, and if it is awful you save the slide film (you use a negative film if you can, or you give up the picture, or you reduce the contrast, by using fill lights for instance if possible).