Originally Posted by dpurdy
I am pretty sure that flare causes the higher shadow reading in the spotmeter used at camera position. Film would be subject to flare, and the optics of camera and lightmeter are "similar" enough that you can use the reading from camera position.
If you cancel out the flare by walking up close (not saying that's a bad thing to do)... Then you should think about flare in your exposure calculation.
High Zone III is a good idea. I just re-read a post by Ralph Lambrecht. He was amazed how much his negatives improved after he followed John Sexton's suggestion to place shadows on Zone IV.
(But don't do too many changes at once without thinking how they interact... I believe the original advice to place shadows on Zone II that you don't hear much anymore, came from a time when spotmeters were not available, and the shadow readings were taken with a Weston Master II by walking up to the shadow exactly as you describe).
Bill is absolutely right that we really need to think about the effects of each change we make in the context of the situation, the difference between metering from the camera or at the subject can be significant.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
Ralph is absolutely right about shadow placement, in that with a spot meter, it is a guess. This is true because a zone is a range of tones not one tone. The high end of zone III and low end of zone IV are almost indistinguishable.
IMO the improvement Ralph saw in his negatives was probably that the zone IV camera exposure placement made it easier "for him" to print what mattered most "to him" and factored in all of "his" gear and "his" style and "his" eye.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
There are three concepts to remember here:
1-is that, our gear, our eye, our subjects, our style, et cetera... are different than Ralph's. All those differences affect what works best for the rest of us. We each need to test our whole system and see what works best for us and come up with our own EI.
2-is that we can factor in anything we please into our personal EI. The placement change Ralph speaks of can be factored in by changing the EI we dial into our meter. Use 200 instead of 400 for example to affect the same change.
3-is that most all the guess work is eliminated when you use a known target to meter from, like Bill suggested above by metering off his hand. This is a practical equivalent of incident metering.
I prefer to know what the reading is without flare. I have also made a snoot for my spot meter. I think probably my lenses handle flare better than my spot meter lens.
And as to an incident meter taking out the guess work... the reason I use a spot meter is that an incident meter requires guess work. That said though, if you aren't sure of what you are doing with a spot meter there will be of course guess work.
i wouldn't have metered it with an electronic meter at all
but with my internal meter.
i'd have done sunny 16 and and it would have given me
around the same exposure as you did .. maybe i would have over exposed half a stop
and then over developed by maybe 30 seconds in sprint film developer ...
good luck with your processing
The thing a spot meter does very well, for those who are experienced with it, is tie a specific point in the scene to a specific point on the characteristic curve.
It is a truly useful tool and that tie is a good way of thinking, but it is also subjective unless you know what to expect from your target.
Bill's hand, a grey card, new jeans, faded jeans, your camera bag; any target that you know the offset to will work fine. Used with a known target, by a skilled person, spot meters are every bit as objective as incident meters are.
Incident meters are really good at measuring the light that is falling on a subject/scene. If we know how much light is falling on the scene we can know exactly how the subjects we see are going fall on the film. The offset works exactly the same way as if we had put known target at the same point.
What neither a reflective meter or an incident meter know is what they just took a reading of.
An incident meter tells us the exposure to use for an average scene's range of tones, based only on the intensity of light falling on that scene. Where it falls down is that the incident meter has no idea that there may be certain parts of the scene which are not capturable because the tonal range of our medium (e.g. color transparency) is exceeded by certain parts of the scene.
In the case of using the Zone System, we might decide to bias the exposure in the direction of the part of the scene that falls off the capturable range, simply because our scene might not have the amount of tonal detail in the shadows, so we tweak our exposure and adjust in the processing.
The incident meter cannot tell us when a studio shot exceeds the tonal reproduction capability of the offset press, whereas a spot meter can identify that issue for us, allowing us to adjust our lighting to bring the entire range of tones to within the range of the offset press making that photo on the printed page.
These are the reasons that I own both an incident meter and also a one-degree spotmeter.
Well there's an urban myth.
Originally Posted by wiltw
It takes two readings, to tell us the range regardless of meter type. A single reading from an incident meter tells us nothing more than a single reading of a spot meter, they both only measure single points, not a range. The only difference is that with a reflective meter we have to judge the reflectivity offset, say 1-Stop for Bill's hand.
Neither meter knows anything about the films range unless we tell it, and only a select few meters will take that input and spit out range info; most of us have do the math to find the SBR with either type of meter.
See post 4. My suggestion there is an adaptation of a technique called duplexing. (See Dunn & Wakefield's Exposure Manual) Duplexing was specifically designed for finding the best exposure compromise for slide film.
BTZS uses a variation of this duplexing technique with either incident meters or spot meters, at the users discretion, to accomplish what Adams did with with his Zone System and spot metering.
You significantly overinterpreted what I stated! I'm accustomed to telling someone "There are clouds in the sky", and the interpretation is "Wilt said it's going to rain!" :D
Originally Posted by markbarendt
The incident meter gives a single exposure value based upon intensity light falling upon the scene at the meter position, whether the scene has reflective tones spanning 5EV or 15EV or 8EV. It will allow me to record Zone V as a midtone. But if some of my scene is in shade, with a range of zones within the shade area, and my main subject is in the sun with its full 10 Zones of brightness tonality, my total scene = what is in the shade + what is in the sun...and that might easily span 14EV. So I have no idea how to expose to capture as much as will fit within my capture medium. In part, because I never took any reading in the shade.
Using the spotmeter intelligently allows a photographer to know if 5EV or 8EV or 14EV range of tones exist in the scene, and if you simply average the highest and lowest values you know 'the middle' of the range -- even if the middle of the range is Zone VII and not Zone V. I can read the dark tones in the shade, and I can read the bright tones in the sun, and know that my total scene spans 14EV...so then I can decide to capture the portion of the scene that matters to me, and maybe use processing and printing technicques to broaden what I capture and compress them within the 10 zones of the print, or to alter lighting in the studio to fit the 7EV range of the offset press.
The original question from bascom49 was "How do I meter this scene?" He went on to say that this was one of his first 4x5 images.
While a lot of this discussion has demonstrated how much a lot of us know about metering and film capture, if I were bascom49, I would be reaching for my FE about now and giving up on the 4x5.
The sample digital image already showed that the exposure range for this image is not beyond the capability of film. It also showed that a simple reflective reading could get to a reasonable exposure for this scene.
A smartphone image is as good a place to start as the sunny 16 rule and there are a lot of apps that can help. An incident meter is a good fallback tool and a spot meter can help with extreme cases, but this scene is not one of them.
Regarding development - with 4x5 HP5 almost any developer will do. If you are accustomed to using Xtol replenished, that't fine but it gets more expensive as a one-shot diluted developer. For one-shot I prefer HC-110 dilution H or Rodinal 1+50 which give good sharpness and are dilute enough to not emphasize the HP5 grain clumping. I also use these for TMX and TMY, which I prefer to HP5, but it is really a matter of what you can conveniently purchase and use.
The real difference between the two scenarios you describe is that the incident meter is being used as if it was the first time ever, per the instructions included in the box, while the spot meter is being used as one might after years of practice and reading Adams and the rest.
What I'm saying is that both meters are equally capable of finding out how contrasty a scene is and finding the optimum exposure setting.
It is fully about using either/both intelligently. It is not a matter of one can and one can't.
For example both of the following are true:
(The incident meter is the target in this case.)
Originally Posted by wiltw
2-The spot meter gives a single exposure value based upon intensity light falling upon the target, whether the scene has reflective tones spanning 5EV or 15EV or 8EV.