Exposure for Slides
I recently shot 2 rolls of provia 100f, and just got the film back from the lab.
Everything was great, the highlights were spot on, the shadows were dark enough to give the early morning feel that i wanted. Great stuff.
It's getting to be autumn here, and I'd like to shoot some scenes that will contain a full range of light, from very dark to quite bright-ish. I'm concerned, though, that the highlights will be right, as I try to place them about Z6.5-7, to prevent them being blown out, but the shadows will lack detail.
How do I ask the lab to increase shadow levels, is it like B&W, where decreased development can decrease the density in the areas with the greatest amount? If so, how will that impact the highlights? I'm new to shooting transparencies, although I am aware that your exposure should be based on your scenes highlights, similar to negative film, but in reverse.
I'm shooting the slides on an RB-67, and hope to get them printed, or last resort, scanned and printed.
More development of a negative gives a higher contrast, denser negative. More development of a slide gives a higher contrast, lighter transparency. So if you want lighter slides, there are two ways to do it. The first way is to give it less exposure and increase development. This is called "pushing" the film. I've done this with Provia 100F. I sometimes shoot it at EI 320 instead of EI 100, and ask the lab for a two stop push. This appears to be pushing 1/3 stop more than it was underexposed, but the pictures come out just fine.
The second way to do it is to give it slightly more exposure and give standard development. By slightly more exposure, I mean no more than 1/2 stop. At least on my camera, one way to do this is with the exposure compensation dial. If I want 1/3 stop more exposure, I change the ISO dial (in this case from 100 down to 80). Your highlights will get a bit lighter, and your shadows will open up a little.
Shoot more film.
There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.
Spot meter the highlights, but not the brightest areas; do the same for the shadows, but not the darkest of the shadows. Average. It's very simple and will give excellent results. Problems develop when photographers add spectrals into the equation: that's not what you should be metering.
Provia has wider latitude than the Velvias with a softer treatment of highlights and shadows, as you have observed. But the brighter the light, the greater the chance that highlights will blow, even if you retain some distinct detail in the shadows. Provia with a slightly warmer and more natural palette, is best in hazy light, but I have exposed it in high summer, not that the results impressed me. I suggest if you bracket in marginal light and record notes as you go.
“The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see." ~Edward Weston, 1922.
If one isn't going to project the slides and instead require prints, I wonder what the reasons are for using E6 instead of C41? Colour-negative film will have a longer scale than a transparency film, generally speaking, and the prints can be made directly to RA4 without needing to inter-neg the E6 first.
They render differently. It's not such a utilitarian technical comparison.
Originally Posted by MartinP
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
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What I'm thinking is if I shoot in a wooded area, around some of the palace gardens, the range of values and brightness will exceed the range of the film. With black and white, you can shoot to bring your shadows to Z III, or 2 stops below neautral grey, and develop for your highlight target of Z VII. With slides, I'm not sure how it would work, as it seems to me that underexposing a part too low, is still underexposing it too low. To that, the overexposed part has no density to retain any information.
Originally Posted by ME Super
I hope I'm making sense. From your reply, it would seem that it's possible to get a slide that retains detail in both ends of the scale, even though the scale is shorter than a standard negative. Thank you for the reply and advice.
I loved the shots I just got back from the lab. The shots were made on a cloudy morning, in the city, and give a wonderful range! I should have started long ago with reversal film. As I mentioned, the lighting I'm looking at working in will be of a longer scale than this time. I'd like to shoot in some wooded areas to get the leaves changing, but the overhead canopy will proved a challenge. I appreciate the advice and will definitely give it a go!
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
I plan on getting some Ilfochrome prints made, as they have a beautiful feel to them when done right. The ones I've seen were almost magical in their qualities! The lab I use for my film printing has a couple years worth of the materials and I would like to get some made.
Originally Posted by MartinP
Plus, seeing the slides against the light, either projected or directly viewing them, has always held a magical feeling to me.
I hadn''t even thought about it that way, which is surprising to me, given that I like to think about the technical side as much as the creative side. Thanks for the reminder of both sides being applicable!
Originally Posted by clayne
I was having this same confusion about ME Super's explanation. I thought I understood slide film decently, but now I'm not so sure...
Originally Posted by kintatsu
With negatives, you expose for the shadows because nothing you do can recover information that wasn't recorded---you have to give enough time for the shadows to have some activated grains in them, and then you work with the development process to control the highlights. As is well known, slide film works the other way: If you overexpose and remove all the density, your highlights blow, so you have to expose for the highlights. But here's where I get confused.
Say I've exposed for a reasonable highlight (not a specular) in a scene with a long scale. Well, the shadow areas on the film are still receiving very few photons, so there are very few activated grains in the latent image. Doesn't that mean that I end up with the same blank shadows due to underexposure that I'd get in a negative? Changes in development can raise or lower the curve, but they can't create shadow information that wasn't there.
Does this mean that in practice very little can be done to extend the dynamic range of slide film? To extend the shadows you'd have to overexpose, but that blows the highlights; to extend the highlights you'd underexpose, but that gives you no information in the shadows; and there doesn't seem to be an analogue to compensating development that would help keep the highlights from blowing out. Have I got it right?
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_