Slide film is a pig you need to be within 1/3 of a stop for projection.
Forget about sunsets, instead try front lit simple portrait or family group, and dome incident meter on their nose cine leading lady style.
When you are expert think about sunset again... sweep exposure 1/3 stop intervals.
C41 is easy (easier when you are familiar with the kit)...
Mono is easier if you are not doing reversal.
You didn't mention the edge markings, which would be a good way to check if the lab were at least doing approximately the right thing.
Everything you say sounds like exposure errors, but it would take a pretty severe metering mistake to achieve "nothing there at all". Even if you spot-metered off the disc of the sun, that disc should have ended up in the image at 18% density. I've shot quite a bit of slide film in Mamiya 645 bodies at this point, and in my experience the metering is pretty good in practice.
How'd the TMX come out? Were you keeping enough of an eye on the exposures to know if they were roughly similar between the two films? Of course the b&w film has more latitude, but they're both ISO 100 and at least it would provide some basis for comparison.
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_
Sunsets and slide film - together they make for a challenging test for an in-camera meter.
When I first started using slide film in my 645 Pro I had a tendency to under-expose slides if there were areas of misleading highlights in the scene. Once I became more familiar with how the meter reads the scenes, I became much better.
What really helped was becoming much more familiar with the area read by the "spot" function, and then using that.
I'd suggest trying the camera out on some more evenly lit scenes, to see if the metering is functioning correctly.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
The first thing to do is go over the camera thoroughly to ensure you have not set something that is contributing to such gross underexposure e.g. exposure compensation? ISO? Another problem is the use of ND filters: I have never ever been a fan or user of these, preferring to manage contrast variations by selective metering. All ND filters do is add an additional layer of complexity and are especially haphazard on cameras using evaluative/matrix/multipattern meters. That level of complexity isn't helped at all if the photographer is relying on a spot/incident meter.
Sunsets and sunrises are best spot metered explicitly by hand, not with an in-camera meter. The camera's meter doesn't know what it is looking at and, furthermore, it doesn't care. Take control. There are various 'tweaks' that can be employed with the much more forgiving emulsion of Provia 100F for contrasty scenes, one of which is to re-rate the film at EI80 (0.3 overexposure). But Provia 100F delivers really pleasing results as it is, just that there is a bit of learning to be done with slide film.
No metering anywhere should be done on or close to the sun as this will result in gross underexposure and that will be very, very visible even with the modicum of latitude that Provia 100F holds (for other slide films, like Velvia 50, underexposure is disastrous and unsalvageable). The reason you got better results with black and white is because it has a lot more latitude than slide film. With slide film a complete shift in thinking and methodology of exposure is required to bring out the best because your working area in terms of latitude is quite narrow. It's not the case to think that what is good for black and white will be just as good for slide film — there are two different skill sets to grapple with! It would be unlikely in my view that the lab has erred with the processing of the film. It is E6, they will have recognised this and away it goes. For all intents and purposes it sounds very much like your exposure is off with the camera at the crux of the problem. This is not to say it has or might have a fault, but what it is metering.
One course to follow now is to repeat your shots. This time take a notebook and pen with you and record the exposure. If you foresee a long term involvement with slide film, consider purchasing a spot/incident meter and learnig the fundamentals of precise exposure measurement to get the very best out of colour transparency. Relying on in-camera meters is making things too easy to go wrong when you should be in full control. Once you have the results of your second shoot, have the film souped and then refer to your notes. This is a very valuable learning experience and one I emphasise very strongly, even for photographers with a lot of experience, but transparency films are where so many come to grief. As I said, it's not the same as the easy sailing affair of black and white.
Well, not really. 1/2 stop is fine - you'll see the difference and it's not optimal but it still can make a good looking projected slide.
Originally Posted by Xmas
Slide film does have a much smaller range and thus is far more critical of exposure, but it isn't THAT hard, especially if you choose to bracket. I've never had a problem getting well exposed slides with my in camera meters. There can be a problem with too much range in the scene - you either let shadows go black or highlights blow out or, sometimes when exposing for midtones, both - but you certainly shouldn't be getting black film.
Last edited by Roger Cole; 04-29-2014 at 01:00 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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It's all in the metering.
This is a sunrise instead of sunset, but same difference more or less, on Kodachrome, in camera meter.
As I recall, I metered on the sky here, then reframed. If the sun will be in the frame then point the camera somewhere where it's not included, meter then go for it.
First thing to do is as someone else suggested, check the edging of the slides. If you can read the film marking, then it's exposure issue for sure.
I understand 1/2 of a stop but if it is a brides formal posed sequence and her dress is white you get the why is that dress darker then the other... Hated it when the clouds moved about and the needle of the Weston would not settle... they (the brides) used to go back and forwards between slides with the projectors remote.
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
I needed to bracket in half stops and pick the best, eyes blinked was always on the wrong slide.
All you could hope for is a weepy and loss of concentration.
Cine people have worse problems for jump cuts...
All I ever did was Kchrome 25 and weddings, today I'd use mono or C41.
You will note that none of the contributors seem to be agreeing that "such film" ( by this I assume you mean either Provia or slide film in general) is the problem.
Originally Posted by hoakin1981
I'd ditch the idea that there are good and bad films for sunsets. Until you get rid of this feeling you may not be able to approach the problem with an open mind.
A lot of good advice here. Just work through it slowly and try the suggestions and advice given
slide film is an excellent choice for sunsets,but in your case you did not meter correctly. Proper technique is to point your lens to an area of the sky close to, but not including the sun. Lock in this exposure,then recompose to include the sun, and fire.this will give you wonderful color in The sky, but any land or other objects will be black silhouettes. The result can be dramatic and beautiful. Take another shot with plus one stop exposure,and see which is best.
Including the sun in the frame when you meter leads to massive under exposure like you got.
Also, try a roll on regular subjects such as people In evenly lit daylight conditions, I think your results will be fine, and you will be impressed with what slide film can do.