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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Medium Format

    newbie needs help.........

    ok, I have this Voiglander Bessa46, newly aquired. Its my first 'old' camera. The least advanced camera I've owned prior at least had a light meter.

    What I need to know is the procedure for deciding upon Fstop, speed settings. I understand the concept of needing a larger aperture opening if using a higher shutter speed etc , but where do I start?
    Are there rules of thumb or is it all trial and error........I've been stuck in the point-and-shoot world for a few years so pleae be gentle.

    -Jeff (see my post in Hardware/MediumFormat for pics of the camera)

  2. #2
    Ole is offline
    Ole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Bergen, Norway
    Large Format
    Blog Entries
    "Sunny 16" is a good starting point.

    That means: Set the shutter speed to 1/(ISO), and the aperture to 16 for shooting in sunlight. If you open the aperture one stop, you need one setting faster shutter time.

    With a little experience it's possible to get very good at estimating light strength, and thus exposures under changing conditions. At least half my shots are made by "guesstimate", up to and including LF chromes (like this one).

    Where I live "Sunny 11" is more appropriate most of the year, but that's for 60 degrees and higher latitudes.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist

  3. #3
    noblebeast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Southern California
    Medium Format
    Hi Jeff,

    The place nearly all start with is the famed "sunny/16 rule." Basically, on a bright sunny day - noonish - a proper exposure can be had by setting the film speed on the camera at the film speed on the box (ex: asa 400) and the aperture at f/16. Hazy bright conditions you either open up the aperture one stop ( in this scenario to f/11) or slow the shutter by half (instead of 400, change to 250 or 200 - whatever your camera shows). Open shade? F/8 or shutter speed of 100. and so on. It takes a little bit of practice but in no time at all you become a pretty confident judge of light.

    A small investment in a light meter will also help while you are learning, and is a good way to check your "sunny/16" observations, but should you forget to bring along the meter one day the "sunny/16" rule and your mastery of it will keep you shooting and not wasting film. Well, not due to improper exposure, anyway. I personally have many well exposed negatives of total crap, but that's not sunny/16's fault.

    Good luck and have fun with your 'new' Voigtlander.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Large Format
    Here is a page that helped me enormously a few years ago:


    Read it several times to understand it all. This table is great because you will soon see and understand the relationship between all the elements.

    Notice in Table A and Table B that Exposure Value 15 is the Sunny 16 Rule mentioned above.

    I have copied Table A and Table B and pasted it into MS Word. I then deleted the columns that did not apply to my particular old camera (like 800 speed film and faster, small aperature sizes and faster shutter speeds). I also reduced the font size to 6 or 8 point size. I then printed both tables back to back and "laminated" them with clear packing tape. After trimming the tape I was left with a small handy reference guide (about 2 inches by 3 inches). I have even taped them on the back of cameras so they would not get lost.



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