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  1. #1

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    Mamiya 645 Pro TL: finder mode: spot, average, auto?!

    Hi to all!

    I have just purchase a Mamiya 645 pro tl with the AE FE401 metered finder. If I understand how the caméra works (I have already a Bronica with waist level finder), I'm not shure of how to use at best the metered finder.

    I did my first film (color) with it yesterday, and looking at the results, I dont see much differences. Maybe the conditions were not the best (heavy sunlight at 12h00). Well... I was eager to try my new «toy»!

    Using the finder in «spot» mode is easy to understand: I've been shooting «spot» all my life (minolta). But what are the advantages of using the «average» mode? In what kind of situations is average reading the most usefull (best results)? And in what kind of situations the auto mode would be prefered?

    I can guess that in landscape photography, the average mode can offert an advantage (unless I want to under(over) expose a section of the photo). But say in fashion or portrait? Or urban photography?

    There must be typical situations where these 3 modes produce the «best» results (keeping in mind that I can «override» a «setting» to get a particular effect). Having in mind typical situations will help me, I'm shure, to understand this metered finder.

    Thanks for your time.

    R.

  2. #2
    EKDobbs's Avatar
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    The "type" of photography has less to do with the metering mode than the type of light you're dealing with. Quickly changing, contrasty light will probably defeat the auto mode while an evenly lit urban scene might be perfect for it. To make a long story short, I would use spot when you have a lot of time, average when the scene isn't incredibly contrasty, and auto only when you don't have the time to do anything manually. Now, that's if you want the exposures that are closest to what you're looking for. If all you want is a "correct" exposure (18% grey is the average of the tones) then average and auto are fine, but that may not produce the look you desire.
    In other worlds he has
    darker days, blacker swells.
    Strokes that mix noir revenge
    on waves of grey.

  3. #3
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Exactly. Average is either for those who don't know how to use spot (unlikely with this camera in its day but now maybe less so) or when you don't have time to carefully select an area to meter. I have the Pro (non-TL) with the same modes. The SP+Av is sort of an early simple minded matrix metering. See the prism manual:

    http://www.butkus.org/chinon/mamiya/...ae_prism_n.htm

  4. #4

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    I use a PRO with type N prism. It has the same setting as yours does.

    I typically use SPOT. I find an area where I want it to be the middle gray, point the center, lock the exposure, recompose, then shoot. Average method can be way off if your scene contains particularly bright spot or dark areas. I suppose if the scene is evenly lit, and average of the value happens to be the middle gray average could work but I rarely encounter such scenarios. The auto-switch mode is really confusing. I'd rather have control over the metering method. I'd suppose if one really doesn't want to think about exposures, it probably do better than sticking to one or the other method for every scene. But then again, average APUG users do not belong in this category. (we stress over every little detail.... hehe)

    With all that said.... negative films do have a wonderful exposure latitude. I never had something that was so off I couldn't print. Spot and some forethought works for me every time. If you shoot slide, it's probably not a good method for you.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5

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    Hi.

    The spot mode is probably the best alternative to keeping control on my choices. As to Average, I understand that it will do a great job when shooting in in less contrasted light conditions and where I want focus only on composition.

    As for the auto mode, I guess it can be seen as the way to shoot when you just dont have time to think for exposure.

    But then, tkamiya noted something that I is important: «negative films do have a wonderful exposure latitude». In many conditions, film will probably reduce the differences between spot and average, mainly in not so contrasted conditions.

    But I will do some more tests, be it to better understand my new caméra.

    Thanks for lighting my way.

    R.

    ps: for some of my pics: http://rguertin.com/portfolio.htm



 

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