My two cents: absolutely great advice to pick one (maybe two) kinds of film, blow through 5 rolls each. You will certainly be able to see how you are doing and how the camera is performing.
I will firmly second Hatchetman's advice in looking at slides. I initially got an old Kodak projector for next to nothing that looked like it was used 5 times. Only four years later am I strongly deciding to leave negative film for slide film. Kodak Porta took control of my life for four years trying to challange me into making the perfect photograph.
In my opinion, with slides you have to have either a nice place to project those images or a nice hand held viewer that does justice to your images. However, this is down the road for you.
I certainly think with a Ilford dealer close by with chemicals and stuff and an enlarger, you are set up really nice. Don't be throwing everything out the front door if you get some pictures back from your local lab that don't look "good". What I am trying to say is I am so new to developing it's not even funny.....but I can develop just as good as my local lab AND I can scan pretty much better than them too (look at DPUG when you are ready for little more help with the digital scanning thing). With an enlarger, your set.
Again, preaching to/from the choir, you are the one that is going to make that really exceptional photo, not your camera. The camera is the tool. It cannot compose nor see the perfect image. Get used to what you have, you may want to upgrade later on to get the advantages of autofocus and advanced metering which I find are needed when chasing moving objects (kids) around with a camera. Half of my problem photos are because I don't bring along the tripod (consider a monopod), you already do, so you are way ahead of the curve. Keep it up!!
Welcome to APUG!!
Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D
With digital your main consideration in choosing exposure is not to blow highlights while maintaining decent shadow detail. When shooting raw that means applying the "expose to the the right" (ETTR) strategy. Maybe you are familiar with that.
With slide film the logic is similar to digital. You take attention not to blow highlights. You can't use ETTR because you don't have a histogram. You "expose for the highlights". You'll find plenty of material searching APUG about this.
With negative film (both B&W and colour) it's the other way round. Negative film suffers from underexposure while letting you a lot of "room" for overexposure. That means you just take care not to block the shadows, and you let the film take care of the highlights wherever they fall. That's "exposing for the shadows". Considering that this is the opposite of what the careful digital photographer does, this is the first important difference to keep in mind.
I suggest the next step is buying an incident light meter. This is something which is much more useful with film than with digital. With digital you can rely on histograms previews and lightview. With film you cannot. An incident light meter will teach you a lot about light and exposure.
Generally speaking I would also study, if you are not familiar with it, the typical shortfalls of in-camera reflected light exposure. In-camera exposure is VERY prone to exposure mistake. As a consequence relying on Autoexposure is not a good thing unless you know what you do and you have a proper reason to do it. In many situation an incident reading will give you a better exposure than any auto thing.
The concepts of "exposing for the highlights" and "exposing for the shadows" can be applied with any kind of light metering: in-camera, incident, spot. I suggest you familiarize with all situations with all instruments ("spot" being optional).
Another suggestion: when learning exposure just disable "matrix" metering. Matrix metering is just conceptually wrong. It examines light levels in several areas of the frame and then applies a "reasoning" which is hidden to you. If there is a high subject brightness range the Matrix algorithm tries to understand if the shadows or the highlights have the important detail to salvage. This is done by programming it according to a statistical analysis.
For instance: night scene, there is a very bright spot and the camera infers it is the moon, or a street lamp, and can be ignored. Very bright background with prominent shade in the centre: the camera decides the shade in the centre is the important subject and exposes for it because it "infers" that you are making a backlit portrait (with monument in the background, you know) and that you don't want a silhouette of your wife in front of you.
Basically Matrix metering applies an automatic correction to the typical exposure mistakes exposure-challenged people make, assumes you are exposure-challenged, and tries to save your day. That's not very useful unless you actually are exposure-challenged.
A Matrix light meter doesn't know if you are using slide or negative, doesn't know if the highlights or the shadows have important details or can be sacrificed, and whatever algorithm it applies it cannot be the right one if not by mere random chance.
Only if 80 - 90% of good exposure is enough for you, then you may use Matrix and forget about exposure (that's because in those 80 - 90% of cases the subject brightness range will be moderate and the Matrix metering will make a decent job of placing the subject brightness range more or less within any film dynamic range without being distracted by very intense bright spots, such as street lamps at night, which might more easily influence an average-reading light meter). If Matrix meterings had a switch between slide and negative and could be told to "expose for the highlights" or "expose for the shadows" maybe they would make some slight sense, but I don't know any which is designed this way.
Last edited by Diapositivo; 10-17-2012 at 12:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Slide projectors are definitely good value at the moment, so don't buy cheap and nasty. Also check whether you can get magazines for your projector easily - I picked mine as it looked decent quality (Zeiss branded and made in Germany) but takes the same type of magazines as the one my Dad bought back in the 1980s (which managed to melt one of its internal lenses). As a result I can project all the old family holiday shots as well as my new ones.
What I will say about slide film is to check availability of film and processing. I'm down to my last two rolls of process paid slide and probably won't be able to get any more locally, so I don't know if I'll shoot any more after then. One of the final rolls will probably be used as an Xmas/New Year roll, I'm trying to save them for important stuff now.
The flood of advice will soon be overwhelming. Just remember to enjoy what you see and photograph.
I echo what the others have said, particularly about exposure -- learning the strengths and weaknesses of reflected and incident metering, and learning to estimate exposure on your own, is very helpful to using film (since you don't get a histogram preview). The exposure info printed inside the film boxes is pretty useful, actually.
There are other things to learn about, such as hyperfocal technique and selective depth of field, that may be a little harder to do with an AF camera. Does the Elan have depth of field preview?
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Yes it does as a CF. Unfortunatly, it isnt a dedicated button like it is on my dslr.
Hello and a warm welcome to APUG. Go to your local library and look up some old books on film.
Originally Posted by zackesch
What does "CF" mean?
While APUG can be very helpful I think your OP exceeds what can be communicated easily. I would suggest reading some books on photography. As far as general analog camera use I'm sure that many here who can offer good selections. As far as the photographic process and enlarging read the Ansel Adams seriers in particular The Negative and The Print. As Groucho once said, "Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend, inside of a dog is too dark to read."
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery