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  1. #1
    Steve Mack's Avatar
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    F100 and B/W film

    I need some guidance on exposure for black-and-white film with my Nikon F100. On Aperture or Program, the Matrix metering looks like it tends to underexpose the shots. This is especially true when there are dark tones near the bottom of the photo (or anywhere else, for that matter). The film is metered at its rated ISO. I was wondering if I should change the metering to Center-weighted and the exposure mode to Manual, and see what that does. The F100 does excellent work with Kodak Ektar 100, at its rated speed, FWIW. What is your collective experience with this camera and B/W film?

    Thanks to all who reply.

    With best regards,

    Steve

  2. #2

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    I have 3 F100s and shoot on Tmax100, 400, Plus-X, and Tri-X. My camera is set to Aperture priority and usually Matrix metering, but when needed, I switch to Center weighted. My exposure is usually good, or as good as any automated metering would be. I have not noticed any under-exposure tendencies.

    If there is a deep shadow in the scene and is a high contrast situation, it does under-expose the shadow but I don't expect the camera's metering to be able to recognize this kind of situations and adjust accordingly. In these cases, I typically use exposure compensation and over-expose by one stop by hand.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    It should not make any difference what type of film you are using. My F100's are used for slide, colour neg and B&W. I don't have a problem with any of them except with flash they tend to over expose all mediums. Could it be that you are not developing the films for long enough? I have always suffered from excess contrast when I come to printing stage so always half the film speed and chop the development time, that way I get 'meaty' negs that print quite easily. I don't think it is your metering. Of course you could always use the spot meter. Meter off a mid tone shade (grass) and hold that so when you move the camera back to the chosen view point the exposure will be what you want.

  4. #4

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    I have a F100 but it is rarely used since I prefer MF and LF but my comment is to refer to the reason for Aperture and Manual mode. I would set the aperture according to the depth of field you want in either of the modes which could require the use of a tripod if the shutter speed was too slow. As I understand it Matrix metering will give you an average reading of the scene and Center will predominately read a centered subject. If you spot meter and manually set both the aperture and shutter speed you can set an average setting or meter for shadows or highlights as desired. Consider bracketing just in case.

    I mainly use a spot meter or incident meter reading with the formats I use and since my cameras are all manual and I most often use a tripod, I control the settings. I don't know why B&W would be different from color other than the characteristics of the film used. The camera doesn't know which is being used other than the ISO. Stick to one film until you are familiar with it's properties because switching often just becomes confusing.
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  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    How are you setting the film speed?
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  6. #6

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    Hello,
    I think the last question brings it to the point. Do you use the nominal ASA setting from the film box? For many developers this is too optimistic. You should set the film speed about 2/3 to one EV lower (e.g. 50 - 64 instaed of 100 ASA) and develop about 20 - 25 % longer.

  7. #7

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    The ISO setting is automatic with the DX facility but can be manually changed. Check the film speed the next time you have a film in the camera. It may have been accidentally moved over.

  8. #8

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    Most of the time I shoot the F100 with the meter on "spot". Look through the VF and spot a midtone area and press AE lock. Using custom settings, I set the exposure lock to stick, meaning you only press and release the AE lock and exposure would remain locked, then recompose and fire. Works all the time and it gives consistent results. I have never been able to get consistent results with the matrix metering, mainly because the matrix metering relies on thousands of lighting "situations" programmed into it and you have no clue what the meter is going to pick for your specific scene. With spot metering you know exactly what's going on and you expose accordingly.

  9. #9

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    Hello,
    exactly that ist the true problem. Nobody can tell you which "thousands of light situations" are the base of the matrix measurement. And nobody can say whether these light situations have been evaluated for color negative-, B%W- or colour slide film.

  10. #10
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    I noticed the matrix metering problem with F100 and b&w films several years ago. I tried to raise the issue but people wouldn't notice or told me to fiddle with ISO values. This is nonsense if you know how matrix works. My theory is the matrix exposure scenes were adjusted for shooting chromes. Remember, everyone was shooting chromes when F100 came out. It all makes sort of sense if you think of how to expose for the chromes versus exposing for b&w. You will get underexposed shots for b&w in situations where contrast is wide (bright sky, dark woods for example). The only good cure is to use weighted average for exposure. I've never had exposure problems since I switched to weighted average.
    Last edited by mablo; 02-04-2013 at 09:38 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: typo

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