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  1. #1

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    A basic compensating-for-metering question!

    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post, please inform me/forgive me if I do anything contrary to common practice or break any rules.

    Effectively, I'm shooting with an old Zenit at the moment, and I am really quite enjoying it. I've decided to try out some higher iso films given the current lack of sun in the UK however (and the fact that I've been wanting to shoot in darker conditions for a while), but having just bought a few roles of ISO 800, I have realised that my camera's light meter only works up to around ISO 400! I understand the relative relationship between aperture and shutter speed and the alike, but I can't think how to compensate when using the light meter! If anyone could offer any advice (that isn't buy a proper light meter), I would be very appreciative!

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Set the light meter for 400 and add one stop. So, if the meter reads 1/60 at f8, you could use 1/125 at f8 or 1/60 at f/11.

    Alternatively, assuming you are not using slide film, you could just set the light meter for 400 and use the reading. You would have more defined shadow detail and the highlights would still likely be acceptable. A lot of people down-rate the box speed of film by 1/2, in order to get better shadow details.
    Last edited by Kevin Kehler; 06-20-2013 at 12:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
    Set the light meter for 400 and add one stop. So, if the meter reads 1/60 at f8, you could use 1/125 at f8 or 1/60 at f/16.

    Alternatively, assuming you are not using slide film, you could just set the light meter for 400 and use the reading. You would have more defined shadow detail and the highlights would still likely be acceptable. A lot of people down-rate the box speed of film by 1/2, in order to get better shadow details.
    That makes a lot of sense, thank you! I will have to do it according to approximation (the meter is a needle which flicks between a plus and minus), but that is very applicable advice, thank you!

  4. #4
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Hi genkaimade,

    Assuming you use a negative film, many people (myself included) feel that one stop overexposure - as a rule - is good for it. (Slide film is a different story, with slides the opposite is true, 1/3 stop underexposure is safer)

    If you use a negative film, you might just use 400 and make the settings as recommended by the camera. This will always overexpose a little, which is not bad. Most of the time you will have comfortable combinations of f/stop and shutter speed.

    Then whenever you need "just one higher shutter speed", you can be confident that it will be OK to take it.

  5. #5

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    Just so you know, 800 ISO film is twice as sensitive as 400 ISO film. 1/60th sec. gives twice the exposure as 1/125th sec., and f11 gives twice the exposure as f16. All of these steps are twice or half of those on either side of them.
    Last edited by E. von Hoegh; 06-20-2013 at 12:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    Abandon the light meter

    Use your own judgement. check out this site.

    http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

  7. #7

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    You could also consider running a test by bracketing by half stops from -1 1/2 through +1 1/2 stops to see what works best for your equipment and taste. Then follow the information presented by the other posts.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  8. #8
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
    Set the light meter for 400 and add one stop. So, if the meter reads 1/60 at f8, you could use 1/125 at f8 or 1/60 at f/11.
    Do that and you will shoot at box speed which will allow the latitude to get good shadow depth. There are better reasons for shooting box speed than screwing around playing exposure games.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  9. #9
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    Do that and you will shoot at box speed which will allow the latitude to get good shadow depth. There are better reasons for shooting box speed than screwing around playing exposure games.
    I agree that most people should shoot box speed, especially people who don't really know what they are doing. If you don't know why you are not shooting at box speed, beside referencing a posting on the internet or saying that your friend "who knows a lot about cameras" told you to, you shouldn't be shooting at anything but box speed. The first part of my post was how to compensate for a limited meter (which is what you reference) and my second point was that if he didn't make the adjustment, either because his camera won't allow him or because he forgot, his film will not be ruined. I would be curious as to if he was developing or printing the film himself, which would affect my recommendation more. I know lots of people like the Sunny 16 rule but it has never given me the control I enjoy and I was trying to give him more than that.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  10. #10
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    I know nothing of the Zenit, but if your camera has an exposure-compensation control, then setting that to -1 will have the same effect as metering a stop faster. So 400 on the ISO setting, -1 on the compensation and you have 800. Or rather, subtract 1 from the compensation that you would have normally put in for your scene, e.g. for metering off white skin you would normally put in +1 compensation, subtract 1 and you get 0 compensation. Or if you were spot-metering some shadow detail at -2 then you would put in -3.

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