Well, I got my first "test roll" back from the lab yesterday. It was a roll of Kodak ISO 400 High Definition film. I think my lab screwed up because many of the pics looked dark, grainy, or muddy. One of the frames had a scratch on it (the second to last frame on the emulsion side). The lab tech tried telling me it was the camera, but I am sure it was not. If it were the camera, more frames would have been scratched, maybe even the first or last frames but not the second to last frame only.
All the shots were taken in bright sunlight. I used the center weight meter option on purpose to make sure I was exposing for my subject and not the background. I was not happy at all with the results. I know it was not the camera, just poor lab work. This was a bit sad because this is the pro lab I always use.
Anyway, I plan to shoot a few silde film rolls this weekend. There is less of a chance of any lab screwing up slides. Just to make sure I plan to use my trusty old F2A together with my F100 and take the same shots with both cameras. That way I can determine if the F100 is not exposing properly or if it is user error on my part.
The thing that bugs me though is that negative film has about two or three stops of lattitude. Why would some of my images look muddy, dark and grainy while others (shot within a fraction of a second difference on the same subject under same lighting conditions) look well exposed? If it were the film, then all images would look bad.
I think you may want to try the 3D matrix metering except if you are shooting a lot of backlit scenes. For backlit, a fill-flash or overexpose 1-2 stops will help.
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I own two of these great machines, one for over 6 years. They are durable and have only failed me one. The MB-15 battery holder was not tight enough and the contacts did not meet, which caused a temporary power loss. Once tightened the camera was in working order.
I find the motor winding a little noisy but other than that there are no problems. The multifunction back is no where near as useful as my old beloved F90x (with it's intervalometer and so forth) so you can probably live without it. In addition, the matrix metering on the camera is great but I usually use the spot meter for most proper shooting.
I hope this helps.
Ok, this is what I would do:
Originally Posted by snegron
1. I usually "test" camera this way: I shoot graffiti on one wall (more space than in my room ). I use biggest aperture. This way I test metering (because of wall on which graffiti is written/painted avoid backlight. Backlight test another way) and focusing of camera/lens (shooting flat object with well defined lines with biggest aperture). Since light can come only from behind me or from side I can control light conditions. If needed I wait untill light change its position or come back later.
2. Shoot different combinations speed/aperture. I shoot metered combination, few frames with different combinations which will give correct exposure, and combinations which will underexpose and overexpose. When give film in lab, I ask for contact sheet without any manipulation (esposure corrections by lab), so I get frames as they are. Or, better, prints 9x12cm (or bigger, depend of money you are willing to spend for testing) also without any lab correction of exposure or sharpening.
3. Shoot few films (2 or 3), same scene, and give them to different labs. This way you will check if lab or camera ruins the films.
4. Slide film is better for testing (avoid printing stage errors), but I can't use slide, so I use negative colour film for testing.
I am b/w shooter, but for testing I don't use b/w, this way I avoid errors during b/w film developing, colour process (C41) is standardized, less variables than b/w. Again, best is slide for testing, if you can, use slide film.
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Thanks for the tips! I am running out of options for labs here though. My usual lab has been producing low quality work lately. They have been giving me many excuses about how their chemicals are not stablized, etc. I am currently looking for a good mail order lab for my slide film. Once I find a good lab I can't wait to run a few dozen rolls through my F100! So far I have only shot two rolls with it since I got it.
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