Minolta SRT-101 meter accuracy for slides
Hello! I've been shooting film for the past 6 months and I've been enjoying it quite a bit. While digital is fun, it's always nice to go back to film. With film I find myself paying much more attention to composition than with digital. I've been shooting print film all this time and while they're OK, I want to move up to using slides. I've been using a Minolta SRT-101 with a working meter and I'd like to know if it's good enough for slides. I haven't checked if it's 100% accurate but the exposure readings it gives me do make sense. Can I just copy the settings that the meter wants and get good exposures or do I have to do stuff like using the zone system? I'm planning on shooting Velvia and Provia.
Last edited by Kugerfang; 09-15-2011 at 01:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Well, you will have to try.
A generation of photographers did exactly this, exposing slides with cameras and meters like your SRT.
- the camera is old and has a mechanical shutter; the times may be off, maybe not detectable with prints from negative film (very forgiving)
- the meter is old and may be off as well for several reasons: aging of the metering cell and calibration potis, yellowing glue on the prism, maybe wrong battery.
FWIW my two SRT's did benefit from a slight lube and a recalibration of the meter. The meters were quite far off.
Another quirk is the CLC metering, a kind of early (2 zone) multizone metering. Personally I don't like it.
If I were you I would study the manual for the metering and try it with the cheapest (fresh) slide film before spending money on Velvia and Provia.
And welcome to apug.
A good CLA is always good. But besides that; a good meter is not good enough; you need your head. Use an SRT101 myself
" A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~
Assuming everything works reasonably, the CdS meter of the SRT-101 shouldn't be the weak spot: if used properly, it should give you the exposures you want.
CdS meters are sensitive to different colour temperatures, but in practice using one well will more than offset that.
The best thing you could do would be to "sacrifice" a roll of cheap slide film and shoot shutter/f-stop combinations (1/125 f/8.0, 1/250 f/5.6, 1/500 f/4.0 and so on) to see if your shutter is reasonably accurate.
Once you know what to expect, the rest depends only on you...
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You can compare the readings of the film camera to those of another camera of known accuracy. Both cameras must be set to the same shutter speed and aperture and aimed at the same target in the same light.
Its usually the case that no two meters read precisely the same, but the difference should be small, usually no more that 0.2 stops apart.
I have a number of old cameras that generally agree with each other within this tolerance. One thing that photographers have always done is to adjust the film speed based on tests.
For example, you could shoot several different frames of 100 speed slide film at ASA64, 80, 100, 125, 160.
Each of these are 1/3 stop apart. Choose the slides that look best and use that as the film speed setting whenever you use that speed film. This is called finding you best EI (exposure index) that gives the most correct looking slides.
You can shoot a friend holding large sheets of paper with bold numbers: 64, 80, 100, 125, 160 corresponding to the film speed setting of your meter and choose the EI for that film speed based on the resulting slides.
Thanks for all the advice! I measured a 1sec exposure using my watch and it was longer by about half a second. I'm using a 675 zinc air battery and it works fine. As for "cheap" slide film, I don't think we have those. I haven't seen any Kodak slide film around in my country but Fuji does sell slide film at around $6-10 per roll.
The difference in setting a 1 second exposure and getting 1.5 seconds is an increase of about 0.6 stops. That makes the idea of performing the exposure tests of post #6 a good idea so that you can choose the EI that gives you the most satisfactory slides.
Bear in mind Minolta like other camera makers biased cameras aimed at the masses IE amateur/hobbyist etc toward print film which likes a slight over exposure.
Professional cameras usually are biased toward slide film and underexpose slightly.
This is a case where you have to test and adjust camera to the film.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Minolta SRT 101 had a funny bottom center weighting. Worked fine if you are shooting horizontals as it wouldn't get fooled quite so much by a bright sky. However shooting verticals needs a bit more care and attention. Meter in the horizontal position first then shoot vertical. I shot many hundreds of rolls of K25 with my SRT 101 and had great results with it.