Nikon F5 metering with slides / slide questions
I currently only shoot negatives. I am planning on purchasing a nikon f5 in the near future and also would like to start shooting slides.
From what I understand, proper exposure is very important with slides. The F5 is the only film camera with a color matrix meter. Assuming that the scene being photographed doesn't have a huge latitude between the shadows and highlights will the f5's meter be accurate enough to give a good exposure? I also plan on using slides in the snow. I know the color meter works very well with negatives in snow, can the same be said with slides?
Instead of making another thread I figured i'd ask these other questions here:
Any idea what a mint n80 is worth? I was thinking like $100.
I plan on buying a box of E100VS as a general purpose saturated film. I heard it works well in the snow, does ok portraits (provia 400x will be a dedicated portrait film), and has a pretty large latitude. any comments on that? I want something that will give me the saturated benefits of slides, low grain, good latitude, and wont make people look bad.
What do you mean the F5 is the "only camera" with a (colour) matrix meter? Where did you get that idea from?
Any of the big marques with matrix / evaluative / multi-pattern meters will delivery stirling results in skilled hands. So too, will a camera with centre-weighted metering or spot. The best results come from experience and a knowledge of the film you are using. Transparencies have a narrow latitude, or to put it another way, 0.6 stop over or under will be very noticeable, while in negative film you won't see any change because the latitude is quite large, around 3-4, sometimes 5 stops for many films. Under-exposed transparency film is not salvageable; over-exposed is not much better, but it is incombent for you to build up a knowledge of the baseline exposures that deliver the results you want. The mood of the scene must be carried through to the transparency and this sometimes isn't best when left solely to the camera's judgement. Don't allow the camera to dictate every exposure you poke it at.
Snow scenes require judgement — snow scenes have wide open vistas, or narrow scenes with trees, bright sun and areas of shadow. Open scenes with no shadow usually pose no problems for multi-pattern meters, but you do need to ascertain how the meter responds by running tests. Contrasty light can cause a 'swing' of the exposure e.g. the meter practically becomes confused by extremes of contrast and may hedge toward underexposure. Rather than name the cameras that can do this, I instead speak from experience using several over many years. You might consider using spot metering to assess the exposure difference in difficult scenes. Keep notes of the process; notes are invaluable as learning tools over time.
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The Nikon F5 isn't the only film camera with color matrix. The other is the F6 which has a newer and the same 1005 pixel matrix sensor. Many other film cameras have matrix or evaluative metering but not 1005 pixel sensor.
Actually I have found that the F5 matrix meter worked better for slides than negative films. With negative film it tends to try to save the high light which causes underexposure as negative film can take quite a bit of over exposure. But with any metering system the user is very important.
Modern meters deliver very good results and you have the right idea about evaluating a scene for a wide brightness range.
One of the biggest improvements I learned when shooting both digi & slides is dont try to shoot a scene that can't be handled by whatever recording media you happen to be using.
Use creative solutions like cropping within your frame to exclude harsh bright areas or very deep shadow areas compared to the rest of your main subject.
This approach isn't always possible and then you can resort to graduated neutral density filters if possible.
My experience with owning an F5 (and indeed, a few other modern Nikon cameras) is that their metering is superb.
The advice given about how to use your meter is very sound. But from a straightforward approach, you can count on an F5 meter.
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As the OP has his heart set on a F5 and seems to be a Nikon film enthusiast, could it be that he meant that the F5 was the only Nikon film camera with colour matrix metering?
It may be that he never looked at the F6 because it is beyond his means. Asking what his mint F80n is worth tends to suggest that money may be tight.
He has made 5 posts. I am sure we all want him to make more and hope that film remains his chosen medium.
The nature of our collective response could be crucial as to how welcome he feels and how he feels about what help he can expect to receive in the future.
If you want an F5 that will be a great camera. The slide question is sort of sideways related to that. The F5 meter will probably do at least as well as any camera with slides if your goal is to just point the camera at stuff and let the camera do the thinking. Of course that is what matrix metering does - tries analyze the scene like a photographer would (in ye olden days). It of course does not have the advantage of knowing exactly what the subject is, but I bet it will do a fine job. BTW, that is not really about the accuracy of the meter. Any modern meter should be accurate enough (the F80 has a great meter). This is more about the camera guessing what you are taking pictures of.
It sounds like you want the F5 anyway and I'm sure you will love it, but with any camera an incident light meter can be a great tool and a great educator for difficult situations like that. It measures the light falling on the scene instead of the light reflecting off of it. One thing you start to realize quickly is that the light often isn't changing much, even though camera meter may be moving all over the place.
Enjoy the upcoming new camera.
I have had an F5 for 10 years, and have used it extensively with slide film, in the mountains for winter photography. Here that means most of the year since snow in the Cdn Rockies starts in early Oct and lasts until June. I found that the F5 matrix meter is very reliable in these conditions and hardly ever 2nd guess it. For my style, I usually dial 0 compensation , sometimes + 1/3 EV compensation if snow dominates the scene and let the meter decide. It is rarely wrong.
I agree with Chan about negative film - I usually give + 1 EV with negative film.
'...proper exposure is very important with slides.' It sure is. The rule of thumb when shooting slides: expose for the highlights. A C-note sounds about right for a mint N80. Huuge difference in the handling/features/build between the N80 and F5...huge, likes apples and orangutans! Be sure you're comfy with schlepping around the size and weight of an F5 before committing. An N80 will not meter with manual focus lenses. An F100 closes the gap considerably and quite nicely. I've shot all three bodies and stayed w/ the F100.