Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by gus_gus|1, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Whenever I shoot with my Hasselblad 500cm I use the bracketing system. I bracket by one stop. But it seems that the best neg. is always the one that the light meter gave me the first time. Some times it seems like a waste of time and film. Is one stop too much? Should I just bracket a half stop? Any comments? Thanks. Gus.
  2. I try to think of what I want the most detail in. Bracketing is smart too, if you're developing your own film. One stop is a good bracket for a film camera, it's usually what I do.
  3. One-stop bracketing will always yield a frame that's within a half stop of the ideal exposure, whatever that is, assuming you go both above and below the metered readings.
    If your subjects are 'ordinary', I would expect the metered exposure to be correct most of the time.
    If there is some specific aspect of the subject that sits at either end of the brightness range, you might want to bracket in the appropriate direction.
    - Leigh
  4. If you are using colour neg, then one stop either way is pretty useless. I would not do less than 2 stops. I used to use 160 colour neg rated at 40 to get B&W. If you have a good scanner, it will produce great results. Here's an example:
  5. Gus,<br><br>As you have found out, when you know how to use a meter (easy enough) bracketing is indeed a waste of film.
  6. It depends on what film you are using, and what latitude it can handle. I almost never bracket, but instead, take my time to meter and contemplate my exposure ahead of time. I will sometimes shoot with different backs for zone system management (e.g., N-1, N, and N+1).
  7. Thanks all. I think I will give up bracketing for a while and concentrat on my metering. The film I almost aways use is Delta 100 pro. black and white and I do all my own processing at home with the chemicals. Thanks again for the helpfull info. Gus.
  8. Hi Gus,
    Ever thought of producing some HDR's, Mediachance produce one or the best programmes going for film work and it's not too expensive ( Free trial ) but has a wealth of facilities incorporated. You will of course need to scan your Negs' or transparencies ( Keep the same settings for each scan ). I am usually able to produce up to 8 differing images from 1 set, it really is fabulous work, and addictive. Please consider trying it.
    Return with your Shield or on it > Old Zulu War Cry.
  9. I only ever bracket slide film. little point with negs, after all most film has a 10 stop latitude(unless you have a extremely wide ranging landscape shot to capture, in which case youd be better of using a ND filter at capture stage)
    also i have no idea why you would use software to pseudo HDR your neg scans ? just scan 2 or 3 with different settings and overlay them in photoshop. simple.
  10. I agree that most of the time the meter would give an appreciate, yet I do bracketing, this is to
    make sure that I do have the proper exposure values before leaving that place, I do not mind
    paying for more films but I do mind to leave a place that I might never be in again, specially while
    traveling far away from home and to different countries.

    I had only for shots per 120 film with my G617 Panorama Camera, yet I did bracket also, some
    times I need to different reading values to form one good image, the lighting of the foreground to
    the sky might not been well measured by the meter, there two different reading and two different
    captures are must.
  11. Johnathan,
    You are the one creating a Psuedo HDR by the method you suggested, a real HDR can be created by using the software I recommended and making the most of your bracketed shots, please get this right, I'm a film fanatic myself and to loose the value of HDR film shots is verging on the criminal, but you would not know would you as you have never tried, all you are doing is expressing an opinion, and not a very well informed one at that.
    Return with your shield or on it > Old Zulu War Cry.
  12. Adrian, did i touch a nerve dear boy ? prehaps you have a vested interest in this amazing software ?
    if you bothered to read my post you would firstly have been able to spell my name correctly, then you may have realised that i never said i hadnt tried HDR software. but prehaps you can enlighten us all.. would you like to explain what the difference is ? what can this software accomplish that someone cannot in photoshop using multiple scans, layers, masks and blending modes ?
    i wait keenly for your well informed OPINION..
  13. jonathan,

    I can only regard your last posting with the contempt that it deserves, really is time you learned that others can at times make a genuine contribution to this site, making silly off handed remarks does nothing to help anyone.
    Return with your shield or on it. Old Zulu War Cry.
  14. yes, we are all waiting for your genuine contribution. so far youve been of very little assistance to the OP. I was trying to inform him that you dont need to spend money on extra plug-ins or HDR 'software' if you have sufficient knowledge of photoshop and what it is capable of. I can only assume by your reluctance to explain further that your rhetoric outweighs your knowledge by some margin.
  15. Jonathan,
    Is this how you conduct yourself as a Photographer, bit of a disgrace when your sole capability is to cause trouble by silly ill informed comments, is not for exchanges of this nature and you should know better. Gus is the person who was requesting help / comment and I have given my advice relating to that subject and in the process had to tolerate your stupidity and consistent ill informed comments. If you cannot accept what others say with respect you should get off
    Return with your shield or on it. Old Zulu War Cry.
  16. Adrian,

    Are you saying that that program effectively can align multiple negative scans? For real?

    Please post a couple examples. TIA.
  17. If you cannot accept what others say with respect you should get off​
    Wow, Adrian,
    I didn't know you ran this site. Guess I missed the memo.
    Perhaps you should heed your own advice.
    - Leigh
  18. Adrian, if you can indeed show us or explain to the OP about this 'software' you are lording then I will study and quite possibly accept said argument for its use. until then it appears you are only interested in lambasting me and my views. you should be able to accept that others have a differing opinion to your own. isnt that what a forum is for ? this is all getting rather laborious but i feel compelled to quote your original post back to you.
    "all you are doing is expressing an opinion, and not a very well informed one at that"
    and so remind me, who is promoting one opinion as being correct over another ?
    I also fail to see how a forum post is indicative of me "as a photographer", if you mean I refuse to accept things on face value and like to find the real workings behind add-on software ? then yes thats me :) I am simply pointing out to Gus that you can achieve nearly everything a plug-in can if you know how, thus possibly saving him money in the process.
    and, sir, it is you who are resorting to flat out insulting another forum user in your previous post. prehaps you should familiarise yourself with the forum rules again.
    Ive made quite a few posts on this forum and always found people to be v friendly and informative. You are the first person who has behaved otherwise.
  19. I have perused many websites through the years on a regular basis and I know of no other site that I have been to except for religious or political debate sites that can so quickly degenerate into these childish tit for tat arguments. Perhaps should rename the site if that's their goal.

    Is it so utterly difficult to give an opinion and/or advice and then leave it at that? It seems to be the same ones over and over here who are so utterly compelled to give snide and unfriendly comments.
    If you run a business or treat others "in person" as you treat them on this site then I would say you have a very limited stable of friends. Seems to me that the computer gives one a sense of bravery that one probably wouldn't have if standing with a man face to face.

  20. I concur with Leigh B's advice in his response at the top of the thread, certainly with colour transparency.
    Years ago when I photographed more artwork for publication, the printers were always happy to get my bracketed strip of 3, with the usual 1/2 stop over and under. The cost of the bracketing is inexpensive insurance, ... compared with that of failure. When I go any distance for particular landscape images, I may well be working with several film types and speeds. The transparency film will always be backeted, even if only for metered reading and one frame a stop under. With B&W I will also photograph some subjects with more than one film type, or the same film for different processing.
    To Adrian, with your
    Return with your shield or on it. Old Zulu War Cry.​
    What ?? !! Just a tad poncy .. don't you think?
    I guess you fancy yourself in a pith helmet too.
  21. Bracketing cost money.
    It is cheap insurance compare to the cost of a re-shoot or returning to a location.
    When we were shooting 8X10 E6 for separation we bracket in 1/3 steps over a one stop range of what we think the final exposure should be base on test exposures.
  22. david_henderson


    If you need to bracket neg film, there is something adrift with the way you're measuring exposure. If you're using slide film then I can see a merit in bracketing most of the time when you're starting out, but I must say that in my last several years with Velvia and Provia I bracketed very little because I had a metering process that worked pretty much all the time, and it was only if a scene was particularly vital or difficult that I'd bracket. If I did then it would be a half stop, because with such contrasty films a stop over or under would have rendered the frames unusable.
    So I expect that as a photographer grows in competence and confidence in the way he chooses to meter, then the less he should need to bracket at all. It surprises me not one bit that after a while bracketing and studying the results you can get your preferred exposure first time. Maybe its time to try riding the bike without the stabilisers?
  23. Gus,
    It's a good idea to concentrate on metering, even without knowing how you use to do it the kind of meter to do the job (reflected/incident light, spot or other, metered zone and exposure EV or development (as you're using B&W, Delta 100 and doing it yourself) compensations).
    Good luck
  24. it


    I met a famous Nat Geo wildlife shooter a few years ago. He was still shooting Velvia. (1000 rolls per story) He told me he bracketed "like a maniac" with half stops over and under.
  25. Gus, bracketing is not a waste of film as far as I'm concerned. The "correct" exposure with a meter is not necessarily the most pleasing exposure with slide film. With certain subjects it's nice to have a choice of final exposures to choose from.
  26. David, I must agree and admit that "correct exposure" isn't always the photo I like the best.
  27. Remember that the "correct exporure" is the one you want, and that you use a meter to get that exposure.<br>So if the exposure you get isn't the one you want, isn't the correct one, but rather the one the meter 'produces', you (the meter does nothing buy itself) are not using the meter properly and much can be gained by learning how to do that.<br>When you can use your meter effectively (not that hard), there is no need for bracketing.<br><br>Bracketing is an insurance policy, the risk it guards against depends (almost) entirely on your skill. You can make use of the safety it provides to allow yourself some slack in how you treat the light metering aspect of photography. And there's nothing wrong in that, just a choice. But, given a basic level in metering skills, necessary it is not.
  28. Even the best meter (and metering skills) in the world cannot always predict the outcome on slide film and what you think may be the ideal exposure sometimes isn't, and bracketing is essential in some circumstances. It's also good to have a back up transparency sometimes - and even though it's half a stop off the "correct" exposure, it may still be acceptable.
    Film is a relatively inexpensive material and it's hardly worth scrimping on it's use to save a few pennies.
  29. little point with negs, after all most film has a 10 stop latitude​
    Jonathan, are you mixing up latitude with dynamic range? No film has such high exposure latitude. Especially not on the underexposure side. A latitude of around +3 stops to -1.5 stops is about the tolerable limit in my experience.
    With digital, it flips around: the latitude for underexposure tends to be much greater than with film, and there's very little latitude for overexposure. This does mean that the digital capture is of much higher S/N however.
    Back to the OP. I tried using the auto-bracketing on my Mamiya 645AFD + digital back for a while, thinking that it would free me from "chimping" the LCD, but I turned it off as I found it unnecessary: the built-in matrix or spot metering was accurate enough. In some scenarios, experience tells me that I should dial in a fixed amount of exposure compensation, and let the metering do the rest.
  30. It's just common sense to bracket with slide film, for the reasons summarised by Dave Smith, but also cited by many others in the thread, not least myself. Quite often I would be uncertain about which exposure the printers would rather use for their job, and they were glad of the selection. And the story of the nature photographer bracketing like crazy? His results are his livelihood, his reputation and continued work with National Geographic. I call that professional enough, and I would follow his example, rather than accept an armchair critic suggesting that my metering skills weren't good enough, because I chose to be thorough and guarantee results.
    So, as Dave says:
    Film is a relatively inexpensive material and it's hardly worth scrimping on it's use to save a few pennies.​
    So go for it.
  31. david_henderson


    Aside from the fact that the OP appears to use bw print film and so there's an irrelevant (to him) debate going on about whether it's necessary to bracket with slide film----
    When I was using Fuji slide film for all my colour work I shot on average 5 000 frames a year. If I'd bracketed every frame then that would have increased my usage to 14500 frames approx- don't worry about the maths, I did bracket occasionally. Which means an extra 9500 frames. At the prices I'd now pay - with my pro discount- for film and processing a frame cost me about 82p. In other words a decision to habitually bracket would cost me nearly £8 000 in film and processing costs, or about US $12 000. Now maybe all you guys on are richer than me, but I don't think $12 000 p.a. is a trivial amount of money. And I think that a "film is cheap" one liner - stated in this thread and repeated enthusiatically just above- is glib and misleading. The prize from learning an exposure process you can rely on is measured in thousand of pounds a year, not pennies.
    And how much has not bracketing cost me?
    - well I've not been aware of it costing me anything. I've never had to reshoot because I've not turned up with photographs that the client considered incorrectly exposed. I don't have photographs that would have made great prints if only I'd exposed it a half stop more or less.
    So whilst Mr Parratt can bracket all he wants I'll opt for a bit of learning and $12 000 saved every year, starting from soon as my metering skills and process allows, and saving the very occasional bracket for tough or particularly crucial scenes.
  32. David,
    You might consider my comment in post #3 in this thread, thus:
    "If your subjects are 'ordinary', I would expect the metered exposure to be correct most of the time.
    If there is some specific aspect of the subject that sits at either end of the brightness range, you might want to bracket in the appropriate direction."
    That's the rule I follow, and it works well most of the time.
    - Leigh
  33. david_henderson


    Leigh. I had seen your post, have no debate with it , and yours was not one of the posts I referred to. I choose the frames to bracket in some ways similarly, in some ways a little differently. If I have an opportunity to make a photograph that may make a print (I have printed under 1% of the photographs I make) or that is crucial to a particular task then I'll probably bracket and additionally I may take several frames at my selected central exposure. If I have something where the light conditions are changing rapidly- such as when the sun passes through a variably dense cloud- I'm likely to bracket. Finally there are the cases where for whatever reason I feel uncomfortable that my exposure process may not be giving me the right answer , I'll bracket. That may well include your scenario of having a large or intrusive part of the picture right at the point where blowing highlight or failing with shadow detail are a real risk. It would also include situations where I'm operating right at the limit of the available dynamic range and can't use grads to bring scene brightness range down.
    Taking all this together though I'd estimate that in my final years of slide film usage I bracketed no more than 5% of my exposures.
  34. D. Henderson says:
    and so there's an irrelevant (to him) debate going on​
    There is no mention of B&W film in the original question. For others to note distinctions between their approach to negative and transparency film is entirely valid and informative, even if you feel you know everything. So is the mention of the working method of a National Geographic nature photographer, or even my own humble projects, images that were published in art magazines around Australia, with magazine art directors and printers alike, all grateful for bracketed strips. Perhaps it was my success with them, that had me inundated with requests from artists to photograph their works.
    Whilst Henderson says he'll:
    opt for a bit of learning​
    It would be fun to meet for a light reading shoot-out. More often than not, I'm out with Leica M3 or Hasselblad 500C and no meter. I capture one-off scenes in street photography with near spot-on exposures most of the time. Occasionally, when I do have a meter, I may check, just to confirm my own reckoning, then put it away. That's for my private work, all with negative films, all speeds, with filters etc. from dawn to dusk. But for repro work on transparency? No. I don't take risks. If tungsten lighting, it's grey card and a bracket of 3 in 1/2 stop increments. For paintings with studio flash, polarising filters and foils (to control reflections), my "bit of learning" included "never be stingy with film".
    I am content with the years of shared experience with colleagues in the real world, most of them professionals, who not only bracket with film, but also used to go through a good deal of Polaroid on all manner of assignments. Perhaps they should have been told to opt for a bit of learning.
    Perhaps Hasselblad and other manufacturers of Polaroid backs should have told everyone to save the money and 'opt for a bit of learning'.
    And the same with Contax, Canon, Nikon high-end 35mm film cameras .. why did they waste the time and money developing state of the art bracketing modes.
    Each to their own. Good luck to you.
  35. Hi Gus,
    Do what you need to do to get the job done- be it 7 frames or 14. I rarely bracket unless the lighting is fluctuating which technically is not even no bracketing. If the exposure it is right it is right. Same applies for both B&W negatives and transparencies.
    Some clients like to see lots of images and if it is on their dime then take that into consideration. As you gain credibility coverage will be less of an issue. You'll know when you have the shot you need and you can move on- you won't need to prove it to anyone else.
    As for some other issues that have been raised, I have no interest in alternative lighting or mucking with an image with automated programs be they HDR specific or a Portrait Professional (time for a Dr Moreau flick with that product). No cartoon CGI overlays ever and any post work that is required after scanning is executed manually in Photoshop. Your needs and personal taste may vary.

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