Metering tips for e-6

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by deveren_fogle|1, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. Hi everyone, I would love some guidance on metering for slide film. I know it's pretty unforgiving stuff, and I'm only using the on
    camera meter on my Mamiya 7 which isn't too bad for negatives during the day. But e-6 has qualities with which I'm unfamiliar, and I
    know I should buy a proper meter so I've been looking at the Gossen Digisix because of price and portability but I'm pretty unfamiliar
    with external metering in general so don't be afraid to throw in some suggestions there too. I'll try to post some pictures when I get
    home, but I just picked up my slides and my pics extremely underexposed for the "golden hour" shadows.


  2. Lighting at the "golden hour" is often high contrast, if you get good highlights, the shadows can go extremely dark. You can easily exceed the dynamic range of any transparency film, it is not very forgiving. :( I don't even want to think about how many K64 and K II frames ended up in the circular file decades ago. :(
  3. There is a lot of technique involved in exposing slide film properly. With SLR and view cameras split neutral density filters accomplish a lot of what HDR does today for digital shooting. It may not be practical to use these filters with a rangedinder camera.
  4. Actually the “golden hours” have much softer light than mid day hours. The sun is in low position to the horizon and the sun rays are “touching” the earth tangentially and its energy is much less. Also a lot of the sun ray’s energy is lost (filtered) while they are coming thru a thicker atmosphere layer which is acting as a diffuser. Also this thicker layer adsorbs most part of the sun’s spectrum and mostly yellow and red part is reaching the earth. But the high contrast situation can be if you’re shooting directly in to the sun and the sun is in your frame.
    The pic I attached here I guess is a pretty much typical the “golden hours” shot. In such situation the sky usually takes approx. 1/3 or ¼ of the frame. To reduce its brightness I usually cover it with 0.3 or 0.6 ND Grad filter. I don’t know what kind of shots you took, Deveren, but in my situation I usually make +0.5 - +0.7 compensation from a camera (either center weighted or matrix) meter. If you don’t use ND Grad filter you might end up with a full stop of compensation. The bracketing is helpful too. Usually I take three shots with +/- 0.3 stops from already compensated value. So, show us your shot we might discuss it further.
  5. Roman -- absolutely stunning photo! Thank you for sharing it.
  6. I also use the 7II with slides with the internal meter and I have found that it's very accurate once you learn how to use it. And this is as a spot meter. If you check your meter against a lamp you will find out that it's most sensitive in the center. Actually mine is just to the right and bellow the focusing patch. With that in mind the difficult task is to find where to point that spot. Only with experience you can be always certain of the results. I have a 95% success by now. Samples of pics taken around sunset:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  7. one stop under exposure, assuming an accurate metering techique and instrument. I prefer spot and or incident reading with minus 1 stop adjustment.
  8. The trick is to match the scene to the film. You either have to control contrast with ND grads, or shoot to suit the film's rather limited 5 stop range.
    I had to laugh at Bob's comment above. K25 and K64 would give black shadows, if you shot too contrasty a scene. You really did need to shoot (as KODAK suggested) with the sun behind and over your shoulder, or on cloudy bright days.
  9. Yes Some days I called Kodachrome Kodalith. :)
  10. @Roman -- Lovely image.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  11. If you trust your on-camera meter for negatives, why would chromes be different? Why don't you try using it and see what happens? If you consistantly over or under expose, you can adjust. That way you don't have to bother with an off-camera meter. Why complicate things? You may find the Mamiya 7 meter is fine.
  12. Alan you complicated it with the simple..... I used to shoot an F3 and a Motor drive at Drag races.... Never had a problem with Slide film... Thing was I never had a problem with exposure just DOF....
    People have to remember that the Kodak Pony had a Guide on the back for an ASA 10-12 Kodachrome..... Many good shots taken in Color in those days. :)
  13. Thanks Carl and Henry for your acknowledgment. I appreciate your comments.
    I see most folks here mentioned the spot metering but nobody said what the right spot to measure is. I believe this is most critical point. Unless you are using the zone system.
    Les, these are wonderful shots but I believe they are related to the Twilight sky photography. By definition the Golden hours are the first or the last hour of the sunlight during the day. On your pics the sun seems to be already set (I believe these are sunsets). But again it’s pretty much personal judgment. Also you mentioned the Fujichrome Fortia. Where did you get it? I don’t know any retailer in USA offering the Fortia. I would like to try it one day.
    When I’m traveling and shooting the Golden Hrs without a tripod I prefer to use Provia 400X. It has a pleasant warming tone and relatively soft contrast and therefore almost no PS possessing needed. The sample here is almost as scanned.
  14. Nobody has mentioned that there is a relationship between your metering technique, the exposure index of the film you're using, and the consistency of the lab. Assuming you stick with a particular lab, you need to establish what is a normal exposure index for your film (or dial in + or - exposure correction--either way, you're biasing the metering in one direction or the other). Once this is done, you may find that your normal metering practice will work well. Some people can and do use spot metering effectively, but I always found it easier to use incident metering, which measures the light falling on the subject rather than the light reflected from surfaces of varying reflectance. You can get an incident reading by metering a gray card (clumsy but effective) or by using a hand meter. Keep in mind that you'll have to experiment a bit with each different emulsion to get your baseline normal and then tweak from there as you gain experience with different light conditions.
  15. "Nobody said what the right spot to measure is." In contrasty light it's typically the highlight. For starters assume that if you meter a highlight where you hope to preserve detail, you can open up about 2 1/2 stops for overall exposure. You'll probably to have to fine tune this for your camera/meter/film/lab combination, but it ought to get you close. Slide shooters look for light that's favorable for the contrast range of slide film. There are light situations that just won't work, so you pass them by, or wait. I shot slides professionally for at least a decade; watching for the right light is just part of the deal.
    It's encouraging that Giovanni found he could essentially spot meter with his Mamiya 7II. I've used the same technique of identifying where the meter spot is with a number of cameras. Hopefully, this approach works just as well with your Mamiya 7.
    Also, with slide film you need to find ways of making those inky shadows a successful compositional element. It's not something you want to do all the time, but learning to make graphic shadows work for you can increase your success rate.
  16. With all chrome films and all digital cameras, over exposure is the enemy just as underesposure in all negative films are the enemy.
  17. Yes, pleast post some pics when you get a chance.
    In the meantime, keep in mind the narrow dynamic range that slide film covers. Anything more than ~2 stops overexposed will be solid white, while shadowed subjects 2 stops under will be getting quite dark. (There is detail down to ~3.5+ stops underexposed, but it's very difficult for a scanner to dig it out.)

    So, you've got to fit everything important into that 4 stop window. That's where a spot meter comes in handy. Measure the brightest highlight that you want to keep, and the darkest shadows that will require detail. If the difference between the two is more than 4 stops, you're going to have to re-evaluate the scene - wait for more gently light, re-compose to accomodate the black and white areas, etc. In practice, try 'placing' the important highlights (that fluffy cloud, etc.) at +1.5~+2. Now, observe where the mid tones and shadows 'fall.' If they are within acceptable limits, fire away!

    You can use a spot meter, a long lens on your M7, or even another camera to measure the scene's brightness range.

    Look for some Sensia or Astia slide film. It's one if the least contrasty slide films, with another stop or so of range. Kodak's E100 series is not quite as gentle, but has notably more range than the Velvia family.
  18. Everyone is awesome, thank you for so many great responses. I think one thing I'm going to do is to shoot with a faster film iso 400 instead of the 100 I shot with before. Then follow the techniques given here. Yeah, Giovanni, I find that the meter, meters in the exact spot that you describe, but more practice will help. I'll also try to use my Polarizer to control the sky, and preserve shadows etc. Gorgeous pictures posted by everyone, very inspiring!
  19. Not trying to be smart, but looks like the issue is not of incorrect exposure, but incorrect composition as to what was
    desired in the final product.

    Both shots were suitably composed for silhouettes (the contrast being much better in the second picture).

    For shadow details in 'golden hour' lighting, the fantastic photos of others are (apart from well exposed) well thought out
    with direction of light in mind.

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