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koraks

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Alright, with no light meter, problems using the built-in meter on your Ftb, a film that's not a true 400 speed to begin with (more like 200-ish) and the intention to move to a developer that is even less capable of extracting shadow detail from your film, you've been setting up for a perfect storm. The suggestions for improvement then are obvious:

1: Learn to use the meter in your Ftb (it likely works fine, but you'll have to understand how it works) or acquire a different camera or meter and learn to use that. Without understanding how to meter a scene, you're pretty much lost.
2: Use a film that's reasonably fast. A 400 speed film is fine, but preferably use one that actually hits that speed; let's say something like Kodak TMAX400, Ilford HP5+ or Delta 400. These are safe bets that actually give good shadow detail when rated at their box speed of 400.
3: Use a developer that's reasonably good at extracting shadow detail from your negatives. R09 and other rodinal variants are known for the exact opposite; if you use any of these, I'd suggest overexposing your negatives by half a stop or a full stop to compensate for this. A developer like XTOL, on the other hand, will do better in this respect. Your Eco Pro developer, which likely is a Phenidone-Ascorbate developer, is also a good option.

Evidently, getting this done is 90% knowing what you're doing and 10% materials. So item #1 is by far at the top of the list, followed at considerable distance by the others.
 

eli griggs

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Ive been using ariasta/foma 400 and eco pro chemicals. I have been using up the last of the exo pro powdered film developer before i switch over to the R09 one shot, at moment have 4 brand new little containers of it.

dont have any more film on hand, as i was waiting to figure out if there was a relatively affordable BULK roll of black and white film that does real well inside..

Your best value is the American named "Luna Pro F" which is a dial analog meter, but can give great Ambient low light metering and Flash meter readings.

Like everything else, the only way to learn it's features, use and advantages, is to actually use it and, truthfully, it's dead simple and durable, in it's leather case.

It can also be used as a darkroom meter 7.5° & 15° 'spot metering, which is no even close to a 1° spotmeter, ambient or flash capable.

I believe there is also a view camera probe, used to meter light falling onto the interior ground glass screen.

If you decide on a spotmeter for ambient light, the Pentax v analog meter is a durable, capable tool when ch many of us use.

The Gossin Luna Pro F is also used by many here and both meters give ei metering and aid work for zone system photography.

There are many threads on these two, here and on The Large Format Forum site, so read up and download the user manuals from the Butkus site as well.

Good luck and Godspeed,
Eli
 

foc

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black and white is driving me nuts... i cant get a stinking good indoor shot. Not even when i am in a room with LED lighting.

Is there just some jinx on me, or do i need a particular film

Can you post some sample images, that you have taken, to give an example of what you are talking about?
 

Helge

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It really depends on whether you shoot in a room partly lit with daylight or solely artificial light.
The first needs a meter definitely.
The second is just as low as you can go on both aperture and speed, if it's "normal" inside light. And then of course at the very least 400 speed rated film, if you insist on not using flash.
 

titrisol

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I dont have a light meter, i have been trying to pick one out that I can actually understand on how to freaking use. Once the online manuals start talking about turning 3+ dials about i start to lose focus and think about popcorn. Wont lie, it happens.


Ive been using a canon Ftb N and it does FINE outside. Although i did a test on my car tire from 10 feet. took a shot on the rubber side wall, inside the wheel well, and 1 on the hub cap.
The odd thing is, the shutter speed stayed the same but the aperture was different for each one. SO i wont lie, the meter may be on its last legs, or the light may have been quirky.
If you have a smart phone there are a couple of good apps that will give you lightmeter capabilities.
Lightmate works great
Ive been using ariasta/foma 400 and eco pro chemicals. I have been using up the last of the exo pro powdered film developer before i switch over to the R09 one shot, at moment have 4 brand new little containers of it.

dont have any more film on hand, as i was waiting to figure out if there was a relatively affordable BULK roll of black and white film that does real well inside..
That is fine, hiowever the exposure seems to be the big issue
 
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Helge

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Get an incident meter. It’s better for getting an overall idea of lighting conditions in a contrasty environment. Then you can throttle up and down depending on whether you are in a dark corner or under a spot.
Only experience will let you get good. Be ready to burn through a few rolls before you are even reasonably proficient.
 
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redbandit

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How does everyone feel about that some of these meters are selenium cells made before 1990 in terms of reliability.. and powering with discontinued batteries?

And i had the thought, from perusing KEH store,, is it easier to do the big multi function ambient and reflected light meter in one unit, or just get a fully functional meter that only does one of each.
 

Pieter12

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No to selenium cells. Get a simple meter that measures reflected and incident light. Buy new if you can, if a used one needs calibration there is no longer anyone who does it.
 

Helge

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No to selenium cells. Get a simple meter that measures reflected and incident light. Buy new if you can, if a used one needs calibration there is no longer anyone who does it.

Splash out for a sekonic 308x.
Seems to be the default choice.
More expensive than it needs to be. But pays off with peace of mind. And is less expensive than going through many vintage meters to find a good one.
 
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redbandit

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Splash out for a sekonic 308x.
Seems to be the default choice.
More expensive than it needs to be. But pays off with peace of mind. And is less expensive than going through many vintage meters to find a good one.

My good man, my good enabler,

THe BH photo video page says that the sekonic 308x measures both incident and reflected light, is that the actual case?

L-398A and even the sekonic L-208 seemed good until i started thinking on the dials.

My intentionas this year are to
Still life
Macro Bellows

So incident metering is vital, but i still plan to do bird photo's
 

eli griggs

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Interior flash/strobe work is at its best when the photographer knows what he has in the way of light modifiers and sources, ie, boxes, screens, domes, slaves or and radio & Bluetooth control, reflectors and black card, light absorbing panels, etc.

Professionals and skillful shooters, can visualize the coverage of artificial and natural light very well,band it's mostly a matter of experience and study, no intuitive abilities.

The most demanding part of the work is the gradual building of illuminated scenes, checking every step and bringing it all together, seamlessly.

Books, magazine's, videos are all full of interior shots, even if it's a matter of a large white reflector in a dilapidated cabin,with light streaming through the hole in the roof put there by a falling tree.

You, too, can do it and make it look splendid and all natural on film with the simplest camera and film matches.

Cheers.

I can't believe I left out the most important part of architecture photography; use a GOOD tripod.
 

Helge

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My good man, my good enabler,

THe BH photo video page says that the sekonic 308x measures both incident and reflected light, is that the actual case?

L-398A and even the sekonic L-208 seemed good until i started thinking on the dials.

My intentionas this year are to
Still life
Macro Bellows

So incident metering is vital, but i still plan to do bird photo's

Dails has the big (to me) advantage of giving an instant overview of all viable combinations and leaves room for thinking. IE you aren’t handled a single correct answer.

But on the flip side, digital readout is just giving you an answer and then you can get on with it, if that is your mode. Of course you can go through combinations too. But slower.

Yes, the 308 does both incident, direct and flash readings. The last is an enormous advantage of you have more flash heads going.

The direct reading is a bit borked, in that you need to turn the meter around and do the reading or do it with your back to the scene over your shoulder.
Not a huge deal, but the front facing cell makes incident readings that much faster and pleasant.

Incident needs a basic understanding of what it is.
You are basically simulating your subject with the little dome. So place it in what you deem to be average light. Not often a problem. But can be if you have sun coming through leaves for example.
 

Pieter12

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My good man, my good enabler,

THe BH photo video page says that the sekonic 308x measures both incident and reflected light, is that the actual case?

L-398A and even the sekonic L-208 seemed good until i started thinking on the dials.

My intentionas this year are to
Still life
Macro Bellows

So incident metering is vital, but i still plan to do bird photo's

All that is needed for a meter to measure incident light is a translucent dome over the light sensor. And what is it about dials that has you confused?
 

eli griggs

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You can make an incidental meter out of your spot meter or camera meter, by placing a styrofoam cup bottom over the camera lens or a cut ping pong ball over the spotmeter lens, using both to take proper readings from the proper position with which to adjust your settings.

By the way, a series filter ring with a smooth, plain cutout styrofoam plate filter, is ideal for preflashing roll films to sheet film or paper negatives.
 

runswithsizzers

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I have both the Sekonic L-308s and a Gossen Luna-Lux SBC. The "s" version of the L-308 is older (and cheaper) than some of the more recent ones. And the "Luna Lux" is similar to the "Luna Pro F" discussed by @eli griggs in post #27, except the "F" has a needle indicator, but the "Lux" uses LEDs. Any one of these 3 meters is capable of accurate readings in both reflected and incident modes -- and they all use commonly available batteries.

These meters look complicated, but read the manual, ignore the features you don't need, and after using one for a while, it becomes second nature.

On eBay, I paid $50US for my Gossen Luna-Lux (2019), and $160US for my Sekonic L-308s (2020). I have not checked prices recently.

I love the big sexy dial on the Gossen, and I love the way I can see the correct settings for different combinations of shutter and aperture without needing to push any buttons! But, 9 times out of 10, I carry the Sekonic -- mostly because it takes less room in my camera bag. I think the Sekonic may also be a little more ergonomic to use, especially one-handed.
 
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Craig

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Avoid any of the older meters that take 1.3V mercury cells. There are some workarounds, but it's much easier to get a meter that runs on currently available batteries.
 
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redbandit

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the dials are SEXY.... just feels like it should have Dr McCoy telling kirk someone is dead...



going with the 308x U and the delta 400. going with an ilford film rubs me raw, but it apparently can do what i want
 

BMbikerider

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What does it do to the human eye regulated hormonal system?

Thanks

pentaxuser

Indeed! It has no effect indeed cannot have any affect. What isn't good for the eye is fluorescent lighting and that has been proven.
 

koraks

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Indeed! It has no effect indeed cannot have any affect.

I wouldn't be so quick in dismissing this. There's a plethora of literature on the blue light effect I mentioned. Here's a start:
There's much, much more published on the topic if you search for a minute.

I haven't looked into the IR issue @Helge mentioned, but might be worthwhile to look into.

What isn't good for the eye is fluorescent lighting and that has been proven.
The only proven issue has been the problem of flicker, but that was addressed years ago when electronic ballasts were introduced. Old fixtures that show a 50/60Hz flicker are indeed horrible. They're not bad for the eye as such, though, or for one's health overall (unless for people with epilepsy, for instance). Just very, very annoying and tiring to work/live under.
 

Helge

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the dials are SEXY.... just feels like it should have Dr McCoy telling kirk someone is dead...



going with the 308x U and the delta 400. going with an ilford film rubs me raw, but it apparently can do what i want

Dials are superior. If you want the data.
You need to look at low light ability too. That is important for your application and in general.

D400 is wonderful film. It’s trending to be my favorite 400 film. TMY is better technically. Probably the best overall image sensor on the planet. But the cost is getting ridiculous and you might not always want “The Best™”.
 

titrisol

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Dials are superior. If you want the data.
You need to look at low light ability too. That is important for your application and in general.

D400 is wonderful film. It’s trending to be my favorite 400 film. TMY is better technically. Probably the best overall image sensor on the planet. But the cost is getting ridiculous and you might not always want “The Best™”.
D400 is a great film , the 1st batches (up to the year ~2001) had some issues but once they reformulated it is great.
The only rival was Neopan 400 for a while.

Develop in DDX or Microphen for excellent results.
 

eli griggs

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One more reason to use a dial Luna Pro F, Luna Lux or Pentax V spotmeter is all these have markings for EV and Zone system calculations, which helps visualize your value place-settings.

Self-adhesive, white, grey & black scale stickers are available for these calculators to further assist your visualization and calculations.
 

Pieter12

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One more reason to use a dial Luna Pro F, Luna Lux or Pentax V spotmeter is all these have markings for EV and Zone system calculations, which helps visualize your value place-settings.

Self-adhesive, white, grey & black scale stickers are available for these calculators to further assist your visualization and calculations.
If the OP is confused by dials, the Zone system is going to send him hiding's under the bed.
 

pentaxuser

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Koraks or Helge OK here's what Helge said : "LED lighting is terrible. Very lumpy, uneven spectrum. Terrible for humans eye regulated hormonal system "

He used the word "terrible" and that sounds as if it might be serious for our hormonal system

So what limitations do we sensible place on LED lighting involved with photography such as: Not have any in our darkrooms, houses

Have limits on use and if so what limits It might have been a largely humorous comment and not meant to give us real concern for our hormonal system and that's fine but it is not clear to me that this is the case based on that one sentence

pentaxuser
 
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