Advice sought on RF cameras

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poorusher

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Hello there

I recently acquired a Zorki 4 and a Fed 3 camera on ebay. I know very little about RF cameras, but coming from 35mm SLR it feels like a strange new world.

Im hopeless at the maths, so rather than have to calculate 400ASA film, overcast, shallow DOF, wide aperture etc. can RF photography be done intuitively?

I note that Eggleston talks about 'shotgun' photography where he 'follows through' that's definitely what I would be after.

I've no idea what results to expect from my new RF cameras.

n.b. I've also recently become addicted to buying old SLR's on ebay.

Ta in advance
 

noblebeast

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Hi!

I also have a Zorki(6) and a Fed(5) that I use for street-type photography. I usually load them with either Tri-X 400 or Delta 3200, rating both at 1200IE and then guesstimate like crazy on the exposure. I develope in Diafine which, if you're not already familiar with, is a two bath three minutes in each solution temperature can be anywhere from 70 degrees to 85 degrees F. one size fits most developer. If grain is an issue then my method won't work for you, but if a certain amount of "gritty realism" is in you mind's eye for your finished prints you will like what you get.

A lot of people - myself included - prefer the resulting grain of the Tri-X to the Delta. I have also found a little bit better shadow detail with the Tri-X, but that is purely subjective.

I usually take a couple of readings with a hand-held reflective meter - one in bright light, one in open shade - then leave my lens at the smallest aperture because I am using hyper focal distance focusing (there was a discussion about this here at APUG a few months back, so if this is a new concept to you do a search of the site - there are some good links in that thread) and then I adjust exposure by the shutter speed I choose.

Granted, my method is hit-and-miss, and if you're not talking about doing street/candid/grab-and-run photography, most of what I have just written will be utterly useless to you. But don't feel bad - I get that all the time.

Hope this helps!

Joe
 

noblebeast

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Here is the thread I referenced:

(there was a url link here which no longer exists)
 
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poorusher

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Another thing, how does one accomodate the film ASA. Neither the Zorki nor the Fed have controls for this? I tend to shoot on 400. Does this mean I can use 1/500th as my base limit? If that makes sense.
 

Ole

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About 60% of my exposures are by sheer guesswork based on the "Sunny 16 rule". Most of my cameras don't have built-in meters, and a loose meter is too much of a bother when the camera is small. I will happily use two different meters for LF, but for MF and TF (tiny format, AKA 35mm) I just can't be bothered.

More than 90% of my negatives are printable, even if they may not be worth printing... Every onece in a while I run a slide film through one or the other camera. I gues exposures then, too. It's just a matter of practice.
 

Tom Hoskinson

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poorusher said:
Another thing, how does one accomodate the film ASA. Neither the Zorki nor the Fed have controls for this? I tend to shoot on 400. Does this mean I can use 1/500th as my base limit? If that makes sense.
There is nothing to "set." The Zorki and FED models you have do not have built-in light meters, so you need to act as your own light meter - hence the "Sunny 16 Rule."

1/500 sec will be fine - it is close enough to 1/400 to make no real difference. The "Sunny 16 Rule" is an approximation that says 1/400 sec shutter speed at f16 is the baseline for exposing 400 speed film in bright sunlight.
 

FeS2

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About 60% of my exposures are by sheer guesswork based on the "Sunny 16 rule". Most of my cameras don't have built-in meters, and a loose meter is too much of a bother when the camera is small. I will happily use two different meters for LF, but for MF and TF (tiny format, AKA 35mm) I just can't be bothered.

More than 90% of my negatives are printable, even if they may not be worth printing... Every onece in a while I run a slide film through one or the other camera. I gues exposures then, too. It's just a matter of practice.
Ole's "organic" approach to photography avoids the perpetual quandaries facing the perfectionist...
 

jimjm

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I also often use "Sunny-16" when shooting with unmetered cameras in daylight, both rangefinders and SLR's. Depending on the time of day and season of the year, I'll follow more of a "Sunny-11" or even "Sunny-8" rule. Since you're in a northern latitude, I'd probably recommend giving a bit more exposure if you're shooting B/W or color print film.
I do usually carry a small handheld meter also, like the Sekonic L-208, or use a shoe-mount meter like the Voigtlander VC Meter II. These really come in handy when shooting indoors, or in dimmer conditions.
Many film manufacturers also publish recommended exposures in their film datasheets for shooting in different types of light. Easy to carry a copy of this with you for reference if needed. After awhile, you learn to predict what exposures will work in different situations.
Don't be surprised if the faster shutter speeds in your cameras are not as accurate as you hoped, especially with older cameras. Slower speeds of 1/60th and more are fairly easy to check by listening to the shutter sound and watching the shutter curtains when you fire the camera. Fast speeds are tougher to tell the difference, so your 1/500 may actually be firing at 1/250. I have a Nikon F shutter that did not open at all at 1/1000, although the other speeds were fine.
 
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Sirius Glass

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I also often use "Sunny-16" when shooting with unmetered cameras in daylight, both rangefinders and SLR's. Depending on the time of day and season of the year, I'll follow more of a "Sunny-11" or even "Sunny-8" rule. Since you're in a northern latitude, I'd probably recommend giving a bit more exposure if you're shooting B/W or color print film.
I do usually carry a small handheld meter also, like the Sekonic L-208, or use a shoe-mount meter like the Voigtlander VC Meter II. These really come in handy when shooting indoors, or in dimmer conditions.
Many film manufacturers also publish recommended exposures in their film datasheets for shooting in different types of light. Easy to carry a copy of this with you for reference if needed. After awhile, you learn to predict what exposures will work in different situations.
Don't be surprised if the faster shutter speeds in your cameras are not as accurate as you hoped, especially with older cameras. Slower speeds of 1/60th and more are fairly easy to check by listening to the shutter sound and watching the shutter curtains when you fire the camera. Fast speeds are tougher to tell the difference, so your 1/500 may actually be firing at 1/250. I have a Nikon F shutter that did not open at all at 1/1000, although the other speeds were fine.

I too use Sunny 16 when I have a meterless camera and I do not have a light meter with me. I has never failed me.
 

albada

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I too use Sunny 16 when I have a meterless camera and I do not have a light meter with me. I has never failed me.

I use Sunny-16 and Shade-5.6 (my concoction), and estimate other situations based on these two. That covers almost all outdoor situations.
 
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