Beginner needs help with slow shutter

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by J Rollinger, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. J Rollinger

    J Rollinger Subscriber

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    I have noticed that my images are being overexposed due to a slow shutter and need help with figuring out how much the overexposure is. I took 3 quick snapshots of a watertower by my home in hope of figuring it out. I use a 35mm Canon rebel camera as a light meter to get the reading and i apply it to the slow shutter camera. Sorry the images are not creative and that they were in direct sunlight! The first exposure was per the meter, 2nd shot was exposed 1/2 stop under and the third shot was exposed 1 stop under. Im leaning towards the shutter overexposing by 1 stop. I would like to have your opinion on this because i really like this camera and want to shoot it everyday if i can figure out how to adjust the shutter for a correct exposure. I was thinking i should underexpose every shot by 1stop untill i can aford to have it repaired. Thank you very much for reading this. I have included the 3 test shots below.
     

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  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Just asking. How have you determined that you have an overexposure problem? Have you timed your shutter at slower speeds for accuracy? At 1 sec, 1/2 and 1/4 you should be able to call off a rough Mississippi.

    As to the three images you submit. The shadow and highlight areas of the water tower seem to offset themselves. The sky will be your average reading and in the 'per meter' shot it seems to be about Zone V. Of course it depends on my monitor calibration. Perhaps the 1/2 stop under photo. But the 1 stop under seems a little dark.

    Just my two cents.

    Oh, and welcome.
     
  3. trexx

    trexx Member

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    I would not be quick to have the camera repaired. I would also need more information about how you metered.

    I would bet that metering technique has a lot to do with this exposure. The 35mm light meter you used could have a different field of view, averaging a larger area of open sky giving a false rading for you slow shutter camera. What was the reading shutter aperture that you shot at?
     
  4. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I second trexx's suggestion that your meter might be alright.

    To check the meter, compare your meter reading to this: If your shutter speed is set to the film ISO or ASA speed (or as close as you can), in bright sun (no clouds or haze) and facing away from the sun, the f/stop should be f/16. (this is called the sunny 16 rule, works for all films) If the meter gives you a reading within a stop of this, it's probably ok. As Trexx points out, though, where you point the meter and what it sees is important.
    As far as the prints go, they look pretty good to me. You don't say what contrast grade they are, but they have a nice overall balance, unless the highlights are blown out, but they don't look like it to me.
     
  5. OP
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    J Rollinger

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    Christopher
    thank you for responding. Every shot i take with it is overexposed. The other day i took a shot of a stuffed animal using the reading i got from the 35mm Canon and since the reading stated the exposure was 3 seconds and since my cameras shutter only can do 1 second i counted one, one thousand and so on. When i developed the negative the exposure looked alot better than all of my other shots. After that happened i tried to time my shutter on the 1 second setting while counting. I counted one, one thousand, two one th ( then the shutter closed). Below are 2 shots, the first is from the shutter and the second (stuffed animal) in from me counting and closing the shutter manualy. Sorry for the uninteresting images, i want figure out the camera so i can go out and capture something good. Afterall i might just be crazy and not know what im doing. Thank you for the welcome!!
     

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  6. OP
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    J Rollinger

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    Trexx
    Thank you for replying! Please forgive me if i cant reply in the correct way to you questions due to my lack of knowledge in photography - exposure.
    The 35mm camera i use to get the reading is a Canon Rebel with a 50mm 1.8 lens. The viewfinder has 9 points that read the light. I set the camera to use only one of the points so i can get an exact reading of the object im trying to shoot. I scan the point around the object and the background to see if there is a big difference in the light and if there is a difference in the light i will choose a reading in the middle so i dont overexpose or underexpose to much of one area. If the reading is the same all around i use that for the exposure. Also the camera im having issues with is a Mamiya C330 with a 80mm 2.8 lens.
     
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    J Rollinger

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    George
    Thank you for your reply! I will take you advice on the sunny16 rule. The images are just negative scans for now. I will try to print some and i hear alot can be corrected when printing but printing is also something i have only a little knowledge of. I would prefer to get the best exposure i can (in camera) until i get more printing experience.
     
  8. OP
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    J Rollinger

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    One other reason i think the shutter is slow is because of the shot of the guy in the mirror above. In that shot i read the light coming through the window on the right side of my face so i can get my face exposed correctly and have the rest of the image to go almost black and the result i received is another overexpose image. I dont know if any of this matters but the tower shots where taken with Kodak Tmax100 developed in Rodinal and the other 2 were with Ilford HP5+ developed in Rodinal.
     
  9. 2F/2F

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    Hi.

    Try doing some tests on a grey card, and having a lab read the test shots with a densitometer. With a reflected meter, it is the only way to know for sure, due to the vast variation in compositions and how an in-camera meter will react to each of them. An reflected light meter (like all in-camera meters except those very few with sliding incident domes), if followed to the letter, will only give the "correct" exposure in ONE very rare circumstance: one in which every tone in the metered area averages together to make middle grey. They will underexpose compositions with a majority of higher tones, and will overexpose compositions with a majority of lower tones. I will try to cut and paste the explanation of this that I wrote the other day. Hold on...found it:

    Put a Kodak grey card on a stand in the sun at noon, and diffuse the light falling on it with a neutral white material. (You want a daylight color of light to be falling on the card for your test, so do this instead of shooting in open shade.) Put your camera on a tripod, fill the *entire* frame with your grey card, and focus on infinity. Set the EI on your camera to the box speed of your film. Do not focus on the grey card so that it is sharp. Leave your lens set at infinity focus. Take a shot exactly as the meter recommends, making sure that the EI on the camera is set to the box speed of the film. Pack the whole mess up and finish off the roll on whatever you want. Process the film exactly as you normally do and have the grey card exposure read with a densitometer. Compare the densitometer reading to what Kodak or Fuji or lford or Whatever sez an 18% grey card should be on that film. If you can't find reference to this in the manufacturer's technical publications, you might try calling them, or just assume that around 1.30 on the densitometer is a decent exposure if using a diffusion enlarger, and prob. around 1.20 for a condenser enlarger. Voila. Now you know if you have problems with your meter or not.

    While you have the densitometer out, you may as well have a film speed test ready to read as well. You can do it on the same roll. Consult "The Negative" from your local library for an brief and easy-to-understand explanation of this.

    One thing is for sure: We can tell extremely little from scanned images. We need to see density readings from the negs, and compare them to EV readings from the scene of the crime to tell you anything extremely helpful.
     
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  10. drazak

    drazak Member

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    J: It seems to me that none of your photographs seem grossly overexposed, you might be under the impression, if you're from digital you might be under the impression that overexposure is "bad". Many people shoot film rated so that it would be "overexposed" to prevent underexposure. Underexposure is the bane of all film, and overexposure is generally a good thing, it will produce more shadow detail in your negative. Your meter reads a small area around that point, and places it in zone V, zone V is middle grey, 18% reflectance. If you're metering something that you do do not want to be grey, you must change the exposure of where you're metering, by adding exposure you'll make it darker on the negative and thus lighter in the print, by decreasing exposure you'll make it lighter in the negative, and thus darker in the print. The "problem" with shooting film is that you can only record so much detail in the shadows, between zone II and III you loose shadow detail. Thus, the overexposure of your film could only cause one problem, "blowing" the hilights, however, almost all modern films have a very large straight line portion of their characteristic film curve, and over exposure of 2-3 stops will often not blow the hilights with scenes of a "normal" contrast range. I hope my answer has helped you understand why your "problem" might not be a real "problem".

    Ben
     
  11. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I've got to tell you that the photographs you've posted thus far have a good tonality to my tastes. It may be, as you have stated, a less than familiarity with photographic practice and theory. I know this isn't your case, but if you put a Minolta sr-T101 in the hands of someone who has shot with nothing but a D40 in 'P' mode and they'll be lost until they learn how everything ges together.

    So, I don't mean to offend as it seems like you have more than a 'P' level of photographic knowledge, I would suggest bulking up on a few things. Two books I would suggest are Ansel Adams' 'The Negative' and Phil Davis' 'Beyond the Zone System'. Start to wrap your head around those and you'll be on your way.
     
  12. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    Just to add to the confusion, my wife and I have owned a number of recent Canon cameras and they have all been about 2/3 of a stop over on exposure. The reason they are calibrated this way is that they are setup for folks that shoot color negative film and they will get better results with more exposure. I had taken two of the cameras in to a Canon factory demonstration at the local camera store and was told this information by the Canon tech who verified that the cameras were in spec. I could never shoot slide film with the internal meter without putting in a 2/3 stop adjustment.

    Just my .02,

    -Fred
     
  13. 2F/2F

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    Isn't it just great how camera companies automatically assume you are a flippin' idiot? The fact that this is done with no mention in the instructions boggles the mind. It would totally screw anyone's film speed test.....not to mention transparencies, as you mentioned. They are probably *real* smart and only do it on certain models too! This is why I prefer an external meter.
     
  14. OP
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    J Rollinger

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    Thank you so much for the detailed reply you posted. I have to say that most of it was so advanced that it confused me but i will print your reply and study it . I have a book called The negative by Ansel Adams, If that is the same book you were talking about? Thank you for taking your time to help me !!!!!
     
  15. OP
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    J Rollinger

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    I understand what you are saying. The only digital camera i have ever used was for posting on ebay. I only use manual cameras (film only). I dont use any auto modes and i set my apt and shutter manualy on all my cameras. After reading all the replies to my thread im starting to think im reaching to far to soon. Afterall im only please with the content and tone of 2 or 3 images out of every 20 rolls i develop. I should lower my standards until i build my knowledge. Thanks for you help!