Mono VS Coulur Spot metering

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Tom Stanworth

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Hi,

I shoot almost exclusively mono (5x4..8x10 soon) and have been happy metering for Zone 3 shadow detail and then dealing with the fall of highlights by expansion, contraction etc or pyro devs. How would you suggest that I use my spot meter effectively for colour. I had to do some colour in a rush and have 7 rolls 120 exposed but undeveloped......hmmm

I ask, as If I have done something wrong I will dev one roll and then push pull the others accordingly. I would like to know peoples thoughts on sound colour spot metering first so I know what I should expect to see if that makes sense.

Basically I looked for a midtone, metered that for zone 5. I then checked the fall of highlights and shadows to check shadows fell where I wanted (guestimated they should) and the same for highlghts. I then made the usual sacrifices by stopping down if the highlights looked like they were going to blow or opening up if the shadows were going to block....hardly scientific. As I cannot visualise colour values in the same way (used TTL when I used to do colour years ago), I hope I have not gone far wrong. Needless to say, I bracketed...a lot.

Tom
 

rbarker

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I have the same problem guessing what color is going to convert to a good Zone V gray. Depending on the scene, I usually use the meter in incident mode with color, and then check highlights and shadows with the spot mode like you did. If the SBR is out of range for fashion/commercial-style work, I'll try to augment the lighting to bring the ratios under control. Obviously, that's more difficult with scenics.

You can tweek E-6 contrast a bit (not like B&W, of course), but with rollfilm, that's probably not practical. I think I'd specify normal processing with what you have, as your spot metering sounds reasonable.
 

Jorge

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You all need to get the viewing filter sold by calumet. It is the one piece of equipment I use the most. It lets you judge the tonalities and if they are going to blend in on B&W.
 

roteague

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Tom Stanworth said:
How would you suggest that I use my spot meter effectively for colour.

John Fielder has an excellent discussion on this subject in his book "Photographing the Landscape: The Art of Seeing". I shoot primarily color, Velvia, and I find that green will generally approximately meter as 18% grey, or I can meter off a medium tone rock. Frankly, I find that in a fast moving situation, I can get good results by using my Nikon N80 (with same film and filter) as a meter.
 

TPPhotog

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Robert your getting me tempted to offload my F100 in favour of another F80 :smile:

Tom as Robert says using grass or a medium toned rock make very good "grey cards". That's my prefered method and here in Devon we have lots of both if you ignore the red soil errrm clay.
 

roteague

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TPPhotog said:
Robert your getting me tempted to offload my F100 in favour of another F80 :smile:

I'm not real familiar with the F100, but my favorite feature of the N80 is it's built in grid (electronic). I can't tell you how many trannies I have thrown away because of an off-balance horizon line; this feature helps me keep it straight. And the metering is also spot-on.
 

TPPhotog

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roteague said:
I'm not real familiar with the F100, but my favorite feature of the N80 is it's built in grid (electronic). I can't tell you how many trannies I have thrown away because of an off-balance horizon line; this feature helps me keep it straight. And the metering is also spot-on.
I had an F80 before I moved up to the F100 and loved it (the F80). The grid lines are a wonderful facility and to get the same on my F100 had to buy a new focusing screen. Kind of miss the old F80 still, well that and my Pentax LX but the eyes are needing auto-focus these days which the LX doesn't have.

Sorry folks back to the main subject of metering :smile:
 

roteague

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Tom Stanworth said:
Basically I looked for a midtone, metered that for zone 5. I then checked the fall of highlights and shadows to check shadows fell where I wanted (guestimated they should) and the same for highlghts. I then made the usual sacrifices by stopping down if the highlights looked like they were going to blow or opening up if the shadows were going to block....hardly scientific. As I cannot visualise colour values in the same way (used TTL when I used to do colour years ago), I hope I have not gone far wrong. Needless to say, I bracketed...a lot.

Thinking about this a bit. Bracketing is a good idea, but you need to also realize that color work is much different than B&W; you don't have as much latitude in the film - and you really don't need it. You can get good results metering off a medium tone green (such as grass), a grey rock, or even an midday blue. It sounds like your metering technique was fine, your images will probably come out quite well. FWIW, I only do landscapes, primarily in color, and I've found that the most valuable filters for this work is a 1, 2, and 3 stop, soft-grad neutral density filter.
 
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