Calling all transparency buffs!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by joshpolman201, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. joshpolman201

    joshpolman201 TPF Noob!

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    I understand that a transparency film like Velvia can record around 11 stops of light.

    I also understand that the paper with the highest tonal range can take in only about 7 of these stops.

    Does this mean that the remaining 4 stops, say 2 at each end, simply get cut off? Does this mean that what you see on a transparency will always appear much higher contrast when printed on paper?

    I recently saw a great photo an the beach on a slightly overcast day (sorry, I don't have a copy) where the sun was low. The photographer was facing into the sun with the bottom half of the photo sand and water, and the top hal sky, and I'm sure the whole of the 11 stops Velvia is capable of was being used. But how is this possible if the paper with the highest tonal range can only display 7 of these stops

    I'm very confused. I really appreciate any help or explanation on this subject.

    Thankyou. :D
     
  2. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Where did you get the information that velvia captures 11 stops!? It's got to be more like 3 or 4. Print film 5ish and Black and white which captures 7 or more.
     
  3. seanarmenta

    seanarmenta TPF Noob!

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    slide film will capture a 5 stop range. 11 stops is impossible.

    sounds like the image you saw was shot with a ND graduated filter.


    sean
     
  4. joshpolman201

    joshpolman201 TPF Noob!

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    Okay. The guy that told me that Velvia will capture 11 stops did a 3 year course at university, so it beats me why he told me that!

    Voodoocat, you say 3-4, Sean says about 5, so lets work on the assumption that it captures about 4.

    What I am trying to do is work out a process, using the zone system, to control how an exposure will look on film, and to control how it will look on paper.

    I know how to 'place' a tone so that it will expose at a specified zone. But the thing that I don't get, is that if a film such as Velvia captures a scene, it sounds like it will give a higher contrast image than if a black and white film were to capture the same scene. True?

    As I'm sure you know, in the zone system there are 10 zones. Now, if there were a film that captured exactly 10 stops, that would mean that 1 stop of light read by a meter would equal exactly 1 zone on film, yes? So if through the camera you spot metered an object by plus 2 stops over 18% grey, you the object would come out at Zone 7 on film.

    But the problem - Velvia does not capture 10 stops, it captures about 4.

    Lets say Velvia could capture exactly 5 stops. Would this mean that for every 1/2 stop of light metered through a spot meter would equal 1 Zone on film?
    So if you metered the same object plus 2 stops over 18% grey, the object would come out at zone 9 on Velvia, while with the same exposure on the theoretical 10 stop film, it would come out zone 7.

    Is this how it works? Do you have to work out some kind of 'conversion sum' for each kind of different contrast film to use the zone system with it?

    I get the feeling I'm over-complicating all this, but I've been trying to nut this out for months!

    Aaaaarrrgghh!! :cry:

    PS I've work this out for the Nikon D100 on its lowest contrast setting (of 3)

    Stops above/below 18% grey___/___Zone on exposure
    +3________________________________Z 9
    +2 1/3_____________________________Z 8
    +1 2/3_____________________________Z 7
    +1________________________________Z 6
    0_________________________________ Z 5
    -1_________________________________Z 4
    -2_________________________________Z 3
    -3_________________________________Z 2
    -4_________________________________Z 1
    -5_________________________________Z 0
     
  5. seanarmenta

    seanarmenta TPF Noob!

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    josh,

    while the zone system is presented in 10 stops (some purists say 11) -- realistically you're only working with zones 2-8. why? the zones on either end of the spectrum are pure white with no texture, and pure black with no texture. everything is in the details. while i'm not here to refute the great ansel adams, i can only give you knowledge from my experience. :)

    you're greatest concentration is to capture the desired tone in the main subject -- everything else falls into place. also take into consideration that i am not a landsape shooter.

    so, after you've got your main subject in the desired zone, the next thing to look at is where zones 2 and 8 fall into place. those are the only three things you need to pay attention to , because everything else is in between that.

    yes, you are overthinking the process. and you're not taking into consideration pushing and pulling the film, nor are you taking into consideration further adjustments in the printing stage. is your light meter even calibrated? :)

    just go out and shoot -- don't be one of those people that spend all day calculating exposures and never end up taking a single shot. you need to actually expose the film, josh, and look at the slides on the light table and see what mistakes were made and adjust and improve from there. it's just film. and no matter how much i explain it to you and how much you study about it, you won't really know till you see it on film.
     

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