contrast question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by cypilk, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. cypilk

    cypilk TPF Noob!

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    when you take a picture..and in the frame, there is a part of real bright light and another part of the frame with real dark,...how do you go about taking the shot, without making the contrast too heavy?..

    im saying how do you balance the shot so that neither side is too dark or too light?
     
  2. TheProf

    TheProf TPF Noob!

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    Well there are a number of things you can do.

    1. meter both areas and average the two. This will work ok, better than taking a straight reading.

    2. Meter your shadow and under expose by 2 stops. This is a partical Zone system technique and should give you a decent result if the diffrence between your highlight and shadow is not to great. Basically your placing your shadow in Zone 3. 5 is middle gray and that what your camera meter is set to. By putting it in zone 3 you are placing it in a Zone where it is dark but still showing shadow detail. this will also under expose your highlights so that they will not be blown out.(I think i got that right)


    The true way of doing it is to mesure your hightlight and shadow and count the stops, a normal rage should be 7 if it is above say 9 then it it normal +2 you whould then meter like sterp 2 and then you would adjust your development time (assuming you doing B&W) to a Normal+2 time for your specific film/developer combination. This will give you a rage of 7.
    If you want to try this and your developing yourself I would suggest getting a Zone System book that has dev times in it. I think there is an equasion for this but I dont know it off hand.

    Sorry if this dosnt make sense.
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    With BW film if you want full shadow detail and full highlight detail then the tonal range between highlight and shadow can't be more than 5 stops. Beyond 2 stops from middle gray in either direction you will begin to lose detail.

    Color film, slide film, and digital have even less range, although I'm not up on the specifics. For digital you could take two exposures, one for the highlights and one for the shadows, and then merge them in PS. For slides you just have to get the right lighting ( or do like the digital above and scan them).

    For BW film I'd measure the important highlight detail and measure the important shadow detail, and count the stops between. For 3 stops difference under expose 2 stops from middle gray and over develop +100% time. For 4 stops under expose 1 stop, and increase dev time by +50%, 5 stops no change, 6 stops over expose 1 stop and under develop -25%, 7 stops over expose 2 stops and under develop -50%. These are very general time adjustments, and really you should do film tests to determine your exact needs. Check out Henry Horenstein's book "Black and White Photography; A Basic Manual".
     
  4. TheProf

    TheProf TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for clearing up my rambilings matt :) Been awhile for the Z system
     
  5. cypilk

    cypilk TPF Noob!

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  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Well, I was thinking about this later, and I realized that when I say 5 stops of complete detail that's refering to a final, enlarged print. The film itself probably is cabable of recording 7 zones of full detail. Some people claim they can get up to 9. But I've always been taught not to count on more than 5 zones of full detail in a BW print.
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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