Metering question - Nikon FE

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by iambarefoot, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. iambarefoot

    iambarefoot TPF Noob!

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    Here's an E-6 (Velvia 50) shot taken with my FE set for auto. (f/8, shutter speed was ~2 seconds) It's nice enough, but a bit underexposed, I think.

    [​IMG]

    There's another, full night shot that exposed (on auto) for about 4-5 minutes, but it was under enough that the processors didn't bother to scan it.

    My question is, is there something wrong with my camera's meter, or do I just need to take the error into account and adjust the ISO/Exposure compensation?
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    With the longer shutter speeds of 4-5 minutes, that's reciprocity failure, you should do what your meter says and double it. if you're worried about exposure, bracket. slide film is very unforgiving. So this shot above, just bracket from what the mater says, a stop under, and a stop over.

    BTW, that looks like a really nice scan.
     
  3. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's a tricky scene to meter with an in-camera meter.
    The brighter sky & water reflection likely caused the under exposure.

    Best to bracket a scene like that or use a hand-held meter.
     
  4. iambarefoot

    iambarefoot TPF Noob!

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    Forgive me, I'm a bit of a noob. I looked up 'reciprocity failure' on wikipedia and it made my head hurt. If I understand right, it was underexposed (the dusk shot shown and the 4-minute night shot not shown) by one stop? Both shots were done on auto - could I have adjusted the ISO setting to 25 (using Velvia 50) to get the desired result? Or do I need to invest in a meter, shutter cable and stop watch?
     
  5. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A shot like yours (with sky and water refections) plus a long shutter speed
    plus using slow slide film is triply difficult to predict.

    Few photographers could get a perfect exposure with just one shot under
    those conditions, even with multi-pattern metering.

    I wouldn't worry about it or your camera. Just bracket (meaning: make
    a series of exposures varying up to a stop or even two) with shots like
    that.
     
  6. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My camera could not take that shot on auto and my meter is calibrated to account for the sky and compensate. This was one ot those scenes that some heavy duty experience and manual work was going to need help getting right. Like everone else here, I suggest braketing that bad boy off.
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Two words: spot meter and zone system.

    OK, I lied. Here's another: Previsualization and gradient card.

    If my humor is a bit off what I'm trying to say is it's doable with a spot meter, a printed card showing a gradient corresponding to the zone system and a good idea of what you want to see on your print. At least on shots with enough light to see by. With the night-vision ones you have already seen the swag method described. ;)

    With the gradient card pick a shadow that you can see a fair amount of detail in and hold up the card to it and see which shade of gray is closest. This will be your lower range.

    Then pick the highest value you want to see good detail in and that is your upper range.

    Now forget all of that for a minute. Find something that gets closest to zone 5 and meter that with your spot meter. This is your base exposure value.

    The reason you went to the trouble of finding you upper and lower ranges is that if what ever you used to meter off of is very close to your upper range then you will need to increase your exposure to put your upper range far enough away (lighter) from zone 5 to get the lower range enough exposure to have the detail you want on the print.

    Knowing how much shadow detail you want in your print is where previsionalization comes into play.

    I'll leave it to someone else to make sense of all this but remember that it is doable and it doesn't really take much. :)
     
  8. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy TPF Noob!

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    The FE has a little -2,-1,0,+1,+2 compensation dial along with the ISO dial. For years my nightime exposure strategy with my FE was shoot with it in auto mode. First exposure set at 0, another at +1, and a third at +2. I didn't know much about reciprocity failure back then and at least one of the exposures ended up being useable.

    You may also want to get some Provia100 instead of Velvia if you plan at shooting at night. The Velvia data sheet I found goes to "Not Recommended" after 64 seconds. Provia100 has no exposure compenstation needed up to 128 seconds, and only an additional 1/3rd more up till 8 minutes.
     
  9. iambarefoot

    iambarefoot TPF Noob!

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    I'm beginning to understand better - Thanks! I am going on vacation soon and I want to get some night shots of Monument Valley (need to check what phase the moon will be in) and I'll apply this most excellent advice when I do. :mrgreen:
     
  10. adamwilliamking

    adamwilliamking TPF Noob!

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    From my experience,

    That's your problem.

    Possibly followed closely by Nikon's so-so metering system. A range of their camera's meters require exposure compensation almost all the time.
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao:


    You do realize that Nikon stopped production of the FE in 1983, right?
     
  12. epatsellis

    epatsellis TPF Noob!

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    And your source for this information is? I've been shooting Nikons since my F in high school ('76) and the one thing that is consistent is the high accuracy of the metering systems that Nikon has used, whether my F2, F3, F4 or even the lowly FM. Nearly any in camera meter will struggle in low light conditions, add reciprocity errors and either bracketing or knowing the film is de rigeur for available darkness shooting.
     

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