Shooting medium format unmetered

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by rpiereck, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. rpiereck

    rpiereck TPF Noob!

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    I recently bought an vintage Voigtlander Brillant, and while I wait for the old camera to arrive in the mail I have been searching for info on operating the camera on the net. While I have found an operation manual for it on the net I am still in doubt as on how to expose the film. The camera has no light meter, and I am not about to spend big bucks on a light meter just for an old $30 camera.

    With that said, what is a good technique to get good exposures without a meter? Is trial and error the only method? Could I use my Rebel XTi or my 35mm Kalimar K-90 as a light meter? I have been thinking of how to use one of those camera's built in meter, and it's been boggling my mind. The defferent formats (6x6 on the Brillant, APS size sensor on the Rebel), the different lenses, focal lengths, etc , all seem like too many differences to make it work, but somethign tells me that it might be possible. Who knows...

    Also, I have successfully taken some pics in broad sunny daylight on 35mm and digital cameras using the BDE (Basic Daylight Exposure) by setting the ISO at 100, shutter at 1/100 and apperture at f/16. Would this apply to 6x6 medium format too? Are the settings (ISO, shutter, apperture) the same? If not, how do I set BDE on a medium format?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Light is light. The format, camera and lens do not affect the light. F/16 is F/16 on every lens. You can easily use any of your other cameras meters to determine an exposure, or you can use BDE, or "The sunny 16 rule" if you wish. Just to elaborate on the sunny 16, so you understand it fully. The formula is 1/ISO & F/16. Open up a stop in open shade, 2 stops in heavy shade, or when overcast. Your new MF camera probably doesn't have 1/3 stop increments like your XTi. The shutter speeds probably adjust in full stops, and the aperture is adjusted by the aperture ring on the lens (most likely). In this case you can adjust your aperture in half stops approximately. With an ISO 100 film, you'll be setting the shutter speed to 1/125, which is the closest full stop. Just remember to bracket and have fun.
     
  3. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Light metering does NOT depend on the format of the camera, the focal length of the lens... You can definitely use your XTi as a light meter and transfer the settings (aperture and shutter speed) to your Brilliant. Just make sure the ISO setting on the XTi matches the ISO of your film.

    Edit: Matt said it better and faster than me...
     
  4. rpiereck

    rpiereck TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, I had a feeling that the settings on one camera could be used on the other, I just wasn't sure... it's just that it's been over 12 years since I had any kind of photography instruction, and to tell the truth I have never shot in anything but 35mm and digital. When I used to work with film I was more of a darkroom guy than a camera guy.

    I can set my Rebel to meter in 1/2 stops instead of 1/3 stops, that should be more useful for this purpose. I'm quite excited now, awaiting the old Brillant... I hope I get some good shots out of the 70 year old camera. I'll expose with the XTi, soot with the Brillant, this will be 1937 meets 2007. .. I'll bracket my shots and take plenty of notes, to make sure I can repeat the process if I'm successful...

    I'll post the results when I get them.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    What film are you going to use? Colour negative and chromogenic B&W (XP-2 and BW400CN) are very tolerant of overexposure, so if in doubt err on the side of overexposure. That works for normal B&W film, though perhaps to a lesser extent, depending on the development, but not with transparency film.

    Good luck,
    Helen
     
  6. rpiereck

    rpiereck TPF Noob!

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    I am going up to Seoul this weekend to see what I can get there. I am thinking of getting either BW400CN or TMax.
     
  7. Joxby

    Joxby TPF Noob!

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    I use a western master selenium light meter thats at least 40 years old for metering a manual m/f, it cost threpence hal'penny, *figures* if it was good enough for them 40 years ago with the same camera, its good enough for me.
    It will give you a reasonable guide, I soon got fed-up of carting 2 cameras about using 1 just to meter.
    They don't all still work tho....you take your chances for threpence hal'penny.

    actually, I dont even bracket anymore, the damn thing works perfectly....
     
  8. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Format certainly can and often does affect metering. The wider field of view in larger formats is going to add more subject matter and consequently permit more light to enter if you don't meter with another body using an equivalent length lens. This is especially true of average metering.
     
  9. rpiereck

    rpiereck TPF Noob!

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    Following Joxby's advice, I went to eBay, searched for light meters and put in a bid for a Russian made Leningrad light meter, as new, operational and dirt cheap. Uses same convention as we are used to (ASA, f/ stops, shutter speeds, etc) so it should do the work...
     
  10. rpiereck

    rpiereck TPF Noob!

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    Alright, I got the Brillant in the mail today, and the camera is in pretty good shape. Minor cosmetic scuffs, peeling corners, etc, all cosmetic problems are present, but mechanically everything works. The camera looks nice and clean and feels solid. Out of the box it was dusty, the lenses had fingerprints, but nothing that a good house cleaning wouldn't solve.

    [​IMG]

    The only problem I found on the camera that could keep me from snapping a shot is the shooting lens. I cleaned the outside glass surfaces of this elns, but it appears that there is dust and a deadbug (!) inside the main element.

    [​IMG]

    Does anybody here know if I can disassemble the lens to clean inside? It seems it's just a few screws to get to it, then some key slot rings to open the lens. If I take it to a shop that cleans the inside of the lens how much can I expect to spend?
     
  11. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    heh heh heh! (evil snicker)

    A guy with L series glass worrying about cost?

    What has this world come to???

    Anyway, to answer your question, I'd just pull it apart, and clean out the lens. There is usually a space between them for the shutter to occupy. :mrgreen:

    things I've learned from taking apart my guns, and my cameras, is

    1. If you have a cheapo digicam, take pics of your progress as you go, so you can refer back to them when you put it back together.

    2. Work on a large clear area, like on a sheet laid out on the floor so if a spring/screw flies, you won't lose it.

    3. Don't freak out, everything that comes apart, WILL go back together again given enough time/patience/thought.
     
  12. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    Don't forget selenium based Light meters have a limited lifespan (10 yrs IIRC). It was a quiz question in Univ. Phot. Class.
     

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