portrait... technical question...thoughts?


TPF Noob!
Mar 9, 2006
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Yesterday afternoon I attempted a portrait with only window light. I was shooting Ilford 125 film. I have a Nikon 8008. I set everything to auto but it would not auto focus.
1st question: Anyone want to tell me why that happened? thoughts...
So...I changed over to manual. used a tripod, set at 1/250 and f5.6. My question is what do you guys think the results will be using the 1/250 and f5.6 settings. I sent the film this morning but it will be a week or so before I get it back. In the meantime I was curious what you all think the results will be... thanks for any advice/comments
new guy!
Cameras occasionally fail to control their lenses. Generally reseating it will sort it out - take the lens off and put it back on again. Also, it may be worth cleaning the lens/body contact points, usually gold coloured pins around the edge of the mounts.

1/250th and f5.6 sound like they'd be borderline ok for normal light through a window. Possibly a bit underexposed, but it really depends on how bright the light was.

What would you recommend....f5.6 at 1/125? Thanks for the help, I've got a lot to learn
davidquillin said:
What would you recommend....f5.6 at 1/125? Thanks for the help, I've got a lot to learn

At f5.6 + 1/250th + 125 ISO film you have the correct settings for an EV (exposure value) of 13. If you were using a camera with no meter and you needed to estimate your settings then you would use this on bright but cloudy days, in the kind of light that doesn't cast shadows. At 1/125th it would be EV12, which would be for subjects in heavy overcast. Well, that's what it says on the Ultimate Exposure Computer page:


Actually there are a number of these ready reckoners around, and the exposure guides on the inside of film boxes are based on the same concept, as is the Sunny 16 rule. With negative film you have enough latitude that this kind of thing will probably be close enough.

Just out of idle curiosity, what was your meter telling you?

So you think the original settings are going to work? i.e. 125 film + 1/250 + f5.6 ....The shots were right by the window around 5:00 pm The light appeared to be sufficient. As for the meter, I didn't even check it...duh
Hard to say. Right by the window on a rainy dark day, or right by the window on a bright sunny afternoon? See what I mean? Average day, average window? Working on the basis that Rob is usually right, it does sound like you may have under exposed a bit. However, you may still get usable prints because of the latitude I was talking about, and labs often apply correction at the printing stage.

please forgive my ignorance....if they were a bit underexposed would f5.6 at 1/125 correct the problem?
1/125 is one stop extra exposure, so that's the right direction to head in if 1/250 was underexposed. You could achieve the same thing by opening your lens an extra stop to f4, allowing twice as much light through as f5.6.

However, the question of what is "correct" exposure is a difficult one, because of the variables involved. To keep it simple, with average contrast subjects, one stop either way isn't going to make a huge difference to how printable the negatives are, so as long as you weren't miles off with your exposure the lab will probably cope and turn out some acceptable prints.

FWIW, colour negative film is even more forgiving, which is why simple disposable cameras can produce such good results in a range of conditions.

Learn to read your meter. It's really very easy. Understanding what it's telling you may take longer, but you'll get there. :)

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