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11-24-2019, 10:59 PM   #1
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Got a new light meter, because I wanted a second opinion.

I bought a Weston Pixie amateur meter because I wanted a meter pre-compensated for negative film.

Well, it isn't. Just like the in-camera meter, it is pre-compensated for slide film bias.

It isn't going to do better than my Pentax ME Super SE's meter. And it probably won't do worse.

Instruction manuals for the camera and the meter are similar to:
+1 more stop for breakfast/dinner outdoor light and indoors light, and
+2-1/3rds more stops for night shots.

That's almost exactly how different negative and slide films are. Well, with a lot of practice, meter for slide film compensation yet using negative film is "old hat" and doable.

But, someday, I would like to purchase a meter biased for color negative film, and this isn't. It is slide-film biased and can serve to second-guess the in-camera meter, which is also slide film biased.

I wish there was a meter with the linearity of color negative film. At least this charming mid-century classic, new in the box, can do the same as a working in-camera light meter. And, the Weston Pixie does facilitate re-labeling the 4 dials/conditions for an update.

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Last edited by danielwritesback; 11-25-2019 at 10:15 AM.
11-24-2019, 11:03 PM   #2
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As much latitude as negative film has... I'd never expect to notice.
11-24-2019, 11:43 PM   #3
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Once I had a meter that was color negative film biased. It was a Vivitar/Cosina 2000 camera meter, that never underexposed color negative film, because it wasn't made for slides. Unfortunately the film transport mechanism didn't last.

The needy film scanner is a modern inconvenience to color negative exposure latitude. Because, today, there is no tolerance for underexposure. Handheld meters and in-camera meters of yesterday are slide film biased and make sure that you don't overexpose. However, linearity for preventing underexposure with color negative film, is different. I need to find out the right words to describe it, before I send the ME Super in for service.

Last edited by danielwritesback; 11-25-2019 at 09:56 AM.
11-25-2019, 06:16 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Meters meaure light level, that is all they do whether they are separate handheld or built in to the camera. Mainly they measure reflected light from the subject but handhelds in particular can measure incident light e.g. Weston with Invercone attachment. They are not pre-biased for positive or reversal film. It is up to the photographer to decide what to do with the information they supply - either let the camera expose according to the auto mode selected or use manual settings.


If you want to routinely overexpose with your ME Super then just lie to it about the film in use - set a lower ISO number. Overexposed negatives are hard to scan and print, they are not automatically better than a properly exposed negative.

11-25-2019, 09:55 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by steephill Quote
..If you want to routinely overexpose with your ME Super then just lie to it about the film in use - set a lower ISO number. Overexposed negatives are hard to scan and print, they are not automatically better than a properly exposed negative.
The ME Super is surprisingly accurate with Kodachrome.
Very good, except that I bought color negative film instead.
The in-camera meter is correct in bright conditions, so I wouldn't want to overexpose those.
Instead of the film-speed/comp dial, I need the other meter control--the linearity control, which isn't accessible without removing the top of the camera.

The current color negative film is like ASA500 in brightest conditions and ASA64 in darkest conditions. I could set ASA320 so that it stays within the possible range of the +/- comp dial. In that case, it would be -1 in brightest conditions, +1 for low light, +2 for night. The challenge is then remembering to turn it and guessing how much.
Or, the camera could be set to do that automatically.

Last edited by danielwritesback; 11-25-2019 at 10:33 AM.
11-25-2019, 12:43 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielwritesback Quote
The ME Super is surprisingly accurate with Kodachrome.
Very good, except that I bought color negative film instead.
The in-camera meter is correct in bright conditions, so I wouldn't want to overexpose those.
Instead of the film-speed/comp dial, I need the other meter control--the linearity control, which isn't accessible without removing the top of the camera.

The current color negative film is like ASA500 in brightest conditions and ASA64 in darkest conditions. I could set ASA320 so that it stays within the possible range of the +/- comp dial. In that case, it would be -1 in brightest conditions, +1 for low light, +2 for night. The challenge is then remembering to turn it and guessing how much.
Or, the camera could be set to do that automatically.
Are you talking about reciprocity failures? I'm not aware of meters that compensate for linearity and reciprocity. I always made those adjustments on my own in my head and bracketed. But to be fair I was shooting for wet printing not scanning.

But what I have read on this subject doesn't make me think it is as cut and dry as you think. All negative film isn't going to work with a single linearity adjustment.


Here is an article that may help. It is focuced on digital but the discussion talks about film also. Digital camera light meter calibration | RawDigger
11-25-2019, 01:41 PM - 1 Like   #7
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A light meter can't be calibrated for reciprocity failure since each film reacts differently to long exposure. Film camera meters are calibrated to be linear, just like hand held meters. My recollection is that the ME Super doesn't have a linearity adjustment. If calibrated for 1/250 at f/11 the meter says 1/30 at f/4 when the calibrated light source is lowered six f/ stops.
11-28-2019, 03:42 AM   #8
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Thanks!
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
...But what I have read on this subject doesn't make me think it is as cut and dry as you think. All negative film isn't going to work with a single linearity adjustment....
This is 1/3rd of a frame crop from 35mm film, with exposure to suit the scanner.
It is Fuji 400 from wal-mart and a quickie lab scan by mpix. Just ordinary and cost-effective.


11-28-2019, 06:21 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by danielwritesback Quote
Thanks!

This is 1/3rd of a frame crop from 35mm film, with exposure to suit the scanner.
It is Fuji 400 from wal-mart and a quickie lab scan by mpix. Just ordinary and cost-effective.
Not sure I understand how that relates to my comment. Different films will have different linearity. It isn't as simple as tracking negative or positive film. It requires some photographer knowledge when the metered exposure needs adjustment to give the results desired. No tweaking of the meter will cover every film at every EV - even if limited to just negative vs positive films.
12-02-2019, 10:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Not sure I understand how that relates to my comment. Different films will have different linearity. It isn't as simple as tracking negative or positive film. It requires some photographer knowledge when the metered exposure needs adjustment to give the results desired. No tweaking of the meter will cover every film at every EV - even if limited to just negative vs positive films.
The variety for the meter, is but 4:
There are ASA100 B&W and color films with similar linearity.
There is one slide film.
There is a classic ASA400 B&W film.
There are fast color films based on movie film all with similar linearity.

I use a fast color negative film, for reduced motion blur. So, just one type.

The photo is because that's 1/3rd of a frame of film printable to 28" from a quickie scan. It was possible because the negative is thick enough. However, if it was thin, then the max printable size falls by 12 times or worse.

The new quality works so long as the exposure was enough and motion blur is absent. After buying the Weston Pixie meter the exposure results are better. And, I use it only when I suspect that the in-camera meter is off.

However, if I use an auto-exposure camera, the difficulty automatically went up if it wasn't aimed at the film that I'm using.

P.S.
Thank you for steering the topic towards what I had meant to ask about.

Last edited by danielwritesback; 12-03-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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