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08-22-2016, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #1
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"Goodbye to all that." Some reflections on shooting without batteries.

Would you all agree that sometimes we all have those days when we are feeling lazy, don't give a hoot and want someone else to do the work for us? I got in the mood to shoot some film without having to develop it over the weekend, and as I had some colour film I'd bought last year that I wanted to use up, I grabbed my Fujica ST705 and Sekonic light meter and a couple of M42 lenses, dumped the batteries out of the camera, threw in some of Lomography's 400-speed colour film (the usual sort, not one of the special funky kinds) and got shooting.

So it was "goodbye" to through-the-lens metering and "goodbye" to any way in which I might influence the exposure once the film was out of the camera. The beauty of the 705 is that it was hello to split prism focusing, a compact form factor (somewhere between a Spotmatic and an MX), and a nice bonus shutter speed (1/1500) for when things got really bright.

For sure, most people who back in the day would have owned one of Sekonic's Studio Deluxe light meters would probably also have developed their own film. However, I was also practising for when a Pentax S1a that I'm getting CLA'd arrives back. It will be interesting to see the results, but it was a liberating and very different experience. (I could also have used the Light Meter app in my cellphone, which has proven to be surprisingly accurate, but I needed the cellphone for other things and it was fun to play around with the - battery-independent - Sekonic in a true "in the field" sense.)

All in all, I had a lot of fun - and now I reckon some of my cameras would (if sentient) be eyeing me rather nervously and fearing for their positions in my collection.

Those of you with fully mechanical* shutters should try it sometime, if you don't already.


* Including LX's, which IIRC have manual reversion on those speeds for which camera shake is not an issue.

08-22-2016, 08:41 AM   #2
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***pics or it didn't happen***
08-22-2016, 08:51 AM   #3
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It is always fun to play free with exposure. Much emphasis is placed on real time exposure automation when in reality light usually does not change much from shot to shot with the same subject.


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08-22-2016, 10:10 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is always fun to play free with exposure. Much emphasis is placed on real time exposure automation when in reality light usually does not change much from shot to shot with the same subject.
I find that film had more lattitude than digital does - at the JPG level at least. RAW and post processing can get pretty amazing in terms of exposure tolerance but a developed JPG tends to have more easily blown highlights and lost shadow detail than a film shot - particularly prints.

To me this means the emphasis isn't just trendy it's a change in the performance of the medium. Also TTL came about because exposure errors are rampant without it. Filters and parallax and glass that is slightly mislabeled with f/stop all add up. T stops might actually matter when not metering TTL - but mostly they are ignored and a bit of learning is needed to get accurate results from outlier lenses.

08-22-2016, 10:53 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is always fun to play free with exposure. Much emphasis is placed on real time exposure automation when in reality light usually does not change much from shot to shot with the same subject.


Steve
Green button metering?

I meter once and shoot multiple
08-22-2016, 10:55 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Those of you with fully mechanical* shutters should try it sometime, if you don't already.
I had a late session last night trying to get this old one working.
I had cleaned it a few weeks ago but it was not working consistently.
Now I think all its functions and speeds are correct, but will run a test roll of 120 before using it.
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08-22-2016, 10:55 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Sorry for being OT but I had to spit it out...I like to see Pentax..Helios..Jupiter (85/1,5 is crazy ) lenses being used today...

Super TAk 50/1,4 works really good on 6D..I wonder how does it work on k1...



08-22-2016, 11:01 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by AldaCZ Quote
Super TAk 50/1,4 works really good on 6D..I wonder how does it work on k1...
There are probably a few posts on this site pairing the ST 50/1.4 with the K-1. As with your 6D, I would expect performance at least as good as on 35mm film.

Edit: A search for "K-1" on the Takumar Lens Club thread brought up a few K-1 shots using those old Taks including one with the ST 50/1.4 (8 element)



Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 08-22-2016 at 11:12 AM.
08-22-2016, 11:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
***pics or it didn't happen***
Most of the pics are of my kids, so they are not going up online (family policy). I'll try to find an example or two that didn't have them in it. See you in two to three weeks once the films get back from the lab (and they do scan them for me, albeit at facebook-level resolutions, but that's still good enough to form a reasonable judgement of exposure and sharpness, provided I shot it in focus and at a half-decent shutter speed).
08-22-2016, 11:40 AM   #10
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I'm too cheap to put batteries in my old mechanical cameras. Sunny 16 charts are burned into my head, they work well.
08-22-2016, 11:49 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bobbotron Quote
Sunny 16 charts are burned into my head, they work well.
What the Sekonic was telling me was largely in line with Sunny 16 (f/16 in the bright parts, 5.6 in all but the dimmest shadow and under trees; there was very little which was in between). The second day I did the shoot fairly early (starting at 8am) and that was a little more like Slightly Cloudy 11 (with the shadows altered accordingly). Eventually the lightmeter was no more than a quick reference chart if for some reason I wanted to alter the shutter speed and match my aperture at a glance (the pre-TTL version of chimping, I suppose), but it was useful practice for actually taking the device out of its pouch and working with it.

Where it has proven most useful so far is in evening walks around the block near sunset, the shutter speed is down as low as I dare (1/60 with a 50mm prime), and I want to match what my eyes are seeing against the meter as the ambient light is fading. There are times when I'll think, after ten minutes or so, "Hmm, think I've lost another stop!", and sure enough the meter confirms it.
08-22-2016, 05:59 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is always fun to play free with exposure. Much emphasis is placed on real time exposure automation when in reality light usually does not change much from shot to shot with the same subject.


Steve
I would take that a step further and say that real time exposure changes can screw up your exposure at times. It is not at all unusual for a slight change in the angle or position of the camera to result in a change in meter reading. This could very well be undesirable, since the lighting on the primary subject has not changed.
08-23-2016, 07:35 AM   #13
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When you think of how many reasonably good snapshots have been taken by novices with fixed shutterspeed/fixed aperture film cameras using whatever was considered the medium speed negative film of the time, it should encourage the photographer used to all of the settings and usually reliant on high-tech internal metering to try some manual shooting...even without the light meter...that is, if one owns any cameras with manual shutters. If you add either external metering or some grasp of how to adjust for lighting for other than full-sun conditions, the range of possibilities increases.

Also, I like the idea that if the power is out, and all the batteries are dead, I would have some way to take a picture if I want to.
08-23-2016, 09:29 AM   #14
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In connection with all of this, and by fortuitous timing, the book "How to use the Zone System for fine B&W photography", by John P. Schaefer (HP Books, 1983) just hit my mailbox. Ansel Adams he may not be, but the book appears thus far to explain things well (much better than I've seen explained anywhere on YouTube, for sure), and it carries its theory into the darkroom, which is just fine by me. Unlike anything I could find by Adams currently in print, all of which appears to fetch price premiums because of the name (and a consequent tendency of the printers to put them out as luscious high-quality hardcovers with large, glossy pages), this one was dirt cheap.
08-23-2016, 04:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
In connection with all of this, and by fortuitous timing, the book "How to use the Zone System for fine B&W photography", by John P. Schaefer (HP Books, 1983) just hit my mailbox. Ansel Adams he may not be, but the book appears thus far to explain things well (much better than I've seen explained anywhere on YouTube, for sure), and it carries its theory into the darkroom, which is just fine by me. Unlike anything I could find by Adams currently in print, all of which appears to fetch price premiums because of the name (and a consequent tendency of the printers to put them out as luscious high-quality hardcovers with large, glossy pages), this one was dirt cheap.
Glad you found a good and high quality reference. Below is the Adams book that covers zone system in detail. Despite some references to obsolete/discontinued films and developers, the principles remain the same. ~$15 in paperback

https://www.amazon.com/Negative-Ansel-Adams-Photography-Book/dp/0821221868


Steve
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