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11-14-2013, 12:24 PM   #1
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P67II, Portra 400, Exposure Compensation

Hi all,

I just got my 2nd roll of 120 film developed, by Dwayne's Photo.

For this roll, I use Portra 400. I intentionally shoot it (set the camera iso) at ISO200, or ISO320. Since I like an overall bright picture (and film typically preserve highlight well). In addition to setting the ISO to a lower value, I also turn the exposure compensation dial +1/3 or +2/3. Thinking to add more "brightness" to the photo, essentially overexpose it by more than 1 stop.

The result, as I look at the prints, is like they are perfectly exposed... the use of lower ISO, and +1/3 or +2/3 exposure compensation doesn't seem to do anything!

I searched the web, and to my surprise, some say the exposure compensation is actually doing the opposite of what I intend it to do:
a + exposure compensation actually underexpose the picture?

I read the manual but not much help. But my understanding of exposure compensation (from other Pentax film camera manual) is, if you in bright area, like a beach, the camera metering typically underexposed, so you want to dial it to +Ev to compensate for it, essentially forcing the camera to take "brighter" picture.

But why is it not the case in P67II?

Appreciate your input!

edit: add a low-res screen capture of the pics that was scanned by Dwayne's photo.


Lee


Last edited by LFLee; 11-14-2013 at 03:29 PM.
11-14-2013, 02:56 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The 67II has a more advanced metering option than the older version. How much that helps you in your backlight shooting style I can't say. So I'll speak in general terms here. With the sun behind the subject like you do, I'd say you can pretty much count on the environmental light conditions being pretty close from one day to another and one person to the next on a sunny day.

One approach would be to do some test rolls, use no EV compensation, pick an EI for the film and stick to it, let the camera meter the scene and bracket some shots on both sides of the camera's metering. Review the results and find which exposure fits your look and note which shot that was. A side benefit of doing that is you'll see what the different bracketed exposures look like and perhaps add to your experience that you can use on other scenes in the future.

You can now do one of a couple of things for future shots with similar lighting. Note how many stops were compensated and which direction. You can dial that in on your EV compensation or go with what the camera's metering selected and manual compensate the exposure yourself.

When you play around with EV compensation dial, you are using your experience to compensate for the camera's metering of the scene. If you want brighter shadows, you dial in +EV which moves the middle gray exposure down at the expense of pushing up the highlights and the opposite for -EV.

In a people shot, typically they are the most important thing in the scene. Having your middle gray exposure derived of their skin value will ensure you get that exposed well for them regardless if there are really deep shadows or excessive highlights. But your camera's meter doesn't know that. It sees really bright and perhaps really dark areas and picks some average.
11-14-2013, 03:32 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Another idea you might try as part of your test rolls. Compose your subject, walk up to him/her, fill the frame with their head and shoulders in the viewfinder and get a meter reading. Set the camera on manual to that exposure. Step back and snap a shot. Bracket a stop on each side too. I bet the initial shot might be about right for what you're wanting.
11-14-2013, 03:32 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
The 67II has a more advanced metering option than the older version. How much that helps you in your backlight shooting style I can't say. So I'll speak in general terms here. With the sun behind the subject like you do, I'd say you can pretty much count on the environmental light conditions being pretty close from one day to another and one person to the next on a sunny day.

One approach would be to do some test rolls, use no EV compensation, pick an EI for the film and stick to it, let the camera meter the scene and bracket some shots on both sides of the camera's metering. Review the results and find which exposure fits your look and note which shot that was. A side benefit of doing that is you'll see what the different bracketed exposures look like and perhaps add to your experience that you can use on other scenes in the future.

You can now do one of a couple of things for future shots with similar lighting. Note how many stops were compensated and which direction. You can dial that in on your EV compensation or go with what the camera's metering selected and manual compensate the exposure yourself.

When you play around with EV compensation dial, you are using your experience to compensate for the camera's metering of the scene. If you want brighter shadows, you dial in +EV which moves the middle gray exposure down at the expense of pushing up the highlights and the opposite for -EV.

In a people shot, typically they are the most important thing in the scene. Having your middle gray exposure derived of their skin value will ensure you get that exposed well for them regardless if there are really deep shadows or excessive highlights. But your camera's meter doesn't know that. It sees really bright and perhaps really dark areas and picks some average.
Thanks, what you said make sense! I need to record my exposure values (just hope my wife can still tolerate the time added to record this data, in addition to the time I took to focus, framing, etc .....haha). I added a pic that shows all the pics from this roll. They expose fine, I suppose, just not the way I wanted (a little overexpose).

11-14-2013, 03:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Another idea you might try as part of your test rolls. Compose your subject, walk up him/her, frame their head and shoulders in the viewfinder and get a meter reading. Set the camera on manual to that exposure. Step back and snap a shot. Bracket a stop on each side too. I bet the initial shot might be about right for what you're want.
ahh.... this is a good idea!!
11-14-2013, 04:11 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Print film is very forgiving compared to slide film. If you have the exposure somewhat close with print film, you might notice that there is more of a difference based on which lab you used vs your slight exposure difference. When I shoot print film I use a gray card to meter and open up one stop. My P6x7 does not have EV compensation but I wouldn't use it if it did.
11-14-2013, 04:13 PM - 1 Like   #7
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On an overcast day like in some of your examples you just posted, your camera's meter should do just fine with no compensation, I'd guess.

If you scan in 48-bit color, use a wide gamut color space such as ProPhoto RGB and have a color managed workflow, you should have a lot of latitude in the image editor to pull up/down your scene or selected areas much like one of your RAW files in your digital camera. You could move the skin tone up/down a stop or more easy.
11-14-2013, 05:33 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I think I misunderstood the "look" you were going for. For a brighter, less saturated look, try underexposing the shots by one stop and tell the lab not to compensate for the too bright look.

11-14-2013, 08:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
On an overcast day like in some of your examples you just posted, your camera's meter should do just fine with no compensation, I'd guess.

If you scan in 48-bit color, use a wide gamut color space such as ProPhoto RGB and have a color managed workflow, you should have a lot of latitude in the image editor to pull up/down your scene or selected areas much like one of your RAW files in your digital camera. You could move the skin tone up/down a stop or more easy.
Thank you! will do this when I scan the negatives.

QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
I think I misunderstood the "look" you were going for. For a brighter, less saturated look, try underexposing the shots by one stop and tell the lab not to compensate for the too bright look.
My friend also told me that maybe the lab 'rescue' the overexpose look for me, and I should be able to see if that is the case when I do my own scanning.

I shall tell them not to compensate it next time. Thanks for the suggestions!
11-15-2013, 11:28 AM   #10
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I would shoot the Portra at the rated 400 ISO and skip any EV compensating.

Use the AE prism’s built in spotmeter, since you are focusing on the models face as your main subject. For the type of shooting you are doing you many also want to get a handheld incident light meter. Otherwise use the AE’s spotmeter.

Phil.
11-16-2013, 03:35 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
I would shoot the Portra at the rated 400 ISO and skip any EV compensating.

Use the AE prisms built in spotmeter, since you are focusing on the models face as your main subject. For the type of shooting you are doing you many also want to get a handheld incident light meter. Otherwise use the AEs spotmeter.

Phil.
Thanks Phil... For the first roll, I use spot meter and mirror lock mostly. For this roll, I use center weight / average metering, as many said the P76II metering is great. But I think you are right, for the type of my shooting, I should use center weighted.

I emailed the lab and they said they adjust exposure and colors, so I am going to scan my film to see if that is more like what I wanted.
11-16-2013, 09:22 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
I searched the web, and to my surprise, some say the exposure compensation is actually doing the opposite of what I intend it to do:
a + exposure compensation actually underexpose the picture?
That is emphatically not true and typical of the rubbish that peppers the web.

QuoteQuote:
I read the manual but not much help. But my understanding of exposure compensation (from other Pentax film camera manual) is, if you in bright area, like a beach, the camera metering typically underexposed, so you want to dial it to +Ev to compensate for it, essentially forcing the camera to take "brighter" picture.

But why is it not the case in P67II?
Essentially, you are telling the camera the beach scene is "not of average brightness": this is the point of undoing for all meters!
The 67II meter is not all that crash-hot in analysing a scene and compensating for brightness by itself. A scene for which you have described would need 1.5 to 2 stops over the metered reading, bracketed if you have not done it before. Do not rely on evaluative/matrix/multipattern meters first-time, experiment to understand how they read a scene and take notes. For the beach (high noon, summer sun, I often incident read and compensate 1.5 stops. The thing to remember is that meters assume the scene they are reading is of average brightness and tone — which of course they are not. This is where a hand-held spot meter or incident meter is invaluable.

Images
I suspect the lab's machinery has 'auto-balanced' the exposures, which is a common thing with automated processors. Try 0.5 to 1.5 stops due to the larger format and especially note the wide latitude of Portra — you could go all the way to 1600 with it! Some films can take a full 2 stops or more to show even a small variation. 0.3 stops is too fine a setting for print film due to latitude, but is ideal for reversal films.

If spot metering, use a handheld 1 meter so you exclude extraneous/peripheral influences that onboard spot meters cannot differentiate from.

Last edited by Silent Street; 11-16-2013 at 09:30 PM.
11-17-2013, 11:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
I suspect the lab's machinery has 'auto-balanced' the exposures, which is a common thing with automated processors. Try 0.5 to 1.5 stops due to the larger format and especially note the wide latitude of Portra you could go all the way to 1600 with it! Some films can take a full 2 stops or more to show even a small variation. 0.3 stops is too fine a setting for print film due to latitude, but is ideal for reversal films.

If spot metering, use a handheld 1 meter so you exclude extraneous/peripheral influences that onboard spot meters cannot differentiate from.
Thanks for your input. If scanning the negatives ourselves, how can we get the 'proper' exposure at which the film is capturing? or I should scan it at the scanner selected exposure (let it adjust) and adjust the exposure in post?
11-18-2013, 01:47 PM   #14
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As said in my previous post, scanning is a very close approximation of the negative (or transparency). It cannot be exact. I don't really favour using the auto-exposure of the scanner on preview, preferring to adjust individual channels and HBS values, but if you are short on time and want to experiment, auto-exposure will show you what the scanner is seeing in terms of density in the negative and the changes it is making to give the image a "normal" appearance. From there, you can make additional adjustments of colour and HBS. Black and white scanning does not produce much of a problem, save for attention to nuances of tone which are required to be carried through. It is scanning of colour negatives and transparencies that gives so many, many people so much grief and frustration.
11-25-2013, 07:58 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
As said in my previous post, scanning is a very close approximation of the negative (or transparency). It cannot be exact. I don't really favour using the auto-exposure of the scanner on preview, preferring to adjust individual channels and HBS values, but if you are short on time and want to experiment, auto-exposure will show you what the scanner is seeing in terms of density in the negative and the changes it is making to give the image a "normal" appearance. From there, you can make additional adjustments of colour and HBS. Black and white scanning does not produce much of a problem, save for attention to nuances of tone which are required to be carried through. It is scanning of colour negatives and transparencies that gives so many, many people so much grief and frustration.
Yeah, it is not easy to do scanning, as I learned.

I do some searching, and found this two labs seem to perform scanning that I like, and as far as I know, close to the Portra 400 color that I have seen online.
1. CS Film. Sample: Samples
2. Indie Film Lab. Sample: Indie Film Lab

They both use Noritsu to scan, with Indie Film Lab has option to use Frontier to scan.
Their price is kind of steep compare to Dwayne's photo...
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