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10-11-2011, 08:15 AM   #31
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Your camera exposes for an average. One reason you might use a spot meter is to select for a middle density. You also can measure the darkest part of the scene then the lightest part of the scene and set the camera for half-way between. That is rudimentary "Zone System". Here is a good tutorial on it: Zone System
There are 10 zones: I is absolute black and X is pure white with V "middle grey" Generally, with negative film, you want your exposure to be two stops above the reading for the darkest area where you want to see detail (Zone III). Your meter's "correct" average exposure is Zone V. A bright white cloud will be Zone VIII or IX. Average caucasian skin will be Zone VI.

10-11-2011, 08:29 AM   #32
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zone system on digital

QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
nop, digital.

But i guess the principe of zone system is not the same on digital and film.

Or maybe i'm wrong, but exposing shadow, and developping for highlights on film will "burn" all times my picture on the shot, and no software can recover area without data
A digital camera is the equivalent of using slide film since you are getting a direct positive, but they are also somewhat different animals. The zone system is very much applicable to digital since you can certainly underexpose to the point that your shadows are blank or over expose to where your highlights are as well. There is a sensitivity range, but it is generally a bit wider for digital than film and thus a bit more forgiving. One neat function I would like to see is a camera where you can put it on spot setting and take 6 or 7 readings of various areas of your scene and have the camera average them. "Program" setting logarithms pretty much do this automatically, but it would be nice to have it available manually.
10-11-2011, 12:21 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
...
There is a sensitivity range, but it is generally a bit wider for digital than film and thus a bit more forgiving.
..
Not sure what you mean here. Overexpose your digital and highlights are gone forever. Overexpose a BW negative and you can under develop the film and salvage the highlights. I just gave an example in the thread of a shot that was 3 stops over exposed and brought in more highlights than a "correctly exposed" scene with normal development. And one that would take exposure bracketing to achieve with digital.

And here is a shot that I forgot to put the camera on bulb and it ended up 6 stops under exposed from what I metered. But yet it was salvageable to some degree by stand development.

Last edited by tuco; 10-11-2011 at 01:08 PM.
10-12-2011, 12:52 AM   #34
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Most films will have a sigmoidal response to exposure (S-shaped) while CCDs have linear reponse.


QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Not sure what you mean here. Overexpose your digital and highlights are gone forever. Overexpose a BW negative and you can under develop the film and salvage the highlights. I just gave an example in the thread of a shot that was 3 stops over exposed and brought in more highlights than a "correctly exposed" scene with normal development. And one that would take exposure bracketing to achieve with digital.

And here is a shot that I forgot to put the camera on bulb and it ended up 6 stops under exposed from what I metered. But yet it was salvageable to some degree by stand development.


10-12-2011, 10:21 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Not sure what you mean here. Overexpose your digital and highlights are gone forever. Overexpose a BW negative and you can under develop the film and salvage the highlights. I just gave an example in the thread of a shot that was 3 stops over exposed and brought in more highlights than a "correctly exposed" scene with normal development. And one that would take exposure bracketing to achieve with digital.

And here is a shot that I forgot to put the camera on bulb and it ended up 6 stops under exposed from what I metered. But yet it was salvageable to some degree by stand development.
All of this is true. Film can be more forgiving than digital in the ways you describe, but in your second example I am sure the exposure was below base exposure threshold and the shadows had no detail. You increased development to move the middle and high values up for better contrast etc. (stand developing is indeed the ideal method). Can't do that with digital.
Like I said, I think of digital in terms that are pretty equivalent to transparency film. Overexpose and you loose the highlights altogether, but the reverse is also true, underexpose and the shadows are featureless.
When it comes down to it, it is hard to compare negative film, transparency film, and digital on equal terms. Sure they all follow the basic rules of photography. In some applications digital is superior, in others film is superior. The details make for a continuous learning curve. After more than 40 years I am still learning. I've forgotten a lot as well. It is good to be reminded from time to time.
10-13-2011, 04:19 AM   #36
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Take a look here, for one of a myriad of examples of variations to the discussion:
http://www.normankoren.com/zonesystem.html
12-31-2011, 11:40 PM   #37
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I used to own a Pentax MX (more sniff, sniff) and, based on my own experience, your photos do look slightly overexposed. But, take heart: in B/W negative film photography is better to err in the overexposure side than in the underexposure side. I still manged to get good shots of the Concorde SST when it visited P.R. years ago even though them came up slightly overexposed.
01-03-2012, 07:56 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
A digital camera is the equivalent of using slide film since you are getting a direct positive, but they are also somewhat different animals. The zone system is very much applicable to digital since you can certainly underexpose to the point that your shadows are blank or over expose to where your highlights are as well. There is a sensitivity range, but it is generally a bit wider for digital than film and thus a bit more forgiving. One neat function I would like to see is a camera where you can put it on spot setting and take 6 or 7 readings of various areas of your scene and have the camera average them. "Program" setting logarithms pretty much do this automatically, but it would be nice to have it available manually.
Taking 6 or 7 spot readings of highlights and shadows etc will produce an exposure very similar to what the Zone system does. The most important thing to remember is you meter is "correct" for what is called "middle grey". If you had been metering snow it would come out grey instead of white, if you had metered a black cat, it would come out grey instead of black.
Again, check out the old books by Ansel Adams: "The Camera"; "The Negative", and "The Print". That will tell you everything you might ever need to know. Much has changed in equipment and technology, but the basic rules will always be the same. Also look up the writings of Fred Picker who had a company called "Zone Workshop". Very very useful stuff.

01-07-2012, 01:21 PM   #39
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Do you think the first and second one (especially the lady) are in focus?
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