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10-08-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
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How accurate would using a DSLR be to "predict" how well a film shot would turn out?

Not sure if this has been asked before, but I'm still very much a film noob...

Say I use my K-5 on normal settings, at proper exposure and the same ISO and same lens as a film camera, how similar would the results be?

I know it all depends on my film, but would my K-5 wildly alter what a film SLR would capture? Or is there too many variables to answer the question

Thanks!

10-08-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
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It's a perfectly valid approach. There's also light meter apps for smart phones that work well too.
10-08-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
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National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry when shooting the last roll of Kodachrome film used a full frame Nikon DSLR to preview the scene before using a Nikon full frame film camera to actually capture the photograph. He would adjust his film camera settings based on what he was seeing from his test photos on his DSLR.

I guess that with some experimentation you could calibrate a custon setting on a DSLR to give the same response as a particular film would have.

Regards

Chris
10-08-2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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Shutter speed, aperture and ISO are all standard so the if the DSLR gives you a proper exposure then the settings are transferable to a film camera. I've done it myself.

10-08-2013, 07:22 PM   #5
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Remember that shooting a DSLR is like shooting positive slide film -- don't overexpose or you'll blow the highlights. Whereas with negative film you can generally overexpose quite a bit and you're fine and underexposure is the big enemy. (Digital/slide expose for the highlights, negative film expose for the shadows.) So keep that in mind when looking at the digital test -- if the highlights are blown it is not a problem for film as you can always burn them in -- make sure you're getting the shadows well-exposed or they will be thin and gray and yucky...
10-08-2013, 07:27 PM   #6
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I shot a month with a pentax 6x7 with 55mm f4.0 roughly equivalent to 28mm on 135 format, I checked most exposures with my Kr and DA 21mm Ltd (approximately 30mm on 135 format) it worked pretty good. I was shooting FP4 and Delta 100 and locked my Kr at 100 ISO. Making sure your using similar FoV is important. Of course I did this because the 6x7 hasnt had a CLA in probably 15 yrs, and I was uncertain of the meters accuracy.
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10-08-2013, 09:04 PM   #7
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Whoa! The scanned film looks way better! More natural. Something funny about the top one. It looks almost infra-red.
10-08-2013, 11:19 PM   #8
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Suggest you look at Ken Rockwell's suggestions on using dslr as spot meter for film.
How to Use a Digital Camera as an External Light Meter

10-09-2013, 01:30 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventhdr Quote
National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry when shooting the last roll of Kodachrome film used a full frame Nikon DSLR to preview the scene before using a Nikon full frame film camera to actually capture the photograph. He would adjust his film camera settings based on what he was seeing from his test photos on his DSLR.
It should be emphasized that he had ONLY 36 exposures for the entire project and did not have the luxury of bracketing exposure. The purpose of the dSLR was not to determine proper exposure. Rather, it was to confirm the exposure settings of the film camera and provide the basis for adjustment if needed.

For the most part, the meters in most film cameras made in the last 45 years are up to the task of providing appropriate exposure for most currently available films. If you have doubts about the accuracy or suitability of your film camera's meter, I would suggest that a hand-held meter and/or gray card may be a better option than a heavy second digital body.


Steve
10-09-2013, 05:25 PM   #10
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Steve's point about weight of a dslr if used as the light meter is very true--especially as the camera meter and/or hand held meter should be adequate--but as a learning tool/ or as a substitute for a heavy spot meter--till you get more experience it has merit.

Also I carry a film camera and dslr often and thus if you do the same the dslr is already there.

I would add my checking of dslr light reading (center weighted) vs. incident light meter I usually use shows the dslr readings are (typically) 1 stop more exposure. Put another way when I use the incident meter to set my dslr I set it 1 stop more exposure (I use 100 iso color negative). But really it depends what film you use and how you like the exposure/negative (positive?) density.
10-09-2013, 06:03 PM   #11
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I have been using dslr as a 'bellewether" for my mottley collection of medium format cameras, none of which have any metering
wiki " The term is derived from the Middle English bellewether and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram."

Recently however I restored a vintage Honeywell Pentax 3/21 spotmeter and calibrated it against the Pentax MX and the Pentax K-01.
The results were all pretty close and I put a chart on apug somewhere.

We are a bit lucky (and i suppose the camera manufacturers more so) in that the whole exposure range is an exponential series which tends to diminish error in the numerical f-stops that we use.

This photo taken by the Tak 6 x 7 90 mm LS (reposted) was exposed using the Pentax MX as a bellewether
https://app.box.com/s/pzzorays1lydomsk9rre
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