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05-04-2021, 06:04 PM   #1
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Over-exposed shots with Pentax MV

I've been using a Pentax MV recently, but many of my shots are coming out overexposed. I've been shooting at F11 and F16 on sunny days, but upon scanning my negs the highlights on the histogram are through the roof. I'm able to salvage some of the scans with editing, but I want to get better exposed shots at the source.

Any ideas as to why this is happening? Maybe it's time to upgrade to a fully manual SLR and start using sunny 16...

05-04-2021, 06:44 PM   #2
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You say you're scanning so the MV must be a film camera. The problem might not be your camera so much as your scanner. Do you have any older negatives which you know were exposed correctly to check the scanner with? Scanners make auto-exposure adjustments when they scan, similar to what a camera does and if that is off, your scans will reflect it. The other way you can check is if you have access to another scanner or can have a lab scan some of the suspect negatives for you. Of course, it still could be the camera but you might be in luck since overexposure for negative materials isn't the end of the world. Highlights have a tendency to compress with negative film, and you still might be able to recover usable shots from moderately overexposed negatives. First, however, you need to determine the actual cause of the unusual histograms, and if your film is actually overexposed or if your scanner is at fault (and then buy a DSLR - no more scans).

Last edited by Bob 256; 05-04-2021 at 06:51 PM.
05-04-2021, 07:09 PM   #3
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What lens? Some older K mount lenses (Like SMC Pentax 35mm f3.5) are prone to slow aperture blades due to weak springs - resulting in over exposure.
05-04-2021, 07:29 PM   #4
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the scanning seems to a viable issue......i'm rather new to scanning myself and generally make some type of boo boo.......
if yer convinced it the MV then adjust the iso setting to compensate......i have an MV it did well exposure wise but the shop that developed also did the scanning

05-04-2021, 08:06 PM   #5
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Start with the basics: The MV has exposure compensation dial. Make sure it is not set to overexpose.

Thanks,
05-05-2021, 02:51 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
What lens? Some older K mount lenses (Like SMC Pentax 35mm f3.5) are prone to slow aperture blades due to weak springs - resulting in over exposure.
This is a common problem with the Pentax M 35mm f3.5 but have never seen it with the Pentax K 35mm f3.5.
05-05-2021, 03:20 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for chiming in. I've checked some older negatives and they're scanning well - levels are nice and even from the shadows across to the highlights. I'm using three lenses with the MV: Pentax M 35mm F2.8, Pentax M 50mm F2 and Pentax A 135mm F2.8. The negatives from my recent B&W films look very dark from all three lenses, which leads me to think it's either the camera or the development from the lab. I've had consistent developing from them for a while now, so I'm less inclined to think the fault is with them.

I'm using Tri-X and my ASA dial is set to box speed (400). All quite strange as I've not changed any settings on the camera, yet the recent negs are really dark.

Last edited by joedonohoe22; 05-05-2021 at 03:34 AM.
05-05-2021, 06:50 AM   #8
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Next time you are taking pictures, bring along a little note book/pad and write down the exposure for each frame (does the camera tell you that?) as well as the lighting conditions. At the time, think about how what the camera suggests compares with actual lighting conditions. Do you have / can you borrow an external light meter?

Then, after development, and perhaps at more leisure, you can compare (scanner) results versus what exposure Sunny 16 and variants (or the meter) would have predicted.

05-05-2021, 07:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by joedonohoe22 Quote
Thanks everyone for chiming in. I've checked some older negatives and they're scanning well - levels are nice and even from the shadows across to the highlights. I'm using three lenses with the MV: Pentax M 35mm F2.8, Pentax M 50mm F2 and Pentax A 135mm F2.8. The negatives from my recent B&W films look very dark from all three lenses, which leads me to think it's either the camera or the development from the lab. I've had consistent developing from them for a while now, so I'm less inclined to think the fault is with them.

I'm using Tri-X and my ASA dial is set to box speed (400). All quite strange as I've not changed any settings on the camera, yet the recent negs are really dark.
From that, it does sound like a camera issue (thought it could still be processing). You might try developing some test shots yourself (lots of fun if you've never done it before and pretty simple with just a few chemicals) and see if the issue still exists. As was mentioned by others, be sure to check that exposure compensation hasn't gotten cranked into your camera accidentally. At this point, you need to isolate the issue to camera or processing.
05-05-2021, 07:31 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by joedonohoe22 Quote
I'm using Tri-X and my ASA dial is set to box speed (400). All quite strange as I've not changed any settings on the camera, yet the recent negs are really dark.
If you are shooting 400 ISO film on a sunny day you might be beyond the meter range for the MV. Try a slower 50 to 100 IOS film on sunny days.

Phil.
05-05-2021, 07:34 AM   #11
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Yes, good point about the ISO. I reckon I could get a better exposure with a shutter speed dial, but alas, that's not on the MV.

I've also just looked at my camera and the exposure compensation was a couple of stops higher than where it should is. Could this be the culprit?
05-05-2021, 04:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by joedonohoe22 Quote
Yes, good point about the ISO. I reckon I could get a better exposure with a shutter speed dial, but alas, that's not on the MV.

I've also just looked at my camera and the exposure compensation was a couple of stops higher than where it should is. Could this be the culprit?
That’s almost certainly it...

-Eric
05-05-2021, 10:22 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Many lenses can have slow diaphragm blades because of grease on blades. Sometimes you can see shiny grease but it also may not be so obvious. When lenses get hot the grease can evaporate and condense onto the blades. Those blades can the be slowed down or even stuck open. If setting the exposure comp to 0 doesn't fix it check how fast the blades move by moving the aperture lever on the lens.
05-06-2021, 12:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Start with the basics: The MV has exposure compensation dial. Make sure it is not set to overexpose.

Thanks,
Actually it doesn't. On the MV you adjust for exposure compensation by altering the ISO setting up or down. The compensation feature on the dial doesn't actually do anything, it just tells you what way to move the ISO setting to achieve the desired under/over compensation.

Last edited by Vendee; 05-06-2021 at 12:16 AM.
05-06-2021, 03:13 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
Actually it doesn't. On the MV you adjust for exposure compensation by altering the ISO setting up or down. The compensation feature on the dial doesn't actually do anything, it just tells you what way to move the ISO setting to achieve the desired under/over compensation.
Ah, gotcha. So if I rate the film at 200 with the exposure compensation, it will tell the MV to darken the image and get a more even exposure? Still getting my head around all this(!).
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