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03-14-2009, 10:23 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by gazonk Quote
That's merely a human interface problem, isn't it? (The shutter speed dial of the LX already is pretty "stuffed" with shutter time settings as it is)
Hmm, when I think of it, there's one more thing: One important feature of the LX was that the manual shutter times from above 1/60 (I think) were fully mechanic, so the camera would work perfectly without batteries in this range. On a couple of occasions I was without a working battery, and was very happy to have a fully working (well, at least in daylight, and provided you were able to estimate the exposure correctly!) camera.

03-14-2009, 10:31 AM   #17
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Actually shooting stepless is one thing about the electronic shutters.

In order to meter as if you had the 1/3 stop readout, depending on the camera, you can develop a 'waggle' that, with some long familiarity, can let you meter pretty accurately with just the half-stops on the lens and even the most rudimentary of scales. (Well, for a lot of purposes, anyway: if you choose the right half-or-full stop, you'll never be off by more than a sixth, and that's a margin I can accept. )
03-14-2009, 11:11 AM   #18
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This is a great thread. Many of the same questions I too had.
Now if someone can confirm or deny, I have a 1964 Pentax Spotmatic. I have determined that the built in meter can only read in full stops. Does this sound right? It seems like I can be all over the road with the shutter speeds and yet the images still come out good.
03-14-2009, 11:18 AM   #19
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Most modern Pentax MZ/ZX and PZ cameras run stepless.

Of course that's not really what your asking is it? You have a sceanrio where some meter is telling you to shoot at 80 given iso 400, f/4.0. If you had the camera in auto, you'd be getting this (or even potentially finer resolution), but clearly we should not trust a cameras meter over our hand held... so... we must be talking about strategies to get something less than 1/2 stops on the aperture ring, or three times as many numbers on the shutter speed "dial."

The easiest answer is this: Stepless Aperture. I use a lot of manual lenses with preset apertures. Since you can use the whole range of apertures, iand literally shoot at values like f/3.21598, it would not be all that hard to figure out the how to use aperture to make up for shutter speeds not otherwise available. It's simple math.

60/80 = .75 * 4 = f/3.0

Hell I can do this in my head. Now, set your preset lens to f/3.0 (of course that will be an estimate... a tick over 2.8 ... and you'll be all set.

Funny, I have a really good Sekonic and I don't think it expresses 1/3 stops... it follows standard shutter speeds on the theory that if you are not using exposure automation, most cameras have standard shutter speeds.

So, is this based on a real worldly scenario? The only thing I can think of is that your meter is mechanical such that you needle is falling between values, and based on that you can estimate speeds like 80 instead of using the rounding ticks. If that is the case, most cameras these days will far outperfrom such a meter with their meters and exposure automation. Right back to stepless operation.

You could always go buy an Asahi Pentax Original or "S" and have a little fun with the 1/50th, 1/100th, 1/200th speeds. Not exactly thirds, but closer than most!


03-14-2009, 11:25 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgredline Quote
This is a great thread. Many of the same questions I too had.
Now if someone can confirm or deny, I have a 1964 Pentax Spotmatic. I have determined that the built in meter can only read in full stops. Does this sound right? It seems like I can be all over the road with the shutter speeds and yet the images still come out good.
Your shutter is stepped in one stop increments. Your aperture ring has click stops, but can be positioned between clicks if needed to center the meter needle in the viewfinder. The meter itself is essentially stepless except that its voltage is bias by the selected shutter speed. (The shutter speed knob is mechanically coupled to a variable resister in the meter circuit.)

03-14-2009, 09:54 PM   #21
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The ME series used Seiko shutters. Bronica medium format SLR's used a similar step less shutter mechanism made by Seiko. My Konica Hexar RF also has a High precision shutter mechanism, which is also made by Seiko and with the new carl zeiss RF lenses with their 1/3 stops on the aperture rings, I can expose accurately within 1/16th of a stop on the hexar RF...try doing that on an M7!

but just out of curiosity why the hell do you want such extreme exposure precision?...half stops are fine..Large format cameras typically only have full stops shutter speeds and half stops on their apertures (some DO have 1/3rd stops) and with Large format it's far more critical for exposure accuracy....though I do own several Seiko programmable shutters for large format for (for 4X5 and 8X10 format)...though the mechanical ones are surprisingly accurate, I always have one on hand as a backup.
03-14-2009, 10:04 PM   #22
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Personally, I wouldn't worry about the 1/2 vs 1/3 stop issue.

There are so many variables in metering and in opinions about what constitutes correct exposure that in the real world the difference between a 1/3 and 1/2 stop exposure correction is virtually meaningless. You're basically talking a 1/6 stop variation between an exposure corrected in 1/2 stop increments and one corrected in 1/3 stop increments.

Even stepless shutter speeds are a red herring. To get those you're working on auto. Often you'll end up with a very precisely measured but quite inappropriate exposure.

The usual approach for pros shooting transparencies has been to bracket plus and minus 1/2 stop. Provided you understand the behaviour of your meter thoroughly and have applied an appropriate amount of spin to your interpretation of the reading, at least one of the three exposures will usually be in the right ballpark. Consistent success requires experience, which is a very expensive thing to acquire when shooting film. I blame that for my not being a millionaire today.

A good way to learn about metering would be to shoot with a digital SLR on manual, with spot or center weighted metering mode selected. You'll quickly find out how easily a meter can be fooled. You will also learn how to compensate for things that produce bad meter readings. You can probably find useful stuff on the Web about using TTL meters. Or get a good used photo book dating from, say, the seventies or eighties and learn how to really use a light meter.

If you're a bit of a masochist try dipping into the Zone System. That system's basic concepts for interpreting meter readings can be adapted to all types of cameras. But don't go beyond meter use unless you're a tonsillectomy per rectum kind of person.


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