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04-29-2010, 03:09 PM   #1
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Noob spotmatic metering question

Hi all, I recently bought a spotmatic and have never shot manually in film. I am just wondering how you guys meter correctly as I assume this uses spot metering.

If you are taking a landscape shot in full sun do you focous on something closer roughly 18% grey, meter, then recompose your shot? Or just focus on the landscape, meter, compose then shoot? because I have noticed if there is a lot of light coming back i.e. off water or snow the meter says to stop down quite a bit further than seems right.

Sorry for the basic question, but I have never really done this before and love this camera.

04-29-2010, 03:21 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by SPII Quote
Hi all, I recently bought a spotmatic and have never shot manually in film. I am just wondering how you guys meter correctly as I assume this uses spot metering.

If you are taking a landscape shot in full sun do you focous on something closer roughly 18% grey, meter, then recompose your shot? Or just focus on the landscape, meter, compose then shoot? because I have noticed if there is a lot of light coming back i.e. off water or snow the meter says to stop down quite a bit further than seems right.

Sorry for the basic question, but I have never really done this before and love this camera.
A Spotmatic meters on average across the entire focusing screen, using a center-weighted emphasis. Although Pentax named the camera as if it used a spot meter, they wisely decided to produce a meter that could be effective across a wide latitude of conditions.

Metering correctly for highlights and shadows is always a challenge. With the match-needle meter you can compensate somewhat in-camera or you may use filters to compensate for especially bright highlights - in order to slow the shutter down enough to capture shadows.

Thankfully many film emulsions are very forgiving and can be processed so as to bring out detail.

All that being said, a calibrated, functioning Spotmatic CdS meter is quite good.
04-29-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by SPII Quote
I have noticed if there is a lot of light coming back i.e. off water or snow the meter says to stop down quite a bit further than seems right.

That part is backward. To "stop down" means make the aperture hole smaller, which reduces the light. The camera is already making it too dark, so you want to open the aperture to make the white...white.

A couple handy exposure guidelines...

Facing away from the sun, the clear blue sky is the same as medium gray, so use that exposure. Also, you can meter the palm of your hand, then open the aperture 1 stop. This works pretty well regardless of your skin color.
04-29-2010, 03:30 PM   #4
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What they said...

Though I can add that I usually have an 18% gray card in the bag to meter off when the lighting is tricky.


Steve

04-29-2010, 03:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
What they said...

Though I can add that I usually have an 18% gray card in the bag to meter off when the lighting is tricky.


Steve
In the 60's Pentax published a small wirebound book called the "Pocket Companion." The last page is an 18% gray card. I carry it in my film camera bag (but I rearely use it ).
04-29-2010, 04:09 PM   #6
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Congratulations on owning a spotmatic. They're pretty great.
Surprisingly, no spot metering. BUT... you can use a 1.5v battery and get accurate metering, which, to me, seems like a much better deal considering the difficulty of finding 1.35v batteries and the relative ease of metering with a spotmatic. Use a grey card, check that the meter is accurate, and have fun. It's hard to go wrong, sometimes it's just not real easy to be 100% correct. My advice, shoot with it and you'll pick it up much quicker and more thoroughly than it is possible to do through verbal instruction. Might I ask, what lens do you have on the camera?
04-29-2010, 04:09 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
In the 60's Pentax published a small wirebound book called the "Pocket Companion." The last page is an 18% gray card. I carry it in my film camera bag (but I rearely use it ).
Sounds like the Kodak pocket photo guide that I carried in the bag for years. It had a gray card inside back cover and also an exposure cheat sheet for night and moonlight, and other difficult lighting. It finally completely fell apart and went in the trash.


Steve
04-30-2010, 01:25 AM   #8
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Thanks for the promt replies! Guess I will have to get out there more often and take more photos

SpecialK that is what I meant. I will have a guess at what I think the aperture and shutter speed should be, switch the meter on and it wants me to either stop down or go up a shutter speed.

Funny about the spot metering thing, guess that is why you never assume.

QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
Might I ask, what lens do you have on the camera?
It came with a Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 1.8 / 55. Thinking I would like a 28 or 35 next.

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