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Nikon 8x Super Zoom


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#1 Daniel Stanford

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 07:57 AM

I just bought a Nikon 8x Super Zoom and I have a couple of questions about it. This is my first super 8 camera, so bear with me.

My first question has to do with the (Type A) or 85 filter. The instruction manual explains that the filter is in place unless you insert the filter key. It goes on to say that you should leave the filter in place when shooting outdoors with daylight film. Well, i'm gonna be shooting with 64T, so should the filter still be in place outdoors?

Secondly, I have questions about exposure. I've never used a light meter before, so I'm not sure what kind of reading I need for a proper exposure (both indoors and outdoors) The meter has brackets for 2, 4, 6, 8, *, and 16 stops. The manual says I need it to read between 8 and 16 for a good exposure. (I guess that means the *)
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#2 Rick Palidwor

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 01:42 PM

I just bought a Nikon 8x Super Zoom and I have a couple of questions about it. This is my first super 8 camera, so bear with me.

My first question has to do with the (Type A) or 85 filter. The instruction manual explains that the filter is in place unless you insert the filter key. It goes on to say that you should leave the filter in place when shooting outdoors with daylight film. Well, i'm gonna be shooting with 64T, so should the filter still be in place outdoors?

Secondly, I have questions about exposure. I've never used a light meter before, so I'm not sure what kind of reading I need for a proper exposure (both indoors and outdoors) The meter has brackets for 2, 4, 6, 8, *, and 16 stops. The manual says I need it to read between 8 and 16 for a good exposure. (I guess that means the *)


Leave the filter in with 64T outside.
Proper exposure can be achieved with any f-stop setting - it all depends on the amount of light. Low-light you'll be at 2, bright light at 16, etc. Leave it in auto and take a reading off a neutral subject (18% gray card is best) and then manually set it there.
Rick
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#3 Patrick Cooper

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 01:27 PM

"It goes on to say that you should leave the filter in place when shooting outdoors with daylight film."

That manual is clearly wrong! An 85 filter would not normally be used for daylight film since daylight film is designed to reproduce natural looking colours under daylight illumination, without the use of a filter. One must however use an 85 filter when using a tungsten film outdoors during the day in order to obtain reasonably 'normal' looking colours. Ektachrome 64T is a tungsten film so yes, leave the filter in when using that particular film outdoors during the day. Most super 8 film stocks are tungsten films.

"The manual says I need it to read between 8 and 16 for a good exposure."

Not necessarily. Any setting / f stop will make for a good exposure as long as it's the right one to use in accordance to the level of light that's illuminating your subject. The f stops are an indication of the size of the aperture (which is an opening in the lens which varies in size.) A smaller number (for example f2) refers to a large aperture opening. A large number (for example f16) refers to a small aperture opening. A large amount of light will need a small aperture. Low level illumination / dim lighting will require a large aperture. A larger aperture lets in more light than a smaller aperture.

When taking a light reading, avoid pointing the lens at anything that is particularly bright or dark coloured as this can mislead your camera's light meter. Brightly coloured objects reflect a large amount of light and the meter will think that there is more light than there actually is so it will suggest that you will use a small aperture which will result in underexposure. The same will happen if you include a large amount of bright sky in your frame when taking a light reading. Dark coloured objects reflect less light so in this case, the meter will interpret such subjects wrongly, thinking there is less light than there actually is so it will suggest that you open up to a larger aperture which would cause overexposure. As Rick has suggested, seek out a mid tone to take a light reading from - ie something that is not dark or light - like an 18% grey card, and then lock your aperture setting in. Make sure also that the mid tone you take your light reading from shares the same light as your subject.

Finally some tips with focusing - there are two steps involved in obtaining accurate focus in super 8. It should be pointed out that in most super 8 cameras, the viewfinder screen is misleading for judging focus. Ignore the large clear area in the viewfinder with regards to focus - even if a subject looks sharply focused, it may turn out slightly out of focus on the exposed film. You must use the focusing aid in the middle of the viewfinder for critical focus. That focusing aid is most commonly a split image rangefinder or a microprism. Make sure that you adjust the diopter to your eye sight so that you can use the focus aid accurately.

The other key thing with regards to focus - and something you should ideally do every time you set up a shot - is to zoom in fully to the maximum telephoto setting of the zoom, and then focus (using the focusing aid in the viewfinder) and then zoom out to compose your shot. The exception to these established rules is if you are filming with the wide angle setting on a bright sunny day. In such a case, you can estimate the distance from your subject and refer to the distance markings on the focus ring to set focus. The combination of using a wide angle with a small aperture (afforded by a bright sunny day) should provide enough depth of field to cover your subject - as long as you are reasonable at estimating distances.
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#4 Daniel Stanford

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 09:11 PM

Thanks for the info, guys. I appreciate it.
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