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Automatic exposure


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#1 Antonio Bunt

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 03:19 PM

Does somebody know if there's any way to fool the automatic exposure controls on auto-only cameras to get good exposure? Then telling the lab it's push or pull process? Some cardboard notches? Epoxic modeling clay? Some students of mine are eager to get their hands on Super 8 and they can get lots of cool cameras on flea markets even cheaper and video cameras. Thanks!
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#2 Terry Mester

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 09:57 PM

I've never heard of Auto-only Cameras. Are you sure that it's not just a fixed-Aperture, fixed-Focus Camera? What Make and Model is it?
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 10:56 PM

I've never heard of Auto-only Cameras. Are you sure that it's not just a fixed-Aperture, fixed-Focus Camera? What Make and Model is it?


Terry, are you aware that about 80 jillion super-8 cameras were made between 1965 and 1981?

There most definitely are auto exposure only super-8 cameras. One way to intelligently guess if a camera might be auto-exposure only is if the camera only shot at 18 frames per second but not 24 frames per second, and had a zoom ratio of 4-1 or less. Yashica was the king of auto-exposure with weird combinations of both over and underexposure lock available as long as one kept a button pressed, or was it a dial setting??? I don't recall if the exposure would remain locked at either one f-stop over or one f-stop under as long as the exposure button remained pushed or if it just meant that the autometer would remain active, but plus or minus one f-stop the whole time one was shooting.

Elmo made some cameras that were auto exposure only.

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As for using auto exposure only super-8 cameras, you really are shortchanging yourself if you choose to purchase such a camera to "learn" on. What exactly will you learn if you aren't aware of the f-stop or how the camera arrived at the f-stop setting? On the other hand, an auto-exposure only camera might work reasonably well for steadicam work since the auto-exposure function might compensate nicely for the rapidly changing lighting ratios (unless the auto only super-8 camera sees a bright backlight source or the sun!). Because the shot is moving the change in exposure might actually be a good thing.

If you decide to get an auto exposure only super-8 camera specifically for doing steadi-cam work, the two Kodak super-8 negative stocks might offer enough latitude that they will come out ok even if the exposure is off by a stop or two.
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#4 Terry Mester

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 02:55 PM

Terry, are you aware that about 80 jillion super-8 cameras were made between 1965 and 1981?

There most definitely are auto exposure only super-8 cameras. One way to intelligently guess if a camera might be auto-exposure only is if the camera only shot at 18 frames per second but not 24 frames per second, and had a zoom ratio of 4-1 or less.


Wow! 80 Million Cameras! They should be selling for $10 -- not $300 and $400.

Antonio,
If you shine a Flashlight inside the Lens, you will be able to see the Aperture opening and contracting if it is Automated. Does the Camera use a separate Battery for the Aperture? If so, where does the Aperture stay if there's no Battery? You could use that Aperture setting.
I don't think you can trust the Auto-Aperture for 100 ISO Reversal (Positive) Film, but it should work well with 64 & 50 ISO Reversal. You're probably safe using Auto-Aperture with Negative Stock -- as long as you don't mind paying extra for colour / contrast correction.
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#5 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 05:25 PM

Personally, with the cost of film stock, development and telecine being what it is I never saw or will see the point of using auto exposure for ANYTHING.
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