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Metering Vision2 200T in a Canon 310 XL


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#1 Greg Britting

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 01:56 PM

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to this forum and also new to shooting negative stocks... Up until this point, I've only used what was immediately available to me--first Kodachrome 40, then Ektachrome 64T and a couple cartridges of Tri-X/Plus-X in between. I'm planning on filming a show this Friday in a small darkened lounge and was thinking of using some negative film as I've heard it's much better suited for low-light situations. I just recently purchased a Canon 310 XL that I was thinking of using for this because of it's extremely fast lens (f1.0) and compact design. Infact, I have to use either this specific camera or my old Elmo Super 103 T because they're the only super 8 cameras I have that I can conceal in my cargo pants pocket.

I figured the Canon 310 XL would be best for it's low light capabilities. However, there is no manual exposure control and the camera can only read film speed notches of 40, 160 and 250 ASA for artificial light... I'm wondering: what will the camera meter Kodak Vision2 200T at?--160 or 250? Will this over/under exposure be critical or should it still produce fairly acceptable results?--I hear an over/under exposure on negative film is much more easily corrected anyway, usually done during the rank transfer process...

On the other hand, I could use that old Elmo Super 103 T, but that also has no manual exposure control--it supposedly can meter film speeds of 40, 64, 100 and 250 ASA. If this camera were to meter Vision2 200T at 100, what results could I expect?--would it be way over exposed? Personally, I've only shot indoor scenes before on slow reversal and was lucky to have them come out at all, dim as they were, so I can't imagine overexposing film in an indoor low light situation--but then I've never shot negative... Any insight on this would be extremely appreciated--thanks! (Sorry for the long read!)
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#2 Will Montgomery

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 04:50 PM

I'm sure someone can give you a definitive answer, but I was under the impression the 500T cartridge was not speed notched because there wasn't a 500T in the SMPTE 166 standard...

As per John Pytlak (God bless him):

Standard SMPTE 166 specifies the Super-8 cartridge notching system.

When the filter notch is out, the daylight film speeds are:
10, 16, 25, 40, 64, 100, 160, 250, 400

When the filter notch is in, the tungsten film speeds are:
16, 25, 40, 64, 100, 160, 250, 400, 640


The 310XL can read/expose up to ASA 250 based on notches. So my guess would be the Canon should expose the 500T just wide open; which might be fine if you're shooting in a club.
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#3 Jim Carlile

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:05 AM

The Canon 310 will read ASAs 40, 160, and 250, which means it will read 500T at ASA 160. I believe 500T is speed-notched at ASA 400, in a notchless cartridge.

In SMPTE compatible cameras, the notchless cartridge will depress the filter pin (or daylight sensor,) which will set the meter at the lower ASA of the speed-notch. Every super 8 speed-notch indice has two film speeds associated with it, conventionally called 'tungsten' and 'daylight.' The Canon is SMPTE compatible.

Here's why it will read V500T at ASA 160. The camera reads the ASA 400 speed indice as ASA 250-- the highest it will go. The notchless cartridge pushes in the filter pin, which then sets the meter at the low ASA of this speed indice, which is ASA 160.

For V200T, the 310 will read it at ASA 100. Kodak speed notches V200 at ASA 160, in a notchless cartridge, which sets the camera to the low ASA of this speed indice as well, which is ASA 100. They do the same thing with the new Plus-X.

Kodak deliberately sets V200 to be read as ASA 100, which is one-stop overexposed, and without the internal 85 filter. That's just their philosophy. Many disagree.

The bigger problem with this film and the 310 is that it is way too fast for that camera in daylight conditions. A solution is to put a 4X neutral density filter over the lens, and then pull up the corresponding red-thingy (waterhouse stop) over the meter window. This is necessary because when you put a 2-stop filter like the 4X over the lens, the meter needs to be told it's there (this is not a through-the-lens metering camera.) The red-thingy acts like a 4X ND filter-- same thing, it cuts down the light by that amount.
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#4 Greg Britting

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:17 AM

Wow, thanks a lot guys! Obviously, I know very little about the mechanics of film, though I've filmed in super 8 for years. I must confess, I had to reread your replies a few times before the information started to click but I think I got it straight now (for the most part)--

So it seems V200T will act "natural" in the Canon 310XL because it will meter it at ASA 100, which is exactly what Kodak intended for this film. At least this should be true in a low light club environment--I can understand this being too fast a combination for outdoor daylight without a neutral density filter. Luckily, I only paid $5 for this camera so I'll probably only use it in extreme low light situations and stick to another camera otherwise.

My question now is: is the V500T just too much for the Canon 310XL, where it reads it at ASA 160? Is this too overexposed (I don't know how many stops that would be), or does it depend on the lighting--like Will said, if it's dark enough and the iris would be all the way open anyway? Or is it just a better bet to use a camera that can read ASA 400 (which would actually meter the film at ASA 250 because of the filter pin being pushed in (if I'm understanding this correctly))?
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#5 Will Montgomery

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:39 PM

How's this for a lame answer... it's only over-exposed if it is over-exposed.

What I mean is that if you're shooting in conditions that are already a little too low for 500T (which many people do), the camera will leave the aperture at f1.0 anyway, thinking that the film is 160asa and there's not enough light. If you're indoors at a club or anywhere with low tungsten light you might actually be ok, you should use an external meter to find out how off you'll be.

If you're shooting a band on a stage with strong lights you should definitely meter it, you might be ok with 200T. Just check out another band with your meter some night. Make sure you have a beer in your hand so you'll look nerd-cool.
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#6 Greg Britting

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 10:56 AM

Cool--thanks!
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#7 Will Montgomery

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 01:02 PM

The bigger problem with this film and the 310 is that it is way too fast for that camera in daylight conditions. A solution is to put a 4X neutral density filter over the lens, and then pull up the corresponding red-thingy (waterhouse stop) over the meter window. This is necessary because when you put a 2-stop filter like the 4X over the lens, the meter needs to be told it's there (this is not a through-the-lens metering camera.) The red-thingy acts like a 4X ND filter-- same thing, it cuts down the light by that amount.

Since the meter on the 310xl is separate from the lens system, wouldn't adding an external 85 filter make the exposure closer to the actual rating? With an 85 external filter the film rating goes to asa 125, and if the camera meters for 100 that would be great. A little overexposure on negative is usually preferred so it would make a great daylight stock that way. Or am I missing something basic?

Only thing I miss on the 310xl is 24fps.
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#8 Jim Carlile

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 04:22 AM

Excellent deduction, Mr. Watson. Because the 310 doesn't couple its meter with the taking lens, anything you put over the lens itself will go unnoticed by the meter. Thus, if the camera is "overexposing" the film by one-stop, placing an 85 filter over the lens will reduce the light by 2/3 stop (that's the filter factor for the 85,) hence the Kodak negative film will only be overexposed by 1/3 stop.

This also means that if you use an external 85 over the lens outdoors, you're only going to be 1/3 stop overexposed, not a full-stop as in most other cameras.

About using the 310 indoors at a concert. In extreme conditions, the lens will be opened up all the way, anyway. If even that isn't sufficient, then running an ASA 500 film will give you an extra stop-and-a-half leeway. That's about the difference between ASA 500 and ASA 200. You can tell by what the red flag says-- if it pops into the viewfinder, you might need more light with V200. I say "might," because with that camera you probably won't.

If you're really worried about the metering difference in various light situations, you can always cut a filter notch in the cartridge. Then, the filter pin/daylight speed indice won't come into play. The film will be rated at the high ASA of the speed-notch, which in the case of V200T is ASA 160. This will cause the lens to stop down a little, perhaps giving better results when there's more light indoors, or whne there are spots etc. that might burn out given that the film is already overexposing everything.
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#9 Art Leal

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 04:58 PM

I figured the Canon 310 XL would be best for it's low light capabilities. However, there is no manual exposure control and the camera can only read film speed notches of 40, 160 and 250 ASA for artificial light... I'm wondering: what will the camera meter Kodak Vision2 200T at?--160 or 250? Will this over/under exposure be critical or should it still produce fairly acceptable results?--I hear an over/under exposure on negative film is much more easily corrected anyway, usually done during the rank transfer process...

On the other hand, I could use that old Elmo Super 103 T, but that also has no manual exposure control--it supposedly can meter film speeds of 40, 64, 100 and 250 ASA. If this camera were to meter Vision2 200T at 100, what results could I expect?--would it be way over exposed?


Hi Greg:

Here's a roll of 200T that I shot with the 310XL. The cartridge was notch hacked.


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