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metering scenes with nikon still camera - how to ? newb!


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#1 Craig Greenbergs

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 02:38 PM

hi there, I will be shooting my first super 8 film this summer, and although I do not have any film experience whatsoever, I have been shooting still film for quite some time so most of the important concepts I read about are pretty familiar to me and I think I will be able to adapt my knowledge.

My question is about metering my scenes, I dont have alot of money and my camera (Chinon 506 sm xl converted to MAX8) will not be able to auto expose with the film I will be using using (since its one of those 40/160 only cams) so I am going to be doing all the exposures manually. Im most likely going to be using vision 500t, as most of the scenes will be shot either in very low interior light or nighttime outside.

My idea was to meter my scenes with my nikon (f801s) still camera, lock it at 1/30 (220 degree angle @ 18 fps on the chinon) and then meter the scene from the distance I am shooting by reading the auto exposure readout in the nikon viewfinder. btw - if I want to do a slow mo shot I would have to change that to 1/60 to meter correctly, right?

otherwise, I also have got a GE type pr-1 exposure meter, but here's where it gets tricky for me... The GE seem to give different results than the nikon, but only sometimes!

I am assuming the GE is still functioning accuratley because simple to meter things like the lawn usually meter out exactly the same on the nikon vs. the GE, also the GE seems to do the correct metering in very predictable scenes like a bright summer day using the "sunny f16 rule" as comparison.

I know that with the GE I am suppose to move to the object I am metering and check the exposure right where I am looking to expose for.. however - even when I do this on the nikon even on something simple like on a large wall for instance, the metering can be off by anywhere between 1/3 to 1 f stop.

basically, I have a zero budget for playing around and figuring things out after the fact, and although I now it absolutely not optimal - im just going to go ahead and shoot the film, so I guess my biggest question is... do you think I will be safe using the nikon and metering the scenes from the distance I will be shooting from ? the variability between the two meters makes me scared to use the GE

thanks for any help you can offer!

- Craig
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 02:46 PM

Craig,
I'd recommend saving up some money and getting a good meter like this trust Sekonic L-398a
http://www.bhphotovi...Deluxe_III.html

It's cheap @ $179 and will last you a long time and make a good back up meter as you move along.
As for your particular thing. i would say get a 18% grey card and use the Nikon to meter off of that (also though test out the GE off of the same card just to see how off it is under controlled lighting). I would also say that 500T will give you a nice margin of over-exposure, so if you're ever in doubt, err towards over-exposure as opposed to under-exposure.
I think you'll be ok going the Nikon route, but note I haven't ever done it myself (meter was the first thing I bought).
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#3 Craig Greenbergs

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 06:52 PM

thanks for the help :)

if I were to overexpose to be on the safe side, what would that be 1/3 stop or 1/2 ish? Im assuming going a full stop is too much ?
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 06:56 PM

I always rate my 500T @320 which is 2/3rds of a stop over, to tighten up grain (this is on S16mm). 1 stop over isn't too bad, and some people do it as a matter of fact. It gets a bit subjective, you know? A matter of taste.
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