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Using Minolta XL401 with Vision3 Super 8 film


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#1 Cecilia Danell

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 09:16 AM

Hi I'm new here!
I am working on a Super 8 project and am using the Kodak Vision 3 negative stock. I previously shot super 8 using Ektachrome 100D and Tri-x reversal so I'm not new to super 8 but new to vision3. I shot some outdoor forest scenes in October using 200T and they came out pretty well, if not as vibrant as Ektachrome, but the camera kept overexposing certain shots with a lot of shadow. The next shooting location will be an indoor theatre that we will light artificially using LED builders' lights. I am unsure whether 200T will be light sensitive enough or if I should go for 500T for the indoor shoot?

These are my questions in relation to this:

* How will my Minolta XL-401 meter 500T stock? I read that this model only recognises film up to 160asa, how will it react to 500T, will it overexpose it by default? Is this why some of my 200T got overexposed?

* Should I just stick with 200T that I know my camera can handle?

* My camera has a 1/30th shutter speed and 220 degree shutter, roughly what asa should I set the external light meter to if I'm doing manual metering?

I don't have time to shoot a test roll of 500T manually as I've too little time and the shoot takes place over 2 days in a location I wont have access to again so I need to get some useable footage without testing (which I know is a huge gamble). So essentially what I need to figure out is if my Minolta XL 401 can handle 500T on auto mode or if I'm shooting manually how to meter it.

Thanks!
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#2 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 13 December 2016 - 11:50 PM

According to this, it won't automatically register 500 speed film:

 

http://super8wiki.co.../Minolta_XL_401

 

But that doesn't matter, as you have an external light meter. Use this tool to calculate shutter speed from shutter angle and frame rate:

 

http://super8exchang...utter_speed.php

 

Remember that Super 8 cameras assume that your film stock is tungsten balanced, so the filter switch should match your situation. I.e. your filter switch should be set to daylight for outdoor use. That means your film speed will reduce by 2/3 of a stop (e.g. Kodachrome 40 goes down to 25 ASA outside, which is 2/3 slower than 40 ASA). So when you meter for daylight, your film is not 500 ASA, it's 320 ASA.

 

And one more thing: some people recommend over-exposing 7219 by at least a third of a stop if you can. If you do, you end up with a 250 ASA stock in daylight, in which case you might as well use 7207 250D.


Edited by Karim D. Ghantous, 13 December 2016 - 11:53 PM.

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#3 Cecilia Danell

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 05:41 PM

Thanks for your reply! 

Sounds like I might be just as well off using 200T then since the camera isn't going to be able to meter the 500T stock correctly and it might be too much of a risk to only rely on the external light meter since I can't do a test shoot. I am still curious to know if anyone has any experience with that would happen if I just stuck a 500T cartridge into my XL-401 and kept it on auto mode, would all the footage come out severely overexposed as the camera would think I was using 160ASA stock and meter for that? Anyone had any experience with 500T on auto? 

I might stick with 200T and make sure my set is bright enough instead... 


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#4 Matthew Modget

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 07:15 PM

If you search for my name on vimeo you'll find all my wedding videos, and for the last two years I've been using a Minolta XL-401 as my main camera. I tend to start the day using 200T then move on to 500T later on or for extended indoor periods. If I take the camera outside with 500T loaded I get perfectly good images, the most imprtant thing is remebering the daylight filter! These film stocks can take a serious amount of overexposure so you'll have no problems doing a shoot indoors with this camera and 500T.
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#5 Cecilia Danell

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Posted 14 December 2016 - 07:24 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience with the XL-401, Matthew. I had a look at some of your wedding footage and it looks great, both indoors and outdoors. If all those indoor shots are done using auto mode then that proves that the camera can handle 500T without significant overexposure, cause I assume you don't have time to meter manually when things are happening fast at the wedding receptions? :) 


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#6 Matthew Modget

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 03:21 AM

Absolutely, I very rarely use the camera on manual mode as one of the reasons for using Super 8 is that the cameras can start filming within a fraction of a second, so I don't have time to be playing with the aperture. Due to the camera thinking it has 160T in it, there are of course plenty of times where it thinks there's insufficient light for the scene, but I just ignore that and carry on anyway as all this means is that the camera will open up to maximum aperture.

 

The guys at Twin Lens Life have done a great comparison between Portra 400 and Vision3 500T showing what they look like when you over and under-expose them: http://www.twinlensl...-portra400.html


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#7 Karim D. Ghantous

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 06:02 AM

That test is quite revealing, and says a lot about the capability of film (even though photographers have been successfully pushing colour negative film from 400 to 3200 since the '80s). However, the smaller the gauge, the less you can push the emulsion and get usable results. That's just a rule of thumb, so you have to judge for yourself.


Edited by Karim D. Ghantous, 15 December 2016 - 06:03 AM.

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#8 Cecilia Danell

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 01:41 PM

Thanks for all your input, I have now placed an order for 200T as well as 500T and will shoot with both.

It's good to know about not paying heed to the triangle telling me there's insufficient light. This happened a few times when I shot 200T in the woods and I was worried about it being too underexposed and instead it came out slightly overexposed.

 

For the 200T I think I'll be fine with just the built in meter, but I am planning on locking exposure on the built in meter once it's metered the scene, so that I don't get fluctuations in light when I introduce new objects onto the scene etc. I am doing a lot of stop-motion animation stuff with a shutter release chord and this should make the footage more consistent while still having the peace of mind that the built in meter provides. Will try the external meter for some of the 500T and see what the discrepancy is between that and the built in one, and then maybe just underexpose it with a stop or so compared with the built in meter since it will try to overexpose by default. I don't really want to get the scenes too overexposed since the theatre I'm shooting in has a lot of colour and painted detail in the scenography and I don't want that to become all washed out under the lights. But I will shoot enough footage with both stocks that I'll have something useable by the end of it either way.

 

Thanks again! 


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#9 Matthew Modget

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Posted 15 December 2016 - 01:56 PM

That sounds like a great plan, I'd love to see the results when you're done.


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#10 Chris Burke

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 08:39 AM

Both the 200t and 500t have immense exposure latitude. Especially overexposure. Shoot 200t outdoor 500t indoor on full auto. No need to worry.
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