BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Brad silcott
 

ALL Canon AE-1 or AE-1P users


I want to buy a polarizer but still want the camera to meter correctly. Which one linear or cirular? I have heard people say that the linear is the way to go for a old camera but I have read somewhere that the AE-1 light meter will go nuts unless you have a Cirular. I also wanted to ask. If I have a photo where it is washed out I overexposed right?

Thanks Brad S.


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7/7/2005 7:16:28 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I am just guessing but I doubt that the linear polarizer would affect your meter. After all, the circular polarizer wasn't even invented when the AE-1 was first made. However, you would be safe to go with a circular polarizer, just in case you do buy an autofocus camera in the future.


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7/7/2005 7:41:25 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  You do need a circular polarizer if you want your camera to meter properly. If the photo is washed out, it is overexposed.


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7/7/2005 7:46:32 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Just curious, Andy, but why is that? I do have an old camera with a linear polarizer but it's not a Canon. Is there something different about the Canon meter that it requires a circular?


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7/7/2005 7:50:36 AM

 
Brad silcott   OK I was thinking circular. I realize that the AE-1 was out long before the circular polarizer. But so was photo scanners and photoshop. So I was thinking if a Circular would perfrom better might as well get it. Not to mention I didn't even think about having it to use on a newer camera. I wish I could find the article I read but someone that had a AE-1 used a linear polarizer and that always had drastic underexposer. I can't remeber if it was the person doing some wrong or the wrong filter.
To explain why I was asking about the washed out exposure. I shoot aviation photography. So the ramp is white,the plane is white,the runways is light grey, and the bright light makes the horizon white. SO when I get my shots back sometimes the photos are where the black parts of the ramp are grey and the plane is way overexposed.


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7/7/2005 8:51:11 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   The reason you are having problems with your exposure is the fact the camera meter is reading everything as 18% gray. Try metering off a gray card.


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7/7/2005 8:59:25 AM

 
Brad silcott   Ok I don't understand the gray card though. Do you have to do that all the time? I can get great colorful shots in the green grass and flowers and what not. But only when theres a lot of one color. I will try it though. But wouldn't it always meter everything at one apeture?


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7/7/2005 9:11:25 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   No, the gray card is 18% gray, just like the meter reads. Get a gray card at a camera store, hold it a foot or so in front of the lens, and it will meter the light falling on the subject (where your camera is pointed). When there is a lot of light, the aperature will be small. When there is a little light, the aperature will be large. A gray card is a poor man's incident meter. And no, you won't need to do it all the time. As you have discovered, the reflected light meter in your camera works for most things but it doesn't read white too well. It reads it as 18% gray, not white.


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7/7/2005 9:19:44 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Kerry, it is because the AE-1 has the TTL center-weighted metering. The linear MIGHT work but that's not what I've read. Read here:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/polarizers.shtml

But on the safe side, I use the circular polarizer on my AT-1 and Ftb-QL cameras.

For your situation about the white planes, I think it should be underexposed, not over.

Please read here about the proper use of gray card:

http://www.nyip.com/tips/tip_graycard.html

For aviation photography, using a gray card is not practical. May be bracketing is a better way to go.


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7/7/2005 9:28:09 AM

 
Brad silcott   I really appreciate all the help guys. I do have a stupid idea though. What would happen if I lock the exposure after metering just before the plane or on the grass before the plane in the same lighting as the plane? I would like to show you guys some of my photos to see which ones you guys think are overexposed. Heres two I think where overexposed.

1. http://myaviation.net/search/photo_search.php?id=00365298


2. http://myaviation.net/search/photo_search.php?id=00365296


NOW TWO THAT I THINK ARE PROPER EXPOSURE

1.http://myaviation.net/search/photo_search.php?id=00334751

2. http://myaviation.net/search/photo_search.php?id=00373841


You can view all my photos here

http://myaviation.net/?uid=4968

Tell which photos you think are exposed correctly

Thanks Brad S.


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7/7/2005 5:37:44 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Don't all slr's meter through the lens? Circular polarizers were made because liner gets in the way of the auto focus, which is usually an infra red beam I think.


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7/8/2005 12:48:23 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Read that link and every camera I've used a polarizer on is pre '70s and never had an exposure problem. The same light that reaches the mirror reaches the prism and the film, so I don't agree with that article. In theory and application.


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7/8/2005 12:53:21 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  Gregory and Kerry, you are both right. I did a little more research (google) and found out that the linear circular polarizer affect the autofocus more than the metering. The reason why I bought the circular polarizer for my manual focus cameras was that it was available in many smaller camera stores.

Brad, I looked at the photos on your site. Have you tried to use PhotoShop or other software to bring down the brightness and add a little contrast? It was a little overexposed but not totally washed out. Also I noticed that you had taken those photos at high noon and the sun was right on top of you, right? I don't know if using a lens shade will help. The method you mentioned about metering the grass first should work too.


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7/8/2005 6:07:22 AM

 
Brad silcott   Well sad but true. I used Photoshop impressions but I can't afford Photoshop elements or any of the good Adobe. Yes about High noon. That plane was on the ground for only 30 minutes and since its my favorite plane and we only see 5 every 2 years I went ahead and took some shots.

What I still don't quite understand is

If my prints are overexposed. Then the camera thought that there was too much light. Right? The other thing I can't figure out is how will I know if my meter is messing up on a particular shot? I really can't afford to bracket so I will have to try to figure it out. I read in a magazine that when your prints are dark. That is underexposure caused by the camera thinking there was too much light. Yet I have always heard that if your shots are underexposed it was because your camera thought there was not enough light? I am soo confused.


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7/8/2005 7:33:10 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   First, your camera doesn't think. It only reacts. YOU do the thinking.I know you know this but I want you to start seeing things a little differently. A good camera with a great lens is only as good as the person behind the viewfinder.

If the picture is overexposed, the camera read more light than was actually there. It "thought" the scene was darker than it was so it allowed more light to enter the camera. On the other hand, if the picture is underexposed, the camera "thought" there was more light than there was. Most cameras use some sort of averaging meter. The meter reads the entire scene (within the limits of the area of the meter) and averages the light, assuming that is what you want. The meter also reads everything as 18% gray, whether you are using color film or B&W. The meter doesn't know or care. It only reads light. If the scene is very bright, like snow for example, it will read the snow as gray. Unless you have some serious air polution, the snow is really white, so you have to add exposure to the scene. (You can do this by metering off a gray card or the back of your hand.) The back of your hand won't get you exactly what a gray card will but it should be close enough to be within the exposure latitude of the film. Alternately, if you can get close to the subject, you can meter off the subject itself, set the exposure, and then back up to take the picture. Sounds like you have to do a lot of thinking? Yep, cause your camera can't.


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7/8/2005 7:50:15 AM

 
Brad silcott   Ok I think I am starting to get this. Basicly if the photo is overexposed then the camera thought ..er....read that it was too dark. When the photo is underexposed the camera read there was too much light? Thats right correct?

Did anyone decide on which circular or linear polarizer would not mess up metering?


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7/9/2005 9:54:52 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Yes, you are correct about the meter reading.
I have used a linear on my Olympus for years and it has never messed up my metering. I use a circular on my Pentax because it is autofocus.


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7/9/2005 10:47:18 AM

 
Brad silcott   Alright thanks and thanks again. I really appreciate everyone's help.


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7/9/2005 8:18:46 PM

 
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