HI, I can't seem to figure metering out, my pictures are either under or overexposed. I try to use the meter in my camera, but I am still experienceing the problem, even when I set for middle gray. Please help, very discouraged.
John A. Lind
Go out and burn a couple rolls of film under varying lighting conditions just to get some experience with exposure, how you are measuring it and differences between varying lighting conditions. Do this in an organized manner:
a. Keep record of how you measured the exposure and what the setting was for each frame, by frame number. Make additional notes about the time of day and light direction.
b. Bracket exposure by shooting three frames of the same subject. Adjust exposure by a half or full stop in each direction from the first original setting used. Ensure you record these settings also.
c. After you get the film developed, compare your images with your notes.
This is how I test camera bodies for metering accuracy in different auto and manual metering modes.
Good guidance from John. I can only add that you should set up your tests as a scientific experiment. If your camera has several metering modes, don't switch among them, unless you're staying in the same mode for a series of shots. Control all your variables. Vary only one at a time. For example, keep the subject and lighting the same on an evenly lit subject, and vary the metering modes. (Or vary something else, but not two things)For a high contrast situation, keep subject and lighting the same. Try another series on a subject in a shadow with bright sky in the background. As John says, keep careful records.
I think before you do anything you have to make sure you in-camera meter is caliberated to produce 18% grey. I suggest you burn a roll clicking one subject on a sunny day which you thing compares to having 18% reflectance. Do this by using the sunny 16 rule. Set the shutter speed to resiprocal of the film speed(eg: for a film of 100 iso speed set the shutter speed at 125 or the next closest) and set the aperture to f16. Then start taking pictures by keeping constant the shutter speed-aperture combination and just change the iso setting on you camera in the plus or the minus side. Get the film developed and check what iso setting gives the right feel. Use this setting whenever you use that film. This test will get one thing (camera fault) out of the way. But always remember what others have said. Always keep notes.
I don't know what kind of camera you have, but if it's possible to read the metering results of the camera (i.e., selected aperture and exposure time), then compare it with the metering of another camera or a handheld lightmeter. Be sure that all the circumstances are equal (same object, distance, angle, illumination, etc.). Be also sure that the metering mode is the same (i.e., center-weighted, spot, etc.) and the set film speed. Perhaps this method provides you with a faster answer than sacrificing lots of rolls.
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