BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Mary C. Casey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/24/2007
 

Overexposed slides


Hello. My husband recently decided to start shooting with a film camera. He has a Nikon f6. He used Velvia 50 and shot outdoors on sunny days at the beach. He used AP f11 everything else was on auto. He used a 20mm AF/2.8 lens.

All the slides came back overexposed, white, thin. This was done at a reputable film lab. Do you think he did something wrong with his camera, or could the camera (new) or lens(new) be messing up? Any help would be appreciated.


To love this question, log in above
10/14/2008 8:12:51 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Probably operator error for a number of reasons. First, beach scenes are tricky. Bright sandy scenes can easily fool a meter. He should read up on how internal meters operate (check the manual) and understand the exposure adjustments he needs to make in scenes like beaches and snow scenes.

And he should double check all his settings and make sure the meter is properly calibrated and everything is working properly. A good CLA at a camera shop is a cheap investment. (Clean, lube and adjustment) checks all the essential features. The lenses he's using would benefit from that as well. A CLA pretty much ensures that the equipment is functioning well.

Next, he should know that slide film, while it produces beautiful results, has less exposure latitude than negative stock. Hence, he needs to be careful with his exposures, perhaps bracketing them 1/3 of a stop or maybe 1/2 a stop in either direction until he gets the hang of it. Most transparency films, including Velvia, obtain better color saturation by slightly underexposing it by 1/2 or 1/3 of a stop. A polarizer might be useful on the lens but it depends on the lighting scenario.

Yes, the problem could be with the lab too. Although E-6 processing isn't rocket science, having the proper chemistries set in the morning before you start processing is important. I prefer "Kodak Q" labs which is a network of labs set up for pros to get identical, high quality E-6 processing standards from one lab to another. When I have film processed out of town, I always find a Q lab or ship it to one I'm quite familiar with for processing.
Take it light ;>)
Mark


To love this comment, log in above
10/14/2008 9:51:55 AM

 
Mary C. Casey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/24/2007
  Mark,
We just tried putting the 20mm lens on my digital camera and took shots. It was STUCK on 2.8 WIDE OPEN. No wonder all our shots were overexposed. It was the lens! Thank you for inspiring us to test the lens. You are a big help to us novices!


To love this comment, log in above
10/14/2008 10:42:40 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hi Mary. Thanks for letting us know the final cause. The solution is a CLA for the lens at least. Sometimes they get "gummy" and need to be cleaned and relubed. Glad to help.
Mark


To love this comment, log in above
10/14/2008 2:52:12 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  new camera f6,wow.but shot at f11?
might be virgin wool?


To love this comment, log in above
10/14/2008 7:20:58 PM

 
Mary C. Casey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/24/2007
  Hello Samuel,

Could you explain the term virgin wool and also what is wrong with f11?


To love this comment, log in above
10/15/2008 4:30:36 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Sammy came with the website. He's harmless.

Hey, Sam. Howzit?

But definitely bear in mind the exposure latitude of reversal (slide) films. As Mark made mention, color negative film generally has the capability to show detail in a five to six stop range. Black and white negative film seven stops worth of exposure latitude, eight if you're good. Color reversal film, three to three and a half stops. Beautiful imagery but VERY unforgiving.

Thank you
Chris


To love this comment, log in above
10/15/2008 3:08:03 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  recently started to shoot with an f6 and picked slide film?seemed like an oxy moron.
it's jumping from street stock to funny car.
well,as an etch a scetch as to graphic arts.
then there's our baited dr. house.
sam


To love this comment, log in above
10/15/2008 9:06:50 PM

 
Mary C. Casey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/24/2007
  Well, I guess we are the butt of a joke and don't even know it!

To clarify: My husband used to shoot film in the 'old days'. We just started taking up photography again as a hobby. My dad convinced him that slide film was superior and my husband did a lot of research and picked out the F6. We have never shot slide film before. I have a digital camera and am about as green as they come. So helpful advice is appreciated but don't expect me to understand photographer humor.
Thank you Christopher for your advice.


To love this comment, log in above
10/16/2008 5:13:25 AM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello mary,

It is refreshing to see someone still shooting slides.

I still pull the 'ol medium format out and shoot a little chrome every so often..gotta love the saturation and sharpness.

Youi may want to look into a "scanner" for yuor slides. That way you can manipulate them at will, make prints, archive... etc.

I'm not talking about the cheapie flat bed scanners, but rather a dedicated film/slide scanner.
Minolta nad Nikon have a couple good ones.


all the best,

Pete


To love this comment, log in above
10/16/2008 11:26:58 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  "QUOTE BY SAM"
recently started to shoot with an f6 and picked slide film?seemed like an oxy moron.
it's jumping from street stock to funny car.
well,as an etch a scetch as to graphic arts.
then there's our baited dr. house.
sam

(wow)
No jokes. No butts of jokes. No jokes of butts. No butts. No nothin. The F6 is still a sweet piece of camera. And film is always a personal expression anyhow. Just point that thing and keep on clickin.

Chris


To love this comment, log in above
10/16/2008 12:24:37 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  well geez,no mention of a cp filter,grad filter,and slide film with no latitude for mistakes.
I don't shoot slides for that very reason.i'm not that good.
have him shoot some kodak 100 or 400uc,much more lenient and forgiving.
sweet spot on that lens might be f8,well,with the auto.
ah chris,i am sam I am.
um,handheld with such a slow speed?iso.
i don't know.
no jokes,no butt of jokes,but never jump from a plane without a parachute?
green eggs and ham.


To love this comment, log in above
10/16/2008 8:14:26 PM

 
Mary C. Casey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/24/2007
  Thank you for all your help. As I said above, we found out the lens was defective (how good is Nikon at fixing lenes and getting them back in a timely manner?)
I will relay all your advice to hubby. I am glad I use digital, I think!


To love this comment, log in above
10/17/2008 5:10:01 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Hi Mary;

Digital is a great form of photography, but for a great education, you just can't beat a manual camera. My first camera was a Praktica-LTL3. I learned oodles from that camera. You have to learn how to adjust your own lighting, focus, controlling depth of field, Lighting from flash, and many other things that you take for granted with thenewer digital cameras. On this site, you will find many questions asked that would have been answered by a manual camera and a good photography course. Most entry level photography courses still request that the student have a manual camera. I currently own a Sony Alpha digital, but my two favorrite cameras are 35mm. One is the Minolta Z700, and the other is a Minolta SRT-201. The SRT-201 has never had a battery in it since I've owned it. It is a very fun camera. I mainly use it for severe weather shooting. With no battery, the camera is completely functional. Only the light meter is disabled. It even functions with a flash. Digital cameras are fun, but you will learn bunches by using a manual film camera.

Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.


To love this comment, log in above
10/17/2008 8:13:00 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  As was mentioned earlier, slide film has less latitude for incorrect exposure than negative film, and the slower the film (lower the ISO rating) the lesser the latitude. Kodachrome 25 was a bear to get good exposure with.

Also, re 'manual cameras' being the best... I think a modern dSLR is the best camera to learn photography with. Why? Because you can shoot manual-everything (focus, exposure, etc.), or you can let the camera do some things and you do others, or you can let the camera do everything. For instance, using aperture-priority autoexposure (where you select the aperture and the camera selects the shutter speed) is a quick and easy way to see the relationship between EV (exposure value, a measure of absolute light), aperture (how much light the lens lets in) and shutter speed (how long the light gets to come in).

What makes dSLRs especially educational is the instant feedback. You can look at the results of your photo immediately, and see what you did right, or what you did wrong. Better yet, you can adjust your settings and try again. That quick feedback allows the beginner to learn much more quickly than having to wait for film to be developed... and then wondering why every photo is solid black, or solid white, and what was wrong.


To love this comment, log in above
11/21/2008 4:03:18 PM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.