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film camera vs. micro 4/3

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by Luke, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Hi all,
    I recently responded to a local ad and purchased a Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic camera with a couple lenses. I really went to score some cheap manual focus lenses (since I already have an adapter to use them on the Panasonics), but once I got everything home, I really enjoyed everything about that little spotmatic. The feel in my hands, the way it meters light through the lens, proper dials for shutter speed and an aperture ring.

    I'm sure all this seems like no big deal to all you veteran photographers, but the tactile experience (and focusing through that big, beautiful optical viewfinder) is something I definitely want to try. It seems in good overall shape and I'm gonna throw a roll of film in today. My idea is to also bring along the gf1 and try to take similar shots and see how they compare. Nothing scientific or anything, but I figure it might help to see if the metering is accurate and stuff.

    What I'm not 100% certain of (and hopefully you seasoned old hands can offer) is whether the setting will more or less be the same on the 2 cameras? Now, I understand that the spotmatic uses something like a center weighted average metering (and depending on how it averages, it might be metering some trickier scenes a little different than the gf1), but if I'm using 400 speed film and set the camera up for that would i also want to set the gf1s ISO for 400 to match the speed of the film. Or is telling the camera that I have 400 speed film in there like using using a camera at its' base ISO?

    I will also try to use the same aperture to get "similar" depths of field (don't overwhelm me with your answers being TOO technical about differing DOF on different film/sensor sizes) as long as the shutter speeds won;t be problematic for "freezing" the action.

    Any other tips or suggestions or things for me to consider before I start off on this un-scientific comparing of 2 different "systems"? I look forward to your responses.
     
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  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The ISO ratings on digital cameras are a throwback from film days. Digitals are not 100% accurate to their indicated ISO ratings. The difference may or may not be enough for a concern. dxomark reports measured versus published ISO for various camera sensors... If the camera is way off, I'll put a sticker underneath the camera to remind me when using handheld meters.

    THen again... some of the meters on my Spotmatics are not 100% accurate either... with age and battery voltage dependent. Older selenium meters will be even more inaccurate.

    Mercury batteries have been banned for quite some time now (info below for replacement). Replacement was getting harder and harder to find so I eventually started using a handheld meter.

    http://www.ok1000pentax.com/2006/06/spotmatic-mercury-battery-replacements.html
     
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  3. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I was aware of the battery issue after reading up on the "Spotties" yesterday. I plan on taking notes while I'm shooting. Do you think I should "trust" the meter on all shots for this first roll of film or just take it as a suggestion and factor in what the gf1 is doing in the same circumstances (and keep accurate notes to compare the results later).

    While I think I'm going to like the experience of using the old camera, I'm not sure how far down the road I want to go and start using handheld meters and the like.

    In your experience, if the meter isn't 100% accurate using different voltage modern replacements, will it at least be consistent 1 stop over or 1 stop under or will it just be inconsistent, period?
     
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    What I would do in your shoes is take your current digital and determine the delta between its real ISO and published. The DXOmark measures (if available) will give you a good start. That's essentially a meter and you don't need to wait to develop pictures nor buy a handheld.

    Next, compare the meter reading from the spotmatic to the digital camera's meter + delta. That should determine how accuracy of the old meter. With that figured out, go have fun.


    Using various replacements (its been a while), I recall it being off consistently depending on the voltage difference. Another issue with most replacements is that they loose voltage as they age... again changing the accuracy of your meter over time. The Wein cell (PX625?) was fairly accurate and maintains voltage over lifespan like mercuries. The bad thing with Wein cells, they work by reaction to air which means they loose charge over time even when not in use. PITA if its something you don't use very often.

    I use the Voigtlander shoe mount meter quite often on both digitals and film:

    Voigtlander VC Speed Meter II - Black 45AD104B B&H Photo Video

    Allows me to determine exposures (not ttl) without having to bring the camera to eye-level. There's always sunny-16 as well... but that takes practice.
     
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  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I understand what you're getting at in the first 2 paragraphs, but I don't understand how to do it.
     
  6. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    OK, I found the info that I think you are referring to here ...... DxOMark - Panasonic Lumix DMC GF1 . So if I'm using 100 ISO film (it's just what I have lying around) it looks like it would be roughly equivalent to what my gf1 describes as ISO 80-ish. Am I reading that correctly?

    Is that close enough to make much difference?
     
  7. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Your GF1 seems to be "more" sensitive than what the ISO standard. Rather than playing with the ISO settings, you may simply adjust via 1/2 stop (or less) in either shutter or aperture.

    Close enough? Its really a preference. Slide shooters tend to be stickler for exposure. Negative film is very forgiving. I sorted it out over time... through experimentation.
     
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  8. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    523
    Sep 5, 2010
    Another facter to be aware of but not too concerned about is that if you use a local (ie walmart etc) processing, the machine will try to correct your "mistakes" in exposure. So to be sure if exposure is accurate, you will have to check the negitives. regular film (not slide) can be corrected some what and still be usable for snapshots. Hope this is not too tech or confusing.
     
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  9. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    a year ago, it would have been too confusing. Right now, it's just confusing enough that I think I understand it.:thumbup:

    I'm gonna roll with close enough for the first roll and see where we're at.

    Any other tips or suggestions?
     
  10. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    892
    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    With film, you can guesstimate the correct exposure with the sunny 16 rule. This rule is : on a bright blue sky sunny day, when the aperture is set at 16, the shutter speed should be set at 1/ISO. The more cloudy the weather, the more you open the lens and/or drop the speed. Or, if you're fearless, use 400 iso b&w film with about 10 ev of latitude, weld your camera shutter to 1/125th sec. speed, and bolt f/11 on the lens, develop film @320 iso, rinse & repeat.

    Cheers,
     
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  11. retnull

    retnull Mu-43 Regular

    68
    Feb 12, 2010
    iPhone light meter app works great, too
     
  12. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    you guys keep coming up with the most expensive ways for me to meter light :eek:.....first a $200 Voigtlander light meter, now a $200-$300 phone. The whole camera only cost $30!:smile:
     
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  13. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    First, use your m4/3 camera as a light meter and see if it works--even if it does not, it might not be the fault of the digital camera. With negative film, your exposures should be in the ballpark. Come back after you develop the first roll of film.
     
  14. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I did mention to use your digital as a meter and or sunny 16... :)
     
  15. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Luke is from Milwaukee. There is no sun. :cool:
     
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  16. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Bwaaaaa-ha-ha. Quite a bit of sun actually. Fortunately sun and snow are not mutually exclusive. :biggrin: I can't wait to share the results with you guys...... hopefully the results won't be that great so I can sell the film camera.:wink:
     
  17. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    411
    Jul 20, 2010
    Another old hand:

    With B&W film, use the Kodak BW400CN... it is a 400 speed B&W film that is developed standard Color C41 process (all color negative films use C41). and all you local photo labs use C41.

    You can set you ISO on your Spotmatic on 320, This B&W film has a wide latitude on exposure and at 320 it gives a little leverage for under-exposure..

    For color film a 200 ISO film is a good compromise. you can also shoot at 160 ISO.. This will keep any highlights from blowing out. and, when printed by a lab, the printer will auto adjust the exposure anyway... not a concern... really.

    REMEMBER:
    A Digital File is like shooting slide film: More exposure = LIGHTER,
    A Negative film is just the OPPOSITE: More exposure = DARKER

    BTW the MR-9 battery adapter uses SR386 for button types in Mercury batteries. Not sure what bat. the Pentax uses.
     
  18. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Mark
    Another vote for sunny 16 here. For print film err on the side of overexposure. Most modern print emulsions will take up to 3 stops over but only about a stop under before you need to process differently. Slide film needs to be exposed accurately.

    Sent from my iPod touch using Mu-43 App
     
  19. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Mark
    Sent from my iPod touch using Mu-43 App
     
  20. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Boy, those were the days. My trusty Pentax SP500, Tri-X, and my basement darkroom. When "equivalence" meant holding the photos side by side.
     
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