Metering for film with digital...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by acearchie, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #1
    Hey guys,

    My light meter has gone bust (it’s giving me crazy readings) and has severely underexposed the end of a roll of film which is a bit of bummer.

    I have a digital camera now but I still really enjoy the latitude and naturally vibrant colours that I can get from film.

    Am I right in thinking that if I take a photo with my digital camera as long as the ISO is the same I can just copy the aperture and shutter speed across (assuming the film camera’s shutter is still correct) and I should get a relatively similar exposure?

    Just wanted to check before another roll of film has to go out the window!
     
  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #2
    When I was doing some research on grey cards, I read that digital cameras meter to 12% grey instead of the 18% that is customary for film. Don't know if this is a difference or not. I tried using my old film meter to set exposures on my digital for a while and it didn't seem to be too far off.

    Dale
     
  3. NeGRit0, Sep 13, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011

    NeGRit0 macrumors 6502a

    NeGRit0

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nv
    #3
    I have always wondered about that, but havent gotten that far in my photographic journey yet. Curious to know if anyone has real world experience with this.

    EDIT: Also, does the camera have be set to a certain metering, like center, or evaluative?
     
  4. acearchie thread starter macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #4
    I realise what a grey card is etc. but In real world differences is that basically meaning a 5% difference in exposure values? Because I can definitely live with that. Had some family friends over at the weekend and stupidly trusted the lightmeter. Out of the half a roll I think only 2 shots are probably saveable!

    To match a lightmeter it would have to be spot and focused on the same spot that you took the lightmeter reading from.

    But I think that it could be on any mode but of course it would depend on what you want "properly" exposed.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    There is an app for that: if you have an iPhone or an iPod touch with a camera, you can use an app called Pocket Light Meter. It's straightforward to use, free and quite accurate (I've checked it against my camera meter and it works quite well).
     
  6. acearchie thread starter macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #6
    Thanks for this, now just have to hope it works with my crumbling old 3G!

    EDIT: turns out my iPhone 3G really is too crumbly with it's lack of video camera! Oh well I suppose it helps justify the upgrade to an iPhone 4 hopefully when everyone rushes to sell theirs off when the iPhone 5 is here!
     
  7. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #7
    I have wound up using this for my exposure settings on my XSi. I read the target in aperture mode with spot metering and use that as a manual setting. It's an 18% grey but has worked well. The histograms are much more evenly distributed than with the spot meter reading off the subject.

    Dale
     

    Attached Files:

  8. mackmgg macrumors 65816

    mackmgg

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    #8
    I'm interested in this too. Other than just the metering though. If I take a few shots with my digital to get the effect I like, such as a silhouette or overexposed parts, will the same exposure work on film? Even if the metering doesn't work, you can use trial and error with digital to get the exposure right, since you can see the results right away.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    The camera meters and ISO settings are all calibrated to the same ANSI/ISO standards (which is why an exernal light meter works fine on digital.) A lot depends on how you develop and shoot the film, most serious film shooters/developers determine an exposure index (EI) that's generally slower than the ISO rating- for instance, back when I shot RDP 50 (Velvia rated at ISO 50,) I'd expose it for an EI of 40 to develop in a standard Kodak E-6 kit. It's especially true of B&W film/developer combinations- but the combinations there are really a multitude and it's relatively time-consuming to figure out because lighting conditions also seem to effect things visibly.

    If you're just shooting consumer-grade color reversal film and developing/printing at a minilab, then you shouldn't have any issues, as the latitude of generic color films is wide enough that you can be off by quite a bit and still get a decent print and they're more often shot at the standards.

    You may find this interesting:

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/cis185/cis185.jhtml

    Digital is shot more like a positive film stock, but usually that's done by either exposure compensation or chimping the histogram- neither of which should impact the meter readings.

    Paul
     
  10. ChrisA, Sep 15, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    Yes it will work but the result might be different. The mid ranges should match perfectly but negative film can have shadows blocks out the dead-black very easy while you can most always recover shadow details in digitals. Then on digital it is easy to blow out highlights while most negative films will retail details even in very bright areas.

    I think digital and negative film are opposites when it comes to the extreme dark and bright spots.

    But I think digital shoots just like slides. If you have experience with color slide film, digital acts just like that. Exposures will cary over much better between slide film and digital
     

Share This Page