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Friday, April 29, 2011

Test your meter

Easter Dishes
One of the few shots that turned out. © 2011 Simon Hucko

Just a quick PSA: if you buy an old film camera with a built in meter, always always check the meter before shooting a whole roll with it, or at least shoot a test roll first of unimportant stuff before shooting something you'll want images from.

I made that mistake last weekend and shot most of a roll on Easter relying on my Canonet's meter. I wasn't paying much attention to what aperture the camera was selecting (it's a shutter priority auto kind of thing), and it's hard to judge light levels indoors anyway, so I wasn't too concerned. A few days later I went for a walk to finish off the roll and realized that the meter was way off. Like 2+ stops off, judging by sunny 16. I knew right then and there that I probably ruined all my Easter photos.

After finishing the roll I did the best I could to salvage the images. I stand developed the negs in Rodinal 1:100 for 90 minutes, which is recommended for a 1-2 stop push. As I had feared, most of the negs were extremely thin with no shadow detail. I probably could have extended the development out to 2 hours, but even then I'm not convinced I would have recovered any more in the shadows (at some point the film just isn't sensitized by light and no matter how much development you give it it'll come out blank).

So, if you buy a film camera and plan on using the meter, make sure you test it against another meter or sunny 16 before shooting a roll through it. That way you won't end up with a roll of blank negatives from your next holiday gathering.


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1 comment:

  1. Aw, sorry to hear your Easter shots didn't come out the way you wanted...