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Old 08-23-2012, 11:48 PM
nzoomed nzoomed is offline
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Originally Posted by sdkodachrome View Post
Are you familiar with how your XA3 meters? The first shot looks like maybe it was metered straight off the spot in the very middle of the frame where the bright sun seems to be hitting the white snow (much more so than anywhere else in the shot). If the camera has something close to "spot" metering (or extremely center-weighed), and you just let it automatically expose on that with that overly bright snow in the middle, it would have radically underexposed the shot. (Then the scanner may have tried to lighten the scene back; I have the worst results with Dwayne's scans on those shots which are underexposed.)

You have to be conscious of how your metering systems works and when something is in its prime metering area that is not representative of the whole scene, or is way way brighter or way way darker than "18% grey" (which is the brightness level any meter always assumes it's metering). And in those cases you have to compensate somehow: Among the choices: Note the automatic metering setting but meter manually and compensate (add expsore if the object it's metering is very light, subtract exposure if the object it's metering is very dark); meter a more representative thing (by moving what the camera is aimed at, note that setting, and use it manually as you reposition the camera back on what you wanted to shoot); some cameras have an "exposure hold" feature that does that last process automatically, if you do something (press another lever, partly press the shutter, what it is varies among cameras) after metering the other view and you hold that as you move the camera to the shooting view; and finally some cameras have an exposure compensation (-/- 1 or 2 stops in some fraction of a stop increments), and with experience you can set these reasonably well based on the scene (again, add some if what is being metered is overly bright and subtract some if what is being metered is overly dark).

But first you need to figure out how your camera meters. You can gain some ideas (assuming it shows you the exposure it's choosing) without any film loaded, just by going around and aiming at scenes where there's something bright in the middle but darker elsewhere (or vice versa) and then moving around the camera so the unusually bright/dark thing is in the center vs other parts of the frame vs out of the frame completely, and see how differently it comes up with exposure settings in each case.

My Nikon FE2 has center-weighed metering (not as drastic as some other cameras), and yet it definitely gives the wrong exposure if something quite bright or quite dark is in the center. For example, when shooting sunsets with the sun in the frame, I have to meter the sky around the sun, then shoot that setting manually (after recomposing with the setting sun in the frame). If I let the camera meter with the sun in the frame, anywhere in the frame, it is likely to vastly underexpose. (Except I found that this procedure doesn't work quite right during an annular solar eclipse maximum, because in that case the sun hardly lights up the sky! But that's another story...) And if I'm shooting something where the middle of the shot is extremely dark (perhaps some trees in shadow); in that case getting an exposure off of trees that are not in shadow and using that works way better than letting the camera decide the exposure off of the dark section in the middle of the scene.

(Some modern cameras may have metering systems which can deal better with such situations perhaps. I've heard terms like 51-point metering! But don't expect that from film cameras from decades ago...)

Well i cant say im familiar with these cameras yet, only 2 photos on the whole film turned out like this, and unless im using an SLR or rangefinder camera, i dont really have much control of the exposure other than
doing what you suggest, or using the backlight feature if ive got bright light behind the subject, i can also override the ISO setting if i tape over the DX code on the film.
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