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Old Oct 26, 2009, 8:28 AM   #1
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Default Digital Camera as aid to Shooting 35mm

Is it possible to use a digital LCD screen as the view for 35mm shooting? If both cameras are set up side by side, and after getting optimum shot in LCD screen, can the digital settings be transferred to the 35mm camera? This might come in handy under unusual shooting conditions where using just a 35mm would be trial and error to get the right settings. But after seeing the results in the LCD screen, using the digital camera settings should make taking the 35mm shot a snap.
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 10:02 AM   #2
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I do not think this would work to good do to white balance, the 35mm film camera has a fixed white balance and a fixed ISO where the digital camera has variable.
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 10:37 AM   #3
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Interesting question, is f4.0 the same amount of light in a film camera as to a digital camera? Will try to run a test today and find out if they are the same or not. Think I still remember how to turn on my 35mm SLR, yeah it's been a while.
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 11:10 AM   #4
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Does your film camera have a built in meter? Most modern film cameras do. For example, all of my SLR film cameras have built in meters.

If so (it has a built in meter), I'd probably use it instead, as you can see some variation in things like ISO sensitivity between camera models (although they should be pretty close).

I've still got an old Canon rangefinder that I use every once in a great while that does *not* have a built in meter. I just use a hand held meter with it.

But, I guess I could probably use a digital camera and try to estimate the needed settings that way with it (using the digital camera as a meter instead). But, one problem with a non-dSLR camera is that you are not going to be able to stop down the aperture enough to get an equivalent setting (as most non-dSLR models are designed to shoot at much wider aperture settings compared to SLR cameras, and have a *lot* more DOF compared to a 35mm camera for a given aperture setting, focus distance and framing).

So, you'd have to extrapolate the needed settings, depending on the DOF needed. IOW, if your non-dSLR camera is showing a shutter speed of 1/800 second at f/2.8 and ISO 100, you may need to use f/11 (an aperture setting many non-dSLR camera won't have) with a shutter speed of around 1/50 second with ISO 100 film to get the roughly same depth of field (given the same subject framing).
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Old Oct 26, 2009, 12:23 PM   #5
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What got me thinking about this was the last couple of posts by Spy. His light painting shots at night with beautiful pinks and blues in the sky. Would those shots have been possible with a 35mm camera? If you were shooting with a 35mm how many shots would you bracket in hopes of getting the same colors?
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Old Oct 27, 2009, 9:44 AM   #6
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I was a a lecture from a National Geographic Photographer back in the 70's who did sunsets by shooting at all f-stops/speeds to get one good photo.
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Old Oct 27, 2009, 1:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitepass View Post
I was a a lecture from a National Geographic Photographer back in the 70's who did sunsets by shooting at all f-stops/speeds to get one good photo.
Well that would certainly cover it wouldnt it? I dont like to waste film and never did. I was hoping there was a relationship between the digital camera and shooting 35mm.
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Old Oct 27, 2009, 2:28 PM   #8
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Well yes. There is no reason not to use your digital camera in place of polaroids. :-)

Metering doesn't always tell the whole story in scenes with high dynamic range, so it can be useful to get previews. Many studio photographers used to have Polaroid backs that they would use before switching to negative or positive films.

By all means use your digital to get a reading - preferably set it to the same ISO as your film then get an exposure you like and transfer those settings to the film camera.

But of course in less challenging conditions using a light-meter (as Jim said most cameras of recent vintage have one) works just as well. Negative film in particular has a very wide exposure latitude (13-15 stops for BW, maybe 10-12 for colour) which makes highly accurate metering unnecessary. Positive film though has a much smaller range, probably only 5-stops or so, so precise exposure is very important.
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Old Oct 29, 2009, 9:33 AM   #9
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Hey Bynx. That's is a good question. I think to use film in the type of shots Spy is doing with the long exposure to paint with light might be a problem. On long exposures with film after a certain time (varies by film) a condition known as reciprocity (the degradation of the film’s sensitivity with loss of light during exposure) will occur.
As for using the digital camera to get the readings and check the composition should work fairly well.
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Old Oct 29, 2009, 9:44 AM   #10
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I first got into digital photography a long time ago (probably about 1999), with an Acer Scanwit 2720s filmscanner, and Ed Hamrick's Vueprint software ( http://www.hamrick.com/ ), which was vastly superior to anything that came with scanners at the time.

Your thread here, Bynx, causes me to realise that if I'd had the photoediting skills then that most Forum members here have now, I could have been into something rather like HDR several years before I had my first digicam (Feb02). By twiddling the scanner control software, it would have been possible to extract the full dynamic range from the remarkably excellent colour negative film of the time, and then combine the scans in the way you treat separate tripod exposures now.

Typical digicam shooting is closely analogous to shooting colour transparency film, of course, in that you get one go only at the highlights. If they're blown, you've had it, so one exposes for the highlights and hopes for the best, and brackets exposure if there are important shadows, so you can choose the least blown highlights. This is exactly how I work with my superzoom, using its EVF to get the most important highlight right, by eye. If in doubt I'll bracket, as ever.

Therefore, as you suggest, Bynx, it would be a fascinating, albeit somewhat tedious experiment to use a 35mm camera alongside a digicam, framing the subject as much the same as possible.

In the case of the transparency film, the digicam would act as an exposure meter, and the exposure settings ought to indicate how well the sensor imitates the sensitivity of the film. In principle, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO value should be directly transferable, assuming the framing can be got right from a similar viewpoint, i.e., about the same equivalent focal length. The competition in resolution would of course depend on the lenses, and sensor pixels vs filmscanner ones.

Much more interesting would be to see how much better colour neg film plus a good filmscanner and software could do for a single shot from 35mm vs a digicam. If the end result was to be a screen or projected image, I expect the neg would win hands down. I think it would be necessary to expose the two differently, "exposing for the shadows and letting the highlights take care of themselves". Then multiple, carefully adjusted scans and loads of skilled image & layer editing of the results would be necessary.

If multiple shots of static subjects from a tripod were allowed, then I'd expect HDR on the digicam and skilled use of layers to win.

The film/scanner equivalents would require more skill and patience than I could ever be bothered with in colour darkroom work. I cheated for colour prints by using the Ilford Cibachrome process from colour slides, doing the composition and exposure in the darkroom, and processing prints up to 16x12 in daylight in a developing tank rolled in a water bath in the domestic bathtub. I don't miss it.

It's a shame that colour neg film reached such a high altitude zenith of excellence just in time to be superseded by the giant digicam leaps in convenience and cheapness. Perhaps cheap sensors and cameras will catch up one day.
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