Exposing for lights or shadows with negative film?

Started 4 months ago | Questions thread
Horiz Opposed
Horiz Opposed Contributing Member • Posts: 601
Re: Exposing for lights or shadows with negative film?

Bags27 wrote:

Easiest way to protect shadows is for normal photos just rate the film around 1/3 of an f-stop slower. A lot of folks, for example, shoot Tri-X at around 320. Develop normally, though, again, some folks will take maybe 30 seconds off the development time. YMMV.

1/3 stop, I have to disagree. My comments refer only to shooting black and white negative film.

Having done tons of exposure and development tests over the years, including reading and charting the difference in the various densities of developed film with a densitometer, 1/3 of an f-stop is not going to do it.

In fact, if you take 3 forty year old film cameras of the same model, and time the shutters, I’ll give you $50 if two of them are within 1/3 of a stop of the shutter speed they are supposed to have. Brand new they could be 1/3 stop different.

Practically speaking, unless you are adjusting the aperture on a view camera lens, or using a fully automatic camera with stepless electronic shutter, you cannot even adjust by 1/3 stops.

If you need more detail in the shadow areas, anything less than doubling your exposure is just not going to make that much of a difference.

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