E6 and slight underexposures
Old 04-25-2019   #1
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E6 and slight underexposures

I'm not totally sure how to search for this, when I read the documentation on Provia 100 it mentions in bright light under exposing. I would like to get an idea of what other people do. I have a M6 TTL and just bought an MP (hasn't arrived). In practice, is the idea to set the ISO on camera to something between 50 - 100 when shooting some E6 films? What do you do in practice?

What happens when setting ISO on the camera to these 1/3 stops? I know what happens, but in terms of getting a center dot, in that I'll change the aperture to get a center dot. It feels because I haven't developed a roll of film on my own since I was 12, that I might be missing some fundamental knowledge.
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Old 04-25-2019   #2
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Slight under exposure is to control the highlights from being completely devoid of details. This would have been instructions for the film as it pertains to its original intention; being projected on a screen.

In actual practice nailing an exposure to within 1/3 of a stop is nearly impossible with an all manually controlled shutter. Also the light meter in the camera just isn’t the correct type to make such fine measurements.

In practice most would set the meter to 125 ISO and try to expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may.
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Old 04-25-2019   #3
Sarcophilus Harrisii
Brett Rogers
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Fuji know how to establish the correct ISO of their films. If you don't have a specific reason for setting the meter to another setting (Exposure Index technically) you are really taking a stab at getting the exposure correct. Why not set your meter at the ISO speed rating of 100, and meter competently? It is ultimately what you need to do to get best results with transparency.

Unlike neg you cannot simply over or under expose to get usable results. If you over expose Provia by much more than half a stop the highlights (depending, of course, on what they are, how bright they are, etc) will begin to blow and when that happens detail cannot be recovered. Yes you can underexpose, and this will save your highlights. But transparency film is extremely dense when underexposed. You will either need to use a really high quality scanner to get any clean noise free detail from the shadows (if the underexposure is not too extreme) or there simply will not be any detail to recover, period.

These are generalisations, obviously. If you are shooting outside on an overcast day for example, the dynamic range may be so minimal that it all works out quite easily (if there isn't any grey sky in the frame I should add). But in brighter outdoor situations with deeper shadows, you can't rate Provia higher or lower, you are quite likely to lose either the shadows or highlights depending on which way you go.

The only way to get the best results is to meter accurately. This may mean using the built in light meter, in which case you will need to take a reading from a good mid tone or interpret readings from elsewhere if your scene doesn't have anything resembling a middle grey or equivalent luminosity. Personally, I can do this if I need to, but tend to have an incident meter with me when shooting any type of film, and when correctly used this can often make life a lot easier if shooting transparency, because by definition the recommended meter setting should prevent highlights overexposing, unless these are atypically bright.

There is no getting around the fact that as gorgeous as a well exposed frame of Fujichrome is, it simply does not have the same dynamic range (or exposure latitude) of an equivalent C-41 film, and that is going make it more of a challenge in scenes with bright highlights and deep shadows. The previous comment mentioned the point about shooting for projection and this is quite relevant in that you can pull the exposure a bit if this is the case. I'd be the first to acknowledge just how sublime a projected colour slide can be. But most people today if they shoot E-6 shoot in anticipation of scanning it. Unless you are fortunate enough to have access to a very high end scanner (Imacon, Howtek and so on) you'll need to eke as much detail out of those shadows as you possibly can, without blowing the highlights. In this sense, exposing to scan is arguably harder than traditional exposure for projection.

The good news is that although Provia is no C-41 film in its exposure tolerance it is a little better than Velvia/Velvia 50. Many of my cameras only offer half aperture stops and whole shutter speeds. Unless the meter reading happens to fall bang on a full stop or a half stop, in practice, I usually have to make a decision between slight underexposure, or slight overexposure. Although I do still project slides occasionally, I anticipate scanning the frames to share, hence, I will overexpose by up to half a stop in preference to underexposing, if there are any important shadows areas I would like to grab something from, in the scan. It's entirely true that Provia does not have a lot of scope for overexposing the highlights. But this is not the same as no scope despite what some may suggest. It can usually handle a half a stop over an accurate incident reading (or equivalent reflective reading from a mid tone). That half a stop can help a lot, if the scanner you can afford to use, is not the same as the scanner you would like to use.

You don't have to spend a fortune on a decent meter with incident capability. I am still using my old Minolta Auto Meter III, easily available for under USD 100, and the IV is not a lot more. This is not to say that an incident reading is the solution for every exposure scenario you may ever encounter. They are of little benefit if you are, for whatever reason, unable to get a reading from the same light direction or of the same exposure value as your subject (think: the tiger lying in its enclosure at the zoo, under the tree--how can you get to the tree to take the reading, if you are in the sun?). There will be situations where, for various reasons, a built in reflective meter, or even a spot meter, will be what you will wish you had. That said: for general transparency exposure setting, a good incident meter is likely to be the one you may end up using the most because it will help protect your highlights and also sidestep the tonality/luminosity dilemma inherent in reflective metering processes.
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Old 04-25-2019   #4
Robert Lai
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Expose at the rated EI. Meter for the highlights, but USE A FLASH to bring up the shadows from becoming entirely black.
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Old 04-25-2019   #5
Filter Factor
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On cameras with a built-in meter, I've always shot Provia at ISO 80, since the mid-1990s to present.
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Old 04-25-2019   #6
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As Brett says; incident meter. Our deceased member Roger Hicks has said many times that SLR and maybe expensive RFs have meters that are keyed to expose for E-6 film. I don't know if this true, but it may have been the manufacturers intention. So like Brett I use an incident meter, some scenes I trust my camera's meter, but like him, higher contrast scenes you have to pick your area of proper exposure.

Here is a series that I used JUST the camera meter, and you can see that there are some that I should have used an incident meter. OR used fill flash, if I had one with me.

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Old 04-25-2019   #7
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Everyone's meters vary for slide film. I shoot over 1/2-1 stop to make it look brighter... sometimes correct exposures for blue skies.
I use hand-held lightmeter Gossen variosix F2.

Velvia 50 RVP, Tetenal E6 Kit.

Agfa CT Precisa 100 equivalent with Fuji Provia 100 (?)

Agfa Precisa CT 100, Tetenal E6 Kit

Correct exposure

Ektachrome 64T EPY, Tetenal E6 Kit.

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Old 04-25-2019   #8
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The "common wisdom" for E-6 is to underexpose slightly. But in 2019, where scanning and digital printing is pretty much the only game in town for printing from slide film, it is better to nail exposure or slightly overexpose, because deep dense shadows will simply not be scannable by anything but a top-tier drum scanner. And with proper technique (filters such as polarizers or grad neutral density filters, understanding the dynamic range, and choosing the right light to shoot it in) you can get good exposures that fit the film's DR and can scan well.

Of course if you are one of the people projecting their slides, go with that common wisdom about underexposure.

And more importantly, test and evaluate your equipment and process to see what works for you. And if none of this works for you, shoot Ektar.
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Old 04-25-2019   #9
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Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
As Brett says; incident meter. Our deceased member Roger Hicks has said many times that SLR and maybe expensive RFs have meters that are keyed to expose for E-6 film. I don't know if this true, but it may have been the manufacturers intention.
I believe it. My Nikon F6 definitely exposes for the highlights in the 3d colour matrix metering mode no matter where the subject is if it is back lit.
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Old 04-25-2019   #10
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I scan the scene with the meter (TTL center-weighted meter in old manual-focus SLRs or handheld spotmeter with medium format), determine the "right" setting, take the shot, then do a -1/2 stop bracket.

- Murray
Still shooting film: Medium Format with assorted TLRs; 35mm with manual-focus Minolta SLRs and a Canonet.
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