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Dr. PhunkyPants 05-23-2013 09:34 AM

Quick question on metering for medium format
I recently obtained a medium format film setup from a family member. The lens is about a 50mm equivalent on 35mm. It's all mechanical and has no meter. I also have an old Nikon N90s with a 50mm lens.

If I meter a scene with the N90s--bearing in mind that the focal lengths of the two lenses are essentially the same--can I use the exact same meter reading? BTW, I realize some films will behave differently, etc...will take notes and compare the metered reading to the actual result...

Sorry for the noobish question...thanks for any input.

Luckless 05-23-2013 09:54 AM

Focal length shouldn't really matter much, unless the difference in field of view is including something that will throw the meter off horribly (Such as trying to meter with a wide angle and including an ultra bright window.) Even a digital camera will work and let you collect more data.

A body offering a spot mode would be ideal.

In theory you shouldn't have much variation, unless the lenses involved have a massively different T-Stop rating from their F-Stop. (F-Stop being the mathematical value for how much light should be getting through, where as T-Stop is the measured value of what actually gets through at time of testing. Values can change due to fogging elements and the like, but usually are close enough if the lens is still optically good.)

The ISO/ASA rating is a standard, and should mean all the math works out the same, regardless of format type.

Your other option would be to get a dedicated hand held light meter. A good narrow spot meter is something I want to get, along with an incident flash meter. I've worked with other people's gear at times, and they really are nice tools to use if you can take the time and plan out your shots.

Dr. PhunkyPants 05-23-2013 10:26 AM

Thanks. According to the N90s can function as a good one degree spot meter when used on spot and with a focal length of 187mm.

Would love to get a good pentax someday, but for's the gear I've got! Will report back once I've shot a few rolls...

Luckless 05-23-2013 01:08 PM

What film are you shooting with it? And are you doing your own developing?

Dr. PhunkyPants 05-23-2013 01:36 PM

Shooting portra 400 and velvia 50 through a Yashicamat and a Mamiya RZ67 w/ 110mm f2.8 lens.

I will be using a local lab (DC area) for the porta and may give Film Developing at The Darkroom | Develop Film by Mail for $10 a try for the

Luckless 05-23-2013 04:11 PM

Currently I shoot with a Canon 7D and do all my development in Lightroom.

But I am reading up more on film and darkroom work. Hopefully will have my own large format field camera and a darkroom setup ready to go in a few years. Sadly I don't really have the space to do one at home, and I don't want to rely on other people for my film development or printing. I don't see a point in playing with film if I can't have control over things.

Ideally will eventually be doing large format, or ultra large format home made plates. Playing with the chemistry of photography looks like a lot of fun.

Kermit 05-23-2013 04:16 PM

I have an old rebel that I was using as a spot meter for some time. It was basically just too cumbersome to carry two camera bodies around.

If you have an iPhone/iPod Touch, get this app-

This is a FANTASTIC tool for manual photography and it's free, which is much cheaper than buying a light meter. I use it all the time and the exposures are spot on. You might have luck with it.

If you don't have another smartphone, there is bound to be a similar(or identical) application on the android market.

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