geeky,  hobbies,  photography

Slide Film is tricky, after all!

Slides on a light tableOr is it?

(That’s a nice, medications vague introduction!) Well, I’ve been reading a lot about different kinds of film, including slide film. The color rendition is supposed to be totally different than from negative film, not to mention more of a challenge to expose properly. I finally decided to try it out, choosing 35mm Fuji Velvia 100, based on its saturated, but not out of control color.

This tricky exposure thing? How much trickier could it be than shooting digital, with its unforgiving linear exposure curve that makes for blown-out highlights (like the sky in high contrast scenes, etc). I know how to work with digital, and figured my first roll of slide film I’d be especially conservative about choosing lower contrast scenes.

And so I did. And I’m shocked at how crappy most of the results are:

Oh dear. Very overexposed, over and over again:

Audi A4 Logan Circle Spring Gardens flowers Back Side of the Main Post Office Saint Francis De Sales

The only photos that really came out reliably were taken indoors:

Firehouse Provenance Reading Terminal Market Veggies RTM Vendor View Veggie Still-Life

Only one shot that was taken outdoors was salvageable:

West Philly Rowhouse

Hmm. That’s the only shot I took outside with Travis’s 28mm f/2.8 Pentax SMC-A lens. I didn’t have my polarizer on there. Come to think of it, none of the indoor shots were taken with the polarizer.

I think I have totally misjudged the effect of the circular polarizer on the K1000’s built-in light meter… with disastrous results. I thought that since the K1000 does TTL metering, the darkening effect of the polarizer would be automatically properly taken into account, but evidently not.

Is there anyone who knows what they’re doing who can help me out here? What is it about the circular polarizer that threw the metering off so very much?


  • albert

    i think a C-PL is at least 1 stop of light loss and from what i’ve quickly read, the K-1000 does have TTL and therefore should be automatically compensating. but oddly, it’s overexposed instead of being underexposed (if the TTL meter wasn’t compensating).

    i’d suggest taking a look at the K-1000 user group on flickr.

  • Travis Truman

    My 28mm that you used did have a polarizer on it, probably not a circular one. I don’t remember if you took it off or shot with it on.

    Sounds like its time to do some metering comparisons between a known good meter and your K1000.

  • boombadeus

    Albert, I agree it’s really weird that they’re overexposed. If anything, I’d expect the TTL meter to get faked out the opposite way, to lean towards underexposure.

    Travis, now that you mention it, I do remember you had a polarizer on it. Since I was borrowing it, I didn’t remove it.

    Hmm. Well, that one was also overexposed, but not as much as the others, and salvageable in my photo editor. I wonder if the circular vs. linear has anything to do with it. I understand that CP filters have a greater filter factor than regular linear polarizers. Maybe that’s why the result with your filter was overexposed, but not as drastically?

    It’s still really strange. The TTL metering on my DSLR isn’t faked out by the CP filter…

    It’s definitely time to do some metering comparisons with the K1000. I’d never run ISO100 film in it before, so maybe it’s somehow more off at 100 than at 400.


  • David

    Nice work. The ones that did come out are great shots – I esp. like the architectural salvage shop. Comes off just like a browntone.

  • Joe

    Its not just Pentax K1000. I just shot an AGFA black&white negative film with a Praktica BX20 with a Heliopan circular polarizer filter on the lens. Each shot was consistently overexposed with at least two stops. There must be something with cp-filters that tricks the TTL-metering badly. (Even though it should not, thats the whole point of using circular instead of linear).

  • boombadeus

    Joe, I wonder what it is with that. Like you say, I’d expect the cir-pl to be no problem with the metering. All I know is, I’ve been more or less permanently scared off from using a polarizer of any kind on the K1000 again!