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How much exposure would I gain with a 220 degree shutter?


Stephen Gordon

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I shot my first wedding at the weekend using Tri-X in a Beaulieu 4008 M3 (with Schneider - Kreuznach 6 - 66mm lens) and had difficulty getting an exposure at times even fully open at f/1.8. The couple didn't want me to use lights and spoil the dimly lit vibe of the event which is fair enough. 

I'm now wondering if I need a camera with a 220 degree shutter (Canon 814 XL or 1014 XLS say) for situations like this in future.

My question is therefore for those with better maths than me - how much extra exposure would I gain (in terms of stops or fractions thereof) with a 220 degree shutter over the Beaulieu?

Thanks in advance if you are able to advise!

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Hi!

There are a few things that you should keep in mind:

* You can replace the Beaulieu‘s lens and use a lens with an f-stop of 0.9, 1.0, 1.2 or 1.4 instead of „only“ 1.8.

* In most cameras, the TriX will be recognized as only 160ASA instead of its box speed (200ASA). That’s because of Kodak’s strange design of the cartridge notches and because many cameras can only differ between 40 and 160ASA. This is especially true for XL-cameras.

* Some cameras will accidentally activate the internal Wratten 85 filter. This will only reduce the amount of light that reaches the film. But it is completely useless as the Wratten 85 is only meant  for tungsten balanced color films. (For B&W, it will act as an orange filter.) You might be able to manually deactivate it. And you should check whether you have deactivated it on your Beaulieu.

* Most S8-cameras have a „permanent“, „non-flickering“ viewfinder. This means that it features a semi-transparent mirror that is permanently in place and is permanently causing a loss of 0.5 to 1.5 f-stops (depending on the camera) by redirecting a fraction of the light to the viewfinder.

In other words: Simply switching to XL cameras might not improve the situation. What about using Vision3 500T? (Disadvantages: very large grain and not all cameras support 500 ASA.)

Edited by Joerg Polzfusz
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Thank you Simon - I wasn't sure how the guillotine on the Beaulieu translated to the traditional shutter so that's very helpful. Single 8 not my format but I didn;'t know that had 'XL' models as well.

Joerg - you make some great points: the original 85 filter was removed and I use an external one when necessary. I will bear your advice in mind when I consider whether to add one of the Canon XL's to my kit. 500T is a good suggestion and the Beaulieu can be adjusted up to 400ASA which I think could be close enough. Thanks!

Do either of you (or others) think that pushing the Tri X at the lab by a stop might help with the underexposed shots? Can that even be done..?

 

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TriX can be pushed and pulled. But I never tried it myself. I have heard that this will have an impact on the grain and the contrast. But I forgot the details.

There is also an alternative approach, but it‘s a DIY approach and hence might not be suited for paid jobs:

https://www.filmkorn.org/lightening-up-too-dark-blackwhite-reversal-films/?lang=en

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Directly compared to the BEAULIEU alone, the exposure gain is a little over 1-Stop.  While the 6mm-66mm Schneider is a great lens, there is also some light loss in that.   I think that Super 8mm shooters should have a few cameras in their arsenal for various tasks.  Other Super 8mm cameras are not mirror shutter designs, but employ usually a beam splitter prism method, and a few out there use a combination of that and a small mirror.  The Super 8mm XL type cameras fall into a couple design types....one using  beam splitter but with more generous amount of light going to the film, and others, usually the smaller compact cameras, use an optic fiber in the viewing path, which is placed behind the lens/zoom lens assembly but does NOT rob any light going to the film.  Often, the XL cameras will have anywhere from an F/1.4 maximum lens opening, but more common are the F/1.2 and F/1.1, and a few with F/1.0.  My SANKYO XL 620 has a moderate zoom lens range, bright viewfinder, 220 Degree Shutter, F/1.2 lens, and diverts very light robbed light to the viewfinder. 

I have been able to film in very low light conditions with this camera and various other cameras.  Film pushing in processing can also help, and a 1-Stop Push won't kill the images......some grain and contrast buildup, but very acceptable.  Besides.....most of you Super 8mm folks nowadays are going to Digital Video and doing all your editing that way as well.  There are various fixes in software to minimize grain, and other adjustments.  I like the grain look personally, and have Pushed film to 2 and 3 Stops for very low light situations.   Really, if your project is ending up on a Digital Format anyway.....even the small frame line variation that exists between camera marques won't affect things since it's all adjust in post in software.  For those of us that project films, we have to be more careful for some technical variations.

I also shoot at 18fps, and that also gives a bit of a boost in lower light exposures over 24fps, something else to consider.  After all, it's a certain look and feel of the event you're looking for. Only you can decide what works best for you.  While I love the BEAULIEU cameras, and my first one is the same as yours, the 4008 M3, for low light work, I only used it as slow running speeds and on either static subjects or for a certain effect.  The same goes for using the NIZO etc.....I got my best results and easier to use filming out of my XL cameras.

 

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Thanks Joerg - I'll look into that DIY techniques though I'm not confident I would have the skills.

Thanks Martin for your usual thorough consideration and highly detailed response to an enquiry!  Your contributions to this forum have taught me a huge amount - in this case I had no idea that there was a frame line variation between camera marques. Your success with pushing gives me hope because I have found very little latitude in the scans I have had made of reversal stock (which I was using in this case). I definitely agree with the idea that you need different cameras for different jobs and the 4008 M3 certainly does well when light levels are good.

I'm going to see if anyone is looking to sell a tested Sankyo XL 620 now... Thanks again!

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When 18fps is fine, you could also look out for a Canon 310xl (the non-af-version): f1.0 lens, 220° shutter, …

https://global.canon/en/c-museum/product/cine291.html

Pros: It’s very compact and light. And there’s an optional wide-angle adapter. It turns the camera into a „focus free“ system which is great for events with a lot of spontaneous action.
Cons: This camera cannot be set to 24fps and its auto-exposure doesn’t support the Vision3 500T!

 

 

 

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I know this post is about Tri-X but here's something to consider when shooting the modern Ektachrome 7294 color reversal. I've been shooting this stock since 2018. My first cart shot at box speed (100 ASA) was way underexposed. I used an Elmo Super 110 that has always been spot on when using the auto exposure. So for the second cart I decided to increase the exposure by 1 stop. When that film came back from the processing lab, and was projected the exposure was perfect! Color, sharpness, and contrast were all top notch! So I've been exposing 7294 at +1 ever since. I've also been using a ND filter when filming in bright conditions. Many will say it's my camera's, but I'm here to tell you modern Ektachrome is not 100 ASA but more like 64-80 ASA. I think Kodak produced this film with a higher latitude in mind, or maybe they formulated it a bit on the conservative side exposure wise. But once you find the sweet spot with 7294 it's a beautiful stock projected.  

Edited by Shane C Collins
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Thanks Joerg - I will need to seek out some online footage shot with the Canon 310XL to see if the quality would be up to wedding coverage standard. 

Thanks also to Shane - I've seen your previous posts about giving Ektachrome 100D (which I shoot and project for my own holiday films) an extra stop over the box speed and actually made a note of your advice in my growing notebook of 'Tips from the experts'. Your response is appreciated!

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8 hours ago, Stephen Gordon said:

Thanks Joerg - I will need to seek out some online footage shot with the Canon 310XL to see if the quality would be up to wedding coverage standard. 

Thanks also to Shane - I've seen your previous posts about giving Ektachrome 100D (which I shoot and project for my own holiday films) an extra stop over the box speed and actually made a note of your advice in my growing notebook of 'Tips from the experts'. Your response is appreciated!

You're very welcome! Glad to hear you also use, and project 7294. Some don't care for it, but I really like it! I've come to enjoy the colors, contrast, and the sharpness. I definitely think this version of Ektachrome is much sharper than 7285 from the past. Although I liked that film overall, but feel the current stock is far superior in many ways. I believe if more people understood how much latitude it has they would maybe like it more in the end. Although it seems to have a good following. Lately when I've tried to order from  FPP it's out of stock. That would seem to indicate people are buying it up! 

So I'm curious, do you shoot this at box speed? If so what has been your experience with it projected? Also keep in mind if you decide to increase exposure +1 be sure to also use a ND filter at the same time in bright conditions. I say this because you can "burn" the exposure a bit if you don't give the lens a pair of sunglasses! 

Edited by Shane C Collins
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Yes I love the stock as well and have had some good results so far. I've shot it with different cameras including Canon 518 AZ and Canon 514XL which can both (I believe) read the notches for Daylight 100 ASA. I've shot on auto exposure with both cameras (before I saw your advice about increasing exposure) and have been generally pleased with the results when projected using an Elmo GP De Luxe projector (chosen for its 150W bulb). I've also shot the stock (a while ago) in my Beaulieu 4008 M3 with the ASA dialled in to 100 and I will project that tonight to remind me of the result. I recall Kevin at Gauge Film told me he had to keep adjusting the scanner when digitizing the cartridge (due to overexposure) which surprised me because the projected film looked pretty good - but as I say I'll check and get back to you.

BTW Martin: I bought a Sankyo XL620 but it arrived with a detached lens element so is sadly being returned. I'm now waiting for a Sankyo ES 66-XL which seems to offer similar features (fast lens, 220 degree shutter and 24fps) so hoping that might fit my bill for low-light situations in future. Do you care for that model at all..?

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