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Marc Laurier

Nikon R10 film speed question

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Hello,

 

I am a film student who is brand new to cinematography.com and rather new to Super 8 shooting, though I am beginning to shoot a personal doc in the format.

 

Until now, I have been shooting on the lovely Nikon R10, which I understand has the ability to read various film speeds (ISO/ASA). So far, I have simply been shooting outdoors on Ekatchrome 64T, and the light meter has yielded correct exposures for the most part. However, I have a shoot coming up inside a large windowless room, so I imagine it will be best to use one of the Kodak negative stocks (Vision 2 500T, I think).

 

I have gotten mixed answers about whether the R10 can read 500 speed film. In that chart from smallformat magazine that is floating around the internet, I read that the R10 can read anything up to 650. However, elsewhere I found an opposing claim to the effect that the R10 could only read up to 400. Does anybody know the answer?

 

In the event that the Nikon cannot read 500, can I simply use a manual light meter? Are there any adjustments specific to the Nikon's Nikkor lens that I would need to make to get accurate exposure readings?

 

I also have access, through a friend, to a Minolta D12. According to the aforementioned chart, this can also read speeds up to 650? Is this correct, and as an aside, would this camera be preferable to the Nikon for any other reasons?

 

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for helping a novice!

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Hello,

 

I am a film student who is brand new to cinematography.com and rather new to Super 8 shooting, though I am beginning to shoot a personal doc in the format.

 

Until now, I have been shooting on the lovely Nikon R10, which I understand has the ability to read various film speeds (ISO/ASA). So far, I have simply been shooting outdoors on Ekatchrome 64T, and the light meter has yielded correct exposures for the most part. However, I have a shoot coming up inside a large windowless room, so I imagine it will be best to use one of the Kodak negative stocks (Vision 2 500T, I think).

 

I have gotten mixed answers about whether the R10 can read 500 speed film. In that chart from smallformat magazine that is floating around the internet, I read that the R10 can read anything up to 650. However, elsewhere I found an opposing claim to the effect that the R10 could only read up to 400. Does anybody know the answer?

 

In the event that the Nikon cannot read 500, can I simply use a manual light meter? Are there any adjustments specific to the Nikon's Nikkor lens that I would need to make to get accurate exposure readings?

 

I also have access, through a friend, to a Minolta D12. According to the aforementioned chart, this can also read speeds up to 650? Is this correct, and as an aside, would this camera be preferable to the Nikon for any other reasons?

 

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for helping a novice!

 

Hi Marc,

this is a fairly difficult topic as it has to do with the pesky super 8 asa notch system ... so read carefully.

There are 3 places for notches on the super 8 cartridge. The middle one is just a centering notch and is of no importance to this discussion. The higher of the three notches is the speed (asa) notch. The size of this notch is the principal - but not the only - determiner for the camera as to what speed the camera will think the film is. For any specific speed notch size there is a pair of asa values implied - one daylight and one tungsten. The daylight value is 2/3rds of a stop lower than the tungsten value. The other notch (be it present or absent) is the filter notch. If there is a filter notch, then the camera will believe the film is tungsten balanced. If there is no filter notch the camera will believe the film is daylight balanced. Now, remembering that for each particular length of cartridge speed notch there is both a daylight and a tungsten asa rating, it is thus the case that the presence or absense of the filter notch determines just which of these two asa ratings the camera will believe the film to be.

O.k. so as to the kodak vision 2 500t. The speed notch on these cartridges is the 250d/400t notch. But kodak was thinking that most cinematographers who were shooting this stock in an old super 8 camera would rather use an external filter for colour correction rather than the super 8 camera's own internal 85 colour correction filter ... so Kodak didn't put a filter notch on the cartridge. This means that the camera will automatically de-activate its internal colour correction filter. But, as I pointed out above, it also will mean that the camera will think the film is the daylight speed rather than the tungsten speed. In this instance, the camera will think 250 asa daylight. This is an over exposure of 1 stop from the nominal rating of 500t as 500asa. However this amount of 'over' exposure is considered beneficial by many, or at least entirely acceptable, with colour negative film.

Now, to the Nikon R10. This camera was designed to read all possible super 8 asa ratings. The fastest rating of super 8 cartridges is the 400d/634t speed which, if there was a cartridge notched as such, it would read. However, as I have mentioned, given the way kodak notch their 500t, the nikon will rate it as 250d (actually that could be better said - 250 asa and with no internal colour correction filter active). That would be fine. However, you may like to exploit the potential of this stock to be rated at the full 500asa. You can do this with the R10 very easily by simply rotating the exposure compensation control on the camera to the -1 position. This will 'under' expose the scene by 1 stop from what the light meter thinks. Now given the light meter thinks 250 asa, under exposing 1 stop means it will give an exposure suitable for a film stock twice as fast - ie 500asa. You can do this and you will get good results.

The most important thing I have to say however is DO NOT USE AN EXTERNAL LIGHT METER UNLESS YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY SHOT A CAREFUL TEST ROLL. A callibration test roll is necessary to callibrate the meter to the camera in order to compensate for the amount of light lost by the camera's reflex system as well as its particular shutter angle (remembering that a hand held meter with cine settings assumes a 180 degree shutter, while your camera has a 150 degree shutter I belive). It would be best to shoot this callibration test on reversal film rather than negative. You would then interpolate the results for the different asa ratings.

So shoot away with the r10 using 500t. Make the exposure compensation of 1 stop if you want (setting the dial to -1).

good luck

richard

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Lots of good advice there. In a nutshell, Kodak sets up the VISION stocks to be deliberately overexposed by one-stop in most higher quality cameras. So V500T will be rated at ASA 250, V200T at ASA 100. They do this by supplying these films in what used to be called 'daylight' cartridges.

 

This seems to work out for most people. The only problem would be the lack of any internal 85 correction filter, which is disabled by that cartridge. To make up for this you have to put an 85 filter over the lens.

 

But in most cases, leave it off. Not only can color be better corrected in post, but that filter will cut down the light even more, by 2/3 of a stop, and will make it more difficult to focus/view (whatever), because of the amber cast.

 

So simply put, the R10 will be fine just the way it is so don't worry about it.

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Richard and Jim,

 

Thank you so much for all this helpful information. I really appreciate the way the Super 8 community assist and advises its new initiates.

 

So, just to confirm what you're saying:

 

1. The Vision 2 500T stock can easily handle a 1-stop overexposure, and it is often preferable to do this. Thus, in my circumstances, I can safely shoot the film as-is, using the internal light meter, and without turning the exposure compensation dial.

 

2. The filter notch automatically disengages the 85 filter, so there is no need to insert the filter key into the slot. (Actually, on that note, when I've been shooting 64T, I've always been getting correct colour -- so, does the 64T cartridge automatically engage the 85 filter? The reason I ask is that I've always been worried about whether my filter has been engaged or not, and I am not completely aware of how to tell if it's on, since this camera doesn't have a simple switch like some, but a narrow key slot.)

 

4. Since I am shooting in a windowless (artificially lit) room, the filter will be natively disengaged, and in artificial (Tungsten?) lighting, there is no need of a colour correction filter, so I can simply shoot as-is.

 

Lastly, about the exposure compensation dial. If I do turn the exposure compensation dial to -1, will the light meter give me readings consistent with a single stop of underexposure, or will it automatically set the aperture a stop smaller than that indicated on the meter? Will this happen in manual mode also? If my light isn't great and the meter tells me to be wide open at 250, should I chance it setting the dial to -1, or simply shoot wide open?

 

And, re: external light meters. I do plan on shooting a careful test roll, but to what extent would it be possible to do an outdoor shoot on 64T and compare the readings of the internal meter with those of an external meter, to get a sense of the difference between the two? According to the R10 instruction guide, the slowest shutter speed for the variable shutter is 1/54th.

 

Again, many thanks for your help. Best wishes,

 

Marc

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It shouldn't be this complicated.

 

Basically, it is hard to overexpose 500 Vision film when shooting indoors, ESPECIALLY IF ONE IS BOUNCING THE LIGHT and one is trying to light a medium sized room. Close-ups might pose a problem if one is doing a relight and now there is more light to use for a smaller area.

 

I don't think the filter is necessary if you have a good transfer house doing the transfer. When shooting vision negative, the filter might be an issue if one is shooting with an overcast white sky outside, and the sky is in the shot, then perhaps filter is a good idea.

 

My shoots with the Vision II were outdoors with no filter, but the sky was blue. However in one shot the actress had on a flowing white gown and it looked like the proper color of white even without the filter.

 

As for indoors, you probably only have to worry about excessive overexposure if you blast you actors with a ton of light at a close distance, to the point where they are squinting. Your basic settings will probably always fall between f1.8 to 2.8 for most of your shots, with the many of them at the f2.0 mark.

 

Can you do a test before your shoot just to be sure?

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Hi Alessandro,

 

Thanks for that information. I know I've made things more complicated than they should be; all I can say in my defence is that I am quite new to Super 8 (this project originally started on video).

 

For what it's worth, I am filming an empty ballroom for a doc about some historic sites in my city. There will be no people on screen, but I've been in the space once before and there is quite a variation between areas under hot spotlights and darkened nooks and crannies. I've tried unsuccessfully to get permission to shoot a test in the space, so for better or worse, I'm going to be winging it. I will try to get a Diva from my school for lighting certain details.

 

Anyway, I am sorry to go on at such length here. Everyone's feedback is most helpful.

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My Nikon R10 has a lever switch next to the Shutter open knob, it's not in the manual. Do you know what it's for please. It doesn't seem to be a lock for the shutter knob.

thanks,

Brad.

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I have some good news and some bad news for you.

The Good News is you have what is probably a one of a kind after market add on.

And the Bad news is, you have what is probably a one of a kind after market add on.

 

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This is perhaps stupid to ask, but I can't find any difference the lever makes looking through the viewfinder.

Would you have a guess what this aftermarket lever might be for?

I haven't shot film through the camera, but i'm assuming it was added by somebody who knew what they were doing.

thanks,

Brad

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Marc,

Using an external meter is not complicated and that's actually what I do with all my film cameras. The mistake some people make is assume the light meters matches the specifications of the camera, meaning there are some factors you have to consider before deciding what your exposure is going to be. I own a few R10s and I tested a couple of them using a light meter and a gray card and they were giving me pretty much the same F-Stop that I would get if I consider some compensations on my hand held light meter.

There are mainly 3 things that you should consider when using a non professional camera with no professional lenses. Someone mentioned Shutter Angle. Don't assume that your camera has a 180° shutter angle, always do your research, In the case of the R10 I'm pretty much sure it is 160° so dial that number on your meter, calculate the number 24x360= 54th/sec. The second factor to consider is you are using a lens marked on F stops not in T stops, so simply ad 1/3rd of a Stop to compensate for the light loss in the lens, and Third factor is the prism that they use in the camera to split the image between the viewfinder and the gate, simply ad another 1/3rd of stop to compensate for the light lost in the prism and you are set. Pretty much you are going to compensate (not over expose) one full stop to get proper exposure. Then if you want to over expose the film a little to get less grain or because that's your preference you can do it. It would be a good idea to shoot a roll of film for sure, and even better idea to shoot a roll using a gray card and over and under exposing to see the effects rather than just shooting whatever. You could use half roll to shoot charts and half of it for real life situations. That's exactly what I do and most of the time my shots are right on the spot without the variations that a auto meter will give.

 

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23 hours ago, Brad Gerrard said:

This is perhaps stupid to ask, but I can't find any difference the lever makes looking through the viewfinder.

Would you have a guess what this aftermarket lever might be for?

I haven't shot film through the camera, but i'm assuming it was added by somebody who knew what they were doing.

thanks,

Brad

Your point is valid, why is that lever there? If you feel brave enough, run the camera and gently turn the lever and listen to see if it the lever creates a mechanical sound. Also see if it affects the auto light meter in any way. I am going to guess it might somehow be for manually changing the f-stop?  Maybe a fader?

Edited by Alessandro Machi
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On 2/28/2020 at 7:17 AM, Brad Gerrard said:

Would you have a guess what this aftermarket lever might be for?

Obviously the camera had some work done. The aperture (iris) ring doesn't have the original cover and the leatherette seems sketchy too. You may have a crystal syn converted camera. It is possible to convert the R8 and the R10 to Crystal Sync and I have seen that kind of switches on converted cameras and I know that the modification is possible. Bad news is you may be missing an extra little box that goes with the camera when converted and needed to do the job.

 

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