Exposure for negatives is keyed to the shadows: in other words, to the minimum density in the negative (the maximum density in the print) in which you want texture and detail.
Exposure for slides and digital sensors, on the other hand, is keyed to the highlights: in other words, to the minimum density in the slide in which you have texture and detail, before the image 'blows' to a featureless white.
This means that metering techniques for the different media are quite different. Built-in meters are however designed principally for slides, because the loss of quality in an over-exposed slide is much more apparent than the loss of quality in an under-exposed negative.
Grey cards are not the answer, as they reduce exposure to rote and are in any case designed for colour, not black and white. This module covers spot meters (the preferred route), other reflected-light meters (including through-lens meters) and incident-light meters. It aims to help you understand what you are doing, and why.
Illustration from 'Exposure for Negatives'
This module also deals with the origins of film speed and modern exposure theory, the 'First Excellent Print' research by Kodak. There are 13 'real' pictures and several equipment and how-to pictures, and about 7,000 words -- about 15 pages when printed out. A typical photo book is 160 or 192 pages and 50-60,000 words so there is a lot here!
You may also care to read the following free modules:
ISO film speeds
Chargeable modules that may be of interest include:
metering for slides and digital.
Books that may be of interest include:
Black and White Handbook
Lighting for Photographers
Quality in Photography
Link to full module
Go to the unillustrated list of modules (in either alphabetical or date order)
or go to the illustrated list of modules
or go to the home page
© 2005 Roger W. Hicks