View Full Version : How to Meter/Expose Astia 100F??

Rust Never Sleeps
1-May-2008, 20:35
I just moved up to 4x5 from a Pentax 6x7 and am eager to shoot different films of the same scene(western landscapes) to fine tune the shot I am after and to eventually figure out what film I will need at a certain situation. On the 6x7 I shot mostly Velvia 50(old) and Velvia 100 with some Velvia 100F and Provia 100F. After looking through my slides the last couple of times I am finding more and more that Velvia just is not cutting it anymore on some scenes. In no particular order, on some scenes it is too saturated, not enough detail in the shadows and highlights do to strong contrast, "Disneyland on Ken Kesey acid" colors, and fake looking.

I like the film right before sunrise to a couple of minutes after the first light hits the landscape and the very last rays of light at sunset to dusk, overcast lighting with soft light, and when I want strong contrast but the colors and light on the landscape is not naturally too saturated. I have a mountain alpenglow scene shot on velvia 100 that was naturally already quite colorful and saturated on its own and the Velvia 100 totally exaggerated it and it looks awful.

So I am looking at Astia 100F for the first time and thinking about revisiting Provia 100F. When comparing Velvia to Astia should I keep the exposure the same and expect to get half a stop of shadow detail and half a stop of highlight detail or should I just find a different exposure by metering light and dark areas?? For example I know with Velvia that if I measure highlights at zone VII-VII 1/3 I will hit the max detail for highlights. Can I expect to measure a highlight at zone VIII with Astia and still get detail(example:snow)?? Er gotta go, bed time, work early tomorrow, will post more later, thanks.

Gordon Moat
1-May-2008, 21:29
I shoot lots of Astia 100F, but I don't spot meter at all. I shoot it at ISO 100, and always incident meter. Somehow I never get blown highlights nor blocky shadows. To me, this is the perfect film, except when I want saturated colours, then I use Kodak E100VS.

Perhaps someone who spot meters with this film can give you reading you might find more familiar. It also does depend a little on your lab, and the accuracy of the shutters you are using, so those might be other aspects you need to use some exposure compensation, rather than just using ISO 100.


Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

Ben Chase
1-May-2008, 22:04
Astia will certainly help with detail in the shadows and less-blown highlights. Here's an example: When I shoot Velvia or Provia, I never allow a highlight to be more than 1.8 stops brighter than a middle tone. Many times that involves the use of ND grads. When that exposure range is not possible even with my grads, I turn to Astia. I know I'm probably being pretty conservative, but I can get at least 2.2 stops in either direction with Astia.

Personally - I love Provia and Astia for late evening shots, Provia more for twilight. Velvia 100 is my everyday film. If I have a very high-contrast scene - Astia is often the answer.

I use an Sekonic L-558 meter, and I will do a variety of spot metering.

First, I will meter what I think is a middle tone, then I will look at the brightest spot in my frame and find out what the exposure delta is. If this is the sky, then I know that 99% of the time anything outside of my personal 1.8 stop brighter than average tone barrier can be adjusted with one or more of my Singh-Ray or Lee ND grads.

Second, if the sky has been corrected, but I have something like white frothy water or another bright reflective spot in the frame, I will compare that exposure to the bright part of the sky and see what (if any) difference there is.

Sometimes the water or other bright spot warrants the use of Astia because of the dynamic range.

Joanna Carter
1-May-2008, 23:58
My findings are that, whereas Velvia 100 gives me around 4 stops range (+/-2), with Astia I can get near enough 6 stops (+/-3). All in all, an excellent film.

Rust Never Sleeps
2-May-2008, 19:26
What about the awful greens I keep hearing about with Astia. Anyway to get around this with filters. If not and I have a lot of greens in a scene and need more contrast range I guess Provia 100F will have to do.

Rust Never Sleeps
2-May-2008, 20:01
Here is another scene that did not work on Velvia(100 I believe). It was in a mountain cirque in the spring by a lake along the shore but the lake was still snowed and frozen over except for parts of the shore that would melt out in the day and freeze at night. It was morning as I need the early light to get the light I needed. The Sky was clear that day. Most of the scene had lots of snow. I was using a 45mm on the Pentax 67. About a 1/5 or 1/6 of the top of the frame was sky. The rest is mountains and trees and the frozen snowed over lake and strip of frozen textured water in the foreground.

The contrast was not too bad and the only really dark section was the bottom of the frozen water at the bottom of the frame. But Velvia had problems with the sunlit snow that is slightly blown out but the sky is quite dark and over saturated so the shot that is bracketed half a step down doesn't work because the sky is too dark and fake looking and the dark foreground gets too dark. I think I would also need a KR1.5 or KR3 warming filter with this scene with all the snow at high elevation as even with Velvia the shadows are quite blue but I think a warming filter with Velvia would kill the warm sunlit spots and the already overdone sky.

So I am thinking of returning this year and trying again with Astia and Provia. With Astia I would probably place the bright snow at zone VII 2/3 and bracket a 1/3 step down. Thanks

David Luttmann
2-May-2008, 20:05
I'll echo Gordon's comments. Astia is the chrome equivalent of a decent neg film like NPS. Not as much latitude, but better than Velvia by a good 2-3 stops. I meter with a Canon Xti and view the histogram with the camera set at iso 100. Never bothered carrying another meter with this film. It also scans very well on flatbeds like my V700. Shadows and highlights hold nicely. And not that it matters much with sheet film, but is has half the grain of Velvia.

Ben Hopson
2-May-2008, 20:35
I rate Astia at ISO 100 and meter with a Pentax Digital Spot meter. I usually just keep the important highlight detail in zone VI-VII. Shadow detail is usually adequate, but I always meter the whole scene to be sure of where the values fall. I hate blown highlights and this works well with my meter, lenses etc. Your best bet is to do a little testing to see what will bring the best results with your camera system and work flow including how you meter a scene, processing and printing.

I scan and print digitally and can usually get very good greens with Astia, but occasionally when conditions are just right, or wrong might be a better word, the greens can have a blue cast that is difficult to correct. That has not been a huge problem for me and I love the subtle color rendition and extended range that Astia offers.

Joanna Carter
3-May-2008, 01:35
What about the awful greens I keep hearing about with Astia. Anyway to get around this with filters. If not and I have a lot of greens in a scene and need more contrast range I guess Provia 100F will have to do.
What awful greens?? IMO, Velvia 100F (not 100) gives awful greens but Astia is used for record work, portraiture and botanic work because it gives a very faithful colour rendition. As David says, it really is like using a neg film but with slightly less latitude.

D. Bryant
3-May-2008, 07:26
What about the awful greens I keep hearing about with Astia. Anyway to get around this with filters. If not and I have a lot of greens in a scene and need more contrast range I guess Provia 100F will have to do.
Astia doesn't have awful greens or anything else. Go out and shoot some.

Don Bryant

Gordon Moat
3-May-2008, 09:13
No bad greens with Astia 100F. This is the most colour accurate film I have used, the next closest being Kodak Ektachrome 64. The next closest is Kodak E100G.

On the other hand, if you want more saturated greens, use Kodak E100GX, Provia 100F, or Velvia 100 (in that order). When you want super saturation in everything, then Velvia 50 or Kodak E100VS.


Gordon Moat Photography (http://www.gordonmoat.com)

3-May-2008, 12:40
I use an incident meter and rate it at 100. Haven't had a problem yet, and have some great long exposures at dusk too.


Michael T. Murphy
3-May-2008, 20:46
I have been using Astia and Portra 160NC for 10 years, since I started scanning and doing digital output.

You can always add saturation and contrast at the scan stage. But if you have too much contrast or saturation, you can't add back the subtelty that is not there. You get combing at best.

That assumes scanning and digital prints of course.

For some reason I went with Provia last year. Definitely back with Astia this year. Provia did have some blue cast sometimes.

4-May-2008, 08:14
I have used Astia 100F almost exclusively for the last 5 years in both 4x5 and 645. I really like its neutral color pallet. Sometimes I will use an 81-b to warm a mountain scene, but generally shoot without a color correction filter. I also appreciate this film's receprocity characteristics: it reacts much better than to long exposures does Velveeta .

I use a Pantax digital spot meter at iso 100, and always meter for the high values; placing the most significant brightest value no higher than zone VII. I then check the deepest significant low values to see if they fall at zone III. If not, I'll pull out an ND grad or wait for better light. I have found these placements to work very well with my Microtek 1800f.


Rust Never Sleeps
4-May-2008, 08:54
Thanks for the tips, I can't wait to try Astia out and I am glad that most don't find the greens to be a problem. Preston, I too use a Pentax digital spot meter and usually start out by metering highlights and then checking out shadows. I think I also will place highlights like snow at zone VII and bracket a 1/3 step up, maybe even let bright snow hit VII 2/3. At VII 2/3 to VIII with Velvia it was a lost cause. How is Astia at zone III then, pretty good detail??

4-May-2008, 11:17
If you have significant areal coverage by snow, VII-2/3 may be a bit too high since this placement may make it difficult to hold the subtle detail that gives a snowfield its texture. Careful scanning and adjustment in PhotoShop will be called for. I get decent detail at Zone III. I am also very careful with the adjusments I make at scan time, and in PS in order realize good blacks with texture. Given the expense of 4x5, I rarely make a second exposure. Fortunately, Astia is fairly forgiving as long as you don't try to push it too far up the scale.

Kind Regards,