View Full Version : DSLR as a preview tool for 6x9 view cameras?

Andrew Ito
10-Oct-2003, 17:23
Typically I shoot with an Ebony 23S using a Sekonic L508 to meter. I was thinking that maybe using my Canon 10D to find compositions and to meter the scene might be a good tool to use with my view camera. They both have the same aspect ratio and I can use the meter in the 10D for instant feedback. The latitude of the 10D and transparency film are about the same and the 10D will show me if I have any blown out highlights. Anyone use this technique or think that this would work well? Thanks.

Ralph Barker
10-Oct-2003, 18:22
". . . and the 10D will show me if I have any blown out highlights."

Will it - really? Your 10D's display may be different that the LCD I have on my older Nikon D1, but I can't see enough detail in the 2" display upon which to make critical decisions - particularly outdoors in bright light. I've tried using the folding magnifier hood from my Hassy, manually held over the LCD, and while better, I still don't think I'd trust it to accurately represent the details in the full-sized digital image.

Jeremy Daalder
10-Oct-2003, 18:29
You can, I think, set the 10D to flash the blown highlight areas so while the actual preview screen itself is a very poor guide overall for exposure itself, if the 10D is anything like my D100 you can clearly see the overblown highlights and of course the histogram gives a good idea of where the tones are falling in the range (for one channel anyway) - if there is a bunch to the right you're in trouble. But I'd definitely do some tests with your favourite tranny film to see how close the match up is at a given ISO. I'd guess it isn't as good as you think but that you can work out a decent mapping.

Andrew Ito
10-Oct-2003, 18:30
The 10D has a feature where the blown highlights will flash in black & white on the preview. Next to it is the histogram and below are all the exposure details. It's a nice feature of the new Canon DSLR's.

10-Oct-2003, 18:37
Personally I think you're making your life more complicated than it needs to be. A good idea, perhaps. But many a fine photograph has been made in the past without a digital preview. Concentrate your energies on learning to use film and not a digital camera if film's your medium of choice.

On the other hand I have been known to carry my pocketable Canon Digital Elph when the circumstances didn't allow carrying my usual equipment. The digital functions very well as a tool for exploring composition and "taking notes", as it were. I can later return to the site and photograph on film.

The distinction is that I don't choose to use both digital and film at the same time. It's too distracting. By the same token I've ceased carrying both color and black and white as I prefer to concentrate on "black and white seeing". The choice is yours, of course. If a system works for you, don't dismiss it simply because others may disparage it. Do what is right for you.


John Bailey
10-Oct-2003, 20:06
Dear Andrew

I don't know about substituting the Sekonic with a digital camera, but I find myself using a digital camera often. When I want to contravene the '10 feet from the road' rule, I explore with a digital to help me frame and understand what objects or obstacles may come into play prior to hauling my large format cameras to the location. I found this especially true for urban landscape and architecture where the option of leaving a bag or pieces of equipment at one location while I move to another angle to scout a scene is not always the best choice. Many times, I walk around cataloging different shots, times of the day, shadows and vantage points and then come back days, weeks or much later. What is really nice is that when I come back and review the shots there are always those little details or flaws one sees such as a trash can, broken window, or scaffold that too often is overlooked if I am merely walking by. I think the digital camera is a great tool and aid that helps me expand my limited abilities.


John Bailey

Alan Davenport
10-Oct-2003, 21:13
...the 10D will show me if I have any blown out highlights.

IMO, you are making the process a lot more complicated than it needs to be. A 1 spot meter will show you if you have blown out highlights. That's what it's for.

11-Oct-2003, 20:15
How does the Canon decide what it considers to be overblown? Can you adjust that level? Can you then relate that value directly to overblown highlights on film? Sounds like a lot of kerfuffle for very little practical advantage to me

If the camera has a spotmeter mode and gives results in normal shutter speed + f-stop (or EI values) then I guess it will do double-duty as meter and composition aid - assuming of course that you have lens(es) for the Canon that will give you the same angle of view as your Ebony's lens(es).

Seems it may be fine for composition (if you have the lenses and don't mind the extra weight and bulk) but using your spotmeter will give you all you need to know about the possibility of blown highlights, with a lot more control over tone placement than the matrix metering of the Canon will give you.


15-Oct-2003, 10:31
I use a Canon S45 as my light meter - does double duty as meter and preview mechanism. I pay more attention to the histogram when checking exposure than the visual preview. The flashing blown highlights are a nice but the histogram is great.