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[filmscanners] Re: Real-World Scene Brightness Range



Stan writes:

> I take a lot of photos in mountains and
> deserts, metering with a handheld 1 degree
> spotmeter and I don't recall ever seeing
> more than 6-7 stops ...

This correlates well with my experience.  I can see a ten-stop spread in two
different scenes, e.g., the difference between exposure for a sunlit
building at noon and the interior of a dark cathedral (f/16 at 1/100 for the
former, and f/2 at 1/8 for the latter, or about 10 stops), but I can't
remember seeing this in a single scene, short of pointing the meter at a
direct light source or something.

Ansel Adams would have never been able to do what he did if scenes regularly
spanned more than ten stops, since even B&W film would have great difficulty
holding any useful detail over that range.  And his own system used
considerably fewer stops for the purposes of calculation.

Additionally, as I've said, slide film would be largely useless for
photography if scenes regularly spanned ten stops, with the an exposure
range for slide film that is some 30 times smaller.  Practically all dark
areas would be blocked, and all bright areas blown out.

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