CameraSim: A Handy Simulator to Help You Perfect Your Exposure

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Have you ever had this thing where you plan for a photoshoot somewhere, but suddenly the weather changes and you have no idea what settings to use now with the equipment you have? Or did you ever ask yourself if you'd need a flash or a tripod with ISO100 film while being indoors? Well this handy simulator will answer all your questions for a perfect exposure!

Say hello to CameraSim, the handy simulator for all your exposure questions! So.. what is it? In short, it’s a simulator of a digital SLR with all the settings your standard SLR provides for you. You can test out any exposure data with it to make sure that whatever you’d be photographing will be exposed properly.

How does it work? Well first, you select your settings, starting with lightning.

You get the following options:

  • Dim indoors
  • Bright indoors
  • Overcast
  • Partly Cloudy
  • Mostly Sunny
  • Sunny

You’ll agree, I’m sure, that all the relevant lighting conditions are represented here. Then you move on to distance. This is pretty self-explanatory, you get the option to shoot anywhere inbetween 10 and 3 feet. After setting the distance to your subject, you move on to focal length:

The range is between 18mm and 55mm. Obviously, you’d need to know the focal length of your camera lens. The LC-A, for example, is 32mm. My Konica Hexanon’s is 57mm. If you’re shooting medium format and still want to use this simulator, just convert your lens’ focal length using the following table :http://photo.net/photo/lens-table . So if you shoot with a Diana F+, the standard 75mm lens, it approximates to 45mm on a 35mm film frame.

So have you set those? Now comes the important part! The next step differs for whatever camera you’re using. There’s basically 2 options: shutter priority or aperture priority. A camera like a Diana Mini, Fisheye 1 or the Diana F+ have a steady shutter setting (with the exception of the Bulb setting). This means that your shutter speed is fixed at somewhere between 1/60 and 1/125 seconds, depending on your camera’s specifications. Your LC-A, however, can change shutter speeds ranging from 1/500 seconds to 2 minutes. I’ll describe both methods just in case.

Shutter priority:
I’ll go ahead and use the Diana F+ as an example for this. The Diana F+, according to Lomo Engineers has a fixed shutter setting of 1/60 seconds. So go ahead and switch shutter priority on and drag the shutter slider to 1/60. All you have left to do is set the ISO setting to whatever film speed you’re planning on using, and the simulator will calculate what kind of aperture you should use for the exposure:

Aperture priority:
This is used when you have the option of changing shutter speeds, so basically any analogue SLR like a Zenit, and even such cameras as a Smena 8M.

Go ahead and choose aperture priority. Say your camera is limited, aperture wise, and the biggest one you have is f8. Well, choose the f8 aperture, your film speed, and the simulator will calculate what kind of shutter speeds you should be using.

And now comes the wave of bad experiments. I’ve seen so many questions and rants in the shoutbox about people saying, “hey, I’ve used ISO 100 film in a dark bar with my Diana F+, why didn’t I get anything on my negatives?” Well.. the main answer is: you didn’t get enough light on your film. Want to see how the Diana would do in these conditions? Here you go:

As you can see, ISO 100 film, with the fixed shutter speed of 1/60s and the Diana’s largest aperture (f11) produce nothing in dim indoor condition. What if it’s bright indoords, and you’re using ISO800 film?

As you can see, the result is the same. There’s just nowhere near enough light. Obviously using a flash would help this situation, as well as using the Bulb setting. And last but not least: what if you’re outdoors, it’s sunny like hell and you forgot you have ISO 800 film in the camera? Plus, your aperture is still set at “cloudy” (f11).

This is the result. Switch the aperture to partial sun (f16), and you get this:

Switch it to sunny (f22), and you get something close to this:

Which, in conclusion, means that ISO 800 film for VERY sunny conditions is almost unsuitable. In the same fashion, you can test out most film speeds and all of your camera’s settings. I really hope this tipster helps the people new to photography and lomography, because there is no feeling worse than getting a completely blank first roll from the lab.

written by xxxanderrr on 2012-02-29 in #gear #tipster #simulator #tipster #help #camerasim #camera #settings #easy

4 Comments

  1. linusbm
    linusbm ·

    Saw this awhile ago but couldn't remember what it was called, thanks a bunch!!! :D

  2. jimmunro
    jimmunro ·

    thanks for the effort in writing this but you left out one critical piece of info. I can't find anywhere where you told anyone how to acquire this. Is it an app?

  3. xxxanderrr
    xxxanderrr ·

    @jimmunro sadly this isn't something one can get (yet, I hope). This is a browser-based programme, to be found at the following link:
    camerasim.com/camera-simulator/

  4. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    great article and the simulator is really fun to use!

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