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PhotoLog User’s Guide

1. Installation

2. General information

3. Description of PhotoLog's main screen

4. Changing the current settings

5. Holder reference and Roll reference+Frame counter

6. Description and Notes

7. Entering an exposure

8. Exposure calculations based on indicated exposure

9. Possible error leading to no result

10. Creating the Log

11. Entering Readings and Zone placements information

12. Contextual Help

13. Final words


1. Installation

PhotoLog is the Logger module of the Photographe 2.0 suite of applications for photographers using the PalmPilot.

Executables required to use this module:

The Parameters module (PhotoPar), which is distributed for free with any registered Photographe 2.0 modules, is needed to setup the Photographe 2.0 databases, but not required to execute PhotoLog, once the necessary information has been entered in the databases.

To install PhotoLog, you will need to upload PhotoLog.prc and PhotoLog2.prc. If PhotoLIB.prc is not already installed on your Pilot, you will need to upload it too.

After uploading the required executables, you can launch them as any other Pilot app. The first time a module is installed and runs on your Pilot, it will register itself in the drop list at the top right of your Pilot’s screen.

2. General information

PhotoLog’s main purpose is to provide the user with a convenient way for logging photo shots on the field. But it is much more than a simple notebook. It can be used by all type of photographers, from small to large format.

PhotoLog will allow you to log all your shot's information and perform simple and complex exposure calculations, such as filter factor, bellow extension factor, and reciprocity factor, on the fly and record it in a MemoPad note. It also provide the Zone System photographer with a mean for placing up to two luminances, and see where up to 5 luminances fall in relation to the placements made. The zone placements are also logged in the final Memo.

PhotoLog allows the photographer to use an infinite number of camera bodies at the same time, and provide an easy way to switch from one to another. The following information is retained per camera body:

The minimal number of information required to generate a log is:

But you can also provide the following:

The following information are automatically calculated by the logger and reported in the final log, when applicable:

PhotoLog also provides a convenient way of changing the speed and aperture settings. There are three different ways of entering this data:

Also, PhotoLog will increment the Frame number automatically after a shot is logged and recorded in the MemoPad database, provided the film being used is a Roll film (this feature can be deactivated from the Preferences dialog). There is no automatic Holder reference incrementing (for Sheet films) as these references tend to be more complex than simple numbers. People usually use references such as TMAX-4B or RDP-1A, so instead of coming up with a smart incrementing algorithm which would probably be wrong most of the time, I left it up the photographer to enter this information.

Since PhotoLog relies entirely on predefined settings, in order to use it, you will need to create a minimal set of entries in the Photographe 2.0 databases using PhotoPar (which is distributed for free with any registered Photographe 2.0 module). The minimal set of information needed is: 1 camera, 1 film, and 1 lens.

3. Description of PhotoLog's main screen

PhotoLog is composed of one main screen. The top portion, like in the Depth Of Field module, is the result window, where calculated exposure is displayed, as well as error messages and other relevant information such as factors and reciprocity correction when applicable.

Below the result window is a big 4-lines area surrounded by a gray border. This is the current Settings area. This area will remind you constantly what camera, lens, film, format, filter(s), bellow extension, measuring method, and light condition you are currently using. This is a sensitive area, taping it brings up the Change Settings dialog.

Below the Settings area, come the various fields, which will allow you to identify your shot in the final log. Namely, from top to bottom: the holder reference or roll reference+frame number, a short description for the shot, and the given speed and aperture. Next to the Description field is a little Notes icon that brings up the Notes dialog. You can enter up to 4 lines of text for the notes.

The ‘Readings...’ button at the bottom portion of the screen brings up the Readings & Zone placements dialog.

4. Changing the current settings

When you run PhotoLog for the first time, there are no settings available, so your first step in order to use this module is to inform PhotoLog of what camera, lens, and film you are currently using.

You will previously have created at least one camera in the camera database using PhotoPar. If no camera has been previously created, then you won’t be able to use PhotoLog at all, the drop list and other controls in the Change Settings dialog will not respond to user entry. So please go back to PhotoPar and create at least one camera, one lens and one film with relevant information for each.

The first step in the Change Settings dialog is to pick the camera currently in use. When doing so, all other fields will be automatically filled according to what the last settings for that camera were. If you use more than one camera, you will notice that all the parameters in the Change Settings dialog, as well as the Holder reference or Roll reference+frame number on the main screen, are restored to what they were when you left them. This is very convenient when using more than one camera on the field, all the options stick to the camera selected, thus avoiding painful re-entry of these settings.

Description of the different parameters in the Change Settings dialog:

Once you are satisfied with your setting, tap OK. You will now see that the Settings area on the main screen displays all the selected settings in a human-readable form (a sentence). I chose this method when I discovered that I couldn’t squeeze all the drop lists and controls of the Change Settings dialog into the main screen, which is already well occupied. Every pixel counts on the PalmPilot!

If the current film is a Sheet film, then a field labeled Holder is now displayed below the Settings area, if the film is a Roll film, two fields labeled Roll and Frame are displayed.

5. Holder reference and Roll reference+Frame counter

These three fields can hold up to 10 characters each, letters and numbers are allowed. However, for the frame number, it is advised to use only numbers, this way, the auto-increment feature will work properly. It is possible to enter a frame number like: ‘3-5’ or ‘3 to 5’ to indicate that the log being generated concerns frames 3, 4 and 5 (you took three shots of the same scene). The frame will then be properly incremented to the new value: ‘6’. PhotoLog always increments the last meaningful number of the 10 characters string allowed for referencing the frame.

Other than this, these fields are used only as a reference in the final log.

6. Description and Notes

These two fields are free entry and are not used for anything else than the final log. You can enter up to 80 characters for the short description and 256 characters (4 lines) for your notes. The short description is also used as part of the log’s title in the MemoPad database. The Notes can be accessed by tapping the little icon at the right of the description field, this will bring up the Notes dialog.

7. Entering an exposure

The next thing PhotoLog needs after your current settings have been entered is some exposure information to work with. This consists of an indicated speed and an indicated exposure. This data comes from your meter, and it is the basic exposure for the shot.

You can enter speed and aperture manually using Graffiti, or by using the Up and Down arrows next to each respective field, or by using the Up and Down buttons of the Pilot, provided the focus is in the correct field. Speeds change according to the standard sequence, ranging form 1/8000 sec to 8000 minutes, and apertures range from the current lens’ minimum aperture to the maximum aperture, in full or half-stop increments, depending on the lens’ settings.

You can tap on the ‘sec’ or ‘min’ label next to the speed field to change the unit to ‘min’ or ‘sec’ instantly.

You can tap on the ‘and’ label next to the speed Up and Down arrows to change it to ‘@’. When the ‘@’ label is displayed instead of ‘and’ then the current speed is locked to the current aperture, and changing one will change the other one in order to preserve the exposure. For example, if the ‘@’ label is showing, and if the currently indicated exposure is "1/125 sec @ f’/11", then if you press the down arrow for the speed, you will end up with the following exposure: "1/250 sec @ f/8".

NOTE: When the exposure lock is ON, the speed increases or decreases in full stop only, so for example, if the current lens has a half stops precision, changing the aperture from f/8 to f/9.5 will not increase the speed, however, changing from f/9.5 to f/11 will increase the speed by one stop.

It is also possible to enter ‘exotic’ speeds or apertures such as ‘1/190 sec’ or ‘f/14.5’ but you will have to type them in manually.

It is possible to log a shot with no exposure indication. For example, you use your camera in fully automatic mode, but still want to log the lens, filter, etc. Just leave the Speed and Aperture fields empty, and the display will show "??" in a rectangle. You can choose to ignore only one of the two settings.

8. Exposure calculations based on indicated exposure

Once an exposure is indicated, all possible factors are instantly evaluated, and a final exposure is given in the result window at the top of the screen. At this point, several things can have happened:

  1. No factor was applied (i.e. no filter, no bellow extension and no reciprocity), therefore, the calculated exposure reflects the indicated exposure.
  2. A filter factor or a bellow extension factor was applied. When this is the case, both factors are combined in one and reported below the large display in the result window in small fonts as ‘F=xx’. Factors are always expressed in stops. In the final log, however, they are reported individually in stops and also as multiples. From here, two options are possible: either the factor is applied to the indicated speed, or to the indicated aperture. Since PhotoLog cannot decide for you, both results are provided, but only one is visible at a given time, you can toggle between one and the other by taping the large font result window. The aperture priority result shows a black dot next to it, and the speed priority result shows a little hollow wheel.

Reciprocity correction happens AFTER the filter and bellow extension corrections have been applied. If reciprocity is to be taken in account, i.e. if the current film has a reciprocity table and if the calculated exposure falls between the limits of the reciprocity table, then an extra factor is calculated.

The reciprocity factor is not combined in the filter+bellow factor, rather, it s reported separately in order to distinct it from the rest. It will be displayed as "Recip = +1" for example, indicating a one stop extra exposure added due to reciprocity.

Please refer to the PhotoPar documentation for more information on how to create your reciprocity tables and how calculations are performed.

In short, a reciprocity table is a set of reciprocity points of indicated/given exposures. If the exposure falls between two points in the table, then a linear approach is used to determine the correct reciprocity value, thus, the more points in your table, the more accurate the result.

Unlike filter and bellow factors, reciprocity is ALWAYS applied to speed.

My thinking was that:

  1. If you are in a reciprocity situation, then speed is not so much an issue anymore (i.e. if you were ready to expose at 2 sec, you can probably expose at 10 sec).
  2. Applying the correction to the aperture can lead to illogical results, canceling the reciprocity effect.
  3. If you are already in a two-result situation due to filter or bellow factor, then it would become a headache to split it even further into 4 possible results
  4. It is very easy to change the aperture manually and see what happens!

9. Possible error leading to no result

When an error happens, or if there is no possible exposure based on the given parameters, the result window will inform you.

A typical error situation is when a factor is applied to the aperture, resulting in an impossible aperture for that lens. Example: you have a filter factor of 2 stops, but you indicated an aperture of f/2.8 for a lens that goes from f/2 to f/16, if the filter factor is applied to the aperture, then you end up with a required aperture of f/1.4 (2 stops over f/2.8) which is outside the limits of your lens.

Another typical error is when you indicate an exposure time so large that it exceeds the last point of the reciprocity table. A message saying ‘Recip > Limit!’ is displayed in this case, which most likely is due to an erroneous entry or an outrageous filter or bellow factor.

Other errors can be due to invalid entry in the Speed field. This field supports integer numbers, numbers with decimals (like ‘0.5’ sec) or fractions. Any other entry in it causes an error.

10. Creating the Log

When an exposure has been successfully calculated, the ‘Log…’ button appears at the bottom of the screen, you are now ready to record all the precious information entered and calculated.

Photo Logs are created in the MemoPad databases and are filed under the PhotoLogs category. If this category doesn’t exist yet, PhotoLog will alert you and bring up the Category Edit dialog for you, simply create the category there and select ‘Log…’ again.

A dialog comes up with reference of the log about to be created and two fields that let you change the final calculated exposure by hand before it is recorded. You might decide, even though the calculation has been done for you, to do some final adjustments to the exposure because of some external factors not taken in account by PhotoLog (like shutter correction, etc.). This last exposure will be logged as the Final exposure. You can choose to not have this dialog pop up in the Preferences dialog (available from the Commands Menu).

The Log created will show up in the Memo list as a number followed by what you entered in the Place field. The number is today’s date and time in reverse order for sorting, like ‘9801091200’.

11. Entering Readings and Zone placements information

From the main PhotoLog screen, you can bring up the Readings & Zone Placements dialog at any time by taping on the ‘Readings…’ button on the lower left corner.

There are two entries available for placing luminance/zone. One for Low value, the other for High value. And five free entries for logging "fall" luminance values.

There are two ways of using this dialog:

1/ First scenario: You place 2 zones (Hi and Lo) for example:

Lo: Tree Shadow R=8 Z=3

Hi: Sunlit Grass R=14 Z=7

Then, you can enter up to 5 other readings such as:

1: Tree Bark R=9

2: Grey Boulder R=11

3: White Cloud R=17

When you select Adjust, the Zone values of the 3 Fall readings are going to be calculated from the 2 Place values, giving you the following results:

1: Tree Bark R=9 Z=3.67 (3 2/3)

2: Grey Boulder R=11 Z=5

3: White Cloud R=17 Z=9

Then it's up to you to figure out which development you need to apply to your negative to really have the Low placement yield a zone 3 and the High a zone 7, but then you know what zones the 3 "fall" values will give you.

2/ Second scenario: You place only one zone (in the Lo field) and leave the Hi empty, for example:

Lo: Tree Shadow R=8 Z=3

Then, you can enter up to 5 other readings like:

1: Tree Bark R=9

2: Grey Boulder R=11

3: White Cloud R=17

When you select Adjust this time, the Zone values of the 3 Fall readings are going to be calculated from the Lo placed value, giving:

1: Tree Bark R=9 Z=4

2: Grey Boulder R=11 Z=6

3: White Cloud R=17 Z=12

The first scenario is useful for LF photographers who can control zone contraction/expansion because developing each negatives independently, the second scenario is mostly for Roll film users who generally use N development and who are interested in checking where particular readings will fall based on one crucial reading, but being restricted by a linear repartition of the zones in respect to the readings.

This information is then recorded in the log as expected and also kept around even after the log is generated. This way, you can reuse the previous shot's descriptions and only modify it slightly for the next one, if, for example, you want to try another shot with a different zone placement, but want to keep your descriptions and readings intact.

You can clear the Readings at once by selecting Clean in the Readings form and start fresh with a blank page.

Note that you can do without using the Adjust button, and log your own Readings and Zones, just enter them by hand and don't select Adjust.

12. Contextual Help

Help is available from the main screen by tapping on the little "i" icon on the bottom left corner of the screen, or by selecting Commands/Help from the Menu. Individual help screens are also available for the Change Settings and Readings & Zones dialog by tapping the little "i" icon on the top right corner in the title area.

13. Final words

Any bug regarding erroneous calculations, crashes, or even user interface problems can be submitted to me at:

You can even send me nice things!

I worked hard at making this module easy to use and bullet proof, however, neither the PalmPilot OS nor me are infallible, and I am open to any suggestions and wish lists.

Please register this software, not only you will get rid of this nasty About box always coming in your way, but you will sleep better at night, and you’ll have the right to flame me!