I shot a roll of Kodak Gold 120 film on a Pentax 6x7 without a light meter

Portrait photos taken on a Pentax 6x7
(Image credit: Hannah Rooke)

Last year I bought a Pentax 6x7 from a friend for a very very good price – but I left the chunky medium format beast sitting on my shelf as I worked up the courage to use it. The reason being, I didn't own a light meter and I wasn't about to go out and buy one. I didn't want to waste film or pay to develop a film that wasn't exposed correctly, but I found a workaround – and to my complete satisfaction, the scans I got back were better than expected. 

Most film photographers will tell you to invest in a light meter. Even photographers who use mirrorless cameras and DSLRs will sometimes use a light meter to get the exposure just right, especially when shooting with flash. When using a film camera with no built-in exposure gauge (like you have on the Nikon FM2) you either need to rely on the Sunny 16 rule or use some sort of meter. I didn’t have one, so instead I set my exposure using a digital medium format camera – a Fujifilm GFX 100S.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.