change my development or change my EI??

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by TomStr, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    Hello, i am using Tri-x kodak 35mm and using it at 400 iso. (box speed) i use HC110 (dil b) at 20 deg celcius and develop for 6 min 30 sec.
    I always had to print at grade 2,5-3 but the last 15 rolls or so i needed to use grade 4 to get some nice prints. Nothing has changed (not paper, not developer, not the water..)
    now i wonder what i can do best, do a film speed test and perhaps find out that my tri-x should be exposed at EI 250 or so or do i develop longer so i get more contrast? and how much longer?? or do i develop at 24 deg and still 6 min 30 sec???
    I have a rh designs analyzer pro so if needed i can use it as a densitometer to do some film speed testings...
    Anybody an idea??

    Tom
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I would work on the exposure myself. Less exposure renders the subject on lower zones thus creating slightly more contrast. If this is happening an EI test would indicate whether this would be the best way to go. If you mess around with development you might hit it on a roll that might have required more contrast when you may subconsciously work it out of your procedures and unknowingly provide WAY TO MUCH contrast in a later situation.

    Kinda like getting the most detail possible for your negative and thus producing less work later. Do what you can on-camera FIRST and then move out from there. IMHO.
     
  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Trying to keep things simple here -- you are considering to somewhat independant factors that affect different apsects of the film...in other words..." Expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights."

    If your shadow detail is not what you want, it is a matter of how you are exposing...the actual ASA/ISO of the film using your developer and developing method and how you are metering the scene and determining the exposure. If the contrast is not what you want, it is a matter of the contrast present in the scene and how you are developing...time, temp and agitation method.

    Nail down your exposure first. When you consistantly get the shadow detail you want, then work on contrast.

    Are you photographing the same type of light that you were before? My guess that if you are photographing landscapes, you might not be. Winter light can be different than summer light. Always using a set developer dilution, temp and time only works if one is photographing scenes that always have the same range of light values. I just took quick look at my exposure notes during a two day period in Yosemite, I photographed scenes that had ranges of light values from 4 stops to 8 stops. I certainly would not develop those negatives the same.

    Good luck!

    Vaughn
     
  4. OP
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    TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    vaughn, i've noticed the problem when i was taking pictures in the studio... so the light should have been the same in summer as in winter :smile: i cant develop per negative (35mm) but i would like to get a better overal development. you say putting my shadows in zone 3 and try to adjust development for the highlights?? could it be usefull to do a zone test?? to use a psuedo zone system??
    Christopher i totaly agree when you say that i have to get the best possible negative. it will make printing a lot easier :smile: thats what i'm trying to achieve...
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Bracket your next roll.
     
  6. OP
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    TomStr

    TomStr Member

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    Keith, good idea... a full stop??
     
  7. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

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    Hello Tom:
    I made this post last agost. It just talks about TX400 and HC110:

    Post:
    I hope this information could be useful for everybody in this forum. I would ask you to share any other similar information that you could have.

    I have been studying this combo for a while, and these are the results that I have found:
    Film: TX400, 35 mm.
    EI 200
    Pre-washed: Water, during 1 minute of constant agitation.
    Developer: HC110 (E- 1:47)
    Developed two rolls of film, continuous agitation during the first 30 seconds, and then 5 times each 30 seconds.
    Time of developing: 6 minutes.
    Temperature: 20ªC.
    Stop bath: Kodak Max Stop, 1:15, and 1 minute with constant agitation.
    Fixer bath: Tetenal, 1:9, 5 minutes. The first minute with continue agitation, and then 5 times each 30 seconds.
    Results:
    After having taken pictures of a Kodak grey card, I have found the following relative densities:
    Zone 5: 0,68
    Zone 1: 0,10
    These densities have been measured with my RH Designs Analyzer Pro.
    My conclusions:
    For my working system I can say that TX400 (EI200) and HC110 (E), 6 minutes developing time, are perfect.
     
  8. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    How much you bracket depends on how close you think you are to the contrast index that you want. It's not going to cost you a fortune to do this one test, so I'd say why not bracket in the smallest intervals you can.
    If you can bracket half or third stops, why not do that.

    The important thing is to do this bracketing test without changing anything else, i.e. metering practices or development. Just see if a simple rating change can fix your issue with contrast index. E.g. if you find that the frames bracketed +1 EV give consistently better CI for your desired output, then you can start rating the film one stop slower. Probably you will want to rate it a half stop slower or so... depends on your metering and development and printing practices.

    Bottom line, there are many variables downstream of actual exposure, so why not start with exposure and see what that fixes.

    P.S. If you find you need to go from grade 3 to grade 4, that's a pretty small bump actually, you might find that showing your negs some rapid selenium allows you to get the CI you want for grade 3 paper.... and makes your negs a bit more durable.
     
  9. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Maybe you could buy one of Fred Picker's books for about $3 on ebay and figure out what your actual film speed is, and then the proper development time.

    Couple hours works can clear up the mystery.

    Mike
     
  10. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    What you report is that the contrast in your negs is low, hence the use of 2½ and above filters. You don't say anything about how you like your shadows, which is dictated by the exposure.

    So, as you seem to always use a little bit hard filters, i.e. higher than filter 2, I would recommend you to add some 10% to your developing time. So try 7 min 15 sec (20degC) as a starting point instead. That is to correct the somewhat low contrast in the negs.
    As you seem to know how to conduct an EI test, simply make one. It only takes 5 frames or so from a film. Use the rest for your normal pictures. With the analyzer the process should be quite simple. (I use a densitometer nowadays, but before that I used a ND 0.1 gel filter, which I contact printed together with a blank unexposed piece of the film for comparison. This method have the advantage of showing the "final result", as it was done with the enlarger/darkroom in the whole process.)
    The thing about EI is that it's quite stable compared to the contrast when it comes to developing time. That is, within normal shooting situations (from a fully overcast sky with very "grey" light to hard sunlight), the EI doesn't change more than 1/2 - 2/3 of a stop, when you develop to get normal negatives for both of the light conditions. The developing time could differ from e.g. 5 min. for the hard sunlight to 10 min. for the overcast shots.

    //Björn
     
  11. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I think it might be helpful to step back from it all and just consider how coarse/fine your adjustments are, at the three phases:

    (1) exposure
    (2) development
    (3) print

    At the exposure phase, you can theoretically rate your film however you choose and thus affect the CI in a continuous way. However! Note that most cameras and meters do not allow rating and exposure compensation changes smaller than a third or a quarter stop or so. So in the end, you don't have that much flexibility in how you rate your film. Also, relatively small rating changes (say, 320 compared to 400) can make really big differences with some films (just try bracketing!). So on the whole, I'd say that adjustment in (1) exposure are quite coarse. To put it another way, exposure is not a truly continuous variable- you'll tend to settle into EIs that are discrete values, like 200 or 320 or whatever suits your fancy. Nobody says, oh yeah, I get the best results when I rate tri-x at 247.3 :wink: (Well, maybe Ron does that ...) These coarse EI adjustments are the logical starting point for most photographers.

    At the development phase you have two truly continuous variables that you can tweak: dev time and agitation. Indeed there are other variables too, but time and agitation are the two that most people fuss over. Note that you will see folks saying that they develop for 6 mins, or 6 mins and 5 sec, or 6 mins and 10 sec... and if you press them, they will also have some prescription for how much agitation and exactly how that agitation is done etc. You can make many very fine adjustments in the development phase. Therefore it is logical (to me) to start experimenting with development after you have made the coarse exposure adjustments.

    Now, the last variable is the (3) contrast grade. And some would say (myself sometimes included) that this is a variable that you'd really love to freeze, so that you can just work with one paper grade etc... but good luck with that! :rolleyes: One reason why I don't like to fuss with contrast grade and split grade etc. is that you can find yourself doing a lot of work to get really minor changes in highlight and shadow transitions. To me, it's much more fun to have the exercise of printing reduced to some minor dodging and burning.

    N.b., the BTZS logic goes through this loop of variables in a somewhat similar fashion but in reverse order, so to speak. In BTZS, you think about the constraints of the print first, and then work backwards through dev and exposure to try to make your printing task as easy as possible. If you are more or less settled on film and developer and paper choices then this can be a very efficient way to go. I, for one, am not settle don any of those things, so I just ask myself roughly how I plan to print and accordingly I shoot and expose and develop for roughly more or less CI. But truth be told, it's quite rare that I have a specific print in my head when I am out taking photographs. Usually I am too concentrated on the experience of the scene and trying to walk away with as much information on my neg or chrome as possible. So, to me the printing phase is something I'd happily fret later, or even cede to someone else. At this point I am enjoying the act of going out with a camera much more than the act of printing or showing people my prints. Everybody looks at this differently, of course. To some, my approach above is total blasphemy, I am sure :wink: Anyway, BTZS logic is every interesting and everybody should think about it at least once.

    Maybe I should have added one more phase before all of the above, namely:

    (0) Metering

    ...but people's metering practices vary widely, corresponding to the film they are shooting and their desired amounts of shadow and highlight detail etc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2009
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Somehow the last part of my comment didn't get in there even when I edited. I meant to say:

    ...but people's metering practices vary widely, corresponding to the film they are shooting and their desired amounts of shadow and highlight detail etc. And a *lot* has been written about metering, so you have to go through that and find your own understanding of it with respect to the gear that you use. Some people are using colour matrix metering, others are using spot metering, others aren't metering at all. History has shown us that all of these methods can produce great results.