development by inspection, pointers/tips?

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ian_greant

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Hello all,

Sorry I haven't had much time to hang around and be social lately. :sad:

I do a fair bit of night photography and I'd like to resume my paint with light experiments.. since neither situation lends itself to accurate metering I'm hoping devopment by inspection might make the darkroom portion of my life a little easier.

Any pointers, tips, etc from those of you who have wandered down this road already?

I mostly shoot with FP4, HP5, TXP320, and a bit of Pan F once in a while.

Thanks in advance.

Ian
 

L Gebhardt

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If I get around to trying this I plan on picking up a pair of night vision goggles. I think this will be much better than the green light as you have more time to look before fogging the film.
 

eric

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Ian,

I actually used to process film professionally via inspection. All hand done, in baskets. Here's some tips:
- stay in the dark for about 5 minutes before you start anything
- know where everything is exactly
- practice by opening your containers or whatever in light
- if you can get a footswitch for the safelight, that's better
- have the light near a wall but not on top of you, cause your head will cast a shadow exactly where you want to "see"
- process a roll or sheet of film with different densities, something you've done before and you know exactly what it looks like, process that film, and use the inspection light. That wil give your eyes an idea on what the density should look like.
anything else? let me think or PM or reply and I'll see if I can remember anything. I think I lost some brain cells from all the fixer so its hard to remember stuff
 

jstraw

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I just read Michael Smith's article:

http://www.michaelandpaula.com/mp/devinsp.html

I have some a question for those experiences with DBI.

Would it make sense to photograph a zone scale or step wedge and DBI the film to:

a) determine time to emergence of Zone I
b) to know what, at that point, Zones XIII and IX look like in order to develop an subjective frame of reference for successful DBI
 

matt miller

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I've done DBI with both a green safelight and night vision. In my opinion, night vision is worlds ahead for DBI. I use a cheap monocular with a headset ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=search&ci=1&kw=ATV1&shs=ATV1&Q=&O= ). Usually I turn it on about halfway through development, and leave it on for the rest of the time. I have had it on for the entire session before because it's fun to watch the negs from start to finish. I have noticed no visible fogging (to my eye, I have no densitometer and have not tested this. Others have and will report fogging) and my negs seem to print as clean as always.

I use TMY and Pyrocat HD and develop everything by inspection. It's taken some trial and error, but I am very comfortable with it now.
 

jstraw

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I've done DBI with both a green safelight and night vision. In my opinion, night vision is worlds ahead for DBI. I use a cheap monocular with a headset ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=search&ci=1&kw=ATV1&shs=ATV1&Q=&O= ). Usually I turn it on about halfway through development, and leave it on for the rest of the time. I have had it on for the entire session before because it's fun to watch the negs from start to finish. I have noticed no visible fogging (to my eye, I have no densitometer and have not tested this. Others have and will report fogging) and my negs seem to print as clean as always.

I use TMY and Pyrocat HD and develop everything by inspection. It's taken some trial and error, but I am very comfortable with it now.

Bet you use it when loading holders too, huh?
 

Sean

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I've done DBI with both a green safelight and night vision. In my opinion, night vision is worlds ahead for DBI. I use a cheap monocular with a headset ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=search&ci=1&kw=ATV1&shs=ATV1&Q=&O= ). Usually I turn it on about halfway through development, and leave it on for the rest of the time. I have had it on for the entire session before because it's fun to watch the negs from start to finish. I have noticed no visible fogging (to my eye, I have no densitometer and have not tested this. Others have and will report fogging) and my negs seem to print as clean as always.

I use TMY and Pyrocat HD and develop everything by inspection. It's taken some trial and error, but I am very comfortable with it now.
That's the same monocular I have, for loading holders I have a special hood that goes over my head and has a small opening for the lens (to ensure no green light leaks from the eye piece). I can load all my holders in a matter of seconds, since I can see while loading the holders I load a sheet then give each one a final burst of canned air before closing the slides. For dev I replaced the rubber eyecup on my monocular with one which covers my eye very tightly and every now and then i just hold the monocular to me eye and have a look. I'm using FP4 which has a sensitivity of around 650nm and my IR light is 850nm or so. The only fogging I had was when careless and light leaked from the eye piece, other than that it works well. I am still practicing. It's a good idea to know your dev time and monitor around that time vs. going blindly on times. I tried modifying a special IR light table but it did not seem to provide much benefit. I now just use a white tray and the goggles built in IR light. You can really see it all dev right before your eyes. I find it best to take a mental note of the highlight and shadow areas of your image at capture and focus on those two spots during the dev.
 

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Ive been doing DBI for about 2 yrs now and developed a few hundred 8x10 and 7x17 negs this way. In fact its the only way Ive developed any of these negs. started with it when I bought my first box of 8x10. It really doesnt take long to adjust to it. Heed the advice of letting your eyes adjust. I use a small 5 watt (or 7.5 watt) bulb in one of those old small Kodak green dome lights. works well and its only about 4 ft from the dev tray and havent had any fog issues that I can notice. I "discovered" the practice after reading a Weston biography and reading the article Michael A Smith has on his website. I use his same method of "measuring" my highlights. Using my finger as the basis of pure white and developing until my highlights get close to that, trying to build the density needed for the pt/pd printing I do.

seems to work well and Ive done it with HP5, FP4, Efke PL100 (adox), JandC classic - pro, Arista.edu, and arista pro (or whatever its called)

"a) determine time to emergence of Zone I
b) to know what, at that point, Zones XIII and IX look like in order to develop an subjective frame of reference for successful DBI"

these two specifics really seem like trying would be the best idea. likely youll start to learn real quickly what is "right" for you.

I cant imagine doing it with roll film or anything much smaller than 4x5/5x7 but others may have great experience. In fact, 4x5 was a bit difficult for me.
 

jstraw

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Ive been doing DBI for about 2 yrs now and developed a few hundred 8x10 and 7x17 negs this way. In fact its the only way Ive developed any of these negs. started with it when I bought my first box of 8x10. It really doesnt take long to adjust to it. Heed the advice of letting your eyes adjust. I use a small 5 watt (or 7.5 watt) bulb in one of those old small Kodak green dome lights. works well and its only about 4 ft from the dev tray and havent had any fog issues that I can notice. I "discovered" the practice after reading a Weston biography and reading the article Michael A Smith has on his website. I use his same method of "measuring" my highlights. Using my finger as the basis of pure white and developing until my highlights get close to that, trying to build the density needed for the pt/pd printing I do.

seems to work well and Ive done it with HP5, FP4, Efke PL100 (adox), JandC classic - pro, Arista.edu, and arista pro (or whatever its called)

"a) determine time to emergence of Zone I
b) to know what, at that point, Zones XIII and IX look like in order to develop an subjective frame of reference for successful DBI"

these two specifics really seem like trying would be the best idea. likely youll start to learn real quickly what is "right" for you.

I cant imagine doing it with roll film or anything much smaller than 4x5/5x7 but others may have great experience. In fact, 4x5 was a bit difficult for me.

Why did you find 4x5 difficult?

I have been using Combi-plans but I have one Kodak rubber tank and three yankee tanks and plenty of hangars. I will probably try this with tank, rather than tray development.

Here's the cheapest momentary foot switch I could find:

Dead Link Removed

I'll buy a bullet safelight off the Bay and order the green filter.

It seems to me that by the time you reach 75% of estimated development time and turn on the safelight, eyes will have had time to adjust as long as your times aren't too short.

I'll be starting with HC-110 Dil. B or Fomadon R09 1:40. I may look into repleneshment for HC-110 with volumes as large as this.
 

scootermm

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Small areas of highlights get difficult to see on 4x5 just because of the smaller sheet size.

Ditto. smaller area, was just a little harder to adequately judge
 

vet173

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I use the same NVG's. I have never had a fog problem, and I look at them for a long time. This is on Fp-4, Hp-5, TXT, TMX, TMY, Royal pan, Formapan 200, J&C 100,pan-f, verichrome pan, APX25&100 (haven't tried it with IR film).I don't have any problems with light leaks either. When I had a fellow Ape hugger over to have a look, I saw how the leaks happen. When looking at different parts of the neg he was moving the unit not his whole head with it. This was pulling the unit away giving the side leak. Developing in pyro has a secondary benefit, in that it is desensitised quite a bit by looky time.
I still already know what time and temp is for a film. The nice part, is I don't have separate plus and minus developing boxes to store film in till development. If I have one that was over exposed for under development. That will show up right away as more density in the bottom sooner. How long will it be developed? It will be developed to the plus factor previously worked out, with DBI for fine tuning. If your thinking about using DBI so that you don't have to do all that film speed testing, and all that other mundane boring crap. I recommend, for consistency, that you take your film to Wal mart.
I jumped on the DBI with NVG in the beginning as others here have. I am willing to bet any one of them still develop for a worked up time and temp, with DBI for fine tuning. Best part is when you can save something in the middle of the development process. (How come the notch on the film doesn't match what I KNOW FOR SURE I loaded into the holders?)
Watch the film as the first density appears. That is where you will look to decide when to pull. Film size doesn't matter, I did some 35 yesterday. It is easier, I admit, to learn on larger format. The particular point I am using to decide when to pull, usually fits well within a 35 format area.
In the end, are they worth it? I have yet to hear, even one, who has tried them and didn't think they were worth it. I got by without them for over 30 years but, wouldn't want to give them up now. They are not a silver bullet, but I bet some will agree with me, that it is a pretty shiny bumper though.
 

jstraw

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I still already know what time and temp is for a film. The nice part, is I don't have separate plus and minus developing boxes to store film in till development. If I have one that was over exposed for under development. That will show up right away as more density in the bottom sooner. How long will it be developed? It will be developed to the plus factor previously worked out, with DBI for fine tuning. If your thinking about using DBI so that you don't have to do all that film speed testing, and all that other mundane boring crap. I recommend, for consistency, that you take your film to Wal mart.

Well obviously. One must still know "N" or one cannot know what 75% of "N" is.

Watch the film as the first density appears. That is where you will look to decide when to pull. Film size doesn't matter, I did some 35 yesterday.

I'm trying to envision how you can be watching all the frames on a roll of film and at the same time, be developing the film. I confess, I'm at a loss there.

Since I won't be adopting a night vision device initially, I won't be able to observe that moment of emergence you describe, even with sheet film.
 

avandesande

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I didn't use a switch, I had a bullet light that I turned on and put face down on the counter. When I wanted to inspect I would just pick it up like a flashlight. This gave me the ability to inspect the front and lit from the back.
 

Louis Nargi

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I'v been thinking about trying dbi this post seems like a good place to start.
 

Gerald Koch

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The two articles mentioned are useful. However, you don't have to use pinakryptol green as a densensitizer. A mixture ot chrysoidine and phenosaphranine can also be used and these dyes are more readily available.

Basic Scarlet N Desensitizer

Distilled water (50°C) ............... 175 ml
Chrysoidine ............................ 1.0 g
Phenosafranine* ...................... 1.0 g
Isopropyl alcohol ...................... 5.0 ml
Distilled water to make .............. 200 ml

* Safranine O may be substituted

Take 1 part of the stock solution and 50 parts of water. Immerse film for 2 minutes at 20 C in total darkness. Transfer to the developer without rinsing. After 2 minutes films may be inspected for 10 - 15 second periods every minute. Use a yellow green safelight placed at 3 feet distance.

I haven't used this method for many years but it does work.
 

Allen Friday

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I use NV goggles for my DBI. To me, the hardest part of learning DBI was to translate what I was looking at on the film during development with how that would print. I started out under developing most of the film. My solution was to develop sheets in a controlled manner until I got the hang of it. I would shoot several sheets of the same subject and then develop them individually, the first at my standard N time, the next at n+ and the next at n-. I paid particular attention to the changes in the highlights as the sheets neared completion. I would then print the sheets and pick the print that I liked the best. I would then develop the last negative to try to match the one that printed well. Soon I was down to only needing to develop two sheets, making a print after the first was developed and adjusting development of the second. It didn't take too long to figure out what the highlights had to look like during DBI to get a good print. I was then able to just develop the one sheet at a time to a density that printed well. Yes, you waste some film in the beginning by making multiple exposures, but I found it worth while from a pedagogical standpoint.
 

vet173

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Well obviously. One must still know "N" or one cannot know what 75% of "N" is.



I'm trying to envision how you can be watching all the frames on a roll of film and at the same time, be developing the film. I confess, I'm at a loss there.

Since I won't be adopting a night vision device initially, I won't be able to observe that moment of emergence you describe, even with sheet film.
As I read back what I wrote, It looks like it could have been a slam at you for not wanting to do testing. It was an aside for anyone thinking that way. If you felt it directed to you personally, please accept my apologies.
I am usually developing sheet film in clear acrylic tanks that I made myself. For roll film I picked up a glass beaker at the thrift store. It is large enough that I can use it the same as my small Paterson tanks. That's how I can see roll film developing. Remember I can see in the dark. Yes, you would have to have the goggles to see first density. I also watch the emulsion side. Even with 35 MM film there will be a general consistency thru the roll. The best way is to do as stated before, do an inspection at your predetermined time and temp. Look at what that is, as a point of reference as to when to pull. Don't worry about if you make the call wrong. I can tell you ahead of time, you WILL make the call wrong a few times till you get used to it.
 

vet173

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I forgot to add the plus that I can develop Fp-4, Hp-5, and Acros all at the same time
 

scootermm

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If your thinking about using DBI so that you don't have to do all that film speed testing, and all that other mundane boring crap. I recommend, for consistency, that you take your film to Wal mart.

man, all this time I could have left all this development work to wallymart.
:D
you think theyd know that the notches need to be in the bottom right?
 

jstraw

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As I read back what I wrote, It looks like it could have been a slam at you for not wanting to do testing. It was an aside for anyone thinking that way. If you felt it directed to you personally, please accept my apologies.
I am usually developing sheet film in clear acrylic tanks that I made myself. For roll film I picked up a glass beaker at the thrift store. It is large enough that I can use it the same as my small Paterson tanks. That's how I can see roll film developing. Remember I can see in the dark. Yes, you would have to have the goggles to see first density. I also watch the emulsion side. Even with 35 MM film there will be a general consistency thru the roll. The best way is to do as stated before, do an inspection at your predetermined time and temp. Look at what that is, as a point of reference as to when to pull. Don't worry about if you make the call wrong. I can tell you ahead of time, you WILL make the call wrong a few times till you get used to it.

No worries...I'm a PITA sometimes, myself. :wink:

You don't experience the problems Michael Smith describes, regarding inspection of the emulsion side?

Good point about developing different film stock together. I'd be worried about getting confused trying to keep track of which sheets had which N time.
 

jstraw

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Is DBI compatible with stand/semi-stand development?
 
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