F stop printing

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faberryman

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Yes - except with an f-Stop timer you don't work in seconds but stops of time.*

With an f-Stop timer you would have a base exposure of 4.5 stops (22 seconds) and a step increment of 0.1 stops. In this example your first test strip would be from, say, 3.0 stops (8 seconds) in 0.5 stop increments - if you did a 5 step strip that would have given you exposures of 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 stops, or 8, 11, 16, 22, 32 seconds.

If you do test strips by covering up a bit of paper then the exposures needed would be 8, 3, 5, 6, 10 - an f-stop timer does all that for you.

It is plain to see why a linear sequence is 'easier' with a seconds-only timer: 8 seconds and then 6 exposures of 4 seconds till you get to 32.

--

* RH timers are hybrid seconds-stops timers, much like the original Nocon timer. The base exposure time is in seconds which is then adjusted up and down in fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4 ... 1/24(?)) of a stop. Burns and test strips are in fractions of a stop over a base exposure.

Darkroom Automation timers work entirely in decimal stops of time and only use seconds to count down an exposure.

Lots of ways to skin a cat I guess.
 

pentaxuser

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OP I think you can help us here if you will. Can I ask: Have you made your mind up that f stop printing is either flawed or at least of no value to you

If the answer is YES then at least those here trying to persuade you otherwise can stop doing so and thus save their time in continuing and save your time in reading what they might otherwise continue to say to persuade you.

That way we reach a win-win situation. Whether this will help you become a better darkroom printer is another matter of course but I accept that its your decision

pentaxuser
 

MattKing

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So let's say you inspect your test strip and determine that proper exposure is between 22 and 32 seconds. For your next test strip, do you calculate the fractional f-stops between 22 and 32 to arrive at your exposure intervals? Or do you just expose between 22 and 32 in 2 sec intervals? Seems like the latter choice wouldn't make your brain hurt as much.
If the best exposure is between 22 and 32 seconds, I do another strip in between. For me, it is easy to use a 1/12 stop progression within that range, but 2 second intervals within the range will yield useful results as well.
I'll second that. Learn how to judge and make a good print.
I find that when one tests with logarithmic/geometric (f-stop) progressions, and makes logarithmic/geometric (f-stop) adjustments, it is easier to see what needs to be changed, and how much one needs to change. So I think that f-stop printing helps one "learn how to judge and make a good print".
 

Nicholas Lindan

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[OP:] Have you made your mind up that f stop printing is either flawed or at least of no value to you

... If the answer is YES then at least those here trying to persuade you otherwise can stop doing so...
I don't think anyone here is trying to convince the OP of much of anything. Though we haven't given up hope of saving his Immortal Soul.

Like most threads on the topic it has progressed to yet another chapter in the eternal struggle between the linearians and the logarithmarians.

A mathematician once (erroneosly) stated "God made the integers; all else is the work of man."

God works in logarithms. He multiplies. God never said "Go forth and add."
 

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OP I think you can help us here if you will. Can I ask: Have you made your mind up that f stop printing is either flawed or at least of no value to you

If the answer is YES then at least those here trying to persuade you otherwise can stop doing so and thus save their time in continuing and save your time in reading what they might otherwise continue to say to persuade you.

That way we reach a win-win situation. Whether this will help you become a better darkroom printer is another matter of course but I accept that its your decision

pentaxuser

There are many expert darkroom printers who use a tradiitional timer, some a metronome, some who just count out seconds. It doesn't matter if you can produce the prints that meet your standards. F-stop printing, like split-grade printing, is an acquired skill that some adopt and find intuitive and continue to use for their printing. We haven't even touched on flashing, bleaching or toning. It's the final print that counts, not how you get there.
 

MattKing

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It's the final print that counts, not how you get there.

And in particular when you are new to this, don't expect that how you start out will necessary be the way that you continue.
I printed for a few decades before discovering f-stop printing. I've switched to that approach, because it suits me. And I don't have one of Nicholas Linden's timers, but not because I don't want one - I just can't justify replacing the timers I already own.
 

cliveh

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Well I stop down about 2 or 3 F stops to maximise the enlarger lens performance and then experiment with exposure time.
 

awty

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All you need, easy peasy.
IMG_20220917_180741.jpg
 

awty

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Yes - except with an f-Stop timer you don't work in seconds but stops of time.*

With an f-Stop timer you would have a base exposure of 4.5 stops (22 seconds) and a step increment of 0.1 stops. In this example your first test strip would be from, say, 3.0 stops (8 seconds) in 0.5 stop increments - if you did a 5 step strip that would have given you exposures of 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 stops, or 8, 11, 16, 22, 32 seconds.

If you do test strips by covering up a bit of paper then the exposures needed would be 8, 3, 5, 6, 10 - an f-stop timer does all that for you.

It is plain to see why a linear sequence is 'easier' with a seconds-only timer: 8 seconds and then 6 exposures of 4 seconds till you get to 32.

If you use the f-stop method it gets easier to eyeball a print - "Oh, yeah. Need to burn that in 0.5 stops" and you don't have to think farther than that. BTW, paper is contrastier than film: a 0.5 stop change in print exposure is equivalent to 1 zone (stop) change in film exposure.

We take pictures in stops - we don't think in terms of entrance pupil diameter of the lens (which is what we are directly controlling) or the number of milliseconds of shutter opening - so why not just carry stops over into the darkroom? I can just see a linear shutter speed dial: 1 second, 0.999 seconds, 0.998 seconds ... turn, turn, turn ... 0.002 seconds, 0.001 seconds - lots of precision in exposure around 1 second but at the other end it jumps from 1/500 to 1/1000 of a second.

--

* RH timers are hybrid seconds-stops timers, much like the original Nocon timer. The base exposure time is in seconds which is then adjusted up and down in fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4 ... 1/24(?)) of a stop. Burns and test strips are in fractions of a stop over a base exposure.

Darkroom Automation timers work entirely in decimal stops of time and only use seconds to count down an exposure.

That makes perfect sense.
Also makes it easier if you are conversing with other darkroom photographers to be speaking the same language.
 

MattKing

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All you need, easy peasy.

And if you ask nicely, Ralph will share the pdf of that table (and a bunch of other useful things) from his book Way Beyond Monochrome.
 

awty

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And if you ask nicely, Ralph will share the pdf of that table (and a bunch of other useful things) from his book Way Beyond Monochrome.

Shhhh you just can steal it when he's not looking.
There's quite a few variations on the net you can download, print out in a3 and laminate.
 

pentaxuser

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Well at least we seem to have largely eliminated the OP from the debate which now seems to be about the value of fstop timing rather than whether it is a flawed concept. My idea about asking what final position on the subject the OP had taken was to find out from him if further suggestions to him was worth our time

It strikes me that the OP's thread may have come to an end and if so it might be sensible to end the thread

What we have now moved to is a debate that might warrant a new thread on say "fstop timing, its rationale and what purpose does it serve

That way when someone wants to research fstop timing there is a thread dedicated to it which was not as this one began nor as it may end

We have a wealth of knowledge here on Photrio but we pay less attention as to how we consolidate that information than we may be should

pentaxuser
 

Maris

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I do the old 2,4,6,8, .... seconds test strips but I try to tweak the system to get good information faster.

When doing 8x10 enlargements, say, I'll cut a fresh sheet into four test strips of 10x2.
The test strip goes under the enlarger so that one end of it sees the thinnest part of the negative and another end sees the thickest part.
If I work across the test strip in quarter inch increments I get eight stepped samples of what the negative is delivering.

The iron rule is that one side of the test strip must be too light and the other side must be too dark so the correct exposure definitely lies between. If not then redo the test strip until this is the case.
For fine control maybe two test strips are needed, one for the highlights, one for the shadows.

If properly done the test strip/s will give me the exposure times for mid-tones, shadows, and highlights to guide dodging and burning-in strategies. Quite often the first enlargement is good
and I can move on to the next negative.

Went I audit darkroom time It seems I spend longer doing test strips than doing the actual enlargements.
I've never seen f-stop timing being done so the question for me is does it deliver information quicker.
 

Pieter12

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Well at least we seem to have largely eliminated the OP from the debate which now seems to be about the value of fstop timing rather than whether it is a flawed concept. My idea about asking what final position on the subject the OP had taken was to find out from him if further suggestions to him was worth our time

It strikes me that the OP's thread may have come to an end and if so it might be sensible to end the thread

What we have now moved to is a debate that might warrant a new thread on say "fstop timing, its rationale and what purpose does it serve

That way when someone wants to research fstop timing there is a thread dedicated to it which was not as this one began nor as it may end

We have a wealth of knowledge here on Photrio but we pay less attention as to how we consolidate that information than we may be should

pentaxuser

Wel, the OP is confused about a lot of things regarding photography and printing. For one, He somehow thinks he would change to a longer focal length lens to make a bigger print and that the f stop varies in light transmission depending on the focal length and physical dimensions of the lens. I sincerely doubt this discussion has clarified anything for him or even if he has followed this thread for any length of time.
 

albada

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Darkroom Automation timers work entirely in decimal stops of time and only use seconds to count down an exposure.

Since we're discussing the relative merits of f-stop timing, I'll mention that my DIY timer is similar to that sold by Darkroom Automation: It uses only decimal stops. I was able to quickly transition from seconds to stops.

BTW, when I generate a test-strip, I'm finding that an increment of 0.3 stops is ideal, because (1) a 7-step strip covers enough range that it'll cross the correct exposure, and (2) because there are two (decimal) possible exposures between each step, it's easy to estimate which is the best, giving me 0.1-stop exposure-accuracy with only one strip.
 

Pieter12

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there ARE flaws in the theory, or at least in the actual application.

In the book that had a section linked too, the author TEACHES or explains f stop printing USING a paper cut out chart you paste upon a gralab 300 timer.. and simply turn the timer hand to the "correct" "approximate" mark for the desired " f stop" value.

yet an experienced f stop enlarger has declared from the heights of mount olympus that the gralab 300 is NOT suited for f stop timing. based upon the lack of ability to actually be set to 1/10 of a second..

If the "god" of f stop printing was able to be successful at using a gralab 300 with the timer set to the f stop line on the print out... how can the process be accurate or REPEATABLE because there is no actual hard point in the timer dial to be reset to x.3 seconds

and the base value of f stop timing is REPEATABILITY. and the ability to simply crunch numbers when

So don't do it. Learn how to print with traditional timing. The point is to make good--or great--prints. Many here have been able to use f-stop printing with different timers, maybe one day you can, too.
 

MattKing

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there ARE flaws in the theory, or at least in the actual application.

In the book that had a section linked too, the author TEACHES or explains f stop printing USING a paper cut out chart you paste upon a gralab 300 timer.. and simply turn the timer hand to the "correct" "approximate" mark for the desired " f stop" value.

yet an experienced f stop enlarger has declared from the heights of mount olympus that the gralab 300 is NOT suited for f stop timing. based upon the lack of ability to actually be set to 1/10 of a second..

If the "god" of f stop printing was able to be successful at using a gralab 300 with the timer set to the f stop line on the print out... how can the process be accurate or REPEATABLE because there is no actual hard point in the timer dial to be reset to x.3 seconds

and the base value of f stop timing is REPEATABILITY. and the ability to simply crunch numbers when

No Gods or Mount Olympus' involved. Just people with practical experience.
As mentioned, if f-stop printing doesn't suit you, don't use it.
Perhaps when you have printed more, you will find it more useful. At that stage you will probably prefer to use a different timer anyways - many are more convenient to use with an enlarger.
 

Sirius Glass

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I have used the 5 second, 10 second, 15 second, 20 second ... method and then learned the 2 second, 4 second, 8 second, 16 second ... method for making timing strips on sheets of photographic paper. I found that most of the time I can converge more quickly with the latter method. However once I have the range of seconds for the general exposure I had to drop back to even steps to quickly converge on the exact exposure more often then the f/stop method. Work with both and see what works best for you.
 

koraks

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there ARE flaws in the theory, or at least in the actual application.

This seems to be part of the problem. You seem to regard application/implementation problems as synonymous with theoretical flaws. That's a fundamental flaw of logic in itself.

Then there's the matter of awareness of basic photographic theory; it's nothing to be ashamed of that you're wrapping your head around the laws of optics underlying photography, but your lack of knowledge does not constitute a fatal flaw of f-stop printing.

Thirdly, I think the attitude of being confused and then blaming someone or something else (in this case f-stop printing and its proponents) doesn't allow you to make the most of this. By this, I mean that regardless if you like or adopt f-stop printing, there's things to be learned by studying it. I'm speaking for myself here: I personally don't use f-stop printing for very similar reasons as e.g. @Vaughn, but what I did learn from the approach has undoubtedly enriched the way I work in the darkroom.

Of course, every approach has its (staunch) proponents and they'll argue that 'their' approach is superior. Of course, we all know that to an extent, it's all subjective and that some advantages will come at the cost of other disadvantages, making everyone's choice depend on how we weigh those pros and cons. This does not make one approach or the other fatally flawed, let alone the theory underlying it. It only shows that reality is sometimes fickle, and it is so regardless if you're counting seconds or f-stops under in the dim red light.
 

albada

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Of course, every approach has its (staunch) proponents and they'll argue that 'their' approach is superior.

I'll try to be unbiased below.
  • In favor of seconds: There's nothing new to learn, it's intuitive and works well.
  • In favor of f-stop timing: A little easier to estimate exposure between steps on a test-strip. Easy to interchange LED-brightness and time.
The last reason above is why I prefer f-stop timing, but this applies to few people. For example, I need to add two stops of exposure when going from 4x5 to 8x10, so I can boost the LEDs until green hits its max, say that was a boost of 1.6, and then boost time by 0.4 stops to total 2.0.

If I did not have a LED-head, I'd probably feel 50-50 about these two methods.
 

Sirius Glass

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I'll try to be unbiased below.
  • In favor of seconds: There's nothing new to learn, it's intuitive and works well.
  • In favor of f-stop timing: A little easier to estimate exposure between steps on a test-strip. Easy to interchange LED-brightness and time.
The last reason above is why I prefer f-stop timing, but this applies to few people. For example, I need to add two stops of exposure when going from 4x5 to 8x10, so I can boost the LEDs until green hits its max, say that was a boost of 1.6, and then boost time by 0.4 stops to total 2.0.

If I did not have a LED-head, I'd probably feel 50-50 about these two methods.

I always start printing the size print I want from the start, but I do prefer f/stop printing over seconds printing most of the time.
 
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I am not sure what you mean by accurate. Using time has always worked well for me. If I determine that an area of the print needs to be burned in for 13 seconds, 13 seconds seems pretty accurate. How would f-stop printing be more accurate than 13 seconds?

f/stop timing is not more accurate than other systems but, it is more consistent.
 

jnk

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f/stop timing is not more accurate than other systems but, it is more consistent.

never heard of it. just make plain old test strips and hit the button x-times, who would have known this subject was this controversial
 
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