first time ever development: results

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Mirko Lazzarin, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Mirko Lazzarin

    Mirko Lazzarin Member

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    Hello everyone.
    Yesterday I developed my first film ever. And indeed I am quite not conviced of the results.
    I took some (test) pics around my house and the exposure was (presumably) correct. The film used was a Foma400, developed in ID-11, diluted 1:1, for 12 minutes @ 20degrees (according to Dev Mass Chart), 10 seconds agitation every minute (4 inversions per agitation) + 30 seconds of agitation at the beginning of the development....indeed, stop bath and fixer, 10 minutes of washing and fianl wash with wetting agent.
    I have realized at the end of the process, that my light meter was set on 320ISO!! Therefore I presumed that I have over developed the film..Correct me if I am wrong. Here are some pics from the film:

    - http://www.flickr.com/photos/34937194@N07/

    Could you please let me know where I did wrong?? I am really not happy with it..
    Many many many thanks!
    Have a great Sunday
    Mirko
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Mirko,

    I don't use the film/developer combination you are using and haven't checked the chart for development times, but there should be little or no problem with using 320 as your EI for the 400-speed film. The difference is only about 1/5 of a stop, and it is common for B & W films to be exposed at slightly lower ratings than the nominal speed set by the manufacturer. Since you already have the processed negatives, just take a look; if they look OK, they are OK.

    Konical
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    do the prints look like the scan? If so

    the prints look flat with little detail in the shadows. which would lead one to belive they are underexposed. try rating the film at
    200 and see if the results are any better.
     
  4. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Mirko,

    There is more than enough latitude in film to make up for such a small overexposure. Personally, I found Fomapan 400 to need a little more exposure at the factory recommended developing times. The dilution and time you used are not in the Foma datasheet but the combination seems reasonable. The photos as posted look a little underexposed and/or underdeveloped. Still, I think you could easily print more detail from the shadows. Not a bad first effort at all.

    The data sheet can be found here if you don't have it: http://www.foma.cz/Upload/foma/prilohy/F_pan_400_en.pdf

    Keep shooting!

    Neal Wydra
     
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    Mirko Lazzarin

    Mirko Lazzarin Member

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    hi everyone
    Yes, the negatives look a bit flat, pale compared to other films I got printed from a lab.
    As an absolute beginner, I got a bit lost.
    Many thanks for info and the link.

    Mirko
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    As Konical says, your slight over-exposure is no real problem. Your development time is consistant with the recommendations from Foma (found here; http://www.freestylephoto.biz/pdf/Fomapan_400.pdf), but both the ISO and development times are merely guidelines for a starting point. The exact numbers depend on your methods, tastes and the conditions.

    It looks to me like the dog's white fur could be a little brighter. More development time, or possibly even more exposure would help achieve that.
    Generally speaking shadows are governed by the exposurse, and the bright areas are controlled by the development time. It's hard to tell on a monitor what your shadows are like. To my eye, the photos look a little low on contrast, more development time would increase the contrast.



    But what is your evaluation? You say you are unhappy with the result, what would you like to achiev?
     
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    Mirko Lazzarin

    Mirko Lazzarin Member

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    Hi Bdial,
    I am not happy at all with the shadows, thus, after your comments, I am definitely sure this is an exposure problem. As I said, the negatives look pale and thin to me.
    Would you mind explaining me what (in pratical terms) controlling the bright area in the development time means??
    Sorry for the question, I am a newbie :wink:
    Cheers
    Mirko

    ps: nice quote you have!
     
  8. jtzordon

    jtzordon Member

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    If you give more exposure, both shadows and highlights become denser (or thicker). If you develop for a longer time, or agitate more frequently, the highlights gain density more than the shadows. So, expose for the shadows to make sure they are dense enough, and develop for the highlights to make sure they are dense enough (or not too dense).
     
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    Mirko Lazzarin

    Mirko Lazzarin Member

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    Now, it starts making sense to me :wink:
    Thanks a lot jtzordon!
     
  10. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hello Mirko.

    I've never used Fomapan 400, but judging by the posts in this forum many members rate it at 200. I agree with anyone else that shadows are a bit too dark. The result isn't bad for a start though, far from it! Bdial posted the data sheet of your film. Have a look at it, specifically the last page. There's an interesting chart regarding ID11/D76. You used 12 minutes at 1:1 dilution. That should be equivalent to 7 minutes undiluted developer. Look at the X axis of the chart, start at 7 minutes, then go upwards. Ignore the first curve you'll reach (it's about base fog) then check the second curve. It tells you that the contrast index (aka gamma) is about 0,66. Not bad at all, it's a reasonable figure. Now continue upwards and you'll reach the third curve. That's the real speed you can get with that developer. You'll see that it's a tad more than 200. Now you see that not only didn't you overexpose, but actually you underexposed by about 2/3rds of a stop. If I were you, I'd keep the dev time the same, but set my meter to 200 or 250 ISO.

    PS1: Don't feel sorry for the question!
    PS2: Yes, bdial has a nice quote at his sig :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2009
  11. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Thank you for the complements on the signature line.

    Try to change only one thing at a time, since you would like better shadows, as Anon suggests, try rating the film at 200 and develop the same as you did before. If you can do more shots in the same weather conditions, that would be ideal.

    No need to apologize for the questions, it's a learning process that few have mastered. I certainly haven't.
     
  12. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    Yes, most films doesn't really have their respective box speed. With most 400 film I start my estimations at 250. This is especially true for the eastern Europe films. (The now dead Forte/Adox/Bergger 400 film was even worse at around 200. But other aspects of it in larger formats made it a lovely film.) Now, Foma isn't Forte, but they do relate in the sense of both factories using quite old technology and machines, so 200-250 sounds like good advice.

    The "Expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights" (to shorten what jtzordon said) is something which teachers at every darkroom class have repeated for the last decade or so. Hmm, there must be some truth in that... :smile: Anyhow, the "recommended" developing times is in some data sheets printed as "recommended starting times", so you should be prepared to adjust the time (and nothing but the time) until you are satisfied with the results.

    In this particular case your weather is like my weather. I.e. dark for almost 18 hours and a dull wet grey in between. That is one end of how a scene is lit, i.e. very evenly. The other end is direct harsh sunlight. Now, the "recommended starting times" are set to be in the middle of these two "extremes". Those of us who shoot Large Format sheet film or possibly Medium Format (usually 12 exposures per roll of film) are more accustomed to adjusting the developing time according to the light situation in the scene(s) we shoot. Without going into the particularities of it, I personally use one of 3 developing times for any film/developer combination. One for dull weather, one for bright light weather and the third one which is in between and rather close to that recommended starting time.
    In short:
    Dull weather: +25% developing time
    Somewhat overcast: normal dev. time
    Sunlit scenes: -20% dev time.
    (The ISO setting doesn't differ much even though the developing time does. Using 200 at sunlit, 250 for normal and maybe even 320 for dull would be my personal starting points.

    To come back to your shots of that turbo charged dog :smile:, they are taken in dull weather, so you should adjust the development with some extra 20-25%. I recon that will give you about the boost you want.

    Neither me nor anyone else would want to send you into a long lasting testing cycle. So, these tips are my "shortcuts" to you. Even though these values may differ somewhat from person to person, following the above tips should get you quite close to a very good result.

    Finally, you don't say if you intend to have the negatives printed "traditionally" in a darkroom or if you scan and print them digitally (i.e. "hybrid"). For the latter, it's important that you don't overdevelop.

    //Björn
     
  13. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    At the risk of antagonizing the anti-scan discussion police .... are those shots negative scans? They seem a bit dark on my monitor and a quick fiddle with one in a photo editor suggested a little more life could be added just with adjusting what's there. Perhaps too, a tweak of scanning parameters would look better. I've found that if the basic exposure is near optimum, I can make a scan of two shots a stop apart in exposure look almost identical, B&W film tends to be pretty forgiving stuff. Of course, the ultimate test is making prints, but there you have available the tweaks of exposure and paper grade or contrast filtering too.

    In any event, given that the lighting is rather flat in that dreary wet enviroment, you definitely should experiment a little with the interactions of exposure and development time. I tend to rate B&W films at about 60% or so of the box speed. But hey, for a first attempt, you're definitely in the ballpark, more than a few times I've wished my own were that close.

    DaveT
     
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    Mirko Lazzarin

    Mirko Lazzarin Member

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    Thanks a lot to everyone...The kind information I gathered in this topic are broadening my understanding.
    To answer to a question that everyone asked, I am actually scanning the negatives but I am also trying to set up a darkroom.
    My next development is an HP5400 - EI 400, shot inside an house with natural light. Every single shot was bracketed -1 and +1 stop. Would it be advisable to use a normal development time??

    Mirko
     
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    Mirko Lazzarin

    Mirko Lazzarin Member

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    Thanks a lot, that is very flattering :wink:
     
  16. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Those are great for first attempts, so don't get discouraged.

    One more possible cause of thin negs - and you may very well already know this, since you did a darn good job so far - but did you meter the sky as part of where you aimed the camera or light meter when you determined your settings? The reason I ask; it intuitively makes sense to aim the metering device in same direction as the entire picture.

    BUT - Metering is sort of non-intuitive. The meter doesn't and can't "know" what tone things should look like, so it simply "tries" to replicate a mid tone; so when you aim the meter at the sky, or include some sky in the meter's field of view, the greater brightness of the sky fools the meter into dropping the exposure to prevent overexposure in the sky. End result, underexposure elsewhere.

    To get a decent exposure in the ground, the trees, the dog etc. you will end up with the sky exposed very heavily. Aim your meter at the "real" subjects and keep the sky out of the meter's line of sight.

    Aim at areas that will "want" to come out as mid tones - then the meter will give you back mid tones, and nine times out of ten, you'll get great results back.

    When you get all this down to a science, you'll soon discover that metering and matching development to the needs of a negative are complicated and can screw you up as much as you want in future, but for now, leave those complexities aside and just get the basics down pat.

    Best,

    C
     
  17. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    Try to recall the light and more important, the shadows. Now I'd like to refer to my previous answer, the one about dull weather vs. harsh sunlight etc. In harsh sunlight the shadows are very sharp, while in dull weather they are very soft and almost not there. Then there's a scale of in between states. So if the shadows were very soft and you want more punch, give it more dev. or vice versa.
    You will eventually learn how to assess the shadows to help you determine how to develop the film.
    But in this case you say "natural light". Is that soft window light or an harsh electric bulb? Anyhow, I recon I've given you a clue on how to proceed above.

    //Björn
     
  18. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    You are getting close to the solution: Bracket, bracket, bracket your exposures and fix the processing procedure. The bracketed exposures will give you an excellent idea of how well you are recording the shadows and highlights. If none of the bracketed exposures are entirely satisfactory, then start to modify your processing until you settle on an optimum combination of exposure and processing time. At that point you can adjust ISO value if you like to set the optimum exposure. You need to use a still life or fixed scene for such tests. Shoot the entire roll bracketing the exposures and then process 25 cm or so of film cut from the roll in the dark. Cut another test section to try different developer/time/temperature combinations. Once you are satisfied with the result it still is best practice to continue to bracket exposures because lighting and subject conditions vary so much that your chances of having an optimal negative are improved.

    I generally bracket -1,0,+1 stop for black & white and color negative, and 1/2 stop increments for color reversal films where correct exposure is more critical. Of course this means that a 36-exposure roll is really only 12 subject images. Take lots of film or consider bulk-loading to reduce your film costs. I think you will find that most small-format (35 mm) photographers bracket whereas large format photographers use more care to meter their subjects as for example is done when using the Zone system. Bracketing is a lot easier if you have a camera that can do this automatically. I use Minolta 7000 bodies with programmable backs that can be set to bracket in groups of photographs. Film advances with a motor drive making the process much easier, albeit a little noisy.

    Your first attempts are great! Don't be discouraged because you will learn a lot by experimenting with different film/developer combinations and you will learn what works best for your own equipment. You will have to repeat the testing process to determine parameters for existing light versus daylight conditions. Using fast film in existing light is a little more challenging and might take more time to hone in on proper technique.