How much developing by inspection compensate for exposure?

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I read at Ed Weston, for a part of his career, "Felt the light" to calculate his exposure. The feeling was my guess from years of experience of exposing without a light meter. He also developed through inspection instead of using development times. My question is in an age of precise meter, accurate thermometers, and precise clocks. How much can development by inspection compensate for errors in exposure? I've done my share of film test with densitometers, but can we throw all the precise gear out the window and just use our "Gut feelings" to get a good negative? Are older films have a greater or smaller margin for error? To be fair, Ed Weston did very little enlarging, but his prints are really beautiful. Your throughts are appreciated.
 

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Development by inspection is essential when there is no prior info available. Case in point: My dry plates and pretty much any modern developer. I know HC-110 dil B for 5 minutes works for metering at ASA 2, but I had to figure that all out myself because nobody else had.

We kind of take the film/paper/developer databases for granted now, but those didn’t always exist. That’s similar to the early days of film (i.e. pre-WW2) when very little established info existed or was widely available.
 
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Development by inspection is essential when there is no prior info available. Case in point: My dry plates and pretty much any modern developer. I know HC-110 dil B for 5 minutes works for metering at ASA 2, but I had to figure that all out myself because nobody else had.

We kind of take the film/paper/developer databases for granted now, but those didn’t always exist. That’s similar to the early days of film (i.e. pre-WW2) when very little established info existed or was widely available.
Thank goodness for Massive Dev Chart!
 

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Have you been through the Micheal A. Smith articles at his Lodima website?
 
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... My question is in an age of precise meter, accurate thermometers, and precise clocks. How much can development by inspection compensate for errors in exposure? ...

Development by inspection doesn't compensate for errors in exposure. It is, rather, a visual substitute for the Zone System. One can visually asses the overall density range on the negative and stop development when the right contrast range has been reached. This takes a lot of experience and an "eye" for it. I'm happy to stick with the Zone System, since I spot meter and determine the luminance range and, hence, the amount of development I'll need, before exposing the film. Weston didn't have that luxury when he started and needed a different tool...

Best,

Doremus
 
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Development by inspection doesn't compensate for errors in exposure. It is, rather, a visual substitute for the Zone System. One can visually asses the overall density range on the negative and stop development when the right contrast range has been reached. This takes a lot of experience and an "eye" for it. I'm happy to stick with the Zone System, since I spot meter and determine the luminance range and, hence, the amount of development I'll need, before exposing the film. Weston didn't have that luxury when he started and needed a different tool...

Best,

Doremus
Great! Thanks for the clarification. Weston's using his gut feelings to expose this film is pretty amazing. I heard he used a meter later. If you have a tool available, why not use it?
 
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