Intermediate large format questions/photography misadventures

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MTGseattle

MTGseattle

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I'm desperately trying to work through the "issues" that's for sure. I cooked the bejeezus out of one of my frames from last week. Over exposed and over developed. There are details in both of my "placed" zones, but it's going to be a bugger to print.

I broke my ground glass for the Tomiyama 170 the other night. I was messing around trying to make a small focus scale for it. I stepped away for a few minutes, came back and messed with the tripod and the glass dropped right off. The good news is that I did have the pieces on hand to get things sorted with a 120mm f6.8 angulon on that camera. I also found a "vintage" cable release for the Tomiyama that fits like it was made for it. It's a cloth wrapped Minette release.

I purchased a Wista 45 sp. I went through the trouble of building my own reduction back just to buy another 4x5. g.a.s strikes again. It's not quite as refined as a Linhof Technica, but well worth the price I paid.
My goal is to have a "Kit" I can grab and take with me each day. a 4x5 kit, the Tomiyama, and the 8x10 kit. My meter and a filter or 2 should be the only things that carry over.

I may do a round of down and dirty film testing this weekend. I'm hoping I can get things acceptible in 4-6 frames of 4x5. (for 1 developer).
 
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MTGseattle

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I continue to be my own worst enemy in some ways. I went out yesterday with my new to me Wista 45sp. I had forgotten how nice a revolving back is. I also brought the Minolta srt202 along that I was gifted. I made 2 4x5 exposures without much fuss, then pulled another film holder to see that the black side of the dark slides was showing (I work "silver"= ready, "Black"=exposed) I didn't remember exposing those frames, so I thought I simply replaced the dark slides backwards while loading. I also couldn't find notes to back up my assumptions. Thus ended the 4x5 work. The only real way to solve this is to run a frame through chemistry.

It has been 20 some years since I used any 35mm film. It was freeing in a way.
I hope 1 or 2 frames are equal to what I hoped for when exposing them. This forces a new conundrum upon me; the film was hp5+. I have 3 developers here that could work. DD-x, Tmax, Ilfosol3. Which one? Anyone have a 3-sided coin? There's a little red guy on my shoulder telling me to use Ilfosol3 at 75-80 degrees and double agitation. It would push things out into a realm I have only traveled in once before.
 

Vaughn

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Well, one isn't a LF user until one develops two sheets from a holder to find one blank and the other double-exposed. 😎
 

Vaughn

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... or finds no sheets at all.
BTDT

PS...plus helping students with 4x5 for 3 decades I got to see every mistake possible. Including removing the darkslides from the holder and processing the film in tanks while still in the film holder.
 
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MTGseattle

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I processed 4 sheets 4x5 and my 35mm roll yesterday. I had the Sp810 quantities in my head so I proceeded to do a Patterson Super 4 with the mod54 reel in it with only 450ml of chemistry. Only 1 sheet exhibits what I will call "half-and-half" development.
The other funny thing is that 2 sheets were Tmax and 2 sheets were Delta. There's a small notebook around here somewhere that would have told me that, but It seems to have grown legs.
The 35mm film has a nice black leader and then 2' of clear film. I thought I goofed and went fix first, but after soe thought, it was improper loading/film advance.
Tonight, I mixed up my replacement envelope of Dektol and the stuff looks like Turkish coffee. I can't even see through it. I think I'll take up painting.
Anyone what to buy some cameras?
 

Vaughn

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Yes, the black leader (and I assume frame numbers) means development. This was a common problem with our students. At least one in a class would not be paying attention to the loading lecture and/or demo about paying attention that the winder handle always moves when advancing the film, and fire off 36 exposures without the film moving, then ask me why they can still keep taking photos after #36. If caught at this point (instead of after development), at least they had some metering practice and can still run the roll through the camera.
 

Sirius Glass

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Have you pulled the wrong dark slide yet?
Don't worry, you will. 😄 😩

BTDT.

I have locked the lens open, pulled the dark slide and the cranked the focal plane shutter. That puts a diagonal line across the negative every time.
 
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MTGseattle

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Well, 2 printing sessions at home under my belt.

Session #1
"Root beer" Dektol, safelight issues and an ambient light issue. "Root beer" Dektol does indeed bring an image up on the paper. The times seemed long and inconsistent.
I have the Kodak silver housing red rim 5-1/2" filter safelight. It has an Ilford #902 in it. (There are a couple of posts regarding that filter not being safe, but Ilford data says it's fine). I had placed an led bulb in the safelight. The led bulb was too strong. Since this all happened at like 8pm on a Tuesday, I swapped it out for a random red led bulb I had on hand. No more paper fog.
* I tested all of this by running 2 prints in complete darkness*
After ironing out light issues, I continued to fight the wierd Dektol for another 30 min. The ties were strange, and due to the color, I couldn't really watch the image come up in the tray.

Session #2

Ilford multigrade developer, 8x10 paper only, mostly successful session. am I churning out exhibition grade prints? Not by any means. They are at least evidence that my process is again acceptable. My confidence was pretty shaken last week after completely killing 3 sheets of 8x10 film due mostly to math under duress in the field (or being in a hurry, take your pick) and a really frustrating 1st home darkroom session.
It's a bit clunky using buckets and jugs for my water and waste, but it beats driving across town, paying an hourly fee and bumping elbows with people. Plus, I can have an adult beverage near to hand if I like.

Has anyone had issues with a Sekonic L-508? Mine is around 15 years old I suspect. Nothing alarming is happening, so maybe my battery is getting low but it seems to hold and "stick" on the first reading rather than giving the new reading right away. As in metering for your shadow, then checking your highlight. Shadow reading "sticks" and 2-3 triggers needed to get the highlight reading.
 

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I have that Sekonic L 508 meter, I like it a lot. No delays for me. Certainly stick a new battery in it and try it again.
Thanks Matt for posting the Kodak Safelight Test. After years of procrastinating I finally went through the test. Doesn’t take that long, and now I have confidence if I have issues it’s not the safelight.
 
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MTGseattle

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Yes. Thank you Matt for the link. I've mentioned before that I also have a Thomas Duplex sitting around, but the little Kodak was way faster to get running. I'm also in a fairly small, low-ceiling space. I'd have to have the vanes almost closed on the T.D. I think.

As to new issues: I was going to get my Stearman Sp810 ready for 4x5 duty and I'm missing one of the center clips for the lid. My suspicion is that this could lead to 2 frames really getting to know each other on the side with the missing clip. We shall see.
 
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MTGseattle

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Oh, for reference, my safelight is the KODAK Darkroom Lamp (CAT No. 152 1178).
 

AnselMortensen

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Yes. Thank you Matt for the link. I've mentioned before that I also have a Thomas Duplex sitting around, but the little Kodak was way faster to get running. I'm also in a fairly small, low-ceiling space. I'd have to have the vanes almost closed on the T.D. I think.

As to new issues: I was going to get my Stearman Sp810 ready for 4x5 duty and I'm missing one of the center clips for the lid. My suspicion is that this could lead to 2 frames really getting to know each other on the side with the missing clip. We shall see.

PM sent
 

DREW WILEY

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You aren't a real LF photographer until you've developed your sheets in an XXXX Stetson cowboy hat, and then drink the leftover "cowboy coffee" developer residue afterward.
 
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MTGseattle

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Drew. That sounds about on par with Army coffee while in Yakima training center with extra "dust storm" creamer. Real coffee has grit.

Successful implementation of the Mod54 tank insert this evening. I wish I could call that thing fool-proof, but nope. It takes quite a bit of chemistry too.
One of these days I'll be brave and go "old-school" and tray process in the dark. I think it's a rite of passage isn't it?
 
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MTGseattle

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Mod54 update; I've got "arm" damage on the sides of 1 negative. My agitation method is pretty controlled and deliberate, so I think I need to use the full 1000ml of chemistry and quit trying to be cheap. I suspect the slightly low volume allows more turbulence during the processing which led to the scratches.

Also (this is funny in a way). I meter my scene. then proceed to add exposure to place my important shadows. Yes, you see that correctly, I "added" exposure to place my shadows. I rather wish I had pulled the wrong dark slide or left a lens cap on.

I got out for some photography yesterday. Hopefully I had my head on straight.

I may still end up with a fancy camera backpack. My hiking pack with 3 different small cases in it for 4x5 kit was a pain in the butt yesterday. It's a 45 liter pack, and with a set of "shell" wet weather gear, a Tenba byob10 and a F-stop medium cube, the pack is basically full. It also becomes a "yard-sale" around me and the tripod when at a scene. The search continues...
 
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MTGseattle

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My negatives from the weekend were ok. Much better than the ones from the week prior, but I'm still making a math mistake and possibly over developing on top of that. I'm not abandoning my materials of choice (delta 100 and ddx) just yet. there's a battle of wills going on and I know that I should be able to get a really nice negative out of this combo. A great or outstanding negative? Maybe not, but that's heading into subjective territory anyway.
I've acquired a myriad of other film stocks lately though, so I am thinking about other developers. I have some Tmax liquid on hand but it's not appropriate for sheet film. I also have some ilfosol-3 on hand but cannot remember if it's meant for sheet film or not (I'll look it up again).

Having said all of that, should I drop back to D76 or one of its variations? Xtol? I'm not after a magic bullet, but something that should get adequate results with a lot of stuff.

For a point of reference regarding my very general interpretations of imagery, Here is a link with what I will call grainy to the extent that the grain sets the mood for the image:

 
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MTGseattle

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I went and loaded 35mm correctly on Sunday and managed to make some exposures. that felt good. I also did a 4-sheet "exposure test" of a concrete wall per my instructor and I wondering what the heck I am doing. Here's where par for the cours(Murphy's law) for me lately came in;
1. meter the concrete wall.
2. expose one frame at that meter reading.
2a. meter reading of 1/125 @ f16
2b. lens is an older Linhof Schneider Angulon 120mm. No 1/125th speed. Apertures are pretty close together so how do I compensate 1/4 stop?
3. Stop throwing things around in an empty parking lot looking like a lunatic and get back to work.
4. expose at 1/100 @ f16
5. expose at 1/100 @ f11
6. expose at 1/100 @ f8
7. expose at 1/100 @ f22 (might have been 32, it's in my notes)
8. process all sheets as "normal"
8a. Who the heck is hiding the data for Ilford delta 100 metered at 80? I can't find anything.
8b. Develop at 9 min since 9:45 seemed to cook the negatives 2 weeks ago.
9. review results
9a. 2 sheets tried to make a baby again. I was very gentle during agitation and tray dumping. At which point in the process are my sheets getting together? Stearman sp810 in (4) 4x5 configuration. Maybe I need to press down on the lid tighter when emptying.?
9b. pour a drink.
10. Wait until Wed night and see what my instructor thinks.

Roberts Camera has a used Canham 8x10 right now. How much of my gear do I unload to shoehorn that thing into my budget? I need to stop. Does beano relieve g.a.s or just gas?
 

Ian C

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Regarding post #95

I’ve long used T-Max Developer for nearly all films: 35 mm, 120, 4” x 5”, 8” x 10”. I’m aware of Kodak’s warning against developing T-Max sheet films in T-Max Developer. The warning came early after the introduction of T-Max Developer. I’m not certain, but I think that at some point Kodak modified the T-Max emulsion. Possibly this accounts for my failure to encounter dichroic fog. I use T-Max 100 film almost exclusively. I have never encountered any problem resembling “dichroic fog” in my T-Max sheet films (or any other films, sheets or rolls) developed in T-Max Developer. My black-and-white sheet films are developed in Paterson trays.

It's possible to compensate for a 1/4-stop difference between the metered exposure time and the time limits of a shutter with older time scales, though unless you’re shooting color transparency film, it’s unnecessary for such a small difference.

The intended time for a metered 1/125 second exposure is 1/128 seconds. The difference from 1/128 second to 1/100 second is 0.36 stops. So, if you meter reading is, say, 1/125 @ f/16 and you were forced to use a marked time of 1/100 second, in principle, you’d get a 0.36-stop, or about a 1/3rd-stop overexposure at 1/100 second shutter time.

To compensate, set the aperture index about 1/3rd of the distance from f/16 towards f/22 to reduce the exposure by about 1/3 stop. With negative film, I wouldn’t bother with such a small correction. For this to be meaningful, the shutter would have to be quite accurate, which is questionable for an old gear-train-escapement shutter.
 
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MTGseattle

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Thank you Ian. I've been curious about the Tmax developer "issue" too. I wondered what component could make it act strangely for sheet film and as intended for roll. I wish I could remember which version I had in college ('98-'99) the gallon jug of concentrate was silver, I remember that.

My post #95 was more just an anecdote as to the silly stuff that keeps happening. My instructor gives me a simple task, and I pick a lens that forces me to stray or skew the process just a bit.
That 120mm lens did have a full cla about 2 years ago.
 

AnselMortensen

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When loading the Stearman 810, be sure that the 4x5 film is not covering the round divots in the bottom of the tray.
 
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MTGseattle

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As-in load it with the film sheets in the farthest out from center positions? Tight to sides and front/back of tray? I'll be more careful that I'm not letting things creep when setting the lid I guess. I'm using a standard size Harrison tent so things get bumped sometimes.
 

AnselMortensen

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As-in load it with the film sheets in the farthest out from center positions? Tight to sides and front/back of tray? I'll be more careful that I'm not letting things creep when setting the lid I guess. I'm using a standard size Harrison tent so things get bumped sometimes.

Yes, close to sides & edges of the tray.
The pointy parts of the center clips fit into the divots in the tray, and keep the film in place.
I also tape the lid down with painter's tape after I'm sure the lid is seated properly, to make sure nothing moves if I bump it accidentally.
 
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