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Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jgcull, Nov 26, 2007.
Please describe for me what an overdeveloped negative would look like. Thank you.
A properly exposed but overdeveloped negative will have very dense highlights and normal shadow detail. Try making a contact print of the negative with the minimum exposure to produce a maximum black in the unexposed film area. If the shadows look good but the highlights are blown out, that's overdevelopment.
An overexposed but normally developed negative will have very rich shadow detail and possibly blown out highlights depending on the film. Some films like TMX can handle a fair amount of overexposure, so you still may be able to get a normal print under these conditions.
An underexposed, overdeveloped negative will have poor shadow detail but might have acceptable highlights. This is what people normally call "push processing" by up rating the film in the camera, and extending the development time in their normal developer (i.e., not a speed-increasing developer like Microphen or Acufine).
It is excessively dense. Proper exposure would maintain shadow detail. If the shadows are lacking it is underexposed AND overdeveloped.
Absent an experienced photographer in your area I would pull out your Kodak Darkroom Manual or other Kodak publications on B&W photography. Many of them have visual examples of this condition that you can review.
Does excessively dense mean dark? I developed 2 rolls of 120 TMax 100 at the same time, shot with the same camera, metered with the same meter - but in very different conditions. I've realized my Hassy negs need more development time than my 35mm ones, so I developed for 12.75 seconds rather than the recommended 11. One roll (inside with very low light) looks ok. The other negatives (outdoors and I can't remember if it was bright or overcast) are very dark but there is an image to most of them. They're not dry yet so I'm only going by how they look. I'll try to print them later.
Thank you for replying.
Dense here refers to the negative--excessively dark.
Try making contact prints using the minimum time/maximum black method, and that will help sort out the issues of under or overexposure and under or overdevelopment.
An old trick, you ought to be able to read news print though the darkest (highlights) and see shadow details in the lightest area.
I could never understand the difference until I forced some tests. I took a roll of film and made negatives of outdoor scenes on a normally sunny day. I exposed based on a normal reflection meter - not a spotmeter. An incident meter or in camera meter would work just as well. I used 120 film. In the darkroom, I cut the roll in half. I developed one of the halves at the manufacturer's recommended time. I developed the second half at 1.5 times the manufacturer's recommendation. Then I made a contact print of all of the negatives at one time, having previously determined the minimum time to print black through the film edge. It was easy to see the effect of over development in the proof print, then to be able to see the differences in the negatives. Try it.
If you do the minimum time for maximum black test as above then contact print, including the rebate with the frame numbers on for this time, you will find that an overdeveloped neg. shows the rebate numbers and film type with unsharp outline and very white. On the neg. the integers (frame numbers) and text look very dense.
Check out http://www.ephotozine.com/article/Assessing-negatives.
The Kodak Black & White Darkroom Dataguide has some examples as well.
Well, Neal... that's pretty interesting. My inside, low-light, film looks like none of those. It's way off, though I'm not really surprised. It didn't even meter on most of the shots so I guessed and counted. BUt the outside shots are off, too. Definitely overexposed AND overdeveloped, if there's much accuracy to those pics at all. Thanks for the link, and thanks for all the good info, everyone!
Well, overdeveloped 'look' on the negative would be very dense, dark, basically black highlights. If you held it up to a bright light, it would be hard to see through. Sometimes you just have to print it to really know.