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Alessandro V.
8-Apr-2011, 09:18
Hello everybody...

For the ones who read the previous post this is the second part...
For the ones who haven't read the other thread I would like to apology in advance for any stupid question but I am totally new to 4x5 and developing.

I have finished the developing (in tubes) and I have scanned the negatives and I have to say that it has been a big delusion...
I don't know from where to start because so many things might have gone wrong that I really have no ideas about what to expect.

The problems that I have experienced are many:
1) the contrast of the negatives is very different from what I expected
2) I scanned the negatives and I am very unsatisfied with the resolution

1) As I've said I developed the negatives in tubes with standart tmax developer for the standard 7.30 min. As I wanted a very high contrast negatives I really rotated and shaken the tubes as much as I could but still, once scanned, the negative were very very flat if compared to my 5D mark II files. At the beginning when I saw the first scanned files I have thought that it was not a big issue as I could have increased the contrast in photoshop or directly in the scanning software but if I try to play a bit with it the results are really really bad as highlights and shadows go black 100% and white 100% really really fast!

2) I tried to scan the negatives at 4800 dpi but it seems like it's useless as 2400 would already catch all the details of the negative. I was very very disappointed as one of the reason I wanted to use 4x5 camera is that I expected an amazing resolution and details, someing uncomparable to any digital file. I also decided to use kodak tmax100 as I've read it's one of the film with the smallest grain and best detail possible but it did not help...

Really, so far my 4x5 experience is a true delusion.
My 5D mark II files are simply outstanding if compared to the 4x5 negatives.
I really hope it's just my fault and you will confirm that 4x5 is much better than any small format digital camera... :-)


Thank ou very much for all your suggestions!



Ale

Wally
8-Apr-2011, 09:51
Post one or two of your scans, so we can see what you mean.

PViapiano
8-Apr-2011, 10:00
Post an unaltered pic of your negs on a light table.

TMax sheet film should be developed in TMax RS developer to avoid dichroic fog.

Don't be so ready to diss 4x5 if you are new to it and new to developing film. It's a long learning curve and you need to be willing to learn. It doesn't happen overnight.

You also posted that you don't even have a thermometer...c'mon, you're not very serious then. It's hard to take someone serious who is this nonchalant...

Brian C. Miller
8-Apr-2011, 10:02
What has happened is that the film has been developed too long for your scanning application.

When film is developed, the the image forms according to how active the developer is, how long it is developed, and the temperature of the solution. You may have a great image for paper, but not for your scanner.

You should try a different developer, like D-76 or Xtol. Kodak (PDF link (http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e103cf/e103cf.pdf)) doesn't recommend standard TMax developer for sheet films. If you don't want to toss the developer, then try a different dilution or shorter development time.

Based on my personal observations, Kodak TMax 100 and Ilford Delta 100 are equivalent for grain. Fuji Acros 100 is currently my choice for fine grain. Here's a good comparison at dr5.com film tests (http://www.dr5.com/filmtests.html). (more dr5.com film tests (http://www.dr5.com/rltests.html))

Wally
8-Apr-2011, 10:13
Hello everybody...
...
1) As I've said I developed the negatives in tubes with standart tmax developer for the standard 7.30 min. As I wanted a very high contrast negatives I really rotated and shaken the tubes as much as I could but still, once scanned, the negative were very very flat if compared to my 5D mark II files. At the beginning when I saw the first scanned files I have thought that it was not a big issue as I could have increased the contrast in photoshop or directly in the scanning software but if I try to play a bit with it the results are really really bad as highlights and shadows go black 100% and white 100% really really fast!

2) I tried to scan the negatives at 4800 dpi but it seems like it's useless as 2400 would already catch all the details of the negative. I was very very disappointed as one of the reason I wanted to use 4x5 camera is that I expected an amazing resolution and details, someing uncomparable to any digital file. I also decided to use kodak tmax100 as I've read it's one of the film with the smallest grain and best detail possible but it did not help...
Ale

You tried to make very high contrast negs, and it sounds like you succeeded: things go from black to white, with out much grey in-between. Ease up on the agitation, underexpose by a half a stop and underdevelop by n-.5, and see some more gentle shading. You can increase contrast in PS to get a usable image, but it's much harder to reduce contrast to recover a usable image.

What kind of scanner are you using? I've got an Epson 700, and although it claims to be able to scan at 64,000spi, I get no better than about 2,200spi.

At 2,200spi, with a 3.7x4.7 usable area for 4x5 sheet film in the holder, I get an 84MP tiff file, and it's pretty sharp.

Are you laying the neg directly on the scanner's glass? Is that where your scanner actually focuses best?

E. von Hoegh
8-Apr-2011, 10:24
Large format is not plug & play.

Read my (last) post in your other thread, and get a set of Ansel's books.

David de Gruyl
8-Apr-2011, 11:28
1) As I've said I developed the negatives in tubes with standart tmax developer for the standard 7.30 min. As I wanted a very high contrast negatives I really rotated and shaken the tubes as much as I could but still, once scanned, the negative were very very flat if compared to my 5D mark II files. At the beginning when I saw the first scanned files I have thought that it was not a big issue as I could have increased the contrast in photoshop or directly in the scanning software but if I try to play a bit with it the results are really really bad as highlights and shadows go black 100% and white 100% really really fast!


Define flat? It sounds like you managed to get overly contrasty.

7 1/2 minutes with constant agitation and negatives already overexposed sounds like a recipe for overdevelopment. Remember, the developing time listed is for small tanks and intermittent agitation. Overdeveloping leads to high contrast.

Brian Ellis
8-Apr-2011, 12:12
You shouldn't try to vary film contrast by changing your agitation method. You should always use the same system of agitation, the same developer temperature, and of course the same developer. You vary film contrast by changing the development time (the longer the time the higher the contrast and vice versa).

It's best to do some tests to determine at least three different development times, one for a normal negative, another when you want a lower contrast negative, and a third for when you want a higher contrast negative. That way you'll be able to at least approximate what your negatives will look like. But if you don't want to do that at least test for your normal development time and then reduce that time by 15% for a lower contrast negative and increase it by 10% for a higher contrast negative. There's plenty of information here and elsewhere about how to test for a normal development time, no need to go into it all here. It's simple to do and only takes maybe 15 or 20 minutes.

Without meaning any disrespect, it sounds to me like you thought just using a 4x5 camera and 4x5 film by themselves would produce astounding results. But that isn't the case, you still have to know what you're doing when you make the exposure and when you process the negative and it doesn't sound to me like you know what you're doing (again, please don't take offense, nobody is born knowing all this stuff). I'd suggest doing some reading on how to expose film and how to process it. The Ansel Adams books mentioned by E. Von are excellent and would be a huge help to you. Then do some reading about scanning (Wayne Fulton's web site - sorry I don't have a link but just google on his name) would be useful but there are many other sources on line.

Alessandro V.
9-Apr-2011, 03:27
Hello and thank you very much for all your answers!

Unfortunately I don't have my laptop with me in this moment and therefore I cannot post any results.

Anyway I can say that I did developed the film in the Tmax RS developer and, since it was the very first time I was doing it, I simply followed the procedure with the standard dev time, as many of you suggested in the other thread.

I think it's correct to say that the contrast that I got was pretty low because if you take a look at the histograms of the images you would see a high concentration in the middle of the histogram and very low at the two ends. That is also the reason why (at least from what I have understood) when I try to tweak the curves with ps I get a very low quality file! Since almost all the pixels fall in a low range of greys when you modify the curve the effect that you get is all or nothing...(I am sorry for my english if I did not use the proper words).

I will try to take some more pictures and being more precise with the developing (temperature, agitation, etc) and I will post the results.

I am reading Ansel's "The Negative" right now... :D
I hope to be done with it for the end of the weekend...


Thank you once again!

Bob McCarthy
9-Apr-2011, 06:36
I might suggest you find a lab locally and remove some complexity from your learning path. Once you get a flavor for shooting 4x5 and develop some basic skills, then you can learn the film development side.

Too many moving parts to see the huge improvement in image quality that sheet film offers.

Bob

Tim k
9-Apr-2011, 07:47
If you want instant gratification, (and there is nothing wrong with that) you might try shooting chromes, and sending them out. The exposure is a bit tricky, but when you hit it, they are amazing.

Alessandro V.
9-Apr-2011, 08:13
Thank you for the answers!

What are chromes!?
I have never heard of them...
I probably saw something exploring the link to the film tests made by dr5 but I did not really get what it was.
Are they positive black and white images!?
Is there any way to develope them by yourself without sending anything to the lab!?

I am not looking for instant gratification, I am ready to spend the time needed to learn, but I hoped the starting point was a bit better...! :-)


Thank you!

E. von Hoegh
9-Apr-2011, 08:19
Chromes = color transparencies. Stunning.

Filmnut
9-Apr-2011, 08:33
Processing colour transparencies, usually usually using E-6 chemicals (if you can get them in your area) is not easily done. Once you have considerable experience with B&W, then you can give col processing a try.
Nice ones are amazing to look at on the light box!
If you want to try 4X5 colour shooting, try using col neg film, if you have a lab in your area, as its' much more forgiving for bad exposures than transparencies.
Large format photography for many of us tends to be addictive, in part because it's NOT easy to do, but when you get it right, the results are stunning.
That's what keeps us coming back to our big cameras!
Keith

Tim k
9-Apr-2011, 08:34
You could shoot the Chromes. Send them out. Have them scanned. Convert the scan to black and white, while your sorting out the real black and white stuff.

Chrome is short for a color positive film like Fuji Velvia, Fuji Provia, Ektachrome, Kodachrome.

Alessandro V.
9-Apr-2011, 10:28
Ah ok ok ok...
I always heard the word transparencies for them, never heard of chromes before.
Thank you for the explanation!

Going back to black and whites...
I've read about how to perform one test for finding the proper dev time and EI for the film here (http://www.viewcamera.com/pdf/2006/VC_Getting%20Started.pdf) but I have some concern about the part where it says that a negative that is good for print would be good for scanning as well.
I can't remember where I read it but I am quite sure that many people on thin forum said it's not like that.
I am absolutely not an expert but I've read some books on alternative printing processes and I understood that for different types of printing you would need negatives with different qualities so I don't see why it should be different for scanning.
Are there any particular tests specifically studied for finding the best conditions for a negative that will be scanned!?

Thank you!

E. von Hoegh
9-Apr-2011, 11:03
Your best approach will be to follow the manufacturer's reccomendations for EI, chemistry, time, temperature, and agitation. Do not change ANYTHING until you understand why you are changing it. Developing film isn't any more difficult than following a recipe. Stick with one film and one developer until you can predict the results.

Mark MacKenzie
10-Apr-2011, 08:11
It sounds to me like you fogged the film. Its common for beginners to have problems loading film holders as well as not having a completely dark darkroom. Also the film age could be a problem.

I think its a mistake to try to make abnormal negatives (high high contrast) before you are sure you can make a good normal negative. Also, you must pay attention to detail. Temperature is even more important than time. Get the thermometer.

We all have had learning curves in all we do. Developing, scanning, visualizing, etc. ad nauseum. Reason out what you did wrong. I am anxious to know exactly what happened. Oh yeah, post an example...

-Mark

icanthackit
10-Apr-2011, 13:48
I think it would be really good to see what your negative looks like, not a scan of the negative, but the negative itself with a good even light source behind it like a lightbox (as somebody else mentioned). I use a canonscan9000f to scan my negatives. Yes, I have to scan each one twice and stitch them together. I can tell you that I feel like there is some kind of voodoo going on with the scanner, or I just don't know how to scan perfectly yet, because sometimes the scans are much brighter than I expect them to be even though the densities are similar to all the other film I've processed in the last 10 years or so.

Good luck!