View Full Version : First Pictures

24-Jun-2012, 07:47
OK, today I couldn't put it off any longer. There are no more gadgets to buy and the chemicals turned up yesterday so I took my Burke & James outside the house and took 4 pictures.

Actually the fun started when I tried to load the film backs, It looked so easy on YouTube. Note to self, get bigger changing bag.

OK, so set the camera up and took a few shots. I know these wont win any awards for composition (they wont win any awards full stop) but I just wanted to try the camera. Think I managed to get it in focus. By the way its no fun getting under a focussing cloth when it is 35C (I am in Malaysia)Used my DSLR to get the exposure (1/125 at F14).

Back inside and time to load the films. I am using the 4x5 holder from MOD54. Again it looked so easy in the video. Note to self, get an even bigger changing bag. Three film holders, 3 reel tank and the film holder takes a lot of space.

So fim loaded, let develop. By the Way I am using Chinese 4x5 film (Shanghai) which cost me 8 for 25 sheets. Developed using Ilfosol 3 dil 1:9 for 8 mins, 2 mins stop and 5 mins fixer followed by 10 mins wash.

Time to scan. Unfortunatly I only have a normal reflective flatbed scanner. The films were scanned at 300 dpi (last one at 600), flipped horizontally and colours inverted. A couple of the pictures were then tweaked a bit using Microsoft Office (Dont have Photoshop on the computer attached to the scanner.

Well I am glad to say I got pictures. OK they look under developed and lack contrast but it worked!!!! ;):D

Original Scans

24-Jun-2012, 17:34
Congratulations, PF, and welcome to the LF club! Not bad at all for a first attempt. It's easy to get caught up in the gear, and in all the "how to do it" info out there, but there's nothing like taking pictures to figure it all out.

Gordy Bushaw

24-Jun-2012, 18:06
nice first attempt, much better than mine, i started with a 35mm and wanted to develope them my self, bought all the stuff, shot the roll and started to develope, after i pulled the roll from the final wash, out of 24 images, there was one, that kind of looked like something, i was so excited lol. and you know what? the excitement never ends.

24-Jun-2012, 20:01
Trouble is I cant decide if the negative is OK and its the scanner giving the washed out look. When I look at the negs they look OK to my untrained eye. Oh well, perhaps I have to invest in a new scanner.

Does it never end?

Light Guru
24-Jun-2012, 20:26
I only have a normal reflective flatbed scanner.

I'm betting it your method of scanning. You need a scanner that can handle film. The Epsom 700 and 750 will both do fine. Or the HP G4050 is also a decent less expensive option.

25-Jun-2012, 06:09
Trouble is I cant decide if the negative is OK and its the scanner giving the washed out look. When I look at the negs they look OK to my untrained eye. Oh well, perhaps I have to invest in a new scanner.

Does it never end?

Years ago, I learned a rough method of judging negative density and contrast: against a light box or other diffuse backlight, the thin parts of the negative (important shadows) should be approximately as dense as the unexposed edge of two sheets of film stacked together and , when laid on a book or newspaper, one should still be able to discern print under the dense parts of the negative (highlights). This is for silver printing; digital gurus will have to say whether your scanner requires more or less contrast.

Good luck.

Brian Ellis
25-Jun-2012, 06:54
A couple thoughts.

Loading and unloading film in a changing bag is possible but as you've discovered, a pain especially if the room is warm. I know it can be done, I've done it, but it's no fun. Can't you find a closet or bathroom or some other place that can be kept dark just for the length of time needed to load the film? Maybe not but I'd go to great lengths to avoid having to routinely load film in a changing bag. I sat on the floor of closet at night with drapes in the room pulled and towels on the bottom edge of the door to load film for several years before I acquired a darkroom.

If you hope to ever get good results I think you need to get a scanner designed to scan film. I don't know anything about buying equipment in Malaysia but here in the U.S. you could pick up a used or refurbished Epson 4990 scanner for about $150-$200. I've been using a 4990 for about 7-8 years and it does an excellent job with 4x5 (and 8x10) negatives. I don't know that the scanner is your only problem but it's at least one of them.

You don't need 2 minutes in the stop bath, 30 seconds is fine, at least it has been with every stop bath I've used. I don't know anything about your film, developer, or fix.

Usually when negatives look like yours the question is whether they were underexposed or underdeveloped or both. Unfortunately your scanner throws a third problem into the equation. But for future use (i.e. after you get a better scanner), to tell which is which look at the negatives through a light (preferably but not necessarily a light box). If there's good detail or texture in the important shadow areas (the lighter areas of the negative) but the highlights (darker areas of the negative) aren't dense enough the problem is insufficient development. If the highlights look fine but the shadows lack detail or texture (i.e. the film is clear or almost clear) the problem is the exposure. If both look bad then everything went wrong.

Good luck, at least you got discernible objects in your negatives. The first time I tried a 4x5 camera I had so many light leaks that it was hard to tell what I was attempting to photograph.

Andrew O'Neill
25-Jun-2012, 09:33
I lived in southern Japan for several years and I know what it's like to work under the dark cloth at 35C and the humidity is through the roof. Nothing like a steamed up ground glass and loupe, sweat pouring down your face... Using a changing bag was awful. I don't miss that at all! Get yourself a Harrison tent if you want more room. Load/unload film in a very air conditioned room!
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