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Thread: Getting started (again) in B&W processing

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Getting started (again) in B&W processing

    I am getting ready to get started (again, after 10 years) doing my own B&W proce ssing & printing. This will be the first time I have processed LF film. And my q uestion is: about how long (& number of runs) should I budget to get the basic b ugs worked out of the system. Things like normal development times (because of t he nature of the project I am planning on using the diluted Tmax RS developer ap proach to development), film handling, etc., you know: the mechanics. Because of the logistics of my house/studio, my plan is to use the Jobo processor system.< /P> I realize that no one can definitively answer this question for someone else as we are all different people, but some rough ballpark #s would be nice.

    In ad vance, Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Lost mike rosenlof's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 1998
    Louisville, Colorado, USA

    Getting started (again) in B&W processing

    Depending on how much of a calibration .. er ... _enthusiast_ you are, it really shouldn't take you long to get to a very usable ballpark for most "normal" lighting situations.

    I don't know exactly how a Jobo works, but I develop in tubes with constant rotational agitation. I've found Kodak's recomendations for rotational processing for XTOL to work very well for printing on Ilford MGIV with no filtration on my colorhead.

    I'm not a zone system purist, I use a rather loose "OK, I'll give that one a bit more exposure and pull developing 10%" non-system. I can usually get a developer time I want with 4-6 sheets of film.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 1998

    Getting started (again) in B&W processing

    You'll need about 50 developments with one film/developer combi.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 1999

    Getting started (again) in B&W processing

    I tray process(tempered) but I just wanted to say GO ELLIS! Looks like you're finally gettin' a hobby. No more under or over in 1/3rd stops, you get to blast that sucker. Have fun, It'll be nice for all the zonies and testing freaks to give the master advice for once. fer' gawd's sake don't take any of mine.... constant agit with a Jobo in undiluted RS..never work ...Just once though I'd like you to try this: break out the trays and tray develop a Tri-x plate(320to200) in full-strength RS, at 68f for 6 min to start and gently I mean very gently rock the tray for the first and last 30 and 5 secs (or 5 gentle rocking motions) every minute (the more developer in the tray the less agit action so make that a controllable variable also). The liquid developers really respond to gentle agit. More mush!

  5. #5

    Getting started (again) in B&W processing

    Some one above said "...50 developments"!!!!?????? I could calibrate with precision for every film/developer combination I have with that many tests. I tray develop, but I can offer one suggestion that you might find useful. I have an old film holder and a set of darkslides which are drilled in different spots so that I can do 12 tests on each sheet of film (you could do 16 or 20 or even more on each sheet). You don't need that many darkslides, though. By flipping them over you use some for two test. I'm not going to try to describe this any further (you may have seen this setup before - I didn't invent it). The bottom line is that for a few bucks at a used camera store you can set yourself up to do a 12 to 20 (or even more) tests on a single sheet of film (the savings in film will more than pay for the holder and darkslides). You can determine your E.I. on the first sheet then plot a H/D curve for various development times with each after each additional sheet is exposed identically at the the determined E.I. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, I would be happy to describe it in greater detail. It sure makes testing much faster and more economical.

    I know a photographer that has an even easier and faster method of testing. He has a grid of stepped neutral density filters that he simply photographs on a daylight balanced light table. One exposure and he has a whole grid of tests.

    50 tests????? I'd like to sell that man some film!

  6. #6

    Getting started (again) in B&W processing


    While you can do as much zone system testing as you want, you shouldn't feel paralyzed and unable to process anything until you've done it. By using some relatively good source for development times (The Practical Zone System has a series of development times for various film/developer combinations I found useful) you should be able to get decent results from the beginning.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 1998

    Getting started (again) in B&W processing


    You might look into the 4x5 step tablets Photographer's Formulary sells. You just slide the things in right along with your film, make the exposure, and you have the whole set of values. I use a smaller one that I have to tape to the film but it works well too. The only problem with these things is the cost - at 25 bucks you don't want to buy very many of them so you are kind of stuck doing one exposure at a time. But that one exposure yields a hell of a lot of information.

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