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Thread: Film speed test.

  1. #1

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    Film speed test.

    I am a newcomer with a Tachihara 4x5, 3 schneider lenses(sorry, read too much Ken Rockwell), film holders, loupe, tripod, manfrotto tripod and 410 head, box of txp320, bottle of hc110, combitank, a d2, a pentax analog spotmeter that was calibrated by Mr. Ritter and many of the other essentials. Wanting to do film speed test then development test. Is the featureless target for the film speed test light, dark, white? I've read it a hundred times and can't seem to get my simple mind around it. I'm getting bogged down in the details and yet to take a picture.

  2. #2

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    Re: Film speed test.

    Hi,

    There's no need to make it so complicated, especially if you intend to scan your negs, or print on VC paper. Set your meter to match your film speed (what's printed on the box), and follow the manufacturer's instructions for development. Unless you're doing close up work, you don't need to worry about bellows compensation, and if you're working in normal light levels you don't need to worry about reciprocity corrections. Just start shooting, and then refine as required by feedback from actual photos. However hard you try, you can't anticipate everything beforehand, and trying will only keep you buying things you might not need, and not making any photos. Tear yourself away from your reading and go make some photos, imperfect though they may be. Real problems are much easier to solve than potential problems. Good luck, and have fun!

  3. #3

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    Re: Film speed test.

    For the film speed test you want to expose for Zone I, develop, read the density. A flat black subject in open shade will permit you to expose at a realistic exposure. The brighter the object, the more you will need to stop down/increase shutter speed. I painted a large square of melamine (3X3 feet) flat black. When I wanted to test for developing times with higher zone placements, I turned the melamine around and used the white surface.

    I hope this helps. Paul

  4. #4
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Film speed test.

    Quote Originally Posted by knjkrock View Post
    I'm getting bogged down in the details and yet to take a picture.
    Me, I’d forget the tests for now – just go shoot, see what happens, go shoot again.

    Otherwise, you’ll get “bogged down in the details.”

    Sure, there’s fun in that too, but save it for later! ;^)

  5. #5
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Film speed test.

    As Heroique said, the best test is go out and shoot real scenes.

    When you're getting started, keep the sun behind you, that being defined as the semi-circle from left to right.
    Shooting into the sun, or with the sun in the field of view, presents additional problems that you don't need right now.

    Go through a box of film, exposed at box speed and developed normally, then see how the negatives look.
    If they're consistently too dense or too thin, you need to make adjustments. This is highly unlikely.

    Your analog spotmeter is not the best choice for someone just getting into LF. You've been reading too much.
    Get a good incident meter and do what it tells you to do. It will be right in about 90% of the situations.

    When you become familliar enough with the equipment and processes to start testing...

    NEVER test with a single exposure at one end of the brightness range or the other (i.e. black or white).
    When you develop that film, your developer will not work the same as it does with a normal scene containing a range of brightness values.
    This is particularly true for an all-white scene (very dense negative); less so for a black scene.

    The best target for testing is a step tablet (from Stouffer).
    They make a large tablet, nominally for Zone system testing, but it works fine for routine speed tests.

    That tablet contains three main areas, one black, one middle gray, and one white.
    There's a set of smaller targets with a range of tones.
    This is a perfect test target because you get normal developer activity over the film surface.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  6. #6

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    Re: Film speed test.

    Obviously you will get different opinions. If you were in the "just shoot lots of film and adapt" crowd you would not be posting the question.

    If you are trying to learn film testing, but wanting to expedite the process, do a film speed test from the View Camera Store. Talk to Fred Newman there and he will help you out. Costs ~$50 and saves you time and gives you alot of data about you materials and process.

    After that, buy the book Beyond the Zone System by Phil Davis, buy a used X-Rite 810 densitometer (~$99 is a great deal), BTZS Plotter software for Windows, ExpoDev App for iPhone, and do your own testing.

    Depending on your personality, you will read all this stuff, say to hell with it, and just wing it - or you will obsess over it all and buy all of the options before you get started. I am more of the latter type, others more of the former type. Either way will work but just get stated with whichever appoach suits you best in the beginning.

  7. #7

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    Re: Film speed test.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    buy a used X-Rite 810 densitometer (~$99 is a great deal)
    I have been looking for one of these, where is one available for $99 please?

  8. #8
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
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    Re: Film speed test.

    As my learning curve has progressed, and knowledge found like gold in the spring
    My suggestion would be: choose a scene or make a scene inside that has a good range of light and shadow

    Then take photo after photo with different settings make sure you write each shot down and mark each dark slide

    Develope

    Look at notes.
    See which ones you like the most. Go to a new scene and do it all over again, same scene different time of day could be another way.
    That way you get familiar whith what you see and what the damera sees
    And when you go to shoot next time you start to notice where things go in and out of balance
    through a glass darkly...

  9. #9

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    Re: Film speed test.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Bray View Post
    I have been looking for one of these, where is one available for $99 please?
    Looks like they are not as commonly available now. Used to be lots of them on auction. Got mine with calibration plates and manual for $99. But they do come up with just modest demand. In the meantime you could do the film test at the View Camera Store which is still a good deal because it includes all the graphs and data in addition to the step wedge density readings.

  10. #10

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    There's no need to test at all. There's no time to test. There's no point in even focusing. Just go for it !

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