PDA

View Full Version : Newbie Needs help on B&W film developing...



macmaster77
18-Nov-2016, 16:07
I have been reading the forum here and watching videos trying to gather as much info as possible as not to irritate more experience folks with this, however at this moment i'm stumped.

I'm new to LF and I have a Zone VI 8x10 camera. I'm using Ilford Delta 100 and Ilfosol3 for developer. For the exposure: After reading and watching videos, it was recommended to spot meter the highlights and shadows and get an average. I have a Sekonic 758DR meter. For todays shoot, it was about 2:00 p.m. and we had full sun with puffy white clouds here in Florida. I metered the shadows in the bushes (2" @ f/45) and put that in memory and then metered the brightest part of the clouds (1/30 @ f/45) and locked that into memory. I then choose the average function and it told me to expose 1/4 @ f/45. I them scanned the scene to see where the EV would land. The darkest shadows was -3 and the brightest part of the clouds were at +3. I made notes of all these settings. I was told that import shadow detail should be on Zone III if not Zone IV. I adjusted my exposure to 1/2 at f/45 moving the shadows up to Zone III. Realizing that the highlights have also moved, I was going to have to do n-2 developing to get the highlights down to Zone VII.

I took two sheets of the same scene at the same settings so I could do a test in the darkroom. Ilford states for Delta 100 to start at 7:30 for a 1+14 solution. For a drum I'm using a Unicolor motor base and a Cibachrome tank for development. This is only my second development sessions so I'm new at this. Since I'm using constant agitation, Ilford recommends taking 15% off the 7:30. For the first set of negatives I did this (used 6:22) and there was no sky detail, hence why for this session I really wanted to try to wrestle some cloud detail in. Since there wasn't any detail in the sky last time, I was going to make sure to reduce my time. This time I took the 6:22 and reduced 10% and then reduced another 10% for a time of 5:10. I was advised not to go below 5:00. I made sure the developer was at 78F/20C. Again, no sky detail. I checked the instructions for the Cibachrome and they said to use 3 ounces, I was advised to fill the cup with water and see how much chemistry I needed (I was using 6 ounces all along from this advice). Ok, for the last sheet I reduced the developer to 3 ounces with the appreciate dilution of Ilfosol 3 developer. I processed the same time. The negative over all has less contrast but no sky detail with the clouds.

The negatives are drying as I type, however I'm at a loss on where things are going wrong and how to adjust. If anyone could recommend something to try I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks...

Ron789
18-Nov-2016, 16:48
Now... you call yourself a newbie.... Does that mean 8x10 is new for you? Or is the Zone system new to you? Is B&W film developing new to you?
What you're describing feels like a very sophisticated and complex, almost scientific approach to me.

Jac@stafford.net
18-Nov-2016, 16:50
Analysis Paralysis.

Making a good photograph is not rocket science unless you make it so. Making it so has no relation to what we call a good photo.
.

Pere Casals
18-Nov-2016, 16:54
I have been reading the forum here and watching videos trying to gather as much info as possible as not to irritate more experience folks with this, however at this moment i'm stumped.

I'm new to LF and I have a Zone VI 8x10 camera. I'm using Ilford Delta 100 and Ilfosol3 for developer. For the exposure: After reading and watching videos, it was recommended to spot meter the highlights and shadows and get an average. I have a meter. For todays shoot, it was about 2:00 p.m. and we had full sun with puffy white clouds here in Florida. I metered the shadows in the bushes (2" @ f/45) and put that in memory and then metered the brightest part of the clouds (1/30 @ f/45) and locked that into memory. I then choose the average function and it told me to expose 1/4 @ f/45. I them scanned the scene to see where the EV would land. The darkest shadows was -3 and the brightest part of the clouds were at +3. I made notes of all these settings. I was told that import shadow detail should be on Zone III if not Zone IV. I adjusted my exposure to 1/2 at f/45 moving the shadows up to Zone III. Realizing that the highlights have also moved, I was going to have to do n-2 developing to get the highlights down to Zone VII.

I took two sheets of the same scene at the same settings so I could do a test in the darkroom. Ilford states for Delta 100 to start at 7:30 for a 1+14 solution. For a drum I'm using a Unicolor motor base and a Cibachrome tank for development. This is only my second development sessions so I'm new at this. Since I'm using constant agitation, Ilford recommends taking 15% off the 7:30. For the first set of negatives I did this (used 6:22) and there was no sky detail, hence why for this session I really wanted to try to wrestle some cloud detail in. Since there wasn't any detail in the sky last time, I was going to make sure to reduce my time. This time I took the 6:22 and reduced 10% and then reduced another 10% for a time of 5:10. I was advised not to go below 5:00. I made sure the developer was at 78F/20C. Again, no sky detail. I checked the instructions for the Cibachrome and they said to use 3 ounces, I was advised to fill the cup with water and see how much chemistry I needed (I was using 6 ounces all along from this advice). Ok, for the last sheet I reduced the developer to 3 ounces with the appreciate dilution of Ilfosol 3 developer. I processed the same time. The negative over all has less contrast but no sky detail with the clouds.

The negatives are drying as I type, however I'm at a loss on where things are going wrong and how to adjust. If anyone could recommend something to try I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks...



First, to conserve sky detail you can use filters, perhaps yellow+polarizer, or even a orange filter. Another option is graded density filters.

This said the metering you did looks ok, if you did no mistake.

I'd recommend you start calibrating your film under your development process. Here you can buy a highly regarded bible "Beyond The Zone System" : https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-zone-system-Phil-Davis/dp/0930764234/ref=mt_hardcover?_encoding=UTF8&me= this is $3 used. Better if you get last edition edition.

It will teach you how to calibrate your process. You'll need an Stouffer density gauge. Your sekonik may work as a luxometer, then you will need a densitometer, I obtained a RX service one (Nuclear Associates ) like this $43 http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nuclear-Associates-Victoreen-Digital-Densitometer-Model-07-443-With-Test-Strip-/152321231935?hash=item23770d8c3f:g:t7sAAOSwx2dYGcyZ

You can also use scanner as a densitometer: scan your test negative at the same time than with the Stouffer gauge and then comparing values, but disable image engancing features.


When you are finished with Beyond The Zone System (BTZS), then you'll have new duties: "Way beyond monochrome" and "Darkroom Cookbook".


Another suggestion is that you start controlling well your exposition with roll film with an SLR, developing N-0, and makng exposure bracketings, this if cheaper with small format. Delta 100 roll film 35mm works very close to how sheets do. When you control that you may add N+/- development to your process.

macmaster77
18-Nov-2016, 17:06
To answer some questions, LF, the Zone System and film developing are all new to me. I have been studying all of this for months and decided last month to buy a camera, film and chemicals. Now I'm in the learning phase working with all of this stuff.

I think Pere is on to part of the problem. I need to get a graded density filter. Granted, I'm not looking for a Ansel Adams negative, I just want to keep moving along and trying to get the best I can. Here are a couple from the finished negatives if anyone would like to comment:

157607

Never attached a photo before here. These are pretty low res, not sure if you will be able to determine anything...

Jac@stafford.net
18-Nov-2016, 17:11
Forget the Zone System. It based upon obsolete film and printing paper.
When trying to capture sky texture, use a yellow or orange filter.
Work from there and be happy.
.

koraks
18-Nov-2016, 17:14
If you insist on using the zone system, you'll have to do some calibration first. You know, shooting grey cards in flat light and then exposing step wedges under an enlarger and explore all development regimes in a controlled fashion. You may actually get somewhere.

Or you could go out and shoot some more sheets.

I'm not a good adviser in this matter, I'm sorry. I like shooting images too much.

Ron789
18-Nov-2016, 17:26
Forget about the Zone system. Use a good light meter and apply simple corrections for the most obvious deviations (e.g. a very bright sky). I would even recommend: start with 35mm and practice that for a couple of years. Use a simple developer / film combination, like FP4, Tri-X, Tmax 100 or 400 or any other common standard film, developed in - for example - Rodinal (probably the most fool-proof and universal developer on earth). You're trying to run long before you even learned to crawl.

David Lobato
18-Nov-2016, 17:27
I would not use Cibachrome drums. 3 or 6 ounces of developing fluid seems like too little. That may explain the lack of sky detail. I'm not familiar with Ilfosol developer though. If you put more fluid in, it runs out when you rotate the drum. Not ideal. Another quirk with Cibachrome drums is a hazard. The long tray that extends inside the cap can scratch the film emulsion when you open the lid with an angle. it's too easy to do. I did that one time, and have not used Cibachrome drums for film again.

I use Unicolor drums on a Unicolor and Beseler motor bases. The 8x10 drum takes one 8x10 sheet. Two 8x10 sheets fit in the 11x14 drum. I use 300ml of fluid per 8x10 sheet. This is about twice as much as 6 ounces. I use Xtol 1:1. Kodak recommends at least 110ml of undiluted developer per 8x10 sheet. I use 150ml so my total per sheet is 300ml. It has always worked well for me.

I recommend Steve Anchell's Film Developing Cookbook.

macmaster77
18-Nov-2016, 18:01
I appreciate all of the feedback. I'll keep at it and see what comes out. Thanks...

macmaster77
18-Nov-2016, 19:22
For those who recommend to forget the Zone Sustem, how do you meter the scene and then do you develop per the manufacturer times?

Leigh
18-Nov-2016, 23:03
For those who recommend to forget the Zone Sustem, how do you meter the scene and then do you develop per the manufacturer times?
If I may observe...
You're a first-grader trying to write a doctoral thesis.

Perfect your workflow using basics, then get complicated.

First, the exposure... Use an incident meter to read sunlight.

A normal scene should be close to the "sunny 16 rule"... shutter speed = reciprocal of film speed at f/16.
If your scene has higher-than normal reflectivity, close down 1 stop to f/22, or 2 stops for a beach scene.

Develop normally per the manufacturer's instructions.

Forget about the Zone system.
ZS requires extensive calibration of your entire print-making process, from film exposure through printing.

Get to the point of making good prints of normal subjects using normal times and techniques.
Then consider using the ZS.

- Leigh

Doremus Scudder
19-Nov-2016, 03:29
macmaster77,

I don't think you are making things too complicated; however, I do think you are missing some of the basics.

First, let's discuss your sky with "no detail." In the situation you've described, the sky is getting adequate exposure (and development too, probably). If there is "no detail," by which I assume you mean no texture, just blank white, then a) there was simply not much contrast in an evenly cloudy sky, or b) there is detail in the negative, but you need to burn in the sky a bit (maybe using a higher contrast setting/grade). Using a filter to separate blue sky from white clouds is common. You can see if this is needed by simply spot metering the sky and clouds. If they read the same, they're going to turn out the same in the print...

You need to realize that you're never going to get much detail in the print when it's not there in the original scene. Hazy, bright overcast skies have very little detail in them. Learn to see this and recognize it. Remember, the Zone System is primarily a visualization tool; use your knowledge and experience to imagine how your final print will look. How you want something to look and how it really will are two different things.

About exposure: The classic rule is "expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights." Forget about reading high/low and averaging (that results in underexposure in contrasty situations). Read the shadow and find an exposure that puts the shadow where you want it: Zone III for "detailed black," Zone IV for "luminous shade," Zone I or II for varying degrees of black, etc. Then see where the highlight values fall and reduce or increase development from "normal" if needed, keeping in mind that you have a bit of contrast control with paper grades. This kind of metering is basic and simple; one reading to determine exposure, another to determine development.

In the situation you describe, you ended up giving a stop too much exposure. Your problem is likely trying to figure -3 or +3 stops from the center. See if you can find a Zone sticker for your meter; that will simplify things. If not, then work with stops of difference between high and low. Zone III to Zone VIII is 5 stops difference, and is a "normal" spread. 6-7 stops difference are contrasty scenes, 3-4 stops difference are flat scenes. Remember, whether you want to adjust development for scenes other than normal depends on how much leeway you have adjusting contrast while printing. Many are happy developing normally and using contrast settings to get the print they want.

If you want to use the Zone System, then you have to do a bit of testing to find your N, N+ and N- developments. This doesn't have to be as complicated as many make it. Simply rate your film 2/3 stop lower than box speed, make a few negs of a "normal" scene, develop one at recommended time, one at 20% more and one at 20% less. Make straight prints on an intermediate contrast grade and choose (or extrapolate) a development time that will yield the best straight print. That's way good enough for starters. Repeat the same thing for N+ and N-. Then, keep good notes and tweak development times as needed. Remember, you just need to get a printable neg; you've got a few zones of contrast adjustment available in the form of paper contrast settings.

If you're scanning and not printing, there are comparable digital adjustments.

Best,

Doremus

TrentM
19-Nov-2016, 04:38
Here in south Fl the lighting is very contrasty. Minus development becomes the norm when shooting our big stacked cumulus clouds. Also, you are developing at 78 F at those times? Try working at lower developing temps. Many developers "behave" differently at lower temps: use 68-74 F range.

Huub
19-Nov-2016, 05:38
When i look at the scans you included a couple of posts back, i do see some detail in the sky. When i assume that the other scan included some of the darkest parts of the picture i don't see much black and dark shadows. My guess is that the negatives are over exposed by at least a stop and that you need some dodging and burning to get a good print. Nothing wrong there and even among accomplised printers that is business as usual. Negatives that print well on grade 2 or 3 without any manipulation are pretty rare, even among people with loads of experience.

My advise would be to look in your area for some workshop on the zonesystem or find someone to help you around and show some tricks of the trade. Working with some more experienced folks will be loads of fun and you will be learning more of it then by reading tons of treads on the net.

macmaster77
19-Nov-2016, 12:32
Here in south Fl the lighting is very contrasty. Minus development becomes the norm when shooting our big stacked cumulus clouds. Also, you are developing at 78 F at those times? Try working at lower developing temps. Many developers "behave" differently at lower temps: use 68-74 F range.

You are very correct on the lighting here in FL, that is why I'm trying to wrestle with the dynamic range as I know this is going to be a challenge most days. To keep what I'm doing constant, I keep the developer at 68F/20C. I use a thermometer to check for accuracy. Thanks for your input.

macmaster77
19-Nov-2016, 12:34
When i look at the scans you included a couple of posts back, i do see some detail in the sky. When i assume that the other scan included some of the darkest parts of the picture i don't see much black and dark shadows. My guess is that the negatives are over exposed by at least a stop and that you need some dodging and burning to get a good print. Nothing wrong there and even among accomplised printers that is business as usual. Negatives that print well on grade 2 or 3 without any manipulation are pretty rare, even among people with loads of experience.

My advise would be to look in your area for some workshop on the zonesystem or find someone to help you around and show some tricks of the trade. Working with some more experienced folks will be loads of fun and you will be learning more of it then by reading tons of treads on the net.

You are correct, I was talking to someone and they said that they were over exposed by two stops. I would love to take a workshop or classes on this (ironically I'm a teacher for digital photography at our local college extension) however, I have yet to find anyone that shoots LF or film for that matter, I'll keep looking. Thanks!

macmaster77
19-Nov-2016, 12:51
macmaster77,

I don't think you are making things too complicated; however, I do think you are missing some of the basics.

First, let's discuss your sky with "no detail." In the situation you've described, the sky is getting adequate exposure (and development too, probably). If there is "no detail," by which I assume you mean no texture, just blank white, then a) there was simply not much contrast in an evenly cloudy sky, or b) there is detail in the negative, but you need to burn in the sky a bit (maybe using a higher contrast setting/grade). Using a filter to separate blue sky from white clouds is common. You can see if this is needed by simply spot metering the sky and clouds. If they read the same, they're going to turn out the same in the print...

You need to realize that you're never going to get much detail in the print when it's not there in the original scene. Hazy, bright overcast skies have very little detail in them. Learn to see this and recognize it. Remember, the Zone System is primarily a visualization tool; use your knowledge and experience to imagine how your final print will look. How you want something to look and how it really will are two different things.

About exposure: The classic rule is "expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights." Forget about reading high/low and averaging (that results in underexposure in contrasty situations). Read the shadow and find an exposure that puts the shadow where you want it: Zone III for "detailed black," Zone IV for "luminous shade," Zone I or II for varying degrees of black, etc. Then see where the highlight values fall and reduce or increase development from "normal" if needed, keeping in mind that you have a bit of contrast control with paper grades. This kind of metering is basic and simple; one reading to determine exposure, another to determine development.

In the situation you describe, you ended up giving a stop too much exposure. Your problem is likely trying to figure -3 or +3 stops from the center. See if you can find a Zone sticker for your meter; that will simplify things. If not, then work with stops of difference between high and low. Zone III to Zone VIII is 5 stops difference, and is a "normal" spread. 6-7 stops difference are contrasty scenes, 3-4 stops difference are flat scenes. Remember, whether you want to adjust development for scenes other than normal depends on how much leeway you have adjusting contrast while printing. Many are happy developing normally and using contrast settings to get the print they want.

If you want to use the Zone System, then you have to do a bit of testing to find your N, N+ and N- developments. This doesn't have to be as complicated as many make it. Simply rate your film 2/3 stop lower than box speed, make a few negs of a "normal" scene, develop one at recommended time, one at 20% more and one at 20% less. Make straight prints on an intermediate contrast grade and choose (or extrapolate) a development time that will yield the best straight print. That's way good enough for starters. Repeat the same thing for N+ and N-. Then, keep good notes and tweak development times as needed. Remember, you just need to get a printable neg; you've got a few zones of contrast adjustment available in the form of paper contrast settings.

If you're scanning and not printing, there are comparable digital adjustments.

Best,

Doremus

Doremus,

I appreciate you taking the time for replying and the constructive thoughts. I figured there was something that I was missing. I took your suggestions and since we have the same conditions today, I metered as you suggested. Here is what I came up with:

Spot Meter: (ISO 100)
Open Blue Sky: 1/15@f/45
White Cloud Tops: 1/30@f/45
Light Shade: 1/2@f/45
Deep Shade: 1"@f/45

Using White Dome:
Ambient (Full Sun): 1/8@f/45

As others has suggested, I would use 1/8@f/45? Just to see what would happen, I did an average of the cloud top against the light shade (instead of the deep shade that I did yesterday) and the meter came back with 1/8@f/45. This put the brightest scene at +2 and the lighter shade at -2. This is the magical 5 stops that everyone is talking about I guess. What I exposed for yesterday was 1/2@f/45, hence this was two stops overexposed.

I do think that the other part of the equation is that I need a red filter to make the blue sky darker to make the clouds pop. Would something like this work: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/7746-REG/B_W_BW09095_95mm_090_Light_Red.html

I appreciate your help on this. Thanks!

Spencer

Jac@stafford.net
19-Nov-2016, 14:02
Remember that colored filters require color in the scene to work. If the sky is overcast grey, a contrasting filter will hardly work.

Red filters often create overall harsh contrast.

A K2 or orange filter might be better.

Fred L
19-Nov-2016, 14:03
What everyone said about the Zone system. For most work I use a Sekonic incident meter but will us a spotmeter if the situation warrants. I think unless you dial down on film and processing, there's absolutely no use of using the Z system, esp for someone new to developing film. You've got to many balls in the air and they're all hitting thew ground ;) I tried testing materials for using the ZS but found it too rigid and I guess I was partly too lazy as well.

Pick a film and a developer and try incident metering for now until you can learn to fine tune your processing and exposures.

and fwiw, you're brave jumping straight into 8x10 ;)

Neal Chaves
19-Nov-2016, 18:27
I appreciate all of the feedback. I'll keep at it and see what comes out. Thanks...

They don't "come out", we make them. Suggestions below will work for any common film/developer combination. You don't need full sheets of 8X10 for the first part. You can use 4X5s of the same type or cut your 8X10 into 4 4X5s.



Years ago I learned the method to find the correct developing time and EI for any film. I source was an article by William Mortensen. Mortensen wrote some excellent books and articles about basic sensitometry. The last time I did this test was when I abandoned Tri-X and switched to HP5+ due to cost about five years ago. I proceed as follows.

I set up my trays with my favorite developer HC110B (1:31). I pull out a sheet from the package in the dark. and then when the package is sealed again I turn on the room lights. This part of the test is done under the lights. I cut the sheet into five strips and mark them 1-5 by punching holes with a paper punch. Lets say the recommended time is 5:00. I want to see 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00, so I throw all the strips into the developer and agitate as usual until 3:00 when I move the No.1 strip over to the stop bath. Then I pull No.2 at 4:00, No.3 at 5:00, etc. I fix, wash and dry the strips as usual. What we are looking for is the best usable film DMax value. Obviously the film has been fully exposed! When strips dry lay down a page of news print on a table in good light. Find the strip through which the news print is barely visible. That's your developing time. Now to find the film speed.

Go outside in unchanging light conditions and expose five sheets and expose one at the manufacturers rating and then the other four at one half a stop and one stop less and one half a stop and one stop more. In the dark, develop them all together for your newly derived time. Contact print them together exposing and developing the paper for maximum usable paper DMax value. Pick out the best-looking contact print and you have your film speed.

Because my 7:00 negative looked the best on the first test, I did the test again with 7:00 as the central developing time and found that 8:00 was indeed too dense. This HP5+ time was the same as the as the developing time I had been using for Tri-X and film speed was also the same, EI400.

Many of the last generation of B&W gurus favored a development time of 5:00 for Tri-X and suggested an EI of 64-100. You can do the above test backwards, developing for 5:00 minutes and finding the film speed. I like 100. The difference between negatives exposed at 100 and developed for 5:00 is quite subtle. Both could be considered "normal" or N negatives. The 100 negative has slightly greater shadow and highlight detail that only a careful, knowledgeable viewer could detect. This slight improvement might not be worthwhile trading for two stops in the field. I do routinely rate HP5+ at 100 under powerful strobe light in the studio and it produces beautiful skin tones.

From here, if you are still with me, you can derive expansion and contraction schemes for both the 100 and 400 "normal negs". I do this by changing dilution rather than time. Make sure you have at least 1 oz. of the concentrated sauce for each 8X10 sheet or equivalent. For contractions I found that 3/4 oz. concentrate to 31 1/4 ozs. H20 yields an N-1 neg at a one stop loss in film speed and 1/2 oz. concentrate to 31 1/2 ozs. H20 yields an N-2 neg at a two stop loss in film speed. For expensions, 1 1/4 oz. of concentrate to 30 3/4 ozs. H20 yields an N+1 neg at a one stop gain in speed and 1 1/2 ozs. concentrate to 30 1/2 ozs. H20 produces an N+2 negative with a two stop gain in speed.

If you look at the chart of Tri-X film speed in Phil Davis' BTZS book you can easily pick out the film speed in HC110B 5:00 as EI 64.

Don't apply reciprosity exposure and development corrections for long exposures (1/2 sec. +) based on published data. Test for yourself and you may be surprised. I wasted a lot of time and effort producing long exposure negatives that were thick and flat. When I finally tested, I found no compensation was required for TXP out to one minute.

Andrew O'Neill
19-Nov-2016, 19:19
Forget about people who say forget about the zone system. Keep it simple. By doing so, it will work well for you. It has for me for the past 25 years.

macmaster77
19-Nov-2016, 20:15
Forget about people who say forget about the zone system. Keep it simple. By doing so, it will work well for you. It has for me for the past 25 years.

Do you meter for the shadow detail and place it in the zone you want, then check your EVs? Thanks!

macmaster77
19-Nov-2016, 20:17
They don't "come out", we make them. Suggestions below will work for any common film/developer combination. You don't need full sheets of 8X10 for the first part. You can use 4X5s of the same type or cut your 8X10 into 4 4X5s.



Years ago I learned the method to find the correct developing time and EI for any film. I source was an article by William Mortensen. Mortensen wrote some excellent books and articles about basic sensitometry. The last time I did this test was when I abandoned Tri-X and switched to HP5+ due to cost about five years ago. I proceed as follows.

I set up my trays with my favorite developer HC110B (1:31). I pull out a sheet from the package in the dark. and then when the package is sealed again I turn on the room lights. This part of the test is done under the lights. I cut the sheet into five strips and mark them 1-5 by punching holes with a paper punch. Lets say the recommended time is 5:00. I want to see 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00, so I throw all the strips into the developer and agitate as usual until 3:00 when I move the No.1 strip over to the stop bath. Then I pull No.2 at 4:00, No.3 at 5:00, etc. I fix, wash and dry the strips as usual. What we are looking for is the best usable film DMax value. Obviously the film has been fully exposed! When strips dry lay down a page of news print on a table in good light. Find the strip through which the news print is barely visible. That's your developing time. Now to find the film speed.

Go outside in unchanging light conditions and expose five sheets and expose one at the manufacturers rating and then the other four at one half a stop and one stop less and one half a stop and one stop more. In the dark, develop them all together for your newly derived time. Contact print them together exposing and developing the paper for maximum usable paper DMax value. Pick out the best-looking contact print and you have your film speed.

Because my 7:00 negative looked the best on the first test, I did the test again with 7:00 as the central developing time and found that 8:00 was indeed too dense. This HP5+ time was the same as the as the developing time I had been using for Tri-X and film speed was also the same, EI400.

Many of the last generation of B&W gurus favored a development time of 5:00 for Tri-X and suggested an EI of 64-100. You can do the above test backwards, developing for 5:00 minutes and finding the film speed. I like 100. The difference between negatives exposed at 100 and developed for 5:00 is quite subtle. Both could be considered "normal" or N negatives. The 100 negative has slightly greater shadow and highlight detail that only a careful, knowledgeable viewer could detect. This slight improvement might not be worthwhile trading for two stops in the field. I do routinely rate HP5+ at 100 under powerful strobe light in the studio and it produces beautiful skin tones.

From here, if you are still with me, you can derive expansion and contraction schemes for both the 100 and 400 "normal negs". I do this by changing dilution rather than time. Make sure you have at least 1 oz. of the concentrated sauce for each 8X10 sheet or equivalent. For contractions I found that 3/4 oz. concentrate to 31 1/4 ozs. H20 yields an N-1 neg at a one stop loss in film speed and 1/2 oz. concentrate to 31 1/2 ozs. H20 yields an N-2 neg at a two stop loss in film speed. For expensions, 1 1/4 oz. of concentrate to 30 3/4 ozs. H20 yields an N+1 neg at a one stop gain in speed and 1 1/2 ozs. concentrate to 30 1/2 ozs. H20 produces an N+2 negative with a two stop gain in speed.

If you look at the chart of Tri-X film speed in Phil Davis' BTZS book you can easily pick out the film speed in HC110B 5:00 as EI 64.

Don't apply reciprosity exposure and development corrections for long exposures (1/2 sec. +) based on published data. Test for yourself and you may be surprised. I wasted a lot of time and effort producing long exposure negatives that were thick and flat. When I finally tested, I found no compensation was required for TXP out to one minute.

Great info. I'll give this a go. Appreciate the input.

Doremus Scudder
20-Nov-2016, 03:03
Do you meter for the shadow detail and place it in the zone you want, then check your EVs? Thanks!

Exactly! Expose for the shadows. Deal with the highlights by development or changing paper contrast grades. That's really all there is to it; the devil is in the details. There are many ways to get a well exposed and developed negative. How precise you want to get with this and which system/method you decide on depends on you and the type of work you do.

Systems for exposure and development tend to be full of tests, specifics and details. I often advocate working the other way: from general to specific. Take a test shot, develop it and evaluate it. If you need more shadow detail, expose more, if your neg is too contrasty to print easily, develop less and vice-versa. Overexposure is rarely a problem with LF negs. Two stops over does nothing more than add density to all parts of the negative; it is still eminently printable. Overdevelopment is usually the problem when blacks are too black and whites are too white.

FWIW, the Zone System doesn't have to be complicated. As I mentioned earlier, it is primarily a visualization tool. Many don't use it as such, they just use it as an exposure/development system. This can be more trouble than it's worth and overly complicated if you go in for all the testing and such. The main advantage to spot metering parts of your scene is getting an idea of how they are going to look in the print. I know what Zone IV will look like, and Zone VI, etc. I can meter my scene and have a pretty good idea of what the print will or can look like. Often, this means I don't bother to make an exposure. For example, a day with bright overcast and dark shadows often results in a blank white sky together with underexposed and flat everything else. I can meter and find this out; my meter helps my visual intuition.

And, you can do away with a lot of ZS testing. The film-speed test, while informative, is not really necessary. It has been shown that the ZS speed point is consistently about a half-stop slower than "box speed." My tests have given me times that are 1/3 to 2/3-stop slower than box speed for all the films I use. Since you're shooting 8x10 and overexposure by a bit isn't really an issue, you can just rate your film 2/3-stop slower than box speed and shoot away. If you overexpose by 1/3-2/3 stop, that's no big deal; consider it a safety margin.

Development times need a bit more attention, but you can still just shoot a scene, keeping good notes and then print your neg on an intermediate contrast grade and see if the print Zones fall where you metered them. If there are large discrepancies, adjust your developing time accordingly. A 20% change in development is approximately equal to a Zone (i.e., N+ or N-, respectively). Missing development time by a Zone or a bit more is usually no big deal if you have paper grades on either side of normal. Many simply find a good time for N and use changes in paper grade to compensate for changing scene contrast.

Bottom line: start simple and general, with a good idea of the basics of how the system works and go from there.

Best,

Doremus

peter schrager
20-Nov-2016, 04:05
Just try and do some tray development
The zone system works fine...in florida you can just expose for the highlights. .everything will fall in place
Use a yellow 8 or 12 filter
Use the longer dilution .it will give you better control over the process..shoot 5 sheets..standardize the the temp and develop from your minimum time increasing by 1 minute for every sheet
I use a scissors to cut the edge of the film so i know which sheet is which...you're all set to go so just do it
Just use the Asa 100 speed. .it'll work fine
Good luck
Peter

macmaster77
20-Nov-2016, 09:55
Just try and do some tray development
The zone system works fine...in florida you can just expose for the highlights. .everything will fall in place
Use a yellow 8 or 12 filter
Use the longer dilution .it will give you better control over the process..shoot 5 sheets..standardize the the temp and develop from your minimum time increasing by 1 minute for every sheet
I use a scissors to cut the edge of the film so i know which sheet is which...you're all set to go so just do it
Just use the Asa 100 speed. .it'll work fine
Good luck
Peter

I appreciate this. I figured it can't be that hard with so many folks doing it. I'm sure once you get in the groove and know what works for your process, everything just moves along. Thanks!

macmaster77
20-Nov-2016, 10:05
This is great. This really boils it down to make it easy. Granted, I've not been doing this for many years like most here, however I felt as if there had to be a way to get started. I've made a note sheet for myself to keep track of the readings. One thing that you said that I think gave me some trouble on my last development was to use 20% for one zone. I used 10%. It's all a learning process but at the end of the day, it's great to work with a different type of camera and craft a photo that at the end of the process I can say "I did that". Thanks again for your input.

Luis-F-S
20-Nov-2016, 17:42
If you don't have a 4x5 camera, get a reducing back so you can use 4x5 film, since the cost is so much less! Do your experimenting on the smaller film size. L

fralexis
27-Nov-2016, 20:10
Macmaster27,

I have been in the same place as you. I have been shooting film for years but LF is a new game. I received so much information on this subject that my head began to swim. I did all the tests and calibrations. Many of those who offered suggestions were very helpful. But before you begin so many technical tests I would urge you to do something just for the fun of it. Take a few sheets of film, shoot it at half the box speed and try to take some good exposure measurements. I simply spot meter the dark shadows and place that at zone 3. Then look at the results. You will be surprised to find some nice photographs. Of course there are countless variables but I advise not to become discouraged by the technical elements. Take some nice photos and then after you have confidence in about 20 shots, start thinking about technical details. My 2 cents.

macmaster77
27-Nov-2016, 22:34
Macmaster27,

I have been in the same place as you. I have been shooting film for years but LF is a new game. I received so much information on this subject that my head began to swim. I did all the tests and calibrations. Many of those who offered suggestions were very helpful. But before you begin so many technical tests I would urge you to do something just for the fun of it. Take a few sheets of film, shoot it at half the box speed and try to take some good exposure measurements. I simply spot meter the dark shadows and place that at zone 3. Then look at the results. You will be surprised to find some nice photographs. Of course there are countless variables but I advise not to become discouraged by the technical elements. Take some nice photos and then after you have confidence in about 20 shots, start thinking about technical details. My 2 cents.

I appreciate your comments. I totally agree. I have shot about half a box now and everything is getting easier. One thing that I had to realize is that even if two folks were to expose the same, they probably have two different developing styles. Recently it was recommended to try a prewash before developing. This seemed to really help keep the highlights in check which was an issue for me. I just have to work on my timing with the developer. It's all fun and I have already made some really nice prints, even one at 40x50. Thanks!

Spencer

Will Frostmill
28-Nov-2016, 08:34
Doremus,

I appreciate you taking the time for replying and the constructive thoughts. I figured there was something that I was missing. I took your suggestions and since we have the same conditions today, I metered as you suggested. Here is what I came up with:

Spot Meter: (ISO 100)
Open Blue Sky: 1/15@f/45
White Cloud Tops: 1/30@f/45
Light Shade: 1/2@f/45
Deep Shade: 1"@f/45

Using White Dome:
Ambient (Full Sun): 1/8@f/45

As others has suggested, I would use 1/8@f/45? Just to see what would happen, I did an average of the cloud top against the light shade (instead of the deep shade that I did yesterday) and the meter came back with 1/8@f/45. This put the brightest scene at +2 and the lighter shade at -2. This is the magical 5 stops that everyone is talking about I guess. What I exposed for yesterday was 1/2@f/45, hence this was two stops overexposed.

I do think that the other part of the equation is that I need a red filter to make the blue sky darker to make the clouds pop. Would something like this work: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/7746-REG/B_W_BW09095_95mm_090_Light_Red.html

I appreciate your help on this. Thanks!

Spencer

Hi Spencer!

I know I'm late to the party, and it sounds like you've got things worked out. (Plus Doremus and others have given you some excellent advice.) I just wanted to point out three things:
1. Given the meter readings in your example here, you've got a really usable dynamic range, six stops from deep shade to cloud tops. That's really quite workable.
2. You are entirely correct, a red filter will make the clouds pop. Remember to increase exposure by at least a stop. If you want blue skies to read as blue (really gray), you need at least a k-2 yellow filter.
3. You are used to working with digital, right? Me too. I spent a lot of time trying not to blow out the highlights with no detail, but I can usually pull something useful out of the shadows. Think about film as totally opposite: you must not blow out the shadows by underexposing them. Meter for the shadows, expose for the shadows. After a while you can "see" where the shadows will fall on a gray scale. That's Zone System thinking.
To pull detail out of the highlights, to pull them down where you can see them, you reduce development time. Or dilute. Or reduce contrast in the paper. Or carefully shade the paper in the enlarger so the white parts aren't so white. But to make things easy, just develop less.

If all that sounds like use a k-2 filter, and treat your film as half the box speed (iso 50 instead of 100), and develop N-1 most of the time, that's about right. You can do tests to make sure you are developing for the "right" N-1, including plotting highlight densities, and so on, but for me that's more about getting the darkroom stuff to be easily repeatable.

This part is strictly my mostly uninformed opinion:
I think the fastest way to get everything dialed in is to use a 35mm camera and shoot at least two rolls of film, with the exact filter and meter you usually would use. Meter whatever way you like, so long as it's consistent, and shoot 5 or 7 frames of the same thing, under the same light. Bracket those shots: one, two, three stops underexposed, one right on, one, two, three shots overexposed. Do whatever you want with the rest of the roll, and then shoot the exact same thing the exact same way with the second roll. When you develop the film, develop one at n-1, and the other the normal way. Make some prints, and out of all the frames, pick the ones that have the "right" exposure and "right" development. Go back and see what metering you used to get it right, and always use that metering in that light. That's your truth.

Good luck, and good light,
Will

macmaster77
28-Nov-2016, 17:37
Hi Spencer!

I know I'm late to the party, and it sounds like you've got things worked out. (Plus Doremus and others have given you some excellent advice.) I just wanted to point out three things:
1. Given the meter readings in your example here, you've got a really usable dynamic range, six stops from deep shade to cloud tops. That's really quite workable.
2. You are entirely correct, a red filter will make the clouds pop. Remember to increase exposure by at least a stop. If you want blue skies to read as blue (really gray), you need at least a k-2 yellow filter.
3. You are used to working with digital, right? Me too. I spent a lot of time trying not to blow out the highlights with no detail, but I can usually pull something useful out of the shadows. Think about film as totally opposite: you must not blow out the shadows by underexposing them. Meter for the shadows, expose for the shadows. After a while you can "see" where the shadows will fall on a gray scale. That's Zone System thinking.
To pull detail out of the highlights, to pull them down where you can see them, you reduce development time. Or dilute. Or reduce contrast in the paper. Or carefully shade the paper in the enlarger so the white parts aren't so white. But to make things easy, just develop less.

If all that sounds like use a k-2 filter, and treat your film as half the box speed (iso 50 instead of 100), and develop N-1 most of the time, that's about right. You can do tests to make sure you are developing for the "right" N-1, including plotting highlight densities, and so on, but for me that's more about getting the darkroom stuff to be easily repeatable.

This part is strictly my mostly uninformed opinion:
I think the fastest way to get everything dialed in is to use a 35mm camera and shoot at least two rolls of film, with the exact filter and meter you usually would use. Meter whatever way you like, so long as it's consistent, and shoot 5 or 7 frames of the same thing, under the same light. Bracket those shots: one, two, three stops underexposed, one right on, one, two, three shots overexposed. Do whatever you want with the rest of the roll, and then shoot the exact same thing the exact same way with the second roll. When you develop the film, develop one at n-1, and the other the normal way. Make some prints, and out of all the frames, pick the ones that have the "right" exposure and "right" development. Go back and see what metering you used to get it right, and always use that metering in that light. That's your truth.

Good luck, and good light,
Will

Will,

I really appreciate your help with this. It's slowly coming together. One thing that was recommend to try and slow down the highlights is to do a prewash and then put the developer in. I did this on my last print and it did seem to help. I did buy an orange and red filter. I have tried the orange filter a couple of times and it has helped. It does seems strange to not worry so much about the highlights after all these years. I do spot meter the shadows where I want detail in and the brightest highlights in and use the average on the meter to get an idea if I'm in the five stop range or not.

I just photographed a white and brown lighthouse. I checked the white against the dark shadows and I was at five stops. Then some tourists stared walking on the porch so I had to wait, at sunset of course. When I developed the negatives, they were two stops under exposed. I think part of this may be due to the prewash and I was told to cut the developer in half, again to slow down the highlights. In the end, I was able to make it work.

Lots of learning to do still. No matter what, it's a fun ride. The camera has also allowed me to talk with folks that otherwise I wouldn't have seen as they came up and wanted to check out the camera. I'll keep my progress in the loop here. Thanks!

Spencer

Leigh
28-Nov-2016, 19:58
I was told to cut the developer in half
What does that mean ???

A - reduce the developing time by 50% ?
B - reduce the developer volume by 50% ?
C - reduce the amount of concentrate used when mixing the working developer by 50% ?

Highlight density is easily controlled by reducing development time.

- Leigh

macmaster77
29-Nov-2016, 06:12
What does that mean ???

A - reduce the developing time by 50% ?
B - reduce the developer volume by 50% ?
C - reduce the amount of concentrate used when mixing the working developer by 50% ?

Highlight density is easily controlled by reducing development time.

- Leigh

I went from 6 ounces to 3 ounces. Same dilution. Ilfosol 3 @ 1+14

jnantz
29-Nov-2016, 06:22
macmaster77,
i hate to ask this, but do you have a reducing back for your camera?
film is film, whether it is 8x10 tmy or 4x5 tmy
you might consider using a reducing back to reduce the cost of your
learning curve. a sheet of 8x10 is pretty expensive to be learning the
nuances of meter reading+processing.
you might consider tanks and hangers, or tray processing as well ..

good luck with your new camera !
john

Leigh
29-Nov-2016, 07:22
I made sure the developer was at 78F/20C.
So what temperature is your developer... 78F or 20C ???

20C = 68F, not 78F.

- Leigh

macmaster77
29-Nov-2016, 07:42
macmaster77,
i hate to ask this, but do you have a reducing back for your camera?
film is film, whether it is 8x10 tmy or 4x5 tmy
you might consider using a reducing back to reduce the cost of your
learning curve. a sheet of 8x10 is pretty expensive to be learning the
nuances of meter reading+processing.
you might consider tanks and hangers, or tray processing as well ..

good luck with your new camera !
john

I don't have a reducing back for my camera yet. I figure it's the cost of learning. I find black and white isn't expensive compared to what some are paying for color. Stearman Press is working on a tank for 8x10 that I'm going to give a go once they have it completed. Thanks.

macmaster77
29-Nov-2016, 07:43
So what temperature is your developer... 78F or 20C ???

20C = 68F, not 78F.

- Leigh
I use a thermometer and make sure it's 68F when I start. Thanks!

Rick A
29-Nov-2016, 08:26
Will,

I really appreciate your help with this. It's slowly coming together. One thing that was recommend to try and slow down the highlights is to do a prewash and then put the developer in. I did this on my last print and it did seem to help. I did buy an orange and red filter. I have tried the orange filter a couple of times and it has helped. It does seems strange to not worry so much about the highlights after all these years. I do spot meter the shadows where I want detail in and the brightest highlights in and use the average on the meter to get an idea if I'm in the five stop range or not.

I just photographed a white and brown lighthouse. I checked the white against the dark shadows and I was at five stops. Then some tourists stared walking on the porch so I had to wait, at sunset of course. When I developed the negatives, they were two stops under exposed. I think part of this may be due to the prewash and I was told to cut the developer in half, again to slow down the highlights. In the end, I was able to make it work.

Lots of learning to do still. No matter what, it's a fun ride. The camera has also allowed me to talk with folks that otherwise I wouldn't have seen as they came up and wanted to check out the camera. I'll keep my progress in the loop here. Thanks!

Spencer

Your under exposure was most likely caused by not adding in the filter factor to your exposure settings. Using an orange usually needs two more stops exposure(or there about depending on filter) check the filter factor number on the filter ring for this. It may read x4 (2x2=4), which is two stops. Red filters usually read x8 which is three stops(2x2x2=8).

macmaster77
29-Nov-2016, 13:12
Your under exposure was most likely caused by not adding in the filter factor to your exposure settings. Using an orange usually needs two more stops exposure(or there about depending on filter) check the filter factor number on the filter ring for this. It may read x4 (2x2=4), which is two stops. Red filters usually read x8 which is three stops(2x2x2=8).

I appreciate you taking the time to respond. You are correct, I used the Reprocity Timer app on the phone and it told me to slow the shutter speed down by two stops, which I did when I had the orange filter on. Thanks!

jnantz
29-Nov-2016, 13:36
I don't have a reducing back for my camera yet. I figure it's the cost of learning. I find black and white isn't expensive compared to what some are paying for color. Stearman Press is working on a tank for 8x10 that I'm going to give a go once they have it completed. Thanks.

i suppose you are right.
goodluck !
john

Leigh
29-Nov-2016, 16:02
I used the Re[ci]procity Timer app on the phone and it told me to slow the shutter speed down by two stops, which I did when I had the orange filter on.
Filter factor and reciprocity failure are two different and unrelated subjects.

Reciprocity failure applies to slow shutter speeds, usually only 1 second and slower.

Filter factor has to do with the optical attenuation introduced by using the filter. It applies at all shutter speeds.

In some cases applying a filter factor to shutter speed may slow it down to the point that you must also apply reciprocity correction.

- Leigh