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jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 17:17
Hello everyone, I am fairly new to large format photography but I am experienced with studio photography (stills and portraits). I have been experimenting with large format film (4x5) and I seem to be hitting a wall. Every piece of film that I have exposed ends up clear when I develop it.

I have tried developing at home as well as sending it out - same result. Other film that I processed (shot outside) with the studio shots turned out fine. I believe that I am underexposing the image - but I am not sure how.

My setup:
Ilford FP4+ film (ISO 125)
4x5 camera w/ 210 lens.
Aperture set to f/8 (adjusted from f/11 +1 stop for bellows and exposure compensation).
Shutter speed set to 1/100.
One studio light metered (with flash meter) at f/11 (ISO 100, 1/125 sec - as close to lens settings as meter will allow).
Bellows racked out to 10 inches for focus. 0.5 stop added to aperture for bellows compensation, another 0.5 added to brighten image (intentional).
Lens approximately 6 feet from subject.

What am I doing wrong? With a film speed of ISO 125 I shouldn't have any problem exposing with a strobe at 1/100 & f/8. What am I missing? I've tried triggering the flash on both "M" and "X" settings, it doesn't seem to change the result.
I'm hoping that it's not the shutter, I'm not sure how to fix that except buying a new one.

Jac@stafford.net
3-Jul-2018, 17:59
Are there markings on the negative edges? They would be black type against clear film.

When in the studio with your lights set-up, look at the ground glass and trip the shutter. Do you see a flash through the lens?

jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 18:07
Nope the whole negative is clear when looking at it. If I scanned it, the whole thing would be black.

Ulophot
3-Jul-2018, 18:27
Hello, and welcome! Please forgive me for asking the following, since you are clearly an experienced photographer, but LF is indeed a different world in many respects. Is it possible that you are not removing the dark slide when you expose? I'll assume that you are, but thought I'd dispense with that first. Here is what I would do:
First, with no flm in the camera, remove the lens (or aim the camera back at something light so that you can see light clearly through the open lens), open the shutter manually, and watch as you adjust the aperture, to make sure the diaphragm is moving freely. If it is, set it to full open, then close the shutter and set the shutter speed to, say, 1/2 or 1/4 second, cock and release while you watch it, to make sure it is opening and closing properly. Try the same with faster shutter speeds, including the one you're using. Naturally, you should be able to hear the shutter opening and closing as well, or at least clicking at the faster speeds.
Again, my apology if this is too obvious. If all is well with these three factors, it sounds to me as if the shutter synch is off. You can test with continuous light -- daylight or artificial -- to confirm that you are at least getting an exposure that way, thus narrowing down the problem.
Most of us have had a few trials getting into LF. I hope yours is solved quickly and easily.

Lou Baleur
3-Jul-2018, 18:28
Did you leave the dark slide in the film holder when you shot the picture? You can't have left the lens cap on?

Jac@stafford.net
3-Jul-2018, 18:34
Nope the whole negative is clear when looking at it. If I scanned it, the whole thing would be black.

That usually indicates that no developer touched the film, regardless of the lens cap being on or the darkslide in place. In those two cases, film edges should still show the markings.

You certainly would not be the first of us to muck-up development chemistry.

Keep the faith!

Leigh
3-Jul-2018, 18:48
If I scanned it, the whole thing would be black.
First you said the negs were completely clear.
Now you say they're completely black.
Which is it?

- Leigh

Lou Baleur
3-Jul-2018, 18:59
Sending it out kind of almost eliminates a one-person processing error, right? It's an assumption to be sure, but a pretty reasonable one that at least one of the sheets was processed correctly having been done by two different people, one of them a professional lab.

Mark Sawyer
3-Jul-2018, 19:00
That usually indicates that no developer touched the film, regardless of the lens cap being on or the darkslide in place. In those two cases, film edges should still show the markings.

35mm and 120 film are the only two formats I know where film/frame info is "written" with light along the edges and developed out. Am I missing something?

I'd also first guess no developer. I've seen correctly-exposed film processed with the developer/fixer order reversed, and there's still a faint, unusable-but-visible image. I've also seen film loaded backwards and shot through the anti-halation backing; also a faint, unusable-but-visible image. But that doesn't explain why the "outside" shots came out okay...


I have tried developing at home as well as sending it out - same result. Other film that I processed (shot outside) with the studio shots turned out fine.

Perhaps an issue with flash sync? Take the back off the camera and take a studio shot looking through the back of the lens and see if the shutter opens synchronous with when the flash fires.

Lou Baleur
3-Jul-2018, 19:02
film is being loaded BACKWARDS, perhaps??? check your film holders.

Jac@stafford.net
3-Jul-2018, 19:11
35mm and 120 film are the only two formats I know where film/frame info is "written" with light along the edges and developed out. Am I missing something?

No, you are not missing something, but I was. Thanks for the correction, Mark.

Leigh
3-Jul-2018, 19:15
35mm and 120 film are the only two formats I know where film/frame info is "written" with light along the edges and developed out.The 4x5 b&w that I shoot all have edge imprints.
That includes Fuji ACROS and Ilford FP4+.
The OP said he's using FP4+.

- Leigh

jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 19:18
When you look at it, its clear. When you scan it, it gets inverted - therefore it'd be all black.

jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 19:25
Thanks for these suggestions - I've tested this camera thoroughly, and it seems to be working properly. The exposures I've made in daylight came out properly, but the ones with studio strobes are not. I need to test again with constant lights to be able to isolate the flash sync as the problem.

I'll add that I did, in fact, remove the darkslide when exposing. On one of them I nearly forgot to replace it.

jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 19:27
That usually indicates that no developer touched the film, regardless of the lens cap being on or the darkslide in place. In those two cases, film edges should still show the markings.

You certainly would not be the first of us to muck-up development chemistry.

Keep the faith!

I develop my 4x5 using a Yankee Agitank, so I develop 12 sheets at a time. In the last batch where the 4 studio shots were "clear", the other 8 negatives developed properly. These were shot outdoors, and with a different camera. I am confident that the development process was followed properly. I used Rodinal at 1:25 @ 9:00 @ 68F, Ilfostop, and Rapid Fix.

jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 19:41
Regarding loading the film backwards:
I loaded that film today, with the notches on the right side of the holder when loading.

Lou Baleur
3-Jul-2018, 20:05
Stumped!
You can try to open the shutter on "B" then pop the strobe, then close the shutter. Just test to make sure your "B" setting works. That way you ensure to get the full power of the flash pop exposure (plus a little extra ambient light exposure). If that works, then maybe synch is an issue--but can be still worked by using the "B" setting as described.

Mark Sawyer
3-Jul-2018, 20:55
TThe exposures I've made in daylight came out properly, but the ones with studio strobes are not...

To make a quick check without using film, take the back off the camera and look through the lens during a flash-synched shutter firing. If you want to make it extra-obvious, point the strobe directly into the lens. You'll be able to tell whether the strobe is firing when the shutter's open.

BTW, is the shutter sync set to X for electronic strobe? If it's set to M, (for flash bulbs), that may be the problem.

Mark Sawyer
3-Jul-2018, 20:56
The 4x5 b&w that I shoot all have edge imprints.
That includes Fuji ACROS and Ilford FP4+.
The OP said he's using FP4+.

- Leigh

Never noticed it on FP4 before. My bad!

Merg Ross
3-Jul-2018, 21:22
Sounds like a strobe sync problem. As Mark notes above.

jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 21:47
Sounds like a strobe sync problem. As Mark notes above.

I thought I had tested the flash sync on "M" first and then "X", but when I went back to the camera it was still set on "M". Another test with the sync set to "X" and I now have a properly exposed image! Thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments, it is great to have fellow film lovers to double check my work!

Edit: I found the culprit! The way I was holding my shutter release cable was flipping the sync switch to "M". Flipping the lens around fixed it!

jpheneger
3-Jul-2018, 22:18
180100
As a thank you for taking the time to comment on my post, here is what I was able to create with your help. :D

koraks
4-Jul-2018, 02:00
I've seen correctly-exposed film processed with the developer/fixer order reversed, and there's still a faint, unusable-but-visible image.
That would indicate that either the 'development' time would have been shorter than the required fixing time, or the fixer being exhausted - on top of the reversal of the chemicals. With properly mixed and reasonably fresh fixer, switching the fixer and developer bottles would result in a completely clear piece of film with no image at all.

Lou Baleur
4-Jul-2018, 07:57
Glad to see things finally worked out for you. I'll bet you're the first one to suggest checking the synch setting next time someone has the same problem.

Bernice Loui
4-Jul-2018, 08:44
X sync is for electronic flash, no delay as the shutter blades are opening.

M sync is for flash bulbs where a delay in shutter blades opening is needed to allow the flash bulb to burn up to full intensity. On some Ilex shutters, there are three delay time settings. Setting used depends on the type of flash bulb being used with that specific Ilex shutter.

M sync with electronic flash will produce non-exposed film due to shutter blade opening relative to when the flash contacts connect.



Bernice

LabRat
4-Jul-2018, 09:25
180100
As a thank you for taking the time to comment on my post, here is what I was able to create with your help. :D

Maybe your camera/system is still not working, if you were trying to take a baby's portrait, and this image came up...

Then the problem is your camera is evil, and should be burned in a ritual fire with many blessings and a purification ceremony... Or not if you are interested in your new results... :-)

Steve K

Mark Sawyer
4-Jul-2018, 12:23
BTW, is the shutter sync set to X for electronic strobe? If it's set to M, (for flash bulbs), that may be the problem.


I thought I had tested the flash sync on "M" first and then "X", but when I went back to the camera it was still set on "M". Another test with the sync set to "X" and I now have a properly exposed image!

I'm always right, and I never lie... :rolleyes:

Mark Sawyer
4-Jul-2018, 12:28
I've seen correctly-exposed film processed with the developer/fixer order reversed, and there's still a faint, unusable-but-visible image.


That would indicate that either the 'development' time would have been shorter than the required fixing time, or the fixer being exhausted - on top of the reversal of the chemicals. With properly mixed and reasonably fresh fixer, switching the fixer and developer bottles would result in a completely clear piece of film with no image at all.

Logic and chemistry dictate you're right, but now it has my curiosity up. Since we develop the "latent image", could it be the latent image actually is a faint image on its own, barely visible after fixing with no development at all?

Mind you, I'm not curious enough to waste a piece of film trying it...

consummate_fritterer
4-Jul-2018, 12:30
I'm always right, and I never lie... :rolleyes:

...and ever so humble. :D

Mark Sawyer
4-Jul-2018, 13:18
...and ever so humble. :D

Hey, I'm the humblest person ever! Ain't no one as humble as me! :o

koraks
4-Jul-2018, 13:57
Logic and chemistry dictate you're right, but now it has my curiosity up. Since we develop the "latent image", could it be the latent image actually is a faint image on its own, barely visible after fixing with no development at all?

Mind you, I'm not curious enough to waste a piece of film trying it...

The latent image does indeed consist of metallic silver that theoretically wouldn't be fixed out. But since the amplification during development is something like a factor of 10 or 100 million, the qualification "faint, but unusable" for the fixed and undeveloped latent image seems beyond reasonable doubt - with a very heavy emphasis on "faint", that is...

John Kasaian
4-Jul-2018, 15:12
film is being loaded BACKWARDS, perhaps??? check your film holders.

Yep. In what corner are the film notches? Should be top right or lower left.
If they're on the top left or lower right the film was loaded with the emulsion side facing the septum instead of the dark slide

Leigh
4-Jul-2018, 17:09
Hey, I'm the humblest person ever! Ain't no one as humble as me! :o
It's easy to be humble when so many good reasons exist to do so.

- Leigh

Mark Sawyer
5-Jul-2018, 00:50
It's easy to be humble when so many good reasons exist to do so.

- Leigh

Oh, you're just jealous because I'm humbler than you.

neilt3
5-Jul-2018, 11:02
I thought I had tested the flash sync on "M" first and then "X", but when I went back to the camera it was still set on "M". Another test with the sync set to "X" and I now have a properly exposed image! Thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments, it is great to have fellow film lovers to double check my work!

Edit: I found the culprit! The way I was holding my shutter release cable was flipping the sync switch to "M". Flipping the lens around fixed it!

I have a few lenses whose flash sync lever move a bit too freely , I put a piece of electrical insulation tape over it to prevent it getting moved by accident .

consummate_fritterer
5-Jul-2018, 11:26
oh, you're just jealous because i'm humbler than you.

lol!!!

jpheneger
9-Jul-2018, 04:00
I have a few lenses whose flash sync lever move a bit too freely , I put a piece of electrical insulation tape over it to prevent it getting moved by accident .

I may need to do that, for now I simply turned the lens so the cable is pointing up and the lever is below it. Hopefully that fixes the problem.

docw
9-Jul-2018, 07:57
Never noticed it on FP4 before. My bad!

I know that the OP's problem has been solved but...

I am not getting this, i.e., edge markings on LF. All my LF film has notch codes but no numbers on the edge of the film. I only see that on 120 film. I have a pile of FP4 right in front of me and there are no numbers on the edge. Am I misunderstanding this?

jpheneger
9-Jul-2018, 21:14
I know that the OP's problem has been solved but...

I am not getting this, i.e., edge markings on LF. All my LF film has notch codes but no numbers on the edge of the film. I only see that on 120 film. I have a pile of FP4 right in front of me and there are no numbers on the edge. Am I misunderstanding this?

I don't see them on any of my negatives either.

Mark Sawyer
10-Jul-2018, 11:47
I double-checked my 8x10 fp4 and hp5 negatives, no edge markings, just the notches. I do remember seeing some old 4x5 Kodak color transparencies with the developed-out markings, but I can't remember what it was.

Willie
10-Jul-2018, 16:56
It's easy to be humble when so many good reasons exist to do so.

- Leigh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHEfSzUbh3s

O'Lord, it's hard to be humble...

Cor
12-Jul-2018, 06:24
I know that the OP's problem has been solved but...

I am not getting this, i.e., edge markings on LF. All my LF film has notch codes but no numbers on the edge of the film. I only see that on 120 film. I have a pile of FP4 right in front of me and there are no numbers on the edge. Am I misunderstanding this?
No, never seen them either on FP4+ or HP5+ Ilford B&W LF film..on colour images I have seen in exhibitions were they also printed the rebate: yes,

Best,

Cor