View Full Version : DR5 for large format

2-Feb-2002, 11:14

Just wondering if anyone out there has sent out their 4x5 or larger film to .dr5 for processing, and what do you think. I was thinking of experimenting with 10-20 sheets, but would appreciate comments/feedback/tips first.

David A. Goldfarb
2-Feb-2002, 12:31
I haven't sent my own negs there for reversal processing, but I just got a great R-print from an 8x10" color transparency from them and saw their B&W chromes on the lightbox and was impressed. Tri-X sheet film looks particularly nice in the dr5 process. You can tell that David Wood really cares about his work and knows a lot about film.

I would give them a call before experimenting about film types and how to rate your film for reversal processing. If you are in the New York area, it is definitely worth a trip to the lab to look at his lightbox and see how various films look in the process.

Ed K.
14-Jan-2006, 15:45
2006 Update to this thread ( why start a new thread on it? ),
While I haven't done a lot of testing yet, the initial B&W slides from dr5 show that the process radically expands the possibilities for B&W image capture with film.

True to what Mr. Wood says about high speed push processing with HP5, real film speed increases with very fine grain are a reality. His Tech Pan developing is totally even, however a bit contrasty with a lot of density as one might expect - this makes Tech pan ( if anyone still has some in their fridge, as I do) very exciting. So far, Delta 100 really comes alive and is very forgiving in dr5, easiliy tolerating a full stop of underexposure, yet holding highlights nicely at recommended 80 speed. Grain is so fine, and sharpness is excellent with Delta 100, which is probably one of my least favorite films as a neg film. I plan on testing several films, because it seems that there can be significant differences in their look. Also, it seems that filter factors and reciprocity are altered, with filters sometimes making less difference, and reciprocity characteristics being improved. How this happens, I have no idea.

By all means, anyone planning to use dr5 should look at the dr5 samples, which from my experience so far are quite honest. Testing of one's personal setup is a must, even though dr5 seems to be right on. With so many other labs underdeveloping as a matter of course, the dr5 results appear to give full recommended speeds ( check the dr5 recommendations ). He does not charge for pull processing, however push processing still costs more.

The problems with dr5 are that the film comes back with way more information in it that most ( or perhaps at this time, all ) scanners can handle. There is no way to fully appreciate the tonal range without actually seeing a piece of film on a light table. It also may be difficult to get a print that captures everything in the dr5 B&W slide, however with some manipulations, it should at least allow selection of wanted details. I suspect that there is no other B&W medium that has more range than a dr5, although I have never tried Scala.

My interest in dr5 came from wanting to produce totally analog enlarged negatives. I plan to enlarge the dr5 positives ( 4x5 and 8x10 originals ) onto much larger ortho film, which eliminates the need for an interpositive and skips a generation. Mr. Wood told me that an Ilfochrome from an excellent printer can also do a dr5 justice, so I may try that too. Now that I've seen the potential of dr5, I may end up just displaying some dr5 work at unenlarged 8x10 size on a backlit presentation frame with a loupe hanging on a chain or something like that.

Another great part about dr5 is David's care with the work. He's major picky about running his lab, and he takes the time to discuss whatever issues there may be.

I didn't ask if dr5 can process 12x20 or 11x14, however I think an 11x14 dr5 B&W slide would be truly out of this world to look at. I'll leave that to those who have such great cameras.

Mr. Wood had to move to Denver after a brief stay in Los Angeles. He said that will be the permanent new home of dr5. His site is www.dr5.com (http://www.dr5.com target=_blank)

Shameless plug from an impressed customer: If you haven't tried LF in dr5, it's something worth looking into, and a great new set of films to work with as a result of the process.

29-Oct-2006, 11:55
I'm thinking of trying the DR5 B&W reversal process, especially with their warm/sepia process, with 8x10 sheet film. I've read the info on the DR5 website, and I'm interested in hearing actual user experience from those people on this forum. In determining the exposure, is it best to meter as if shooting color reversal film - i.e. expose such that the highlights would fall around zone 6 1/2 ? What about tonality characteristics for different brands of film? The I'm thinking of trying Adox/Efke 24, FP4+, and maybe others depending on I hear from those here. Thanks.

Donald Qualls
29-Oct-2006, 16:55
I'd suggest contacting DR5 directly and asking them what they recommend for metering; they've got the most experience with their process and can give you the answer in the two parts you need: first, whether your intended film gains or loses speed (and how much) in their process, and second, where you should put your gray point for a B&W transparency.

My limited experience in doing my own B&W transparencies has been that I can, by tweaking the process (adds 2 or 3 minutes compared to the shortest method) shoot at anywhere from box speed to 1.5 stops higher -- but that's with Tri-X in 35 mm; every film will give different answers on this one, and my process is very different from DR5. I'm starting, now, to use a process that allows doing all steps to completion except one that can be done by inspection in room light; it's again a little slower, and the inspection makes it hard to work a lot of film at once, but doing the only critical step by inspection in good light means no wasted films...

Ralph Barker
29-Oct-2006, 18:33
I haven't sent any LF film to DR5, but I'd agree with the earlier suggestion of talking to David Wood there. He'll likely have the most comprehensive information on EIs for various films, and how they respond to his process. You might even want to do some testing on roll film first, to refine your end of the total process.

Emil Ems
30-Oct-2006, 08:24
Could anyone in this thread please explain to me what would be the advantage of this positive processing method? In particular, when scanning the film and processing it further digitally?

I have always thought that scanning goes most smoothly with negatives, since those media do not stress the scanner's capacity to capture high density values. Wouldn't this be a problem with the positive process, keeping in mind that, for instance, the Epson scanners do not scan easily beyond a density of 2?

David A. Goldfarb
30-Oct-2006, 11:08
When dr5 was in New York, I think the main attraction was for magazine shooters working in B&W with editors who preferred the process of looking at transparencies on a light table.

Another attraction of dr5 processing is that it's a beautiful process when used properly, and you might just like the way it looks. Big sheets of Tri-X in dr5 displayed on a light box are gorgeous.

31-Oct-2006, 21:52
Re David's response just above - That's why I'm interested in DR5. Not for printing necessarily. Mainly for just viewing on a light box, with the option of printing. That's one of the reasons I went to 8x10 instead of 4x5 or 5x7.