View Full Version : Did something go wrong ?

2-Mar-2011, 18:25
Newbie here -- getting started in LF I ran some 100Tmax thru a Speed Graph camera and was only somewhat happy with the results. At the same I shot the LF I also shot some medium format and small format 100Tmax with various cameras. As I am "new again" to film my plan is to use small format as a learning platform for getting exposure right etc

All the film was developed by a local lab. I am concerned about two things. All the negatives are bright -- looking overexposed to me. It would be understandable (to me) if the LF was overexposed but the small format was done on a camera with built in auto exposure (which I used in this case). The second question is about the amount of "dust" or "holes" in the film. If you look at the sky area of the shot it looks horrible -- at lot worse than dealing with dust spots on a digital sensor.

I am attaching two versions of the same shot -- one (the brighter one) is un processed -- the second one had adjustments made in PS. Both come from a 35mm negative scanned in a Nikon Coolscan V using vuescan.

I appreciate any thoughts or insights you might be able to share -- hoping to learn from the masters around here.



2-Mar-2011, 18:54
Well, I don't think you will ever get your exposures correct by shooting with one camera, then simply using that as a measure for another camera. You will have to experiment with each camera, lens, exposure meter, film, and development.

In other words, 35mm TMax 100 shot in your Nikon will not help you much in figuring your exposures for 120 TMax 100 shot in your Rolleiflex or your 4X5 TMax 100 shot in your Crown Graflex....and from my experience, lab processing "usually" will not be nearly as consistent and proper as if you took the time to experiment and adjust your development times doing the processing your self.

Dust? Blame it on the lab.

As for your exposures...it's hard to tell without the negative in front of me.

Brian C. Miller
2-Mar-2011, 20:55
From looking at the dust spots, these two images are from the same negative, just with different exposure. Judging by the size of the dust, this is from the 4x5.

Dust can come from two places: from loading the holders, or from printing the film. There's lots of different methods people use to mitigate getting dust on their holder during film loading. Look at your negatives, and see if there are clear dust spots on the film. These would equate to black spots on the print. Since your print shows white spots, I'm guessing that the dust came from the lab.

Is this from a contact print? Some labs have lower standards when they make a contact print.

As for exposure, an in-camera meter might lie to you, it depends on the type of meter. I use a hand-held meter, and I use the same settings for whatever camera I'm using.

Peter Mounier
2-Mar-2011, 23:22
To me the exposure and development look pretty good. That is, you can see shadow detail, and the highlights have good separation and aren't blocked up. I wonder if the Brightness, or middle tones were dropped a little in the scanning phase whether you'd get better midtones? Were you manually adjusting the settings in VueScan?


3-Mar-2011, 03:50
yes -- both of these are from the same negative. No the negative is not 4x5 rather 35mm. Since the is no exposed film in the 35mm case (when loading) I am suspecting the lab for the dust. Since there is no way I can do developing at home I am always going to be at the mercy of a lab and thus looking for a good one. Part of my posting and asking these questions is to see if this kind of work is typical for a lab or should I be shopping for a better one.

As for exposure I am using the default options in vuescan (which I am still learning). The histogram for the first shot is definitely exposed "to the right" and I cannot seem to balance that (despite adjusting the white and black points) so it might be a user issue with the software.

Thanks for your comments / thoughts -- they are helpful

3-Mar-2011, 07:33
I don't see the pix, but I wouldn't be surprised if the crown's shutter was a bit slow and in need of a CLA, causing some overexposure.

As far as dust.. 35mm comes from a clean dust free factory where quality control is ultra serious. 4x5 you load into filmholders of unknown cleanliness, plastic holders statically attract dust, you put them in a camera with a potentially dusty interior, shoot, flip the slide over, potentially sealing more dust in the holder, then cart it around picking up more dust. You really have to make sure they are clean when you load them, and keep them clean while transporting them. I use antistatic plastic bags (meant for electronics) to protect the film holders while storing and transporting them.
There's been plenty of discussion/sharing on the topic here.

I also suspect it is not actually impossible or difficult to develop film at home. For about $200 you could get a combiplan tank, quality thermometer, and a complete selection of chemicals needed to process film in daylight. Add another $20-40 for hardware to do 35 and 120 film.

Peter Mounier
3-Mar-2011, 08:39
Well, you did ok with adjusting the white and black points in VueScan, but then stopped before doing the midtones. There's a slider in all of VueScan's adjustment panels that have high point low point and brightness. Brightness is the mid tone adjustment. I'm sure your neg will look pretty good with a mid tone adjustment. The dust is not the lab's fault, it is on the neg while scanning and needs to be dusted off before you run it through. I think it's safe to say that you're not alone when dealing with dust on negatives.


John Berry
3-Mar-2011, 14:21
White spots in print says dirty negative, clean it. If it is embedded in the emulsion the lab has a problem. Do you clean your negs before scanning? I can't imagine even running a preview with that rope in front of the building, unless you are saying that it's stuck. The paper and the choice of chemicals in a tray will tell you where you sit in regards to exposure and development. Scans have their preferred DR and may or may not be any help.

3-Mar-2011, 14:47
The second question is about the amount of “dust” or “holes” in the film.

Those white dust spots picked up by your Coolscan V look typical for an un-dusted negative.

I suspect they’re “on” the negative, not in the emulsion.

For comparison, try scanning again – but first, dust the negative before inserting into your Coolscan. You can simply wipe both sides w/ a clean micro-fibre cloth. Don’t worry. T-Max has a built-in hardener, even if the film wasn’t developed with a hardening fix. A micro-fibre cloth should work magic and eliminate those white spots.

Be sure to share your results!